RIM Going Out Of Business? As Android, iPhone Grow, Some Analysts Say Yes

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With last week’s dismal quarterly earnings report beginning to sink in, analysts are sounding even more pessimistic about Research In Motion than they were before.

One such analyst, speaking on CNBC Tuesday, said the Waterloo, Ontario-based maker of the BlackBerry is headed out of business as the smartphone market coalesces around Apple's iPhone and Samsung phones running Android.

At the same time, another analyst suggested a corporate takeover of RIM -- a preferred option among many market observers -- isn't happening.

Asked on CNBC Tuesday if there was room in the market for RIM in a world increasingly dominated by Apple’s iPhone and Android phones, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster replied “no.”

“Research In Motion is out of business,” Munster said, listing off a number of other phone makers -- including Nokia -- that he believes won’t survive in the new Apple- and Samsung-dominated era of smartphone and tablet computers.

As RIM released a series of underwhelming earnings reports last year, rumours swirled about one way the company could solve its problems -- a takeover by another, more profitable, tech firm.

But, with the company last week recording another disappointing quarter, analysts say this avenue is beginning to close.

There are not that many buyers left” for RIM, Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner said, as quoted at the Toronto Star. “BlackBerry is running out of sugar daddies.”

The Star also quoted a Tweet from Seabreeze Partners founder Douglas Kass, who wrote that “all bidders have walked away from RIM.”

Even RIM itself seems to be accepting the idea that the company -- which once dominated the smartphone market with its BlackBerry device -- now lives in a world dominated by Apple and Android.

The company said Tuesday that it will offer software to companies and governments that would open up its secure network for use on iPhones and other mobile devices in the workplace.

The move is intended to encourage enterprise customers to stick with its services, even if they gravitate away from the BlackBerry smartphone itself.

“Organizations face pressure to allow employees to bring their own devices into the workplace, and they are looking to RIM as the global leader in the enterprise mobility space to solve that problem,'' Alan Panezic, RIM's vice-president of enterprise product management and marketing said in a news release.

The Waterloo, Ont., tech company has been losing consumer market share to Apple and Android devices and although it's still dominant in workplaces, its competitors are making inroads there as well with iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets.

RIM said about 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies are using BlackBerry smartphones.

However, recently several major organizations have confirmed plans to open up the options for their employees to use devices other than the BlackBerry. Those customers include energy services giant Halliburton Co. and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Research In Motion has said it will focus more on its business customers and will go after only “targeted'' parts of the consumer market, possibly with partners.

-- With files from The Canadian Press

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