RIM Feeling the Heat From Apple and Google


Research In Motion's (RIMM) uninspiring earnings results are further evidence that the BlackBerry maker is feeling the effects of robust competition from relative mobile newcomers Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG).

Investors pushed RIM shares down 3% in after-hours trading after the company slightly beat analysts' earnings expectations, but reported revenue, new subscriber and device shipment results that fell short of Wall Street hopes.

RIM said revenue was $4.24 billion; the Street was looking for $4.35 billion. And 11.2 million devices shipped on 4.9 million new subscribers missed Street targets of 11.4 million and 5 million respectively.

Competitors Closing In

In a vivid reminder of the fierce mobile competition, as RIM reported its results consumers were were lining up around around the country to get their hands on Apple's new iPhone 4, the world's hottest smart-phone. And mobile insurgent Google was receiving strong reviews for the new Droid X.

RIM's earnings report was the company's second lackluster showing in two quarters. Last period, investors sent the company's stock down 7% despite higher revenues and profits. The company's shares have fallen 12% this year on fears of greater competition.

One saving grace for RIM is that the overall smart-phone market is growing rapidly, as consumers snap up more sophisticated devices from the likes of RIM, Apple, Google and Motorola. In the last year, RIM shipments have increased 43% and the company has shipped its 100 millionth BlackBerry.

In other words, while RIM's share of the market is under pressure, the market overall is growing, helping buoy the company.

As of February, RIM held 42.1% of the smart-phone market share, followed by Apple with 25.4%, according to comScore. Google came in at 9% but is rising quickly. The iPhone 4 will no doubt boost Apple, further eroding RIM's position.