Short RIM Under $10; Buy Nokia

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It is hard to quantify how unimpressive if not abhorrently pathetic smartphone manufacturer Research in Motion ( RIMM) has become.

Research in Motion at its peak had Wall Street by the collar and made the word "BlackBerry" synonymous with enterprise status -- an iconic presence that transcended to pop culture with consumers wearing their phones like wannabe corporate executives. Even high school students could not get enough of the BlackBerry craze that eventually made its ways to Jay-Z rap songs.

However today, consumers don't go around admitting they own a BlackBerry. It would be like admitting a battle with low self-esteem or like a display of gross stubbornness, an inability to leave the past behind.

Though the company has clearly lost its battle with Apple ( AAPL) and Google ( GOOG), investors have continued to think RIM would come up with a way to survive or maybe even was just one good idea away from regaining its form.

One such idea hinged on the BlackBerry 10. Hope reigns eternal but is not an investment strategy. As it turns out, hope was all the company had for this project.

Same Old, Same Old

In a recent article I talked about how the company seemed to finally be embracing a shift in focus to the "entry-level" devices to compete more effectively with Nokia ( NOK).

Although there were doubts that this would indeed be the direction that the company takes, this idea makes a lot of sense on many levels. But if it didn't appear true last week, by now the company and investors must see that it needs to be a top priority -- there couldn't have been any clearer evidence than when RIM offered the market a glimpse of the highly anticipated BlackBerry 10 platform at its May 1 annual world showcase.

While the company's intent was to reassure investors, it instead showed that RIM may even be unprepared to compete with Microsoft's ( MSFT) Windows phone, much less recoup lost market share from the iPhone.

As much hope has been placed on the BB10, the platform fell short of expectations. Certainly it is not impressive enough to drive consumers to spend.

RIM appears to have already forgotten that it recently reported revenues of $4.2 billion -- a drop of 19% from the previous quarter. Management said the decline was caused by BlackBerry smartphone shipments falling from 14.1 million in Q3 to 11.1 million in Q4.

Not only are consumers speaking with their wallets but investors have also been screaming with their positions, evident by the fact that the stock has also lost over 70% of its value over the past 52 weeks. The company still does not get it and in stubborn fashion has ignored the future of mobile data and disregarded the needs of its consumers.

Bottom Line

RIM is not going to ever catch Apple or Google. To its credit it (at least), it appears to understand this reality. It has now set its sights on securing the No. 3 spot in terms of market share by focusing on the "entry level" phone market to attack Nokia and Microsoft. But it is clear that the latter are much better buys at this level and have a considerable amount of momentum in their favor as Microsoft is due to release is new version of Windows 8. That level of excitement alone is certain to scare even Apple.

For RIM, I don't see a scenario where it will remain above $10 for very long and as a price range of $5 to $8 looms, the stock yet might be a decent short.

At the time of publication, the author was long MSFT and AAPL.

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