BlackBerry maker buys Nashua antenna firm

Research in Motion Ltd., the Canadian company famous for its BlackBerry smartphones, has purchased a Nashua-based firm that specializes in developing antennas for mobile phones.RIM announced the purchase last week of Paratek Microwave Inc., which designs and manufactures tunable radio-frequency components for mobile wireless devices.Paratek employees will continue to develop the company’s technologies as part of RIM, it said.”We look forward to working with our new colleagues and integrating our solutions into RIM’s BlackBerry product offerings,” said Paratek CEO Ralph Pini in a brief statement on its website.Paratek is headquartered in the Gate City but already has a Canadian presence, with an engineering facility just outside of Toronto, and another near Chicago, Ill.Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Paratek was founded in 1998 and is backed by institutional investors that include Polaris Venture Partners and Morgenthaler Ventures.Alan Spoon, general partner of Polaris, wrote in a blog post that the acquisition of Paratek is a “game changer” for RIM.For one, he said, the Paratek technology allows mobile devices to upload and download data more quickly, allowing for a longer battery life and thinner devices. Its tunable RF technology also reduces the frequency of dropped calls, he said.Because Paratek designs technologies for multi-band handsets, analysts have suggested that the acquisition could help future BlackBerry devices run on multiple networks, including the high-speed 4G LTE network.The acquisition comes at a time when RIM has lost a large chunk of its market share to competitors like Apple’s iPhone and devices that run on Google’s Android platform.Recent estimates by research firm comScore found that RIM lags behind the others in its share of the U.S. market, with 15.2 percent market share to Apple’s 29.5 percent and Android’s 48.6 percent.In a January management shuffle, RIM’s co-CEOs stepped down and the company’s chief operating officer, Thorsten Heins, took over as CEO. The company has nearly 75 million customers worldwide. — KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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