We call it the “Hail Mary” phone, because–prior to its unveiling–it seemed the only device capable of halting RIM’s slide from smartphone dominance to smartphone irrelevancy.
And now that we’ve seen the phone, we’ve concluded that the Torch won’t be saving RIM anytime soon.
Is the Torch a better BlackBerry? Yes, it seems to be a better BlackBerry. But it’s not better than an iPhone, or one of dozens of phones based on Google’s Android.
In other words, before it has even been released, the Torch seems obsolete.
That doesn’t mean RIM won’t sell a few million of them, of course–it will. It just means that the Torch won’t change the game. And right now, that game is going poorly for RIM.
A few years ago, when Apple launched the iPhone, we suggested that Nokia had better get cracking if it wanted to preserve its position as the dominant global smartphone leader.
For suggesting this, we were resoundingly ridiculed. We were provincial American idiots, the Nokia bulls howled. Outside the US, it was a one-player game (Nokia). And it always would be.
And a couple of years ago, RIMM bulls were saying the same thing about RIM–except with respect to the company’s strength in the enterprise, not international. No way would Apple’s iPhone ever be adopted by serious people, the RIM-bull story went. Apple’s iPhone was a trinket for consumers and fanboys.
And now Apple isn’t even the only phone platform that has vaulted past RIM (and Nokia). Now Google’s Android also has.
But we digress…
RIM’s stock has collapsed from its 2008 $140+ highs, and RIM bulls are presumably hoping that this is the bottom.
If Nokia’s history is any guide, however, the decline in the stock so far could be only the beginning.
As Palm (and Nokia) have shown, there’s not much value in being a phone maker that was once great but has since been leapfrogged by the competition.
So the question for all RIM investors is this: Is the chart below–showing Nokia’s stock from 2007 to 2010– what RIM’s future stock chart will look like? Nokia’s misery would certainly love some company.
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