“Consider it a battle less for hearts and minds than for thumbs and ears. That’s what may ensue between Apple (AAPL) and Research In Motion (RIMM), judging from recent Wall Street analysis and the performance of the companies’ shares and marquee products,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinessWeek.
“Apple’s iPhone is expected to sell 10 million units by the end of 2008. Meanwhile, RIM has 12 million subscribers, and its iconic BlackBerry is selling at a rate of about 4 million units a quarter,” Hesseldahl reports.
MacDailyNews Take: To add some additional perspective: Apple’s iPhone is currently available in just 4 countries (US, UK, Germany, and France; Apple promises “Asia in 2008”), sold mostly via one carrier per country (you can get them unlocked in France due to local law) and, to date, is available only in one model. RIM offers multiple models to multiple carriers to many times more countries around the globe. Those facts make the numbers that Apple likely to achieve in iPhone’s first full year vs. RIM’s numbers even more stunning.
Hesseldahl continues, “Other analysts see it differently. The battle is less Apple vs. RIM, they say, and more a contest pitting RIM and Apple against established phone vendors like Nokia, Samsung, and Motorola. Smartphones, which combine such features as e-mail, navigation, and Web access, will grab an ever-growing slice of the billion-unit-plus handset market in 2008. ‘I don’t think Apple and RIM are heading for a showdown in 2008,’ says Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore. ‘I think the market for smartphones is growing fast enough, and smartphone adoption is low enough, so far that both will be huge share gainers. Apple and RIM are two companies that get it right now, and they’re both going to do well.’ In a research note published Dec. 21, after RIM’s most recent earnings report, Bear Stearns analyst Andy Neff wrote: ‘The battle is not RIM vs. Apple, but smartphones versus conventional handsets.'”
“If that’s the case, Motorola will need to watch its back,” Hesseldahl writes. “Having tied its smartphone strategy to Microsoft with its Q phone line, Motorola hasn’t generated much traction, while the popularity of its once red-hot RAZR line of conventional handsets has cooled substantially.”
MacDailyNews Take: Tying up with Microsoft is the kiss of death. See iPod and iTunes roadkill for evidence.
More in the full article here.