RIM in a Four-Horse Race for Third Place
Research in Motion may be a global leader in the mobile email market, but in the fast-developing smartphone sector it’s just another company battling for the right to third place. That’s Gleacher & Company analyst Mark McKechnie’s take on the BlackBerry maker and, frankly, after RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis’s strained–and at times nonsensical–performance at D:Dive Into Mobile yesterday, it’s perhaps easier than it should be to agree with him.
In a pessimistic note to clients Tuesday, McKechnie said he expects RIM to lose share in the smartphone market as the company’s growth, which has not paced that of the broader industry, slows further. RIM’s battle now is not a battle for smartphone dominance, but for relevance–the same one being fought by Nokia, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard’s Palm unit.
“[RIM is in a] battle for third,” McKechnie wrote. “We see Apple and [Google] as the clear top two players, with 18 percent and 23 percent smart phone share in CY11, growing to 20 percent and 26 percent in CY12. The battle for third place is getting more competitive as we watch RIM, Nokia, Microsoft and Palm compete to build an ecosystem behind Apple and Google.”
A very different assessment than this one offered by Lazaridis yesterday: “BlackBerry is becoming No. 1 around the world….This is a huge market, and we have a front-row seat.”