SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Research in Motion's battered stock bounced back Wednesday amid renewed speculation that the slumping BlackBerry phone maker might be snapped up by an opportunistic buyer.
Investors also may have been relieved that Apple Inc.'s latest iPhone, unveiled Tuesday, wasn't as radically redesigned as had been anticipated. The thinking may be that fewer people won't rush as fast as feared to dump their BlackBerrys in favor of the latest iPhone, the 4S.
The steady gains being made by the iPhone and devices running on Google Inc.'s Android software are rapidly turning the once-trendy BlackBerry into an afterthought. The shift resulted in a sharp drop in Research in Motion Ltd's earnings for June to August and has contributed to the Canadian company's shares losing two-thirds of their value in the past eight months.
That plunge is causing analysts to conclude that shareholders could press RIM to find a buyer.
Just last week, there was unconfirmed speculation that activist shareholder Carl Icahn may be accumulating a stake in RIM so he can prod the company's board to pursue a sale.
Besides losing share in the smartphone market, BlackBerry has gotten off to a slow start in the increasingly important computer tablet market dominated by Apple's iPad. Initial sales of RIM's Playbook tablet disappointed, and the device's future looks less promising now that Amazon.com Inc. has entered the market with its own product based on its top-selling Kindle e-reader.
After hitting a 52-week low of $19.29 Tuesday, RIM's shares rallied Wednesday to gain $2.59, or 12.4 percent, and closed at $23.59.
They rose another 41 cents after hours, but they remain well below the stock's 52-week high of $70.54, which it reached in February.