Rumour: RIM to Sell Handset Business

By Jamie Condliffe on at

The Sunday Times is reporting that RIM is planning to split its handset and messaging network into two separate companies, then sell off the ill-fated BlackBerry hardware business.

As part of the move, the newspaper suggests that RIM would keep its messaging and data networks — including BBM, BIS, and BES — in-house, and then license them out to third parties. That's a theory that's been floated before, but never come to fruition.

The news comes on the back of a strategic review carried out by RIM in conjunction with RBC and JP Morgan. Though The Sunday Times does not explicitly cite any sources in its report, it does suggest that Facebook or Amazon may both prove to be "potential buyers" of the hardware wing.

It's really the latest in a long line of attempts to fix the company's ailing fortunes. The Sunday TImes explains that RIM's final course of action will be revealed sometime this summer. [Sunday Times via Reuters via The Verge]

Update: RIM reached out to us with the following statement:

RIM has hired advisers to help the Company examine ways to leverage the BlackBerry platform through partnerships, licensing opportunities and strategic business model alternatives. As Thorsten said on the Company's fourth-quarter earnings call, 'We believe the best way to drive value for our stakeholders is to execute on our plan to turn the company around.' This remains true."