Research In Motion is counting on its delayed BlackBerry
10 platform to reinvigorate
its brand, increase smartphone sales and, in short, save the once-industry-leading
company. Analysts with investment firm Jefferies, however, are now saying they
dont expect BlackBerry 10 will live up to RIMs expectations.
After trying out RIMs Dev Alphaa mock smartphone RIM provided
to developers so that they can trial the in-progress new platformthey believe
the OS is unlikely to make a dent in Apples iOS standings, especially as the
company prepares the new iOS 6.
We see significant potential for [BlackBerry 10], and it
certainly is a vast improvement over BB7, the analysts wrote in an Aug. 7
report. However, we believe it is highly unlikely that it will be an
improvement over iOS 6 and about equal to Android 4.1. Therefore, we see little
chance RIM can take share away from Apple with BB10.
RIMs period of strategic reviews is likely coming to
an end soon, and the company is expected to offer an update during its Sept. 27
earnings call. The answer to a number of questions, says the report, is likely
to be: Samsung.
The analystsequity analyst Peter Misek is the lead
author of the reportbelieve Samsung walked away from earlier talks with RIM
but is still considering a BlackBerry 10 licensing deal. While the
Android-supporting device maker is on top of the world these daysit has
surpassed long-time leader Nokia to become the worlds top-shipping phone
maker, outsold Apple in the smartphone market and established
itself as Apples main rival in the tablet spaceits well aware that all
good things come to an end.
RIM, Nokia and Motorola provide stern warnings that any
high-flying mobile phone company can crash in a two-year period, wrote the
analysts, reiterating that that they see no near-term issues with Samsung but
that its 2.5-year outlook is concerning.
Misek and colleagues explain:
Samsung has leveraged its scale,
its vertical hardware integration and Googles Android OS to attain its current
position, but the company recognizes the increasing importance of software and
the danger in not owning their software.
In his inaugural speech last
week, Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-Hyun said, A particular focus must be given to
serving new customer experience and value by strengthening soft capabilities in
software, user experience, design and solutions.
RIM, meanwhile, has seen its market share plummet.
According to Aug. 5 data from Canaccord Genuity, Apple sold 26 million phones
during the second quarter, for a market share of 16.1 percent, down from its
2011 market share of 18.8 percent. The dip attributed to not disinterest but
strong anticipation of its next iPhone model. Samsung, meanwhile, shipped 50.5
million phones, bringing its market share up to 31.1 percent during the
quarter, compared to its 2011 total of 19.3 percent and 2010 total of 8.3
percent. RIM shipped 7.8 million phones during the quarter, more than halving
its market share to 4.8 percent during the quarter compared to a 10.7 percent
for the whole of 2011.
The Jefferies analysts believe Samsung has six options
for addressing its operating system concernsit can do nothing and continue to
rely on Android; develop its own version of Android; develop a very
differentiated (if even possible) version of Android; develop its own OS
in-house; license BlackBerry 10; or it can buy RIM.
The last of these, say the analysts, is the best of a
lackluster list of option, as it would offer Samsung insurance in the event
that Microsoft and/or Google vertically integrate. Further, the BlackBerry 10
user interface has been well received, and the platform would offer bandwidth
consumption and security benefits over Android and Windows Phone.
Possible downsides, they add, are that Samsung doesnt do much acquiring and bungled its last effort; the
browsing experience on the Playbook 2.0 is subpar; and RIM hasnt had much a
Whatever happens, they add, it wont occur until after BlackBerry 10s launch in early 2013RIM CEO Thorsten
Heins, during an interview from the London Olympics, promised
new smartphones in January.
RIM, wrote the Jefferies analysts,
will want to see how its new platform is received before it places a value on
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