TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion has given up more ground to Apple and Google in the hypercompetitive U.S. smartphone market, a report shows, while two brokerages cut their price targets for the BlackBerry maker on concerns it can no longer keep pace.
RIM’s shares dropped on Friday after a research firm said the company’s slice of the U.S. market for high-end mobile phones narrowed in the three months to April.
While Google’s Android platform jumped to a 36.4 percent share and Apple’s iPhone moved up to 26 percent, RIM fell to 25.7 percent from 30.4 percent in the previous quarter, according to the comScore report. The latest figures dropped RIM from second to third place.
The Canadian company’s struggle to compete is unlikely to get any easier, with Apple’s upcoming iCloud service expected to hurt RIM, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a note.
Shares of RIM, whose grip on the corporate smartphone market has loosened since Apple’s iPhone and then Google’s Android software transformed the sector, have shed more than 40 percent in value since a February peak above $70.
They traded 3.7 percent lower on the Nasdaq at $38.93, the first time below $40 since March 2009.
UBS lowered its price target on the stock citing concerns over increasing competition and uncertainty over timings of RIM’s product launches.
RIM’s new BlackBerry Bold, a touchscreen model announced for a “summer” launch in early May, won’t reach stores until September, tech blog Boy Genius Report said, citing multiple unnamed sources.
UBS, which cut its price target to $45 from $60, said it did not believe RIM’s management structure was optimal. Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie share roles as co-chairmen and co-chief executives, and Balsillie has now become chief marketing officer as well.
Sterne Agee, which cut its price target on the stock to $44 from $52, said the launch of iCloud, Apple’s online music and storage service, could result in some collateral damage for RIM. Some aspects of the service are more attractive than RIM’s own push network technology, the brokerage said.
RIM’s revenue and gross profit margins could erode if Apple decides to offer some base services for free, it said in a note to clients.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto and Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Frank McGurty