back to article WHY didn't Microsoft buy RIM? Us business blokes would have queued for THAT phone

In the wake of Microsoft announcing that it's acquiring Nokia, and BlackBerry announcing that it's buying itself out of the public market with Fairfax’s help, I can’t help but come to a single conclusion: Microsoft has missed what could possibly have been the single greatest acquisition in its company’s history. As you’ll know …

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That last sentence says it all.

Microsoft is determined to get Windows Phone 8 to work. So they will not buy RIM.

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

My thoughts exactly, although of course they also want the same looks, feel and operation across the whole eco-system from PCs to phones via tablets, consoles and whatever else they can put a Windows logo onto.

But of course whilst RIM/Blackberry are well known for security etc, the same cant be said for Microsoft more generally. Hence they'd either have to throw out their much vaunted cross-platform equality (which in the real world may not be such a bad thing, but that's just what reality seems to be showing) or bite the bullet on Windows security. And neither of those are going to happen without a major shift in policy.

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

Microsoft is now widely known for their security - they literally wrote the book on developing secure software, from the (painful) lessons they learned from MS.Blaster and all the other attacks on the XP/2003/IIS 5 time of software.

The book: http://www.amazon.com/Security-Development-Lifecycle-Michael-Howard/dp/0735622140.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That last sentence says it all.

"Microsoft is now widely known for their security - they literally wrote the book on developing secure software, from the (painful) lessons they learned from MS.Blaster and all the other attacks on the XP/2003/IIS 5 time of software."

I've never heard anyone previously say Microsoft are widely known for their security.

Publishing a book with the word "Security" in the title doesn't mean anything.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That last sentence says it all.

@AC - that's because you hang around places like reg comments where saying anything that is critical of MS gets you brownie points. In the non-rabidly anti-microsoft world, people realise that MS have made vast strides in security and that most of the problems with Windows these days are caused by the users rather than the software itself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That last sentence says it all.

"Us business blokes would have queued for THAT phone"

They already are - O2, Foxtons, Delta, all already went to Windows Phone, and lots more are on the way..Avanade have a large team dedicated to solutions in that space.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That last sentence says it all.

"I've never heard anyone previously say Microsoft are widely known for their security."

They are these days - zero remote exploits in windows phone so far, including Windows Mobile! Versus hundreds in IOS and Android. Even Blackberry 10 was completely rooted via a Flash exploit.

This is the same as Microsoft's desktop and servers OSs - they have for years now had far fewer vulnerabilities than the competition such as Mac OS-X and Linux. Ditto IE has had far fewer vulnerabilities versus Chrome / Firefox / Safari ever since IE7 onwards...And you have a much lower risk of being hacked / defaced if you run an internet website on a Microsoft OS versus say Linux....

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

>>>They are these days - zero remote exploits in windows phone so far

Because it's not worth anyone's time to look for em.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That last sentence says it all.

I think I can say with utter confidence that now I know Foxton's use WP8, nothing would induce me to use it. That's a bit like promoting something as "Pol Pot's favourite aftershave".

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

"I've never heard anyone previously say Microsoft are widely known for their security."

Strange, as improved security is one of the big things everyone keeps going on about, particularly using it as a major reason to upgrade from XP to Windows 7 or 8 ...

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

"MS have made vast strides in security and that most of the problems with Windows these days are caused by the users rather than the software itself."

Then get rid of users! They do nothing but mess up beautiful, nay, perfect IT architectures that would operate faultlessly if the malign influence of users could be eliminated. Imagine how much more efficient the average CIO's empire could operate without any filthy users making their unreasonable demands that the software and hardware actually work, easily and effectively!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That last sentence says it all.

..in the Jeremy Clarkson centre for gender studies?

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

Strange, as improved security is one of the big things everyone keeps going on about, particularly using it as a major reason to upgrade from XP to Windows 7 or 8 ...

Strange, the main security issue pertaining to XP -> Windows 8 upgrades is that MS are refusing to backport further security fixes to XP. Nice computer there mate, shame if anything happened to it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That last sentence says it all.

"....most of the problems with Windows these days are caused by the users rather than the software itself."

Yep, us IT guys would have such an easy life if wasn't for those pesky peeps actually using the kit.

Look, pal, it's a well known fact that putting up a prompt that's safe to accept 99.5% of the time pretty much GUARANTEES that it'll also be accepted the 0.5% of the time that it isn't safe. This is Human Factors Engineering 101. Don't ever, ever, ever blame the users for that. It's piss-poor, uneducated, design. Plain and Simple. That's just one example of how Windows continues to get it wrong on security, and that stupid statement of yours amply demonstrates why Windows continues to get it wrong.

