RIM Buys Irish Software Firm NewBay To Boost Mobile Cloud Portfolio

by Gaurav Kheterpal on October 11, 2011

Many analysts believe that Waterloo’s Research in Motion will eventually be acquired in what would be one of the biggest mobile mergers in history. Some of them have boldly predicted the demise of the Blackberry maker, prophesying that RIM will not live long into 2013 as an independent entity.

Even though there’s no end in sight to those rumors, RIM lives on for another day. In fact, the Waterloo giant’s been busy beefing up its portfolio with acquisitions and new strategic partnerships. To that effect, RIM in June purchased Scoreloop, a Germany-based company which makes a toolkit for developers to add social features to mobile games. Last week, it announced a new agreement that enables Tech Data to distribute BlackBerry® devices, software and technical support services to its channel of over 60,000 value-added resellers in the United States.

And yesterday it was reported that RIM is buying Dublin-based mobile software company NewBay for a reported $100 million. However, investors don’t seem to be impressed and the plan to build a mobile cloud competitor to the iCloud appears wishful thinking.

NewBay, an Irish provider of digital content services, enables operators and device makers to deliver a lifetime of content experiences across connected devices such as mobiles, PCs, tablets and TVs. The company NewBay was founded in 2002 and has seen investments from Balderton Capital and Fidelity Growth Partners Europe. NewBay’s LifeCache platform has a subscriber base of more than 80 million subscribers courtesy high profile carrier partnerships including Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, AT&T and Verizon. It is widely believed that RIM would leverage NewBay’s Internet-based photo and video albums, address books, calendars and other services to boost its content offerings.

LifeCache also offers seamless searching and smooth storage integration from multiple vendors. NewBay was recently in the news as it struck a lucrative deal with LG to have LifeCache preinstalled on its devices. Though the company reported revenues of about $24.3 million in 2009, it ended the year with a net loss of about $3.6 million. In addition to its Irish presence, NewBay has offices in the US, UK, Germany, Australia and South Korea.

The plan is simple – leverage NewBay’s services to increase the data usage of the subscribers. In August, RIM unveiled BBM Music – a cloud-based service designed to allow social and viral music discovery by allowing users to build a dynamic, community-based music library that can be shared along with BlackBerry Messenger goodness. So, the NewBay acquisition will further boost its cloud-based computing plan in the near future.

Though RIM did not disclose terms of the deal, saying “the amount is not financially material”, it is believed that the Waterloo giant paid $100 million for the Dublin-based company.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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