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Morgan Stanley downgrades BlackBerry maker RIM

With its BlackBerry smart phone facing ban in India and other countries for security concerns, its new Torch 9800 device getting lukewarm response and its market share and stock falling, ratings of Research In Motion (RIM) to 'sell' were lowerded by Morgan Stanley.

business Updated: Aug 21, 2010 13:20 IST

With its BlackBerry smart phone facing ban in India and other countries for security concerns, its new Torch 9800 device getting lukewarm response and its market share and stock falling, ratings of Research In Motion (RIM) to 'sell' were lowerded by Morgan Stanley on Friday.

From a high of about $150 in June 2008, RIM stock has plunged more than 60 percent now. It further slipped almost three percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday to close at $51.

Currently, BlackBerry has 46 million subscribers worldwide. But surging sales of iPhone 4 and Android devices have dislodged it from its top slot in the US market.

Changing RIM's rating from "underweight" to "overweight", Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum said there is mounting evidence that RIM "could lose (market) share faster than we had been modeling".

He said the demands by many countries to block BlackBerry services, the 'disheartening' response to its Torch 9800, corporates opting for iPhone 4 and the success of Google Android devices, show that the "longer-term headwinds have become too numerous for the stock to work in the near or mid future".

According to the Morgan Stanley analyst, BlackBerry's share of the global smart phone market could come down to 13.1 percent in 2012, down from a previous estimate of 16 percent.

With Apple's iPhone 4 and Android devices overtaking and the Torch 9800 not proving to be a game-changer for RIM, the Canadian iconic company may go the way of Nokia whose slide from the global perch began with the launch of Apple's iPhone in 2006. Since 2007, Nokia stock has lost three-fourths of its value.

If Nokia's history is any guide, wrote a blogger recently, the decline in RIM stock so far could just be the beginning. RIM's next bet is the tablet computer likely to be unveiled in November.

But by then Motorola, Samsung and HP are also likely to invade the iPad market with their own tablets.