I'd be face-palming if I wasn't AC,

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

That last sentence says it all indeed.

MS didn't want an existing mobile phone hardware - OS - app ecosystem.

They wanted to push their own OS and app ecosystem.

Nokia were previously renowned for great hardware (I found the E63 to be a half decent business smartphone...) but the OS left a lot to be desired.

It should've been a match made in heaven.

Instead we have Nokia trying to play catchup, lumbered with an OS that no-one really wants.

10 years ago, RIM/BB used to be renowned for corporate phones. Almost the handheld equivalent of a ThinkPad. Standard corporate equipment, nobody ever got fired for buying BlackBerry.

Bit of a shame that they've been sidelined by the new kids on the block.

Myself? I needed / wanted a business phone with a physical keyboard. I ended up with a Samsung GTi5510 running Android. It's now a bit old, bit slow and cumbersome by modern standards, but it is still a joy to tap out an email on a proper slideout keyboard rather than faffing about with some toi-uchd-screem-n effp-ort.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That last sentence says it all.

"Can you imagine a phone built from the ground up with security in mind, running endpoint protection natively, with deep hooks for remote management built in?"

I can, but it probably wouldn't look much like Windows Phone, and that's what Microsoft want to sell.

Dropping it in favour of something else would be too much loss of face.

Buying RIM and them forcing them to make Windows phones would have the same result as what happened at Nokia.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That last sentence says it all.

"I've never heard anyone previously say Microsoft are widely known for their security. Publishing a book with the word "Security" in the title doesn't mean anything."

"@AC - that's because you hang around places like reg comments where saying anything that is critical of MS gets you brownie points. In the non-rabidly anti-microsoft world, people realise that MS have made vast strides in security and that most of the problems with Windows these days are caused by the users rather than the software itself."

Actually, I'm a security consultant, and not especially rabidly anti-microsoft.

I've still never heard anyone previously say Microsoft are widely known for their security.

Please point me to an example of people saying this is widely known. Thanks.

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MrE

Re: That last sentence says it all.

There is a solution to this, make all your users standard/restricted users. See how many complaints you get then about not being able to install stuff. Only those technically competent should be given raised privileges.

I have full control of the my children's internet capabilities, even get reports of usage etc. automatically, not sure if other OS's offer this facility free of charge but I consider this a really useful feature and means I don't have to stand there all the time making sure they're not using the inappropriately.

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

> "Only those technically competent should be given raised privileges."

No. Only those paid to administer and support the machines should be given raised privileges. End users get the tools we package and install for them, and do NOT get privileged access, ever.

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

Tom 38 - bad Microsoft for supporting an OS that is now almost 13 years old...

how many security fixes have Apple released for Puma? or how many current applications will run on that platform?

Or maybe Linux? is Red Hat from 2001 still supported?

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

"They already are"

Hahaha, you anonymous MSFT trolls are so funny.

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Re: That last sentence says it all.

You are a really well-paid troll, it seems - you keep coming back to post the same false crap over and over again... your Windows Phone section, another failing project sunken by Ballmerian golden boy VP Belfiore, must be in a desperate mood... :D

"They are these days - zero remote exploits in windows phone so far, including Windows Mobile!"

Yeah except there are including that HUGE WiFi-exploit in Windows Phone THAT MS REFUSES TO FIX and instead advises you TO STOP USING WIFI (yes, I'm NOT kidding): http://betanews.com/2013/08/07/microsoft-warns-windows-phone-users-not-to-use-wifi-wait-what/

"Even Blackberry 10 was completely rooted via a Flash exploit."

Wrong again, it was NOT rooted. Moreover it required a lot of things even to gain unathorised data ccess:

>>Successful exploitation requires not only that a customer enable Blackberry Protect, use the feature to reset the device password, and download a specifically crafted malicious app, but an attacker [would also need to] gain physical access to the device,” the blog post explained.

“If all of the requirements are met for exploitation, an attacker could potentially access or modify data on the device,” it added.<<

Here: http://www.itpro.co.uk/mobile/20038/blackberry-z10-security-flaw-too-fiddly-exploit

Best part?

It was fixed right away - something these MSFT clowns forget to mention. :)

"This is the same as Microsoft's desktop and servers OSs - they have for years now had far fewer vulnerabilities than the competition (...) And you have a much lower risk of being hacked / defaced if you run an internet website on a Microsoft OS versus say Linux...."

HAHAHAHAHA - hilarious nonsense! =)

Aside of its entertaining value it also clearly shows what kind of surreal Ballmerian bubble you MSFT trolls live inside the Redmond campus...

