Research In Motion (RIM) is trying to buy its way back into software-design prominence.
The BlackBerry maker, which has watched its brand reputation and market share droop under the weight of better products from Apple and Android-based mobile devices, is acquiring The Astonishing Tribe, or TAT. RIM is looking to TAT to help it regain status as a creator of innovative, must-have operating systems. Indeed, TAT did some in-depth work on the first-ever Android phone, the T-Mobile G1.
The move comes even as BlackBerrys latest platform, BlackBerry OS 6, has proven a step forward for RIM, after a series of clunky predecessors. Some evidence of the improvement came yesterday when StatCounter said usage of BlackBerry software to access the Internet outpaced Apples share in November. But that doesnt mean BlackBerry is back on top or anywhere close, really.
To that point, RIM is snapping up TAT which has designed for handset manufacturers from Nokia and Samsung to Sony Ericsson and Motorola for an undisclosed amount. TAT is based in Sweden; RIM is headquartered in Canada. Industry observers expect RIM to use TAT to polish the user interfaces on the BlackBerry and the forthcoming tablet, the PlayBook.