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RIM Blog Chatter: Prospects are Grim

Tickers in this article: RIMM IBM FB GOOG AAPL

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Prospects are grim for Research In Motion(RIMM) , according to participants in the The Street's live blog hosted during the handset maker's first-quarter earnings call on Thursday.

The substantial losses, cost cutting measures and postponed release of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone exacerbated already low expectations for the struggling company's future. Several participants speculated about potential buyers of RIM.

"RIM will not make it to Christmas as an independent company," wrote a blog participant called "RS," who believes an exit from hardware is necessary for RIM's survival. "There is absolutely no upside and no hope right now for the company in its present form. The software-only enterprise communications side will have a hard time if it gets split up in the next few months, but they'll still have a fighting chance."

RS considered Hewlett Packard(HP) a potential buyer of RIM's hardware business because "they do random, crazy, nonsensical things with acquisitions," he wrote. Another blog participant reminded RS of HP's "high debt and a disastrous PALM trade."

TheStreet Contributor Richard Saintvilus, who believes Microsoft or IBM(IBM) will take over RIM, wrote that the valuation as of yesterday "prices-in a collapse of devices sales that is far worse than our already pessimistic forecast."

"Plus, RIM still has 70 million users - an asset that I continue to think is worth more than its market cap," he added. "I say this because a company such as HTC is being valued at $260 per user, RIM is only being valued at $120."

The BlackBerry user base grew to approximately 77 million by the end of fiscal 2012, according to the company's annual report.

A number of contributors also placed value on RIM's patents and intellectual property. "If we're talking hardware IP intellectual property, I see Google(GOOG) being a potential suitor, however, they have a lot of IP from Motorola and there are signs that the crazy IP wars in the US might be (slowly) waking up and becoming more rational," said RS.

Others suggested that Apple(AAPL) , Dell(DELL) or Facebook(FB) buy RIM's intellectual property.

Although governments and businesses are the biggest users of BlackBerrys, the blog participants were overwhelmingly frustrated with the BlackBerry 10 delay. Many hoped RIM CEO Thorsten Heins would announce the Blackberry 10's early arrival on Thursday.

Shares of RIM plummeted 17.95% on Friday to $7.50.

--Written by Nathalie Pierrepont in New York.

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