NEW YORK (AP) — BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. is facing increased competition from Apple, Android and other devices and will likely lose share in the smart phone market, said Gleacher & Co. analyst Mark McKechnie, who downgraded RIM to "Neutral" from "Buy" on Tuesday.
McKechnie expects RIM's earnings to slow over the next two years, though he said the company's short-term prospects are strong. Loyal BlackBerry fans, he added, are ripe for an upgrade of their beloved gadget, and he sees two to three "solid quarters" of sales as subscribers upgrade their devices.
But competition from Apple Inc. and others is likely to grow even more fierce next year.
RIM has enjoyed a price advantage over Apple, McKechnie said. But competition is not limited to Apple and Android gadgets. RIM, McKechnie said, is battling for the No. 3 spot with Nokia Corp., and Windows 7 and Palm phones.
But competition will accelerate as Samsung, Motorola Inc. and HTC broaden their product offerings while Nokia and Windows 7 phones "catch up and expand into Europe, Asia and Latin America."
U.S.-traded shares of Canada-based RIM slid 54 cents to $62.78 in afternoon trading.