The iPhone 4S topped 4 million sales in its first weekend of availability, according to maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). On the other end of the continent, Waterloo, Ontario-based Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) announced that it would give customers up to $100 worth of free apps as “an expression of appreciation for their patience” when RIM’s network service was disrupted last week.
The contrast between the fortunes of the two companies has been obvious for some time now, but it still must be more than demoralizing to RIM to suffer its latest indignity at the same time that the company that is beating it to death in the marketplace scores a massive win. Waterloo indeed.
Apple’s shares are not getting a big boost from its weekend sales, perhaps because the Cupertino company has been hit with litigation by Samsung Electronics (OTC: SSNLF) in both Japan and Australia to stop the sales in those countries of the iPhone 4S. Samsung also wants the Japanese court to enjoin Apple from selling the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 in Japan. Last week Apple won an action against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, enjoining sales in Australia. Samsung also won a ruling in the Netherlands late last week, where Apple was also seeking an injunction against sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Apple and Samsung will eventually work out an agreement. RIM, however, has seen its market share and share price savaged since 2009, mostly due to the explosion in smartphones kicked off by Apple’s iPhone. There is no agreement that RIM can reach with Apple that will make up for the Canadian company’s misjudgments and missteps.
Analyst firm BGC Partners downgraded Apple shares from ‘Buy’ to ‘Hold’ because the stock is near the firm’s target price of $450/share and the belief that Apple will continue to need to see record-breaking sales performance on both iPhones and iPads in order to meet investors expectations. That’s pretty hard to do, even for Apple.
Apple shares are up marginally at $425.24 in mid-morning trading, after posting a new 52-week high this morning of $426.70. RIM’s shares are down -5.3%, at $22.70, in a 52-week range of $19.29-$70.54.