• Apple acquires BlackBerry for $11.2 Billion

    Yes, this was our April Fool's joke if you haven't worked it out already. Happy April Fool's from the team at MacTalk!

    In a move likely to be based largely on expanding on their mobile phone patent war chest, Apple announced today that they had acquired BlackBerry for $11.2 Billion, a $3 Billion premium on the estimated market value of $8 Billion. The move will give Apple access to a large number of SEP (Stand Essential Patents) that will provide them with additional ammunition in the ongoing lawsuits with Samsung and other mobile phone vendors. It's likely that Apple will continue to license these technologies out based on existing agreements that BlackBerry currently has in place with these manufacturers however it's likely that these patents will help with some of the SEP issues Apple has encountered in countries where Apple has encountered issues with SEP based patents.

    Tim Cook announced today on Apple's website that Apple had acquired the technology company in a surprising move which will see the end of BlackBerry devices as it's likely they will be phased out of the market as Apple uses the BlackBerry's manufacturing facilities in Canada to reduce their reliance on China and Korea for the manufacture of key iPhone components. Market analysts were surprised that the acquisition had taken place without Google who had previously partnered with Apple for some patent acquisitions.

    The acquisition is still subject to CCB (Canada's Competition Bureau) approval in Canada and there will no doubt be some provisos in place to ensure that a minimum percentage of BlackBerry employees will be moved to Apple to protect the job market. BlackBerry currently employs 7,000 people in Canada.

    Foss Patents patent analyst mentioned on twitter that he was not surprised by the move given Apple's need to protect itself from the ongoing patent wars. He felt it was a matter of time before someone acquired BlackBerry as the failure of Blackberry devices to compete with iOS and Android devices had left BlackBerry in the perfect position for a patent based acquisition. It's likely that Apple may also draw on BlackBerry's experience in the corporate device management market to help push iOS further into the enterprise market where BlackBerry has previously had as a strong hold. Analyst's have previously criticised the enterprise device administation on offer from Apple in comparison to more established vendors.

    Walt Mossburg from the Wall Street Journal believes that Apple will be required to support existing Blackberry devices for 3-5 years due to existing US government contracts. It's likely that the support for these devices will be provided through Apple's network of retail stores with BlackBerry Geniuses set to join other Genius Bar staff on the front lines. Apple Stores will no doubt carry replacement stock of the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 alongside the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. In a move that would make sense for a company famous for streamlining its supply chain, Apple will probably forgo carrying replacement stock of older BlackBerry models in favour of offering a replacement iPhone 4 to owners of older devices in an attempt to speed up phasing out of the devices.

    With Cupertino coming under fire for a lack of innovation in its mobile UI over the last few years, industry experts are already speculating that part of the motivation behind the purchase may also be to inject new life into iOS. With that in mind, it's entirely possible that we'll see the inclusion of some of BB10's more interesting features, such as screen sharing and Blackberry Balance, in iOS 7 when it debuts at WWDC in a few months.
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