Research in Motion Inks Licensing Deal With Microsoft

Maligned Blackberry-maker Research in Motion (NAS: RIMM) is still showing signs of life despite losing more than 60% of its value in the past year.

The smartphone manufacturer signed a patent deal Wednesday with Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) , MarketWatch reported, giving RIM access to the latter's technology for sharing media files and data between devices. Microsoft's Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) optimizes data on flash memory for mobile devices, according to the soft ware and technology maker. ExFAT will allow RIM's products to "display richer images and data than traditional cellular phones," according to Microsoft general manager of intellectual property licensing, David Kaefer, quoted in The Washington Post.

While neither side disclosed details of the deal, RIM is the latest of a number of companies that have already licensed exFAT - including Canon, SanDisk, Sanyo, and Sony. RIM has not explained its plans for exFAT, although it could possibly be involved in the company's development of its Blackberry 10 operating system, set to release in the first quarter of 2013.

The deal comes as RIM's market share has collapsed in the smartphone industry, taken over by products fueled by Google's Android system and Apple's ballyhooed iPhone line. RIM has looked to market its own Blackberry 10 operating system onto other phones recently, the Post reports, as part of a plan to expand the company's own licensing prowess.

This move falls in line with RIM's ongoing strategic review that has already led to product delays and layoffs. Shares of RIM were down around 1.5% in early trading today. Microsoft shares were mostly unchanged on the news.

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