Dan Froomer has an interesting 20/20 piece in which he asks what would have happened if Microsoft bought Blackberry in 2009. While he points to the potential of combining Z10 hardware with Windows Phone software, plus the 2009-value of Blackberry’s enterprise market, those claims aren’t his most ambitious. No, the pie-in-the-sky claim, emphasized below, is:
a Microsoft-BlackBerry tie-up in 2009 could have been good! Just as Microsoft was starting to put together a really solid software platform in Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry needed a grownup OS. Plus the obvious overlap in enterprise, RIM’s worldwide distribution, and even a budding mobile social network in BBM. There’s a possibility that it could have been a good combination.
Now, while BBM may have had up to 25 million subscribers in 2009 I simply cannot imagine Microsoft deciding to toss Windows Live Messenger with its 500 million+ users for BBM. My perspective is that things like BBM go to die in companies like Microsoft. Regardless of whether there were actual synergies between Blackberry and Microsoft in 2007 – and whether they could have been realized by Microsoft – BBM almost certainly wasn’t one of them.