Research In Motion (RIMM) Counters Apple (AAPL)

July 18, 2007 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Research In Motion (RIMM) is not standing still. It will introduce a new version of its Blackberry that runs on both cellular networks and WiFi. Odd as it may seem, the Apple (AAPL) iPhone also has a WiFi feature.

RIMM does not really compete directly with the iPhone. The Blackberry is more of a business tool used for e-mail. But, as texting becomes more popular on cell phones and WiFi is added to many, RIMM cannot afford to take a technology back-seat. Apple may well be looking to the enterprise market, which it never really cracked with the Mac, as a place to market a business version of its latest product.

And, RIMM is interested in markets outside of business. As Reuters writes: "Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM is trying to broaden the market for its smartphones by loading them with consumer-aimed multimedia features like video and music players, and cameras."

The larger trend here is the movement of handsets to a WiFi platform. T-Mobile is coming to market with phones that will allow users to call from their homes using WiFi, a move that could cut overall calling costs. While WiFi is popular for uploading music files and e-mail, it ability to send voice over VoIP software could cut into cellular providers’ revenue and margins.

RIMM and Apple may win, but the like of AT&T (T) Wireless may have a problem.

Douglas A. McIntyre