While Apple (AAPL) and RIM (RIMM) are going to be fiercely competing for many of the same customers this summer — as Apple’s iPhone 3G launches and RIM’s BlackBerry Bold surfaces — RIM should do just fine. That’s the word today from Citi analyst Jim Suva, who expects RIM to post another beat and raise quarter next Wednesday when it reports May earnings.
Key point: Now’s a good time to buy RIMM, or buy more of RIMM if you already own shares, Suva says. Why? Besides the strong report, Suva notes that uncertainty around the iPhone 3G announcement — just how powerful/cheap/magical it was going to be — has now passed, and that RIM has a big series of product rollouts to come, including the Bold, and the consumer-focused Thunder (touchscreen) and Kickstart (flip phone).
Next Wednesday, Suva expects RIM to beat analysts’ consensus of $2.27 billion of revenue and $0.85 EPS; he’s projecting $2.29 billion of sales and $0.86 of EPS. More important: As concerns swirl about a weak U.S. economy, Suva also expects RIM to post higher-than-consensus guidance for next quarter. He expects RIM to announce August quarter guidance of $2.5 billion of sales and $0.94 EPS, beating consensus of $2.4 billion revenue and $0.90 EPS.
A similar note out today from AmTech’s Rob Sanderson, whose money manager sources tell him that RIMM is “the best growth story in tech.” He’s excited about RIM because of strong sales at Verizon; acceleration in Europe; the Bold, which he thinks will begin shipping in July; and rare good sales from Sprint last month.
Sanderson doesn’t think the iPhone will have near-term impact on RIM’s enterprise business any time soon, and doesn’t think it will “dramatically” cut into RIM’s consumer business at AT&T. More likely: As the smartphone market grows faster than the overall mobile market, both Apple and RIM take share from other gadget makers, like Motorola (MOT) and Palm (PALM).
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