Options Action

Forget RIM Vs. Apple...More Like RIM Vs. Palm

There are debates that in retrospect seem mighty silly. Prince vs. Michael Jackson. Vince Carter vs. Kobe Bryant. RIM vs. Apple.

RIM's market cap now stands at a paltry $13 billion, down from $70 billion just three years ago. Put another way, RIM's total market cap stands at half of what rival Apple sells in a quarter.

So how much lower can it go?

"The pain is just beginning," said Dan Nathanof Riskreversal.com, who's been bearish on the name for some time. "When Apple introduces its new i-Message service, it's over for BlackBerry."

The bullish case for the stock has always centered on the fact that if the company got cheap enough, someone would buy them.

But $14 billion is still a big chunk of change, and as Colin Gillis of BGC Partners points out, "management seems more inclined to be a buyer than a seller," referring to the company's repurchase plan. (Gillis has a SELL on the stock).

So maybe the better comparison is with Palm, not Apple. That company held out selling itself until the bitter end, eventually settling for Hewlett-Packard's $1.2 billion offer.

"Could it be the next Palm?" asked Gillis. "Absolutely."

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