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RIM's success with consumers doesn't depend on Apple's future: analysts Add to ...

Research In Motion will continue to struggle in the consumer market and the resignation of Apple CEO Steve Jobs won't give the BlackBerry maker an opportunity to recapture lost ground, analysts said Thursday.

“I think that train has left the station as far as RIM having a problem because of a competitor,” said William Blair & Co. analyst Anil Doradla.

Doradla noted that co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have “mastered the science part of it” in creating an efficient, well functioning smartphone phone for business users.

“But there is a certain artistic side of it where it has to appeal to consumers, it has to awe the consumer. I think that's one thing that they lack,” Doradla said from Chicago.

Apple announced late Wednesday that Jobs, 56, resigned from the CEO post, in a move that seems motivated by his ongoing, yet still unspecified health problems.

Jobs had taken an indefinite medical leave in January, marking his third such leave in seven years. Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976, previously survived pancreatic cancer and received a liver transplant.

Jobs will be replaced by Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer and the executive who has filled in for Jobs during his medical leaves.

In an effort to appeal to consumers, RIM has announced it's rolling out a new music sharing service for BlackBerry customers who use the smartphone's popular instant messenger.

RIM has had a bumpy transition to the consumer market, losing ground to both Apple and Google's Android operating system in the important North American market.

On the other hand, Apple rival Steve Jobs has been hailed as a visionary for anticipating consumer trends and popularizing them by designing devices that are easy to use.

Doradla said Apple's current momentum should be maintained for at least the next two years and said its iPhones and iPads account for 65 per cent of the company's revenues.

The next generation of BlackBerry smartphones are considered critical to the Waterloo, Ont., company's success. The phones will have the same operating system as the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and will be more like mobile computers.

Technology analyst Bill Kreher of Edward Jones said RIM will continue to struggle and its prospects will get worse before they get better, but he does hold out some hope for the new generation of BlackBerrys.

“At the end of the day, the success of these companies is predicated on their ability to create compelling devices and that doesn't change with Steve (Jobs) stepping down,” Kreher said from St.Louis, Mo.

“In fact, we think Apple will continue to have the best in class phone for the next few years.”

Shares in Research In Motion were up 13 cents to $28.38 in late morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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  • Updated August 18 4:00 PM EDT. Delayed by at least 15 minutes.


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