Perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek, but my recent exchange with Ron Miller has made me think of a possible and affordable solution for Microsoft’s mobility predicament. That is if you consider RIM’s market cap of $39 billion affordable which Microsoft does – they were willing to pay $50 billion for Yahoo! just a couple of years ago. Of course I’d be thrilled if Microsoft made a big play in my present port of call, Waterloo, ON. And so, here are my top reasons why Microsoft should acquire Research in Motion (RIM):
1. Microsoft needs a viable mobile strategy. The greatest threat they face is not search but mobile devices free of Windows and Office.
2. Microsoft has proven that a mobile OS cannot be based on Windows. Not that they didn’t try with Windows CE, Pocket PC, Widows Mobile, Microsoft Phone, etc.
3. SharePoint wants to be mobile. SharePoint users will end up using Apple's iPad if Microsoft doesn’t provide a mobile solution.
4. Even Google realized that search alone is not going to shift the balance of power away from the desktop. Microsoft engaged in an arms race with Google creating Bing to achieve…what exactly?
5. Microsoft can’t afford to acquire Apple for the iPhone. Apple’s market cap is about $220 billion.
6. Microsoft cannot buy Google to get Android. Google’s market cap is about $180 billion.
7. Microsoft could buy Palm but that would hardly get them any further. Palm’s market cap is $870 million but who cares?
8. This deal could finally kill off Lotus Notes, making life easier for everyone.
9. Microsoft could finally have a hip product again, used even by the President. Last time that happened, it was the XBOX 360...on Saturday Night Live.
10. BlackBerry fits into Microsoft’s product strategy: it is not open sourced, it does not promote Linux, it is not free nor does it depend on advertising revenue, and it is pretty hard to get rid of once installed (think ELA).
My prediction is that someone will want to get RIM since they are a major force in the mobile market and they are 'acquirable'. And Microsoft needs them more than anybody else.