RIM Downgraded From “Can’t Get Worse” to “Worse”
Remember a few weeks back when Bernstein & Co.’s Pierre Ferragu said things couldn’t get any worse for Research In Motion? He’s changed his mind.
Evidently the ugly financials the company reported last week and the obliviousness of its leadership inspired him to reassess that call. “We cautiously upgraded RIM to market perform 4 weeks ago, strongly convinced that a scenario driving $4 of annual earnings wasn’t likely in the next 12-18 months,” Ferragu said today. “We visibly got it wrong as it actually materialised in 3 months.”
RIM may be having trouble getting its new BlackBerry 7 handsets to market on time, but its decline is running well ahead of schedule.
In North America, for example, RIM’s market share has gone from 54 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to about 11 percent this quarter.
That’s a grotesque downward spiral and one that Ferragu says the company’s going to have trouble pulling out of. RIM’s continuing product delays have left it in crisis, without a competitive lineup of products. And, according to Ferragu, QNX — the new platform on which RIM’s “superphones” will run — is taking far too long to bring to market to save it.
“We believe the QNX strategy isn’t good,” Ferragu says. “In today’s ecosystem war, first mover advantage is key, and with a first phone hitting the market in 2012 only, QNX is unlikely to gain critical mass soon enough to be a viable alternative. In a best scenario, from the first phone shipped, we would expect RIM to require an iteration or two get to a competitive phone and a year or two before gathering enough developer traction around its ecosystem. By then, we expect Apple, Samsung and HTC to control over 80 percent of the market. The very slow start of Windows 7 is the best sign that the window of opportunity for an additional ecosystem to ramp-up is closing fast.”
As I said back in May: Could be worse, could be raining …