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Company News

UPDATE 1-RESEARCH ALERT-Kaufman downgrades Research in Motion

* Cuts to “hold” from “buy”

* Cites competition from Android phones, Apple

* Cuts price target to $60 from $72

Nov 9 (Reuters) - Kaufman Bros downgraded Canada's Research in Motion RIMM.O to "hold" from "buy," saying competitors are looking to extend into broader mobile markets, which could hurt the BlackBerry maker.

The brokerage is seeing strong indications that Google's GOOG.O Android and Apple Inc's AAPL.O iPhone are looking to extend their platforms into mid-range and low-end smartphones where RIM currently enjoys success with its Curve and Bold product families, particularly in global markets.

“We believe this could make it more difficult for BlackBerry to sustain unit and subscriber growth,” analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a note to clients.

RIM’s BlackBerry and Apple’s iPhone, along with a slew of devices based on Google’s Android operating system, are aggressively competing for dominance in the booming smartphone market. [ID:nN19153504]

The analyst said the Waterloo, Ontario-based company’s higher risk profile cannot be underestimated with major product transitions and increasing competition in its core markets.

“We agree with Steve Jobs in that it isn’t clear there is room for a third software platform besides (Apple’s) iOS and Android,” Wu said.

The market’s transition to applications and content raises RIM’s risk profile, the analyst, who cut his target on the stock to $60 from $72 said.

RIM shares, which have gained 17 percent in value since the company announced its PlayBook tablet on Sept. 27, closed at C$56.50 on Monday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Isheeta Sanghi in Bangalore; Editing by Unnikrishnan Nair) ((isheeta.sanghi@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: isheeta.sanghi.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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