RIM, Apple keep feet on the gas


Twelve per cent of US consumers purchasing the new Apple iPhone 3G S are replacing a BlackBerry handset, according to analyst firm Piper Jaffray.

The figure is up from six per cent a year ago. However, it reflects also moves by BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) into the consumer space during the past 12 months, where Apple primarily pitches its products.

RIM said 80 per cent of BlackBerry handsets sold in the last quarter were to “non-enterprise” customers, in the consumer and small business sectors, which now account for more than 50 per cent of its total 29 million customers.

Shares in RIM fell last week after its forecasts for the quarter fell short of analysts’ expectations. However, RIM added 3.8 million net new customers in the first quarter, almost two thirds above the same quarter last year, which helped its revenues to rise 53 per cent over the year.

RIM said it will add between 3.8 million and 4.1 million customers in the second quarter, lower than expected. Shares fell five per cent as a result – although they have doubled since March.

RIM co-chief executive Jim Balsillie shrugged off the threat from the new iPhone and the newly launched Palm Pre. He said: “I think we’ve demonstrated a lot of strength in the last two quarters, and I’m not seeing anyone take their foot off the gas.”

Apple said last week it had sold one million iPhone 3G S models within three weeks of launch.