RIM Should Add BBM, Email to iOS, Android Devices

Research In Motion is in trouble, but Jefferies & Co. has some answers, starting with placing BlackBerry software on Apple's iOS and Google's Android devices.

In the wake of Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) dire earnings forecast, financial experts are making suggestions to help the struggling BlackBerry smartphone and tablet maker stay afloat, assuming it won't drown from missing too many boats.

Let's discuss those boats. RIM, which reduced its fiscal year 2012 outlook to $5.25 to $6 per share from $7.50 a share, has seen its stock plummet by more than half from a year ago. The company reportedly began handing out layoff notices, and takeover talk at the hands of Microsoft has resumed in earnest.

This isn't the bottom for RIM, which is being squeezed at the high end of the smartphone market by Apple's iPhone and from below by Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android handsets.

Android phones keep coming with snazzy, big touch screens and newfangled software with near-field communication support. Apple's iPhone is selling well on Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZW), which was a gold mine for BlackBerry phones from 2008 until the first Droid showed up on the carrier's list.

Moreover, RIM is struggling to get its BlackBerry Bold 9900 smartphone, which has a touch screen and physical QWERTY keyboard, to market by September. That's when Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to launch the iPhone 5, which if it launches on AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon would likely cancel out Bold 9900 sales.

RIM also missed the push to 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks the current crop of Android handsets is enjoying on major carriers. All of these factors are contributing to the belief that RIM hasn't hit bottom.

"Competition intensifies on all fronts, with Motorola Mobility taking share from RIM, iOS penetrating the enterprise, and new threats emerging from low-cost smartphones running Android," said Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek, adding that Microsoft will have Windows 8 on tablets and Nokia, HTC, Motorola and Samsung phones.

To help RIM stop this competitive reaming, Misek compiled a list of suggestions for the struggling company. First, RIM should embrace its enemies. That is, enable its BlackBerry Messenger and email applications to run on the iPhone and iPad, as well as Android phones and tablets in the enterprise.

While RIM would have to supplicate itself to its rival, it would enjoy subscriptions and revenue for BlackBerry Enterprise Server.