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December 31, 2012

RIM Sells NewBay to Synchronoss, Blackberry Cloud's Future in Question

Blackberry has been struggling lately. Although it seemed Blackberry’s cloud services platform would pick things up a bit for the business, the dark cloud over the company is likely to stay put, because RIM is selling NewBay.

How does this work out, exactly? Research in Motion bought NewBay last year for $100 million in hopes of joining the cloud services bandwagon along with Apple and Google.

Now, the company is selling NewBay to Synchronoss Technologies at almost half the price – $55.5 million.

NewBay is focused on building operators and its own brand of cloud media management services, including digital photo and video storage, social networking and other features. The company came with carrier customers including Verizon Wireless as well as several major operators based in Europe, so it looked like a beneficial purchase for RIM to make.

Sources say RIM soon found it was just not up to the challenge of taking on Apple’s iCloud and Amazon Cloud Drive, among others.

Of course, the company has not formally stated its intent to abandon all effort to create a cloud storage service, but now, NewBay’s software will certainly not be involved when it does.

In fact, on Blackberry’s cloud services page, the cell phone company totes its power in the industry as a cloud service, which can only be accessed via the Microsoft Online Services portal for Microsoft Office 365. Blackberry suggests “If you don’t have Microsoft Office 365, visit the Microsoft Office 365 website and sign up for an Enterprise trial or subscription account.”

So for now there is no way for customers to cut out the middleman and use Blackberry’s Business Cloud Services directly through their phone.

Despite this, Blackberry’s cloud services page claims that it can “give your employees the power to collaborate wherever they go.”

The site calls the plan, hosted by RIM, an “intuitive, Web-based interface [which] provides the tools administrators need to perform common tasks like resetting passwords or finding, locking and wiping lost or misplaced devices.”

Based on RIM’s selling NewBay, it seems the company is content with offering cloud services for Blackberry as “an integrated single sign-on” instead of its own independent program.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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