Struggling BlackBerry platform holder RIM announced today that it has reached a licensing deal with Microsoft, but instead of RIM licensing out its tech like CEO Thorsten Heins has suggested many times in the past, RIM is the one paying out the licensing fee this time around. The deal gives RIM access to Microsoft's Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) technology, a system that allows for the easy transfer of large files between PCs and other devices like smartphones.
Microsoft said in a statement today that exFAT allows flash memory-based devices to handle files that are five times larger than the older FAT system could facilitate, and that RIM has licensed the system "for certain BlackBerry devices." Neither company clarified which devices those are, but it seems safe to assume that the exFAT system will be present in the first BlackBerry 10 devices when they eventually arrive. Beyond that, we'll have to wait for more details.
RIM actually enjoyed a rise in stock price after the announcement hit, but the company's stock price continued fluctuating throughout the day, losing here and gaining there. Still, RIM finished the regular trading day up 2.28%, posting a $7.41 stock price at the closing bell. After hours trading see a bit of an increase over that closing amount as well, with RIM's stock currently sitting at $7.45. It seems that shareholders view this as a step in the right direction for RIM, but will it be enough?
RIM will definitely need more than Microsoft's exFAT system to get users excited about BlackBerry 10, but this is a good addition. Speaking of the beleaguered operating system, it's still scheduled to launch early next year, after a number of delays that pushed it back from previous release dates. RIM has a lot riding on the hope that the launch of BlackBerry 10 will pull the company out of this rut, so here's hoping that the OS is a beast when it finally arrives.