updated 03:15 pm EDT, Mon July 21, 2008
RBC on BBerry vs iPhone 3G
The deals Research in Motion is willing to make will help keep the BlackBerry out of harm's way and prevent it from clashing with the iPhone, says RBC analyst Mike Abramsky. The researcher dismisses Needham Research claims that the iPhone 3G is a direct threat to the BlackBerry and points out that Apple has artificially limited its deals in some countries, particularly in the US; while the iPhone is available only through AT&T, BlackBerries are available through both AT&T and T-Mobile and are also available through 13 other carriers in CDMA versions.
Equally important is RIM's willingness to let go of absolute control of the experience, Abramsky says. Although Apple insists on the same layout for every iPhone sold and insists on pointing customers to chosen online services, RIM allows carriers to customize BlackBerries and to sell customers their own services, making each phone unique. As a result, the Canadian smartphones are said to be more appealing to carriers, which often get much of their extra revenue from sales of ringtones and other minor extras.
The release of the BlackBerry Thunder in the fall may also play into RIM's hands, the RBC analyst adds, as those carriers locked out of offering the iPhone but still carrying the Thunder, such as Verizon and Vodafone, can promote the touchscreen BlackBerry as the primary alternative to Apple's hardware. Verizon has been offering multiple touchscreen phones and is believed to be devising a large marketing effort for the Thunder when it ships in October.
Abramsky also makes claims similar to those from a Canaccord Adams report that argue RIM is still in a different category than Apple, focusing primarily on business customers rather than home users. Apple is only just entering the medium-to-large business environment with Exchange data, remote wipe, and VPN support that are considered necessary in many businesses, leaving it relatively inexperienced versus RIM.