By all accounts, Apple is preparing to report the biggest quarter in the company’s storied history on January 24th, fueled by solid Mac sales, strong iPad demand and unprecedented iPhone sales. And despite Wall Street’s high expectations, a number of analysts are still expecting Apple to beat the Street when it reports its first fiscal quarter earnings next Thursday. RBC Capital Markets’s Mike Abramsky on Wednesday told clients that an “iPhone frenzy” in Apple’s December quarter will result in a solid first-quarter beat, and the analyst raised his target on Apple stock as a result. Read on for more. More →
Research In Motion confirmed part of an exclusive BGR report Thursday night when its co-CEOs announced during an earnings call that its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone would not launch until the “latter part of 2012.” Despite RIM’s earlier statement that a QNX-powered smartphone would launch in the first half next year, we reported in November that RIM’s first next-generation smartphone would not launch until the third quarter. RIM co-Chief Mike Lazaridis blamed the delay on new dual-core processors that were not yet ready to be manufactured in bulk, but the fact remains that by the time RIM’s first QNX-based smartphone launches it will be competing against Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone, a horde of new Android phones with next-generation features and specs, a variety of Windows Phones from Nokia, and more. According to one analyst, BlackBerry 10 may be “too little, too late.” Read on for more. More →
Research In Motion’s latest run of BlackBerry smartphones was reportedly well-received early on, with checks from a number of sources having indicated strong upgrade sales for several phone models. Demand has apparently been waning lately however, as strong competition from the likes of Android and Apple’s iPhone has drawn attention away from sleek new BlackBerry phones like the Bold 9900. Now, more bad news comes from a firm that has historically seen RIM’s glass as being half full while other investment banks were telling their clients to head for the hills. Read on for more. More →
Amazon is seeing huge pent-up demand for its Kindle Fire tablet ahead of launch according to data from a recent study. Market research firm ChangeWave conducted a survey of 2,600 consumers in an effort to quantify demand for Amazon’s upcoming Kindle Tablet. In a note to clients on Wednesday, RBC analyst Mike Abramsky presented ChangeWave’s data, which shows strong demand that exceeds pre-launch demand for the iPad as determined by a similar survey in 2010. Read on for more. More →
Research In Motion still has a few big-name firms in its corner — Macquarie is one example — but even long-time supporters seem to be losing patience with the Waterloo, Ontario-based vendor. “We don’t see valuation improving until RIM addresses four key issues, which we think keep investors from properly valuing the company,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky wrote in a note to investors on Tuesday. “We view recent Q2 results as symptomatic of RIM’s failure to address these challenges.” Abramsky goes on to list four points RIM must address in order to right the ship, the first of which is escaping its tendency to launch “backwards-looking, uncompetitive products and software.” Read on for more. More →
Microsoft gave the world a closer look at Windows 8 on Tuesday and while we all wait to see what the tech giant will actually deliver, the company’s vision is believed by some to embody the future of personal computing. Of course Microsoft’s vision entails a multi-pronged approach, but all eyes are on one prong in particular for the time being: tablets. And where these slim, sleek, sought-after slates are concerned, analysts are already beginning to weigh in on Microsoft’s odds. Read on for more. More →
Apple’s iPhone 4 has been the best-selling smartphone in the world since it launched over 14 months ago in June 2010, but the iPhone 5 is even more highly anticipated than the current-generation model was ahead of its release. According to a recent survey conducted by RBC Capital Markets, Apple’s iPhone 5 is seeing “unprecedented demand” ahead of its release, which is expected next month. Headed by analyst Mike Abramsky, the investment bank commissioned a survey of 2,200 people between August 2nd and August 10th, and found that 31% of respondents were very likely or somewhat likely to purchase an iPhone 5 once it launches. Ahead of the iPhone 4 release last year, a similar RBC survey found that 25% of consumers planned to purchase the smartphone. Read on for more. More →
Nokia’s situation may not be quite as “dire” as initially anticipated according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue. Despite Nokia’s rough second-quarter earnings, which were called “clearly disappointing” by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Sue sees Nokia in a better position than most. In a note to investors on Friday, the analyst reiterated his Outperform rating on Nokia stock and set a price target of $9. Sue increased his third-quarter unit shipment estimate to 100 million devices from his earlier estimate of 89 million, noting that sales of Nokia’s Symbian devices will likely not drop off as rapidly as had been expected. “Nokia may be seeing better trends for its dual-SIM devices and less of a decline in its traditional Symbian devices than originally expected,” Sue wrote. “Feedback on Nokia’s new Windows device may be encouraging and we expect Nokia to launch on schedule before the holiday season.” The analyst expects Nokia to announce its first Windows Phone handset, which he says will be based on the N9, at its annual Nokia World show in late October.
