BlackBerry-maker RIM could be about to make the radical move of selling its handset business, a report in the Sunday Times suggests (paywall link).
The ailing company is reportedly considering splitting itself into two companies, with one division handling handsets and the other taking charge of the company's popular messaging network.
RIM could then flog the device-devising department to another corporation. Amazon and Facebook are both mentioned in the report as "potential buyers", though no source for the information is mentioned.
Facebook is rumoured to be be beavering away on a phone of its own, so might be interested in snapping up RIM's keyboard-touting wares, which are still popular among business types and younglings.
RIM has reportedly hired two banks to investigate the potential split, which would see a newly formed second company taking charge of RIM's messaging tools, which send secure emails and would presumably encompass BBM, the popular BlackBerry-bound instant messaging service.
That part of the company could make a tempting acquisition for rivals like Apple or Google.
Activist investor Jaguar Financial is quoted as saying it "strongly supports" breaking RIM up into two separate entities, with the Canadian company's patent portfolio another tempting asset that could be sold off.
Another option is said to be keeping the company together, but selling a stake to a bigger company, such as Microsoft. The report reckons RIM will reveal its strategy at the end of the summer, so we may not have long to wait.
The question over what RIM does with the various bits of its company highlight the fact that it does own some potentially valuable tools -- it just hasn't been able to assemble them into a compelling smart phone or tablet.
BlackBerry 10 software is on the horizon, and is reckoned to debut on a touchscreen-only phone. Could a fresh operating system turn things around for RIM? Or is more drastic action needed? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.