Thursday, May 18, 2006

Research in Motion (RIMM) Moving Beyond Email?

A couple of articles in the news today regarding Research in Motion (RIMM). The first at discusses RIM's efforts to move beyond mobile email with the launch of Enterprise Server for Mobile Data Solutions (MDS), which allows "companies to mobilise data apps, including field service applications, sales force automation and CRM, without having to deploy email alongside."

According to RIM, "the MDS is a framework for building and managing wireless applications and gives users application tools and management capabilities similar to those used for email deployments."

Ellen Daley at Forrester remarked that "60 per cent of companies the analyst house talked to are interested in mobilising new apps." She also warned that "deploying 'line of business' applications beyond email will present enterprises with different challenges."

Daley said, "Rarely do we see companies requiring ROI justification for wireless email. That's not the case for line of business applications. They're looking for payback in the six months to 18 months timeframe." writes that Bear Stearns analyst Andrew J. Neff, "attending the company's "lackluster" analyst day in Orlando, Florida" said "he came away with mixed feelings about near-term prospects for RIM, whose most popular product is the portable BlackBerry e-mail device."

Cowen & Co. analyst Robert W. Stone agreed with Neff's mixed review and noted "management's reluctance to set guidance for subscriber additions in the near term won't resolve investor concerns about competition and sustainable growth at the company."

Piper Jaffray analyst T. Michael Walkley commented that "current trends are tracking in-line with his firm's expectations, but with limited upside." He said, "while RIM shied away from providing near-term subscriber specifics, he doesn't expect any material changes in subscriber additions until the November quarter, when carriers pick up their promotional activity and RIM begins its new-product launches."

Bear Stearns' Neff also commented that "with growth rates slowing, the market for BlackBerries may be saturated at current price points and RIM may have to consider a sharp price cut to rejuvenate growth."

Walkley noted that "in Europe, Nokia's E-61 and Motorola's Q phone will affect BlackBerry sell-through trends." Cowen's Stone on the other hand expected RIm "to double the number of its product carriers, including significant expansion in Latin America, China, Japan and Korea."