The rumor mill is in full swing this week leading up into Labor Day. Hot on the heels of rumors of the impending arrival of the gPhone are unverified reports that Microsoft might be gunning for an acquisition of RIM, makers of the ubiquitous BlackBerry.

Note that this is not the first time such a rumor has circulated. Yet, it still helped increase RIM’s stock prices by almost 3 percent, to $90.32, in Friday morning trading.

As usual, representatives for both Microsoft and RIM, citing company policy pertaining to rumors or speculation, declined to comment.

Some facts:

  • Google’s announcement that it is developing a mobile phone running a Linux-based operating system as well as the on-going interest to integrate it into the business environment is making the smartphone industry much more competitive
  • RIM has already announced that it has been working with Microsoft on delivering BlackBerry software for Windows Mobile 6 devices
  • You might not be aware of this yet, but RIM already offers a plug-in for developing BlackBerry applications in Microsoft’s Visual Studio. (Opinion: I explain the rationale)
  • As with a Windows’ computer, Windows Mobile devices are hard to lock down. It isn’t easy to load a third-party application into BlackBerry handhelds. (Opinion: Owning RIM will allow Microsoft to corner the more security-conscious market as well)

Comments by analysts:

  • Michael Disabato, vice president and service director with Burton Group, to the E-Commerce Times:

“I don’t know why Microsoft would do this, since they’re not traditionally a hardware company and are definitely not a cell phone company. They would be jumping into something here that I’m not sure makes sense for them.”
“There have also been rumors that RIM may be snatched up by Google. So it’s possible a move by Microsoft – if the reports are true – could be a preemptive strike. It’s also possible Microsoft could be considering such a move as a way to counter Google’s reported plans to create a Gphone”.

  • Bill Hughes, principal analyst with In-Stat, also with the E-Commerce Times:

“You can never say never, but it doesn’t strike me as being particularly logical. There are some aspects that could make some sense, such as the fact that Microsoft and RIM both excel in selling to enterprises… So from a channels perspective, it makes sense.”
“In other areas, however, the fit may not be as good. There’s nothing that Microsoft has that would really add to RIM’s value.”
“Then again, the logic behind acquisitions is not always apparent to the outside world.”

To read more:

Do you think a Microsoft and RIM marriage is possible?