BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) can use some encouraging news as it loses market share to Apple, Android, and Windows-powered smartphones, and today’s patent licensing deal with Microsoft seems to provide some. The software giant gave RIM the right to use its Extended File Allocation Table that the companies say will make it easier for some BlackBerry devices to transfer “large files for audiovisual media” and facilitate data exchanges between PCs and other devices. The system, called “exFAT,” enables flash memory devices to handle five times more data than they could under Microsoft’s previous “FAT” protocol. “Today’s smartphones and tablets require the capacity to display richer images and data than traditional cellular phones,” Microsoft’s GM of Intellectual Property Licensing David Kaefer says. “This agreement with RIM highlights how a modern file system, such as exFAT can help directly address the specific needs of customers in the mobile industry.” RIM shares popped more than 3% after the mid-day announcement, but retreated shortly afterward to about +2%.
RIM’s still pretty bruised. Its market value has fallen nearly 70% over the last 12 months; CEO Thorsten Heins denied in July that the company is in a “death spiral.” The latest blow: A few days ago Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer sent employees a memo saying that the company’s pulling away from BlackBerry phones, Business Insider reported. She offered people smartphones that run on the other three leading systems saying that “we’d like our employees to have devices similar to our users, so we can think and work as the majority of our users do.”