The iPhone may have all the buzz, but BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion is growing at a much faster clip. In fact, RIM’s growth rates are the fastest of any U.S.-listed company according to Fortune Magazine. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is well down the list, at No. 39. The magazine ranked companies based on a combination of their revenue growth, earnings-per-share growth and a three-year annualized return to investors.
In an accompanying article, Fortune compares Apple’s Steve Jobs to RIM’s Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, and asks does the pair stand a chance against the black, turtle neck-wearing savant? “For the moment, at least, they’re more than holding their own.” Indeed, over the past decade, RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) has sold 65 million phones, and today still has about one-third of those as subscribers. It owns 56 percent of the smartphone market, and so far this year, the BlackBerry Curve outsold the iPhone.
Surprisingly, big name handset-makers, like Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK), didnt even make the list. For comparison, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) ranks 68th and Amazon.com (NSDQ: AMZN) ranks 52nd. To have a handset-maker like RIM top the list of companies — which spans a bunch of industries — provides a new sense of perspective in an industry, where hype can certainly overshadow reality.
Clearly, the BlackBerry is making a graceful transition from the business world to being a serious contender in the consumer market. But whether it will be able to keep up the growth, especially with increased competition is the question. As the fastest-growing company, Fortune says RIM has a three-year average earnings per share growth of 84 percent and revenue growth at 77 percent. The company’s stock has a three-year annualized return of 45 percent (and that’s including the economic meltdown). That’s pretty hard to maintain.