IBM (NYSE:IBM) is considering the purchase of Research In Motion‘s (NASDAQ:RIMM) enterprise-services business, which maintains the server networks that support data communication between BlackBerry phones, according to Bloomberg.
So far, there are no formal discussions between the companies, but IBM may be looking for a secure email system to bolster its own offerings. Analysts estimate the enterprise-services unit’s value at between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion.
Shares of RIMM rose more than 5% in pre-market trading on Friday.
IBM and RIM both declined to comment on the report. However, RIM has indicated a willingness to sell some of its assets.
Hammered by competition from Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and smartphones running Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android software, RIM’s share of the smartphone market has fallen into the low single digits in recent quarters.
RIM’s slide has continued despite the efforts of CEO Thorsten Heins to launch a turnaround. The company is trimming costs, largely by slashing its workforce. In the last quarter, RIM reported a wider-than-expected loss.
The company, which has pinned its hopes on the release of its BlackBerry 10 operating system, recently said the launch of the new OS had been delayed until next year, causing analysts to wonder if the company will survive that long.