Google, RIM are Now No Match for Apple: Analysts

By Gurmukh Singh

Toronto, Oct 21 (IANS) Agreeing with Apple boss Steve Jobs' claim Monday that "we've now passed RIM (Research in Motion) and I don't see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future,'' technology and financial analysts here say the BlackBerry maker RIM and Google are now no match for Apple.

As Jobs, CEO of the world's largest technology company, unveiled Apple's new Mac OS X Lion operating system as well as two new versions ultralight MacBook Air laptops in Cupertino Wednesday, analysts said Apple is simply unbeatable now.

"We agree with his (Jobs) views," analyst Michael Walkley of Canacord Genuity here told the National Post daily, raising his price target on Apple stock to whopping $421 per share.

Considering that Apple stock Wednesday traded at about $310, the target is a huge jump in Apple's future fortunes.

The Toronto analyst said Jobs' views "are very consistent with our longer-term thesis on Apple's iOS ecosystem resulting in Apple maintaining to growing its value share of the smartphone market and achieving strong long-term share in the burgeoning tablet market.'' Analysts say that BlackBerry maker RIM, with just 10,000 applications in its BlackBerry App World, is way, way behind Apple's App Store which offers more than 300,000 applications as of now.

Even with its over 100,000 applications, the Google Android Marketplace too is no way near Apple. Applications or apps is the new name for software which doesn't come in physical boxes any more, but is simply downloaded from apps store.

Even more worrying for analysts is the the lack of a strong ecosystem supporting RIM's platform in the consumer market.

"Although RIM is attempting to make gains in this area as highlighted by the recent acquisition of California-based Cellmania, we believe the gap between RIM and the two leading competitors (Apple and Google) in the consumer market is increasing every quarter," Sameet Kanade, a financial analyst with Northern Securities, was quoted as saying.

Kanade also agreed with Apple's assertion that 80 percent of Forbes 500 companies have now started adopting iPhone 4 for their executives at the expense of the secure BlackBerry smart phones. "We believe the potential adoption of the iPhone by key RIM enterprise users may have a domino effect, creating further market disruption for RIM,'' he said.

The analysts also agreed with Steve Jobs' criticism of Google's Android operating system which uses multiple hardware manufacturers and multiple version of software. Jobs had said Monday that Google's "fragmented'' operating system will harm the user experience.

"This fragmentation also leads to frustration for application developers that have to create numerous iterations of their program so that is can be optimized for each particular Android device,'' the Post quoted Maynard Um, analyst with UBS Investment Research, as saying.


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