If you’re a tech rumour in the year 2012, two things are certain.
First, make peace with your maker because your life span will not be very long. Today, you may be known by the name “Microsoft to Buy Nokia” but tomorrow another, more pressing rumour, perhaps “Amazon to acquire Yahoo” will hone in on your territory and mark the end of your brief, eventful life.
The second thing to know is that, at some point, you’ll be taking a trip to Waterloo, Ontario.
With struggling Research in Motion having already declared it will, under new CEO Thorsten Heins, be open to “strategic alternatives” for its future, the rumour mill has gone into overdrive on the BlackBerry makers’ behalf. The latest visit to its Waterloo campus came from a rumour named “Facebook to Partner with RIM”. This materialized from nothing more than a report yesterday by CNBC that “that deal-making and other distractions” could delay the Facebook IPO until June, instead of early May, when many were expecting the social media behemoth to IPO on the NASDAQ.
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Cue the social media frenzy. A post on popular BlackBerry fan site CrackBerry.com by a user named “BB-BMore” entitled “SPECULATION: Rim and Facebook strategic partnership? Announcement tomorrow” received thousands of views within hours. A look inside revealed there were no actual sources and the post went on to speculate that Apple, Google Microsoft, Samsung, Amazon, Dell, HP, LG and Acer might actually be in on this particular BlackBerry bidding war. Well.
Casting rumour aside, is there any reason to believe that Facebook delayed its IPO because of Research in Motion? Not according to the Globe and Mail’s Iain Marlow who, in March, quashed persistent speculation that Facebook was set to open shop in Kitchener. Marlow cited “a source close to the company” who said there were no plans to set up a Canadian operation. The story had taken on a life of their own, reported Marlow. Many of the “community’s business people simply assumed the story was true” after the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, last November, reported that Facebook was planning a major presence in Kitchener.
Toronto Star writer Josh Rubin, however, says Facebook would still have to be considered a top candidate to acquire “the pride of Waterloo”. “Snapping up RIM could also help Facebook make up for its shortcomings on the mobile front” he said in an editorial last week. “It would also help FaceBook “fight back against Google, which has been invading Facebook’s social media territory, especially with its Google + offering” adding: “RIM could also provide Facebook a way to battle Google’s market-dominating Android phones.”
Whether its Facebook, Microsoft, Nokia or Amazon, things do appear to be coming to a head in the Research in Motion rumour mill. With RIM’s BlackBerry World 2012 conference in Orlando just days away, some are wondering if something more substantive than last year’s appearance from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, to announce that Bing will be the default BlackBerry browser, of all things, will be on the menu.