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RIM Falls on Concern That BB10 Can’t Beat Smartphone Foes

Research In Motion Ltd., slated to introduce its new BlackBerry 10 product lineup later this week, fell 7.8 percent on concern that the phones won’t reverse the company’s decline in smartphone sales.

The shares fell to $16.18 at the close in New York, the biggest decline in more than a month. Before the drop, the stock had climbed almost 50 percent this year, fueled by optimism that the BlackBerry 10 can put the company on the path to recovery.

“Everything we’ve seen suggests they are catching up to the competition, but there’s nothing here that says this is why you need this device more than anything else,” said Jan Dawson, chief telecommunications analyst with the New York office of London-based Ovum Ltd.

RIM Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins will unveil new BlackBerry 10 phones Jan. 30 in in New York. The new product line is RIM’s attempt to maintain its current customers and win back people who have switched to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy, which runs on Google Inc.’s popular Android platform.

Apple and Android phones represented 92 percent of smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter, according to a report today from Strategy Analytics. Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM’s BlackBerry subscribers numbered 79 million at the end of the last quarter, down about 1 million from the previous three-month period.

“The new phones will give them a good year in 2013 selling mostly to the BlackBerry faithful, but that is a shrinking niche of customers,” said Dawson.

The stock has posted declines of at least 6 percent 10 times in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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