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TheStreet Open House

Will Apple's Shot at Google Hit RIM and Nokia Instead?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) no-news Worldwide Developers Conference announcement of leaving Google (GOOG) maps for its own is clearly a blow for Google, but the impact on Google's earnings may not amount to much more than a difference in rounding. iPhones account for much of mobile search with GPS, etc. (about half), and it's an valuable half. The demographics of iPhone users are coveted by advertisers for their income levels.

Along with road, location and travel information provided back to Google's HAL 9000 computer system to figure out what people want, Google is able to better target ads for everyone.

Apple's Steve Jobs wasn't all too pleased with Google's Android entry into the phone space, and we all know what they say about paybacks. Google has two choices and only one makes sense. Google can double down on mobile, mapping, GPS etc., and make sure the user experience is far and above the iPhone native experience. A Herculean task to be sure, which would have most competitor CEOs curling up in the fetal position under their desks. Google, a company where building a better user experience is what they eat for breakfast, has its hands full here.

My Enemy's Enemy is my Friend

It's no surprise that Facebook (FB) is further integrated into iPhone. Facebook's biggest challenge is monetizing mobile. For Facebook, the ability to make a buck on all the moms uploading little Michael's picture with cake on his face is essential if Facebook has any hope of ever seeing a stock price north of $38 again.

Google currently offers the only real social alternative to Facebook, and to say it's lagging is generous. Based on what I have seen so far, I expect Google to continue to step up its game and Facebook investors to face a lot of quarters waiting for growth to justify the outsized valuation. It doesn't mean it won't happen, though, and like Amazon (AMZN), developments can take time.

Caught in the Middle

Research In Motion (RIMM) and Nokia (NOK - Get Report) are now caught between the unmovable force and the now-hitting unstoppable force. Without Microsoft (MSFT), I would have no trouble signing the death certificate for Nokia and consider it no different than Palm II without a savior like Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) to come to the rescue. At $21.50 a share, HP has to try to save itself right now.

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