Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has reportedly approached embattled BlackBerry maker Research in Motion in recent months to discuss the possibility of RIM abandoning its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform in favour of Windows 8.
According to Reuters, Microsoft is seeking to establish a partnership similar to the one it has established with Nokia.
The news comes after RIM recently announced a quarterly loss of $US518 million and that its already delayed next generation BlackBerry 10 devices would be further delayed until 2013 amid 5,000 job cuts.
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The losses prompted renewed speculation that RIM was examining the possibility of selling off its smartphone and tablet hardware businesses in order to focus on cross-platform secure messaging services as part of a strategic review it is conducting with RBC and JP Morgan.
Meanwhile, a partnership with RIM might be particularly attractive to Microsoft following its announcement of its Windows RT-based Surface tablet, placing the Redmond-based software giant in direct competition with traditional partners including HP and Dell.
The announcement that Microsoft would build its own tablet prompted HP to announce that it was placing its own plans for a Windows RT tablet on hold, while former Dell chief executive Kevin Rollins openly attacked Microsoft in a recent interview.