In a note to investors on Wednesday, RBC Capital Markets General Manager Mike Abramsky suggested that sales of RIM’s new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet may be exceeding the company’s initial expectations. According to Abramsky, RIM may have increased the number of tablets on order from its manufacturing partners by as much as 100% to between 1.2 and 1.5 million units for the second quarter of 2011. The note cites strong sales estimates as one possible cause, and also states that the launch of 4G-enabled versions of the PlayBook may have been pushed up to June — another possible cause for the ramp up. Despite the possible increase in orders, RBC maintains its earlier sales projections of 500,000 PlayBook tablets in RIM’s May quarter and 4 million units total in 2011.
Amid multiple reports to the contrary, RBC Capital Markets General Manager Mike Abramsky on Wednesday said first day PlayBook sales likely exceeded analysts’ expectations. In a note to investors, Abramsky states that RIM may have moved about 50,000 PlayBook tablets on launch day alone, including pre-order sales. The analyst and his team placed calls to 70 different Best Buy, Staples and RadioShack locations to inquire about PlayBook sales performance on launch day. Reported performance ranged from light sales in some locations to sell-outs, which occurred at 11% of the stores RBC polled. RBC also used Best Buy’s online inventory tool to check stock at 180 additional locations in 10 major U.S. cities, and found that the 16GB PlayBook is unavailable at 13% of stores, the 32GB model is unavailable at 87% of stores and the 64GB model is unavailable at 91% of the locations viewed. As preliminary inventory quantities for these stores is currently unknown, this information is of little use since many stores might not have received higher-capacity PlayBook models to begin with. Finally, Abramsky notes that the PlayBook may have outperformed first-day sales of Motorola’s XOOM and even Samsung’s popular Galaxy Tab, and he believes RIM is on track to sell 500,000 PlayBook tablets in its first quarter of availability.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue on Friday cut his price target for Motorola Mobility stock to $33 from his previous target of $38. Sue also lowered his first and second-quarter sales and revenue forecasts, citing increased competition and slow sales of Motorola’s XOOM tablet. Motorola anticipated a rough first quarter when it reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2010 earnings in January, but Sue now believes earlier estimates were still high. He notes increased competition from devices like the HTC ThunderBolt at key carrier partner Verizon Wireless in revising his first-quarter device sales estimate down to 9.2 million units from 9.9 million. Sue also shaved $100 million from his first-quarter revenue forecast, which now sits at $3 billion. In the second quarter, Sue now sees Motorola selling 10.5 million devices, which includes only 300,000 Motorola XOOM tablets — down from his earlier estimate of 400,000 XOOMs and 10.9 million total devices. Motorola anticipates a net loss of between $26 and $62 million in the first quarter of 2011.
In a note to investors on Monday, RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky highlighted several implications surrounding AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA. Interestingly, RBC sees the merger as having the potential to provide various benefits to each of three staunch rivals — Apple, RIM and Google. For Apple, this deal will drastically increase the company’s addressable market for the iPhone, and could result in an additional 6 to 8 million iPhone subscribers over the next 2 to 3 years. Abramsky also notes that additional pressure could be put on Sprint to offer its own version of the iPhone, which would make the device available from all major U.S. carriers. For RIM, Abramsky writes that while T-Mobile only accounted for between 5 and 7% of RIM’s revenue in 2010, the company could potentially put more BlackBerry devices in the hands of users when devices that would normally be AT&T exclusives become available to T-Mobile’s 46 million subscribers. Finally, RBC’s note points out that while Google may be losing a strong Android partner in T-Mobile, AT&T has shown that it is now committed to Android as a platform, which could lead to better device selection moving forward for former T-Mobile subscribers. AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile is expected to close within the next 12 months, pending regulatory approval.
Data from a survey released by RBC Capital Markets on Wednesday suggests that Apple customers’ buying intentions will not be impacted by Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ eventual departure from his role as chief executive. While pundits and analysts continue to panic over the possibility that the Apple chief may relinquish his role while on medical leave, RBC’s survey suggests customers aren’t quite as worried. 3,091 Apple customers responded to RBC’s survey between January 31st and February 9th, and 93% said they would continue buying Apple products once Jobs steps down. These results differ from data obtained from a similar survey conducted when Jobs took medical leave in 2008. At that time, 18% of respondents said they would be less likely to buy Apple’s wares. RBC suggests that the results indicate “Apple may be bigger than its CEO,” and that the company will continue to thrive in his absence. During Jobs’ last medical leave, Apple stock rose 144% and revenue rose 20%. RBC does note a potential long-term negative impact however, as Jobs is currently viewed as “Apple’s chief innovator, dealmaker, leader, motivator, and is deeply involved in minute decisions.”