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My name is Erwin Castro. I enjoy analyzing and reading tech stocks, following the technology industry to make analysis, and writing articles that people find useful. This is my passion. I manage my own money, which has been a very diligent effort of years of saving. My educational background is... More
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  • Microsoft Vs. RIMM: The Tech World's Next Big Fight

    This year something big is coming, a new type of battle is likely to emerge. It could be tech world's next big fight. Forget Apple vs. Google, Toyota vs. GM, or Oracle vs. IBM. The most intense rivalry now and perhaps the next biggest fight in the tech world is the one between Microsoft and RIM, the battle of the scrappers.

    Microsoft (MSFT), the world's largest software firm and a platform company that still can't seem to find its footing in the mobile space with Windows Phone platform. And Canadian-based Research In Motion (RIMM), a once-powerful mobile player and the former "king of enterprise market", steadying itself as it's prepares for a renewed mobile assault. The two titans will face each others in one of the industry's next big fight- the mobile battle for the third spot.

    This will be a long, brutal, sudden-death match and it is unlikely that either company will emerge as the clear winner this year; it's the mobile world's next biggest battle. Microsoft will not end the year with a dominant position in the mobile market, it's now readying a massive counterattack. RIM is not going to go down without a good fight, and readying its latest mobile salvo-the BB10 assault. It's a fight between two scrappers, vying for a piece of pie- the third spot in the hypercompetitive smartphone market.

    Let's take a closer look at the tale of the tape:

    Microsoft (WP7 and WP8)

    Microsoft has been left far behind in the mobile platform battle by Apple and Google, but the software company is planning to make a comeback by putting more resources into this segment and taking a partnership with Nokia. The company hopes that it could win a significant share of the mobile market if Nokia (NYSE:NOK) succeeds with its Lumia range of smartphones. Lumia has been receiving great buzz and good reviews, and still on rampage. Finland-based Nokia has completely hitched itself to Microsoft camps by abandoning its aging Symbian OS and going for Microsoft's Windows OS platform.

    Windows Phone OS is a sleek, fast and unique platform, and enterprise-ready platform. It bears no resemblance to traditional mobile operating systems from Google's Android and Apple's iOS, it offer a unique, fresh user interface. A "Live tiles" populate the smartphone's home screen and offer no-touch, and real-time information to the user. Microsoft has made some great innovations on its Windows Phone; it's now more user-friendly and easy to navigate.

    On addition, Windows Phone platform has distinction, performance and the backing of some big handset players including Nokia (NOK), HTC (2498) and soon to join: giant Samsung. It has a widely installed PC base in place that it can leverage to pose a big threat to RIMM. It can also leverage its mobile partnership with Nokia and other OEMS (HTC) to push for an integrated experience across all devices, and create a viable third mobile ecosystem capable of competing with likes of Apple and Google.

    But today's battlefield does not favor the software company; the timing is bad for Microsoft's Windows Phone launch. Google's Android and Apple's iOS are making market inroads and moving at breakneck speeds, it's an uphill battle for Microsoft.

    Research In Motion (BlackBerry 10 and QNX operating system)

    Research In Motion, maker of the once-dominant BlackBerry operating system, is readying a new version of mobile OS- BB10 with a derivative of the QNX operating system it acquired from Harman International in 2010. BlackBerry 10 has some advantages over Microsoft. The Canadian-based company has a massive subscriber base of 79 million BlackBerry users to start with. RIMM key strength has always been its massive 79 million subscribers, who have been very loyal to the company's BlackBerry brand. It what's keep the BlackBerry brand alive and moving.

    RIM also has managed to build buzz for its upcoming next-generation BB10 powered smartphones and devices. Wall Street and investors are excited; it's the shot in the arm the entire industry have been waiting for.

    The new BB10 platform will provide a much smoother user experience, top-notch mobile security, access to BlackBerry Messenger and physical QWERTY keyboards (optional). The company is spinning the trend toward BYOD as a strong selling point for BB10, and a key part of the company's strong commitment to the enterprise world.

    Research In Motion (RIMM) has a uphill hill battle to fight as it prepares to launch its next-generation BlackBerry 10 operating system later this month. Launching new BlackBerry 10 smartphones is the company's last hope for market survival. The company hopes that by launching a unique user interface that showcases compelling differentiation it can fend off fierce competition in the market and eventually regain its lost glory. There are many reasons why consumers will like the next version of BlackBerry platform, top-notched security is the first reason, and enterprise capabilities are the second.

    Conclusion

    Microsoft isn't going to outplay RIM and it's certainly going to be a tough fight and a long run. But Microsoft has huge built-in advantages, because it has by far the most experience with mobile platforms, has been working for decade with its Windows Mobile platform for handheld devices. In addition, Microsoft has a massive war chest $60 billion enable the company to explore new market and make adventure elsewhere. It has a massive global reach and army of engineers, and well-positioned to enter the mobile market.

    Apple and Google will continue to attract much of the attention in the market. But the fight between RIM and Microsoft will be much vicious and brutal, and will draw much attention; it will exchange salvo and fatal blows in an effort to make an ascent that could gain steam as Apple and Google's Android lose their buzz.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Jan 26 4:26 AM | Link | Comment!
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