How Research In Motion Is Copying Apple (And Why It's a Terrible Idea)


Tough markets have a way of forcing troubled companies into bad decisions. Research In Motion is about to make a whopper.

You wouldn't know it from the stock action. The BlackBerry maker's shares soared more than 10% in the first day of trading after CEO Thorsten Heins told German newspaper Die Welt that he and his team are exploring "strategic options" that include selling in-house hardware production or licensing the BlackBerry software to third parties.

Sharp declines in RIM's operating margin probably justify cost-cutting and at least some amount of hardware outsourcing. But licensing? History hasn't been kind to underdogs who chose to license their way to market share gains. Just ask Apple what cloning did to the Mac in the years before Steve Jobs returned to the company.

Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova recounts those days and the lessons they hold for investors in the video below. Please watch, and then leave a comment to let us know what you think about Heins' proposed strategy.

if Research In Motion badly trails Apple it's because the Mac maker has been hitting on all cylinders for the better part of a decade, rewarding long-term shareholders like few other stocks before it. The question is: Can the rally continue? The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, address this question and more in our comprehensive Apple research service. Want access? Click here to find out what Eric thinks right now and get a free year of updates as news breaks.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakersstock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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