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Research In Motion Crashes Apple's Party

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Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , maker of the popular BlackBerry smartphone, wants its slice of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone pie.

On Monday, the smartphone maker announced in a blog post that it is preparing Mac OS-compatible software to allow its BlackBerry users to sync their devices with a Mac. The company expects to ship the Mac edition of BlackBerry Desktop Software to users in September.

If the comments to RIM's post are any indicator, there's a huge opportunity here. Users gushed over the possibilities that the new software represents.

"Thank God! I thought I was going to have to go to AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and the iPhone to properly sync up with my Mac, but now it looks like I will finally have it all," wrote one commenter.

Take note, investors: The iPhone may be burying Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) , Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) , and most other smartphone competitors here in the U.S., but there are still plenty of Mac-wielding CrackBerry addicts. They're not switching; they just want more love. They want better software.

Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) knows this, too. It's playing its own software card, but in a different way. CEO Jon Rubinstein talks up the Pre's webOS in a way that positions both the iPhone's lightweight version of the Mac OS and the BlackBerry OS as aging rivals.

"The most important indicator of our success is that customer response has been simply great, especially to Palm webOS," Rubinstein said recently. "Just as Palm pioneered PDAs in the 90s, we believe it has now pioneered the mobile operating platform for the next 10 years and beyond."

RIM's executives would likely disagree, as would Apple CEO Steve Jobs. What matters is that both Palm and RIM are trying hard to give users reasons to forego the iPhone. They've been less than successful thus far.

Now, Research In Motion is trying a Trojan Horse strategy -- a simple way to sync a Mac and a BlackBerry. Don't be surprised if it's rewarded with at least a sliver of Apple's pie.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Nokia at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers to be stationary for its research time.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (7)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2009, at 2:17 PM, marv08 wrote:

    Well, Rubinstein seems to have a hard time dealing with his promotion :-) Apple has "pioneered the mobile operating platform for the next 10 years and beyond" and, looking at the amount of copycats (Palm included), this needs no further proof. Looking at at least 45 million iPhones and iPod touches and 65.000 apps, half a million Pres with poor hardware and a poor SDK make no difference.

    Kudos to RIMM for doing the right thing. Develop an app using Apple's published interfaces, instead of sneaking in through a backdoor pretending to be an iPod. Unfortunately, as this will neither fix their ancient and clunky OS, nor their stagnating design efforts (the Tour looks familiar, uh?), this will merely help them not to loose customers. I don't see it bringing in new ones. Whoever wants a 2009-type device with industry leading usability, great apps and great browsing will choose the iPhone, unless AT&T is not an option.

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2009, at 3:04 PM, LLIBSETAG wrote:

    Apple pioneered the PDA : Newton & NewtonOS in the 80s WAY before Palm was in business. Apple offered to buy the beleagured Palm when they were almost DOA but they refused & went with MS Windows Mobile on their smart phones.

    Apple recently "bricked" the Palm Pre with it's update of iTunes so Pre could not sync with Macs or Windows iTunes software. RIM Blackberries will be next "brick" on the block.

    Every phone maker is trying to copy or latch on to Apple & iPhone. Apple is the clear innovator in this space.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2009, at 7:29 AM, dzyan wrote:


    You should really do some research into what the BlackBerry Desktop Manager for the Mac is all about. It is meant primarily as a Synchronization point between the user's Personal Information Manager (PIM) data (Addresses, Calendar, Memos, notes) and the BlackBerry Device.

    It also brings backup and restore capabilities to the Mac platform, which until now was only available to Windows users.

    Additionally it will also allow the upgrading of the BlackBerry device software, which again was only something that could be done on a Windows computer. The Mac Desktop Manager does not allow the loading of iPhone application / iTunes Store because they are not compatible.

    Last the BlacKBerry like anyother smartphone device (iPhone, Pre, Nokia or whatever) runs it's own Operating system and has it's own applications. That is like saying iPhone users with Windows should be able to load BlackBerry applications with iTunes. Again the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software is not iTunes, the only thing it does with iTunes is allow BlackBerry users to synchronize their Playlists, which they can already do with the existing BlackBerry PocketMac Synchronization software.

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