RIM shares rise, shock

Something very strange is happening to the share price of the troubled phone outfit RIM.

Without actually releasing a product, the shares are at a 13 month high on the back of a promise from its CEO that it was considering strategic alliances with other companies.

This was apparently going to happen after the launch of devices powered by RIM’s new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Yesterday, Thorsten Heins, RIMs the chief executive said that the company would consider selling off its handset business or the licensing of its software to rival smartphone companies

He said at the moment he just wanted to introduce Blackberry 10 before making up his mind. That phone is expected to launch on January 30.

The comment was nothing new, but for some reason shareholders started to get all moist about them.

RIM’s Toronto-listed shares shot up as much as 17.6 percent. The company’s typically more-active Nasdaq-listed shares were not being traded yesterday because US financial markets were closed for a public holiday.

But shareholders seem to think that Heins comments are the fruits of his far-reaching strategic review which was launched last May. This was supposed to examine all options, from software licensing deals to an outright sale of the company.

RIM shares are down almost 90 percent from an all-time high of over in 2008. The share prices have rallied in the last four months as the launch of the BlackBerry 10 devices nears. In fact they have nearly tripled in value since the lows of September.

Analysts have been fuelling the RIM expectations by pointing out to clients that the BlackBerry 10 operating system was rather good.

Byron Capital analyst Tom Astle yesterday thought the shares were worth a bit more than they were selling for.

According to Reuters he said that there are several emerging datapoints that suggest this may be a more successful product cycle than many expected.

It would have to be. However good the Blackberry is, it has one of the toughest jobs to do making a comeback in a market dominated by Google, Apple and with Microsoft/Nokia. It could be that all this optimism could really burn a few investors after the Blackberry 10 comes out.