Microsoft, BlackBerry-Maker Announce New Deal

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) have announced a new licensing deal that will make it easier to transfer large files between RIM devices and PCs. The deal could help the struggling Canadian manufacturer regain some of the ground it has lost to rivals.

David Kaefer, general manager of Microsoft's intellectual property (IP) licensing division, says the new deal will help RIM produce mobile devices that "display richer images and data than traditional cellular phones." (Source:

Another Day, Another Deal for Microsoft

The licensing agreement, announced Tuesday, September 18, involves Microsoft's Extended File Allocation Table (or exFAT) system technology. It allows users to more quickly and easily move large files from one device to another, including tablet computers, smartphones, and PCs.

For Microsoft, the new agreement is simply an extension of an ongoing intellectual property licensing program. The software giant has inked similar agreements with Sony, Panasonic, and Canon in recent months. (Source:

For Research in Motion, which has suffered a nightmare of declining sales and stock valuations during the last eighteen months or so, the agreement almost certainly means more.

Lack of consumer interest in its new PlayBook tablet computer, combined with declining sales of its BlackBerry smartphone, have caused RIM's stock price to fall consistently for more than a year.

In November 2011, the firm's share price dipped below its book value, a sign that investors considered the company's stock worth less than the value of the company's assets. (Source:

RIM responded to these problems and setbacks by forcing out long-time co-chief executive officers Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. Their replacement, Thorsten Heins, then made the decision to proceed with major layoffs this past summer.

RIM Stock Rises, but Slightly

The Microsoft deal helped RIM's stock price increase 2.5 per cent to $7.44 -- a significantly large boost for one of the world's most maligned companies.

Microsoft's stock price, meanwhile, was unaffected by news of the agreement.

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