updated 11:05 am EST, Fri December 19, 2008
UBS on RIM vs. Apple
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is surviving quite well in spite of the economy and competition from Apple, says UBS analyst Maynard Um. In announcing the results of its fall quarter yesterday, RIM revealed that it had shipped 6.7 million phones during the period, well ahead of what forecasts had predicted. This is being attributed to the release of two high-profile BlackBerries, the Storm and the Bold, which have drawn considerable attention from both the media and the public.
The performance is said to be particularly relevant for key competitor Apple, whose iPhone shipments are expected to be only 5 million for the December quarter, down 27 percent from the last quarter as retail works through inventory. Apple and RIM face the same uphill battle, moreover, as their phones each demand an expensive data plan at a time when the drain is difficult to justify.
Mixed fortunes may result from the higher gross margins and average selling prices of iPhones; whereas RIM's hardware margins are believed to be hovering around 32 to 33 percent, iPhone margins are approximately 40 percent. This would be beneficial for Apple in an unchallenged environment, but Apple may be forced to slim margins in order to deal with growing competition.