"WP not having AAAAAANY EXPLOIT" - yeah except the one that can compromise the entire phone just connecting to the wrong wifi AP and we refuse to fix....

"BB10 was rooted via Flash" - except it wasn't and it would require a lot of things and it was quickly fixed

"IIS is more secure than anything else" - I don't even have to write anything here, it's sooo obvious.. :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WP7/8 and WiFi

You really ought to read the comments on that Beta News article to get some of the balance it's writer didn't feel inclined to include.

Like the fact that it isn't a Windows Phone flaw, but a protocol one that any device on any OS using it will be subject too.

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Everyone with half a brain recognises this....

.. which is why the aquisition of RIM slipped by MS.

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BB10 is not a bad smart phone OS

The problem is has less apps, when apps exist they often cost more than their iOS / Android counterparts and the phones themselves are quite expensive for their specs.

I feel RIM / Blackberry would have been a lot more successful if they had produced a security hardened and certified handset running Android with value added software that ran on top.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BB10 is not a bad smart phone OS

But a security hardened and certified Android would be a major fork, which they would have to maintain. As they actually own QNX and it gets used for a number of other things, the work of updating is spread across more products. If you had to produce a version of Android using a Linux kernel with, most likely, major differences, where's the saving? And in any case a major security black hole is the "Apps" which you have to give ridiculous permissions to in order to run.

When I bought the Q10, it was basically iPhone 5 standard electronics but in a more robust case with a bigger battery, SD expansion, NFC, HDMI out and a proper keyboard. It cost the same as an iPhone. Given that BB don't have the economies of scale of an Apple or a Samsung, I considered the price quite reasonable. It's the Z10 that was overpriced at launch, and it flopped. I've never understood why they did the Z10; it seems to have no advantages at all over the competition and was never going to get the attention of former Bold owners.

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Re: BB10 is not a bad smart phone OS

In a sense they have as BB10 can run a lot of Android apps - if all you need is a Dalvik VM then the rest is pretty easy.

I think QNX is a better fit for mobile phones than Linux, though I suspect given the amount of customisation in Android the point maybe moot. But it wouldn't surprise me if Fairfax doesn't sell the OS onto Google, or maybe even Intel for just that kind of project.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BB10 is not a bad smart phone OS

The same stubbornness that killed Nokia has also killed RIM. They wanted to control the lot and put all their chips on black, and it came up red. Both now have nothing.

Both had the option of making Android handsets, and i'm sure they would have been successful and doing so, but their greed got in the way of common sense.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BB10 is not a bad smart phone OS

"And in any case a major security black hole is the "Apps!""

Hmmm - the larger security concern would be surely be running it on a Linux kernel? Well over 900 known vulnerabilities to date just in the kernel...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BB10 is not a bad smart phone OS

"The same stubbornness that killed Nokia "

? - Nokia are forecast to be back into profit next quarter. And are likely to sell out their historically loss making phone business to Microsoft anyway....They are certainly not dead like Blacklberry.

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Re: BB10 is not a bad smart phone OS

"But a security hardened and certified Android would be a major fork" of course it would be. That's where the value add of their version would reside.

It would still be vastly simpler that maintaining an entire separate kernel, set of drivers and all user land apps, and expecting / paying 3rd party developers to support their platform. *And* BB10 already maintains a fork of Android to power its android runtime layer. That is the current BB proposition and clearly it failed badly.

I'm quite certain they could have implemented their work / play personas over Android, providing the security & confidence that would keep business heads happy while letting users install and run potentially unsafe stuff in their half of the phone.

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Re: BB10 is not a bad smart phone OS

"I think QNX is a better fit for mobile phones than Linux, though I suspect given the amount of customisation in Android the point maybe moot."

It's the user land that matters, not the kernel underneath it. Windows Phone has an NT kernel, Android has Linux, iOS has a hybrid BSD kernel, BB10 has QNX. All manage to provide a smooth, attractive, modern look and feel.

As long as the kernel offers up the services that modern apps need (networking, display, radio, input etc.) and does so in a relatively efficient way then it really doesn't how it is implemented - monolithic or microkernel for example are largely irrelevant.

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Re: BB10 is not a bad smart phone OS

"It would still be vastly simpler that maintaining an entire separate kernel, set of drivers and all user land apps, and expecting / paying 3rd party developers to support their platform."

Err, no. Drivers are done, kernel is QNX anyway which is the preeminent OS in the embedded world.

If they focus on enterprise/scurity then apps are a also a much more focused effort.

"*And* BB10 already maintains a fork of Android to power its android runtime layer. That is the current BB proposition and clearly it failed badly."

