RIM acquisition targets content delivery

The acquisition of Canadian content delivery platform developer Chalk Media will help the BlackBerry maker play catch up with Apple’s iPhone and win more enterprise users.

Research In Motion (RIM) announced late yesterday its intention to acquire a content delivery platform developer Chalk Media.

IT has agreed to buy the Canadian platform developer, which already delivers content including video to BlackBerry users, for C$23 million (12.3 million).

The agreement also includes a C$2 million (1.07 million) loan to Chalk, to provide working capital until the deal is expected to be finalised in February.

The developer's mobile chalkboard' enables enterprises to push content out to BlackBerry users in much the same way as RIM's existing platform pushes email and allows administrators to manage, encrypt and track content.

And the chalkboard can handle text, graphics, video and audio content, which it calls media-rich pushcasts'.

RIM stated that Chalk Media's products had already been embraced by large corporate and government organisations that have deployed the BlackBerry platform and would provide "a powerful addition to RIM's portfolio of products and services for enterprise customers".

Rob Bamforth, principal analyst with research firm Quocirca told IT PRO the acquisition formed part of RIM's wider strategy to broaden out the capabilities of its platform beyond just email.

"RIM's platform is not one generally regarded as good for other mobile applications," he said. "They realise it's not just about the operating system, but that the related management, applications and controls are becoming just as important. Enterprises now essentially require a mobile application platform to cater for the different needs of different knowledge workers."

Bamforth added that, particularly in the consumer space, the Chalk Media buy would help RIM keep up with the likes of the iPhone. "The iPhone app store had over 10,00 applications available last time I looked. That's quite a lot of diversity in a world seemingly looking for the killer app'," he said.

"Rather, I think each individual will develop a portfolio of killer apps that are important to them, which will need to be underpinned by the right type of platform."

The acquisition also follows RIM's hostile takeover bid on Wednesday for security vendor Certicom. It is looking to use Certicom's Elliptic Curve Cryptography technology to target organisations with high security requirements.

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