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Summary:

Research In Motion has fared well as the smartphone space expands beyond business users into the mainstream, but the Canadian manufacturer is in danger of losing ground as Android picks up steam. Shares of RIM slid this morning after Citigroup downgraded the stock from “buy” to […]

rim logoResearch In Motion has fared well as the smartphone space expands beyond business users into the mainstream, but the Canadian manufacturer is in danger of losing ground as Android picks up steam. Shares of RIM slid this morning after Citigroup downgraded the stock from “buy” to “sell” — calling the Android OS “compelling” — and Deutsche Bank in an analyst note today cited a distinct lack of marketing support from Verizon Wireless for the BlackBerry Storm 2:

We think the original Storm did well in large part thanks to Verizon’s marketing support. This time around it looks less likely that Verizon will step up, not with the Motorola Droid primed to ship, and the Palm Pre in the batter’s circle warming up for Q1. While RIM may be able to eke out a good quarter filling the channel at Verizon, we think the outlook for RIM is worsening.

Recent AdMob figures list only two BlackBerry models in the top 25 handsets used to access the mobile Internet, Deutsche Bank noted, underscoring RIM’s vulnerability in the consumer space. And RIM’s long-held dominance in the enterprise segment may be at risk, Deutsche Bank said, as businesses open their e-mail to ActiveSync-capable phones in response to the rising popularity of the iPhone and other high-powered, easy-to-use handsets. Microsoft’s ActiveSync is a popular program for sharing documents and other information between desktop PCs and mobile devices and is supported by the iPhone, Droid and other consumer-targeted handsets.

RIM still boasts an impressive number of loyal business users, and its strategy of partnering with multiple carriers in the U.S. and other markets continues to pay dividends. And with the purchase of Torch Mobile, RIM finally seems to be paying attention to the web-browsing functionality that’s becoming a must-have feature for most smartphone users. But a dearth of marketing support from the nation’s largest wireless carrier would be a major blow for RIM, and the manufacturer must come up with a hit handset soon or it will be left in the dust of the iPhone, the Droid and other consumer-friendly superphones.

  1. RIM you had a good run.

    …but the days of resting on one’s laurels are over ( goes for you too Nokia ). Even the conservative suit and tie crowd ( your bread and butter! ) want the new hawtness and you aren’t providing it. Pay money for push email ( Good )? Seriously? Ask TomTom and Garmin how that business model is going

    Should I expect some angry tirade from a RIM executive, about how “evil” Android is, and its best to never innovate, sit on ones hands and just keep selling the same decade old phone? ( See previous Om post where the guy from Symbian flipped out about Android ).

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    1. Todd

      I think RIM has a developer conference next week so we should hear some choice things there :-)

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  2. Agree. Unless RIM can sue Microsoft for ActiveSync and anyone who offers IMAP on a mobile phone, I think their days of IP protected glory are gone. When your business model is based on forcing “partners” to pay $X per sub/mo for the privilege of running traffic through your email server which provides little to no added value other than offering unscheduled outages, your days are numbered. They’ll squeeze as much as they can out of their evaporating turnip for years to come, but their hardware design has always stunk and more importantly their OS is only slightly better than Windows Mobile Whatever, which is horrid.

    Add to that the argument that email doesn’t matter anymore and they’ve really got problems. That’s an extreme position, but there is some merit to that Web 2.0 argument.

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  3. Many speak of droid as being an iphone killer, but it is not. Android, the platform, is certainly a pre killer and very well could take a huge chunk out of rim. The per month per seat fees and odd proprietary backend where all your data are belong to rim are going to be increasingly hard to justify. With android 2.0 eclair offering out of the box activesync, new android devices will by default hook up eaasily and cheaply to corporate exchange servers, no extra fees required. That sais, it seems that motodroid is lacking in terms of a keyboard, or at least a good one, but that is easily addressed while the corner rim is painted into is not.

    Posted from an android phone with activesync

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