Lenovo, maker of smart business PCs, and more recently some interesting tablets, is considering buying ailing smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry.
The news came after Lenovo's chief executive officer, Yang Yuanqing told French financial newspaper Les Echos that a deal with BlackBerry “could possibly make sense". However, investors should so some caution as he also added the caveat "but first I need to analyze the market and understand what exactly the importance of this company is.”
BlackBerry's shares jumped on the news, rising 14 per cent to $14.90 at the close of 11 Feb inNew York. This is its biggest rise since 4 Feb, Bloomberg points out that BlackBerry stock has climbed 26 per cent this year, proving that investors have some faith in the company.
This stands at a start contrast to Apple, which saw its stock price plummet in the last financial quarter of 2012.
BlackBerry was more reticent about any deal. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said: "As always with these topics, we will talk about things when they are ready to be talked about and ready to be announced. There are other constituents in the process that need to be involved - if there would be anything."
The contrasting fortunes of Apple and BlackBerry's stock performance leave consumers somewhat mystified, as Apple's products continue to gain plaudits, and perform well while BlackBerry has struggled in recent years, and its recent BlackBerry Z10 launch is unproven as a consumer device. Indeed, Apple's biggest competitor in the consumer space seems to be Samsung, rather than BlackBerry.
Perhaps the investors are more interested in what BlackBerry the company can be sold for, rather than whether its product range will sell.
A Lenovo / BlackBerry deal could make some sense as Lenovo has started to move into the Windows 8 Tablet space. Lenovo's new range of Windows 8 Tablet-Laptop ThinkPad Hybrids have won plaudits from websites (even though sales are considered well below Apple's iPad range). Melanie Pinola, from PC World said "As business-oriented laptops, the Lenovo ThinkPad hybrids will likely offer enterprise-friendly features like TPM security chips for data protection and additional expansion and connectivity options. We might not be able to count on a matte screen, however (Lenovo went with a glossy display for the ThinkPad X1) or the classic ThinkPad keyboard.
Signs that the laptops will probably get your IT Department’s blessing: Hortensius did say the laptops will better handle Windows-based corporate applications, come with custom pre-loaded software suites, and allow CIOs to control which apps are installed.
A link up between Lenovo and BlackBerry could makes some sense. Both are deeply embedded into corporate culture, and their products are used by many business individuals. And while BlackBerry has a rich history of smartphones, and Lenovo a rich history of laptops, neither has fully cracked the emerging tablet market.