Research In Motion ▪ September 16, 2011

“Is 2011 going to be the year of copycats?”, Apple’s then chief executive rhetorically asked at the March iPad 2 introduction in San Francisco. Really, the title of this article couldn’t be more true. iPad is now stealing market share from Android, climbing from 65.7 percent share to 68.3 percent globally as Android slipped from 34.0 percent to 26.8 percent. HP exited the game, having retired its TouchPad and today lackluster sales of RIM’s PlayBook tablet made the news.

Apple decimated competition so thoroughly that analysts are saying the company can take its time releasing a third-generation iPad. According to J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, Apple should be in “no rush” with iPad 3:

Our latest research continues to indicate that there is no such device slated for production this year. In our view, Apple should be in no rush. The other tablet entrants have stumbled so far, and that trend-line could persist deep into 2012.

He also wasn’t impressed by Sony’s tablet which “lacks the refined, sleek feel of the iPad and its bezel-like back is not user-friendly”. And Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet? On a downward spiral and probably due for life support. Per RIM’s quarterly filing, they shipped only 200,000 PlayBooks in the quarter, a paltry number compared to Wall Street expectations of 700,000 units. RIM refused to reveal actual sell-through as it is no doubt significantly lower than the sell-in. Ticonderoga analyst Brian White weighs in:

We believe the PlayBook is poised to follow HP’s TouchPad as the next casualty of iPad’s tablet dominance

To put PlayBook sales into perspective, RIM shipped one PlayBook to every 46 iPads. With just 200,000 units, PlayBook may very well be heading to the technology graveyard. BlackBerry phones are also shrinking due to “lower than expected sales for older models”. One fifth of RIM’s stock valuation was wiped out today as a result of poor tablet and smartphone performance. By the way, RIM’s global market share is now dropping to single digits. Did the Waterloo, Ontario company learn a valuable lesson?

Many watchers have written off the PlayBook, but RIM has bigger worries on its mind: Its smartphone business is declining and global market share dropping to single digits. Chart courtesy of Asymco.

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Research In Motion ▪ September 13, 2011

Today was Microsoft’s Windows Tablet 8 unveiling.  The product on the surface looks cool, people are hyped, but alas it will be a year before real products are given to real people.  The iPad 3 with its Retina Display will have been on the market for months and Google will have iterated 10,000 Beta releases of Android before then on 200 different pieces of tablet hardware.

On top of that, this new OS is really just smashing together Windows Phone 7 Metro UI Windowing (some admittedly nice UI features) with Windows 7 applications.  Real world use of Windows 7 apps in tablet form isn’t going to be fun.  I’ve tried using Windows on the Parallels iPad app – and it is OK in a pinch, but apps need to be redesigned 100% to work in tablet mode effectively.  Try entering data into Excel on a tablet for instance.  Then try Numbers on an iPad – it is slightly better.

Luckily, just about every iOS app was designed or redesigned first for touch over the past four years.  Microsoft is, today, telling its developers to do the same for their Windows apps.

How long can Microsoft keep up its “next year” strategy?  Windows 8 tablet isn’t the only thing coming “Next Year”.

Two years ago, Microsoft made the decision to scrap Windows Mobile and said: “Next year we’ll have Windows Phone 7”.  When Windows Phone didn’t grab much attention at the end of last year, Microsoft ‘bought Nokia’ and said, by the end of this year we’ll have some top quality phones from Nokia.  We’re waiting to see how that pans out, but by the time Nokia can produce anything with a Windows logo on it, it will have fallen from #1 in the world in smartphones to #4 or #5 behind Apple, Samsung and probably HTC and RIM.  But Windows Mango devices are coming to AT&T, have you heard?

How did this “wait until next year” thing become business as usual for Microsoft?   expand full story

Research In Motion ▪ August 11, 2011

Gartner’s latest global smartphone numbers are out and if your name isn’t iOS or Android, the future looks pretty bleak.  While iOS continues to gain share at pace even without a new model release (up one point for the quarter and over 4 points year over year), the bigger story continues to be Android’s outright theft of marketshare from Symbian.  Just in the last quarter, 10 percent of the market shifted from Symbian to Android and for the year, the number is close to 20%

Meanwhile Blackberry continued its paced slide down another 2 points quarter over quarter while Samsung’s Bada made modest gains. In the “Other” category, Windows Phone 7 somehow lost market share falling from 2% to 1% and Windows Mobile is now off the charts.  HP’s webOS  is somewhere in the “other” as well with Meego and the ghosts of smartphone past.

Graph via PED, cross posted on expand full story

Research In Motion ▪ August 2, 2011

In January of 2010, Kodak sued  Apple and RIM for infringing on their patent to preview photographs. The lawsuit is still going on, but today Wall Street Journal is reporting that Kodak is currently looking to sell 10% of their patent portfolio, which includes the patent Apple and RIM are bring sued for.

The 1,100 patents include patents covering  capturing, storing, organizing and sharing digital image. WSJ credits the sale to Kodak’s loss in profit over the last two quarters.

Chief Executive Antonio Perez has been using Kodak’s intellectual property as a means of funding the company’s long and expensive transformation. In 2008, Mr. Perez put forth a goal to generate between $250 million and $350 million a year from Kodak’s patent portfolio.

Google is fresh off acquiring 1,000 patents from IBM and is likely still in a buying mood as it battles everyone from Oracle to Microsoft to Apple-by-proxy in the courts.  Apple, who outbid Google for the Nortel patent portfolio at $4.5B  is obviously on the offensive.

Kodak’s decision to sell its patents follows a $4.5 billion patent sale by Nortel Networks Corp. Kodak has retained Lazard as an adviser for the sale. Lazard also advised Nortel on its sale.

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Research In Motion ▪ July 5, 2011

Today’s comScore report shows that a full third of all US phone users are using a Smartphone and that is heading toward a majority pretty quickly.  Perhaps that is why (with a little help from Verizon) Apple was the biggest gainer in the overall phone market in the Feb-May quarter.  LG was up just slightly while Apple stole marketshare from Motorla and RIM.

I think it is important to keep in mind that Apple’s original iPhone goal was to capture 1% of the total phone market in the first year of release.   They’ve done that many times over and now Apple is capturing over 1% of the total US phone market per quarter. expand full story

Research In Motion ▪ June 30, 2011

A consortium including Apple Inc, Microsoft, EMC Corp, Sony, Ericsson, and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion bought bankrupt telecommunications gear maker Nortel Networks Corp’s remaining portfolio of 6000 patents for $4.5 billion, in an auction that began early this week.

RIM reportedly paid $770 million, Ericsson paid $340 million.  It wasn’t immediately clear how much Apple paid.

Google had originally opened bidding with a $900 million bid.  The consortium of strange bedfellows will split up the portfolio based on the split of the purchase price.

The sale is subject to Canadian and U.S. court approvals which will be sought at a joint hearing expected to be held on July 11.  Full press release follows:

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