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Microsoft and RIM: The merger that would create the third power

With Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 still lagging far behind the behemoths that are Android and iOS, and HP releasing its new WebOS devices, including the TouchPad, the best tablet available outside of the iPad, and their soon-to-be released Pre 3, something must change. And that change should be Microsoft merging with Research in Motion.

WP7 has not caught on as Microsoft may have expected. According to the recent ComScore numbers, from February to May, Microsoft lost a 1.9 percent share of the smartphone market.  In a time where their market share should be increasing, seeing as WP7 was launched in October 2010. The handset manufacturers were there, including, Samsung, HTC, LG and Dell, but the sales were not. Some of the major complaints weren’t about the handsets per say, but about the lack of developers and a lack of features basic to modern OS’s like copy & paste, a unified inbox and multitasking(not just for their native apps). And yes, these problems will be addressed in the upcoming fall release of Mango, but with most customers tied down in two-year contracts, and major releases expected from HP (Pre 3), Apple (iPhone-whatever they decide to call it), and Android (Google’s new button-less ice cream sandwich monster), it’s not looking to good for Redmond.

RIM is a complete mess. Blackberry lost 4.2 percent of their market share in three months. Their software development is going two different ways, with their QNX software years away from being ready for their handsets, and Blackberry OS barely hanging on to their enterprise and teen texting empire, which is crumbling under Apple’s security and superior touch screen, which is the best capacitive-touch typing available, not to mention their co-CEO debacle, as Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie try to stop their investors from leaving, while both of their jobs are being called for. But alas, there is still hope.

A merger between Microsoft and RIM would bring benefits for both sides. Despite their pitfalls as of late, RIM still owns a 24.7 percent share of the smartphone market place. Combine that with Microsoft’s 5.8 percent share, and you now own nearly a third of the smartphone game. Microsoft lacks features that Blackberry has had in place for years. RIM has the end users that Microsoft desires greatly, along with their remaining enterprise clients, who use Microsoft Office in droves. The teen texting empire of RIM would appreciate the social integration of WP7 with their blackberry handset, as blackberry is not known for its social prowess. Combine enterprise users with full Microsoft office capabilities from their handsets and tablets, a social teen texting empire, and a 30 percent market share, we now have the third power.

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