The RIM-Apple War Has Already Begun. Here's Who Loses

Many analysts speak of a “coming war” between Research in Motion (RIMM) and Apple (AAPL), as Apple’s iPhone begins to penetrate the enterprise market. Make no mistake: The battle will be on two fronts–enterprise and consumer–and it’s happening now.

In RIM’s latest quarter, 34% of its devices were sold to consumers. That’s 1.3 million units, ahead of Apple’s 1.1 million iPhone sales in the comparable period (RIM’s quarter ended a month later, so it’s possible the companies’ consumer sales are almost the same). RIM will reportedly release two iPhone-inspired touch-screen phones in February, 2008.

Apple, meanwhile, is beginning to penetrate the corporate market, where RIM rules the roost, and this penetration will likely increase rapidly once Apple figures out a simple way for the iPhone to interface with Microsoft Exchange.

Of course, obsessing about a war between Apple and RIM means missing the bigger picture. The smartphone market, which these two companies dominate, is growing 160%+ year over year. So far, smart-phones amount to only 11% of the overall handset market (in the U.S.). This leaves enormous room for RIM and Apple market share growth at the expense of traditional handset manufacturers–namely, Motorola (31% of units sold in Q3, per NPD Group), LG (17%), Samsung (16%), and Nokia (11%).

It’s the latter companies that will be hurt most by the Apple/RIM war. Mobile users, meanwhile, should rejoice.

See Also:
Five Million iPhones By Macworld? Nope.
RIM: Blows Out the Numbers
RIM’s iPhone-Killer BlackBerries Due in Early 2008
Apple Working on an iPhone-Microsoft Exchange Fix
iPhone Beginning to Penetrate Corporate Market

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