RIM Wobbles And You Respond

As you might expect, when a name-brand blue-blood tech company like Research in Motion so terribly disappoints the Street, leading to a 20-percent plunge in its shares, it's going to generate a healthy amount of dialogue.

Such has been the case these last 24 hours since RIM reported its second fiscal quarter, and I have been posting update after update of the reasons why these shares are such a mess, and what might have gone wrong among Wall Street's soothsayers.

I also have suggested--a lone voice as far as I can tell so far--that RIM's issues might be BECAUSE of Apple and its iPhone, and not necessarily an indication of wider problems for all the big players in the smart phone sector.

To wit, here are some of your responses to my posts thus far:

Doug writes that RIM's phones are starting to look really good, "but I feel the market is getting really tired and all the phones seem to be blending into each other...Apple is playing a niche game in a volume market, which is working for them at the moment, but will probably never crack the real mobile phone market (this might not be their goal.)"

James writes: "Seems the 800 pound Albino gorilla dancing in the background at RIMM's recent conference call was a black swan named, 'Apple.'"

Richard takes me to task. Hard. "Come on, man. You wrote: 'How did the Street, indeed so many of us get this wrong?' There have been so many retail investors calling RIMM out for years about their bogus accounting, stock options scandals, way too high P/E, immense competition -- but you, the IB community, and the financial media pumped and pumped this stock. How did you NOT see this coming?"

Dan just wants to know when Apple reports its earnings. The company still has not affixed a firm date for the release, but count on mid-October. Maybe October 22?

The Bennets want to know why I don't name the analysts who were wrong. "Why don't you point out the large put positions that the analyst friends are profiting from? why don't you quit being such tools?"

If I had firm data on that, those analysts with big put positions and the friends profiting from them, I'd be more than happy to name names. That's some hard data to come by. Meantime, as far the analysts who got it wrong? Look no further than today's downgrade parade for the list. Downgrades are useful today, but they would have been far more valuable yesterday morning.

Says Johnny, "Why do you figure that Apple is not saying anything to differentiate themselves from the RIMM situation? I understand that the market does not care, BUT it seems a good time to strike with some updates while the iron is hot? It seems they do not care as they are being thrown out with the bathwater."

I suspect Apple chooses to let its products speak for themselves.

Victor brings up a great point: 6.1 million BlackBerrys. "Wow, everyone was sure that Apple would take a bite out of the Blackberry but in one short year, Apple will have sold more smart phones this quarter than RIMM. Apple has sold more than 6.1 million iPhones this quarter."

Mike writes: "You tell it like it is. Thank you for that."

Tom nails me for my bad analysis: "You neglect to mention the fact that RIMM is working on carving out its niche in the Indian, Chinese, and European markets, and that it has several new products that it needed to market. The circles that make up RIMM and AAPL's markets only slightly overlap at the edges and I believe you overestimate the area of this overlapping segment. One's success does not beget the other's. RIMM's increase in marketing expenses was not a defensive move, but an offensive one. RIMM's grip on the enterprise market is strong and they are leveraging that into many markets that AAPL is not involved in yet (AAPL is more dependent on the U.S. consumer than RIMM). Remember RIMM captured more smart phone market share in the recent quarter than AAPL did. Don't be so quick to praise AAPL for RIMM's shortcomings."

Strong points, all, Tom, but all I'm saying is that despite that heavy marketing expense, the company's device sales still came up short.

And Liv sums it up: "Good work, Jim. Apple is a better buy than RIMM. Bad news for RIMM but good news for Apple."

Keep the comments coming. And rest up this weekend. Another busy week is just two short days away. Thanks for writing in!

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