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RIM / Ascendent: Not Just Dating Anymore

RIM (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM) announced on Friday that it had acquired San Jose based Ascendent. Terms were not disclosed, but Ascendent has raised $20 million in venture financing, previously. I guess we’ll have to wait for the RIM financials to see the price.

For RIM, it’s a great move.  Essentially, Ascendent transforms the Blackberry into a mobile desk phone, with the capability to forward, transfer, conference etc calls.     Ascendent also has some more advanced PBX features for time of day routing, and so on, which start to step into the area of relevance enhanced communications that iotum is focused on.  If you find the Ascendent website confusing, you can read some great background in this interview with Ascendent CEO Deborah Miller from the Wall Street Transcript. 

This is the next logical step in the fixed-mobile convergence world.  Several players, like Bridgeport and Newstep are focused on convergence at the media level.  Others, like Orative, Ascendent and SIPQuest are focused on convergence at the application level.  With this acquisition, RIM has made the first move to delivering the next generation mobile business phone.  Will Microsoft respond? 

Investors in SIPQuest and Orative should be happy.   This transaction has proven that there’s a market for these products.  Investors in Good, and Visto, though, have just learned that they’re too late to the party.  The basis of competition is moving beyond email. 

This Red Herring article has some additional detail at the end.

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