Tim Beyers and I have been Dueling Fools lately. We've been taking opposing sides of stocks and investing themes. This week I have it easy. We're putting Nokia
This shouldn't be much of a fight. I mean, just look at how each company performed in its most recent quarter.
RIM posted a beauty of a fiscal fourth quarter last month. Revenue soared by 84%, and earnings rose by a more modest 25%. The company closed out the quarter with 3.9 million more subscribers than it had three months earlier, and more than 25 million BlackBerry users in total. If you want some perspective, consider that BlackBerry gained nearly 4 million net new users during three brutal months for the economy. Subscriber-based consumer services such as TiVo
Nokia didn't fare as well. Even though it remains the global leader with its broad range of handsets, first-quarter sales fell 27%, with profitability freefalling by a gut-wrenching 90%. RIM, meanwhile, is trading at 20 times this year's projected profitability, compared with 18 times this year's income target at Nokia.
Times have changed, Nokia fans. Owning a thick 37% slice of the market is nothing to sneeze at, but that's on the low end of where Nokia has historically been in recent years. RIM is far away from that figure -- even when it comes to smartphones -- but at least it's nibbling away at everyone else's expense.
Yes, Nokia is a big smartphone player, globally. The nifty -- and costly -- N97 is a beauty. Its 5800 Xpressmusic is a hot rookie. However, Nokia finds itself in a crowded market these days. There is so little elbow room for companies not making BlackBerry and iPhone devices that Nokia recently all but bowed out of Japan.
RIM, on the other hand, is still early in its growth cycle.
Want evidence? Head out to Amazon.com's
I don't have a beef with Nokia. I also realize that leaning on Amazon.com ignores Nokia's overseas allure. However, when two companies have similar valuations, I want to cheer for the grower that offers a clearer investing upside.