Wrong again. It's a runtime, not an entire fork, secondly the launch version (10.0 for Z10, 10.1 for Q10) were pretty half-baked, only supporting Gingerbread and even that in a crappy way - but the *CURRENT* one, being Android 4.2.2 as in v10.2, is actually a smooth sailing Android app experience within BB10, pretty far from a failed one.

What's failed is this stupid CEO's incompetent money-saving/profit-maximizing approach; he should've invested a lot into a PR-blitz and bring out the Q10 first, Z10 second, both at $150-200 LESS to generate volume sales...

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Re: BB10 is not a bad smart phone OS

"As long as the kernel offers up the services that modern apps need (networking, display, radio, input etc.) and does so in a relatively efficient way then it really doesn't how it is implemented - monolithic or microkernel for example are largely irrelevant."

Well, from a user PoV sure - but there is a reason why multitasking in Android (or even in WP) is still a PITA compared to BB10 and we all know just how badly Android pisses away resources...

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Anonymous Coward

Duurh

What a stupid statement, firstly the microsoft way of doing push email is exchange, if they ever bought rim the email platform would be thrown out of the window and exchange would replace it. Secondly microsoft had to much already invested in nokia, they had been slowly moving towards a buy out since the partnership had started, plus nokia had far more attractive patents.

Plus microsoft is trying to so hard to push windows phone if it had purchased rim they wouldnt be called BB phones any more and maybe BB Windows Phone or more likely Windows Phone...

Microsoft not buying BB was a smart move on MS part, the brand is dying why invest money in it, now someone else does and it says as BB and dies a slow death over a few years or possibly becomes another android competitor, which is highly unlikely.

If microsoft did by BB, would they keep BB os, nope, would they keep the name maybe, but probably not in the long term, would they keep BB email services, nope. So what happens they have is a company with 1 - 2 years of development until they can produce the product they would want to sell/produce, by that time the markets moved on and its been a big cash cow that needs taking out and shot.

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Re: Duurh

1. ">plus nokia had far more attractive patents." - Nokia patents were NOT part of the deal

2. Nokia was a brand with brand-loyalty, have you seen the recent ads ? No mention of Nokia ...

3. Micorosoft brand is the mock of mobile devices in general

Windows ph0ne is d3ad.

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Re: Duurh

You are so right, I'm surprised at this article from The Register.

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Re: Duurh

"if they ever bought rim the email platform would be thrown out of the window and exchange would replace it"

I thought BB10 did exactly that ?? It certainly does away with BES.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Duurh

No, it doesn't; it does away with BIS (the public version) but BlackBerry hope to make money with BES 10. Which has strong Exchange integration.

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Re: Duurh

D3wd u r s0 k3wl.

Have you ever used a Windows Phone? They compliment the market well and add competition, which is much needed in the mobile space. Get off your fanboi seat and look at things objectively for a change. I have no brand loyalty btw and think Android, WinPhone and iOS each have their own pros and cons.

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Anonymous Coward

MS are not interested in Enterprise.

All they see is Apple's 30% of everything in the phone ecosystem and want 30% of the Windows ecosystem, it isn't going to happen.

MS haven't taken the needs of enterprise seriously since XP, they bought a few technologies to add to their portfolio and gave us lousy integration, but noting innovative has come out the doors for years.

The best thing for enterprise and consumers is a break up of MS and hopefully some of the divisions can innovate and the others die.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS are not interested in Enterprise.

"want 30% of the Windows ecosystem"

That'll pay the bills

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS are not interested in Enterprise.

"MS are not interested in Enterprise. "

You clearly have no clue what you are talking about. Microsoft's largest income streams and their fastest growing products are in the enterprise space....

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Anonymous Coward

MS will not buy RIM now

Because it will never get passed by the competition regulators.

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Re: MS will not buy RIM now

On what grounds? In the mobile OS / handset business both MS and BB are minnows.

MS has more than enough on its plate with the integration of the Nokia handset business. MS is nearly on a par with BB10 feature-wise so a buy would only make sense to stop the competition getting at the IP. Now Blackberry has been taken off the market the chance for a quick buy has passed. No doubt Fairfax will be offering part or all of Blackberry for sale at some point.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS will not buy RIM now

You just answered it yourself, IP abuse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS will not buy RIM now

"Because it will never get passed by the competition regulators."

Because Blackberry's current 0.7% share of the US Phone market plus Windows Phone's 5.6% share is monopoly?

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Silver badge

Re: MS will not buy RIM now

You just answered it yourself, IP abuse.

That is not an issue for the competition authorities.

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