Blackberry putting itself up for sale, will Microsoft nibble?

RIM is having a pretty horrible year, with its Blackberry market share plunging in USA, and even upstart Windows Phone looking to overtake it in mind share if not market share (and that’s coming also).

No wonder rumours that the company has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to ‘explore strategic options’ (analyst speak for find us a buyer) has boosted the stock price by nearly 4% last week – the company would be better off under nearly any management than their bumbling dual CEOs.

However the question is if anyone wants to buy RIM – its market cap is already lower than the combination of its cash and assets, making the company a real steal already, but still no-one is taking a bite.

Of course one company which has always been in the running is Microsoft, mainly due to the natural affinity Microsoft has with RIM’s business customers.  In fact at a market cap of $8.34 Billion is is in the same ballpark as Skype, which Microsoft purchased in October 2011.

However owning a major OEM like RIM would certainly interfere with Microsoft’s relationship with their other big partner, Nokia. There is however a very simple way around this – a joint venture between Microsoft and Nokia. There have been previous rumours of the two companies investigating such a deal a few weeks ago, and with RIM nearly 30% cheaper than  it was 3 months ago the deal must once again be looking attractive.

Of course RIM by itself may not be enough to convince MSokia to buy, but the prospect of the company and its patent trove being scooped up by Google must make the deal seem almost inevitable.

The best deal would see Nokia managing RIMs business while Microsoft works on the back-end integrating Blackberry support into Exchange, and then working on transitioning Blackberry OS to Windows Phone 7 over the course of a few years.

What do our readers think? Is the deal inevitable? Let us know below.