Further Delays for RIM’s QNX Smartphones?
Another brutal downgrade for Research In Motion. Barclays Capital analyst Jeff Kvaal this morning lowered his rating on the company’s shares from Overweight to Equal Weight, and slashed his price target from $40 to $23.
The challenges facing RIM as it transitions to its new QNX operating system are vast, and the company’s ability to successfully navigate them is questionable. And then there are the continued product delays that keep the company lagging behind its competitors. Indeed, according to Kvaal, the new QNX-based smartphones RIM promised to deliver in the first quarter of 2012 probably won’t reach the market until the middle of the year.
“We believe QNX smartphones are delayed beyond management’s last public statements of a 1Q12 release,” says Kvaal. “RIM’s preference to hold the launch until fully ready is the correct decision in our view, though it does imply that management is anticipating delays in the launch. The company has recently shied away from any reaffirmation of the timeline and have had several public forums to do so. … Putting this aside, our math on carrier certification timelines which require at least six months in the US suggests a late 1Q12 launch at best. … However, we believe technical challenges are high as we have seen with the delay of Playbook 2.0, and we therefore consider a mid-year launch more likely and our checks across the distribution channel support this view.”
Bad news for a company that’s fast losing its competitive edge. The longer RIM waits to roll out its new QNX devices, the more time it gives its competition to whittle down its market share.