BlackBerry losing its momentum
Verizon's new phone triggers concerns about relevance, value for Research in Motion
But the phone could do more to hurt BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIMM), writes Martin Peers of The Wall Street Journal. In fact, he suggests, the BlackBerry is in danger of becoming the AOL of the mobile-device market.
Ooh, he did NOT just throw out the AOL dis, did he? That's a low blow.
The BlackBerry hasn't been able to produce a robust Internet browser, Peers writes. That was fine when it only had Apple's iPhone to contend with.
But now several phones with decent browsers are coming on the market, including the Palm Pre and the new Droid.
And Apple (AAPL) is moving in on RIM's territory quickly. The iPhone has nabbed a 17% share of the global smartphone market, which is awfully close to RIM's 19.5%, according to data from Strategy Analytics.
To give you a sense of how fast that growth has come, consider that in 2008 the iPhone's share was 9.1% while RIM's was 15.6%.
Peers also writes that the percentage of BlackBerry users who say they are very satisfied with their phones dropped 5% to 43% from June to September.
Finally, it's getting more expensive for RIM to make phones. Its gross margin has dropped to 44% from 56% three years ago, Peers writes.
"In the wake of a recent selloff, RIM is trading at 13.9 times consensus 2010 earnings," Peers writes. "That appears cheap relative to stocks like Apple. But given the potential for slow earnings growth, it may be still pricey."
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