When Apple (AAPL) came out with its new 3G iPhone today, shares in Steve Jobs’ company fell. Shares at rival smartphone company Research-In-Motion (RIMM) rose.
The new iPhone has a number of features, including more advanced e-mail functions, which would make it a threat to RIMM, but that market did not see that, at least at first blush.
Part of that may be the iPhone’s pricing. While the initial reaction to a much lower price point for the new handset was that it will drive unit sales, companies rarely walk away from revenue if they don’t have to. Apple would make the case that a $200 iPhone will sell better than one at $400, but RIMM has not be faced with making that kind of price cut to keep its sales strong.
One of the key advantages of the Blackberry is that it is not meant to be an iPhone. Its major attractions are not multimedia features or a large series of software downloads. The Blackberry is prized for its focus on e-mail and corporate managements and IT departments depend on that to make the device a utility and not a repository of endless possibilities.
There is not much in the iPhone that threatens the strength of the Blackberry. It is a box with a keyboard.
Douglas A. McIntyre