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Analyst: 'Huge Merit' to an Apple/RIM Collaboration

TMO Reports - Analyst: 'Huge Merit' to an Apple/RIM Collaboration

by , 3:50 PM EDT, June 5th, 2006

Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek last Friday issued a research report in which he saw "huge merit" to a potential collaboration between Apple and Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM), which could result in a mobile phone with iTunes capabilities. A partnership between the two companies could take advantage of Apple's lack of "wireless capabilities and carrier partnerships," while RIM could fix its lack of "a significant consumer presence [and] vast content library."

Mr. Misek noted that RIM has plans to launch a BlackBerry with multimedia capabilities this fall, so that would be a good opportunity for Apple to add iTunes compatibility to it. He also speculated that Apple could create its own "iPhone" with BlackBerry and Intel components. A third scenario would have the two companies collaborate on a brand new device.

However, the analyst saw a "major stumbling black to this relationship" in the "relatively unconstructive attitude Apple has displayed towards the carriers." He added: "In fact, it reminds us of RIM many years ago when they almost wanted to compete with the carriers and then very intelligently realized that partnering was the appropriate route.

"Having said that, Apple is an incredibly shrewd company and has the opportunity to right its wrongs of the past by winning the consumer device market and then parlaying that into a greater role in the PC or central hub market. Under the old adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, we believe that an Apple and RIM partnership could indeed be a serious blow to Microsoft."

While Mr. Misek cited no hard evidence to back up his speculation, he did say that his industry sources noted "that the fall out of the Apple and Motorola relationship has been material. We also believe that Apple attempted to build its iPhone with the help of several ODMs who signed very tight and specific NDAs. We believe that performance, battery life and aesthetics proved very disappointing.

"In our opinion," he concluded, "Apple has discussed its plan with senior Intel executives, who have recommended to Apple a co-operation with RIM. We believe RIM has been very receptive to such discussions as RIM's platform and significant IP portfolio can be significantly leveraged in the consumer market with the right design and content partners."

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