Will the new iPhone chomp into Blackberry’s market share?
Some thoughts on the subject are bubbling up on Wall Street, with the sentiment leaning toward Research in Motion, the company that manufacturers the Blackberry, being in good shape for the short term.
After all, the iPhone is great if you’re an Apple computer user, but not so much if you’re not. Most corporate users aren’t Apple users, and are reasonably happy with their Blackberry’s. Not too many IT directors are going to take a sledgehammer to their telcom infrastructure to make way for a cell phone that isn’t as compatible with their computing platforms.
Also, product glitches with the iPhone like no replaceable battery and an added emphasis on things like social networks that corporations could care less about should help protect RIMM’s user base, at least in the business market, and at least for a while.
Thus, a steady drumbeat of support for the Blackberry, although that drumbeat isn’t as loud as it could be.
This from the analytical firm Amtech, which considers RIMM a big buying opportunity because of its better “useability” experience for customers. “Always-on push connectivity is important for the user experience of IM. To date, a session-based experience has not shown the same sticky qualities and heavy usage as BlackBerry. We believe this is also true of social networks and will become so for many other applications. Facebook and many applications look great on iPhone and are much more functional than other competing platforms; but for many applications, RIMM’s push connectivity solution enables a better overall experience for mobile users.”
“AmTech also stresses that technology adoption is viral, and the player that can convince users that their product offers the superior user experience the fastest, often comes out ahead. For RIMM, their connectivity advantage and superior IM experience may convince the youth demographic, which is key to RIMM's growth, to pick up Blackberries instead of iPhones. AmTech reiterates its Buy rating and keeps its price target at $205.”
In addition, a new survey by the investment bank UBS suggests that Blackberry users won’t soon abandon their device for the iPhone, if ever. The study, by UBS tech analyst Maynard Um, found that less than 5% of new buyers in the US and UK said they were replacing their BlackBerrys with iPhones. UBS surveyed 222 U.K. buyers and 106 U.S. buyers.
Says Um, “Although our sample size was limited (328 customers), we believe these results give a decent indication for the market share obtained by the iPhone on Day 1 and provide interesting data points with regard to which of the early adopter base is switching. Although there are likely few catalysts through August quarter earnings (the key will be operating leverage/upside in the November quarter guidance), we view RIMM as compelling at current levels.”
Granted, only 10 months ago, RIMM had no meaningful competition against its Blackberry. But now it has a steamroller in the iPhone and it’s going to have to keep up, technologically, to maintain that “useability” factor that analysts love so much. Looks like it will – for now.