Industry sources say that RIM is possibly acquiring the Seattle based start up company Gist.
For those that are not familiar with Gist, it creates profiles of those in your business network, much like rivals Rapportive and eTacts by using publicly available information from sources such as Rapleaf, a San Francisco-company that has been receiving close scrutiny for its data collection techniques. This profile data is made available anytime someone emails you.
Gist led by CEO T.A. McCann, (ex-Microsoft) was started and initially funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital. The company launched in 2008 and raised $6.75 million in Series A funding from The Foundry Group and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital.
In a recent news release, Gist claimed that it had 100 million social business profiles. The company makes plugins for popular email clients such as Outlook, Lotus Notes, Google Apps and other platforms as well as others.
For RIM, the idea behind acquiring Gist would be to possibly re-invent the phone address book and make it integral to its core offering. It would actually make a lot of sense for RIM to do so as it plays to its core strength – messaging. By making the address book more networked and more social, RIM can build a social inbox, much like the one being championed by Facebook.
RIM has been on a buying frenzy lately, acquiring Dash in 2009, Torch Mobile and The Astonishing Tribe earlier this month.
What do your think? Are you concerned about apps that collect profile data on you and your contacts? Would you like to see your contact list look more like FaceBook? Let us know.