Next week Apple will officially unveil its iCloud service, which could spell trouble for many of Apple's competitors.
The details behind the iCloud are not definite. Most reports say the iCloud will provide a place for consumers to store streaming media, from any source and not just iTunes, which would then be able to be synced onto any compatible device. Various reports say Apple has locked up deals with the four major music labels in order to get their music on board for this service.
Many industry experts, such as Barclays Capital analyst Ben A. Reitzes, say the iCloud may very well help Apple sell more of its own hardware. The service could help customers lock in people to the Apple ecosystem since it would be easily compatible to the iPhone, iPod, iPad and Mac computer lineup.
We believe that Apple could charge a recurring fee for this service and will likely offer much more available memory than competitors since its users have much larger libraries of music, movies and photos. We believe that Apple realizes this offering could help it sell more Macs, iPhones, iPods and iPads - and the acceleration of its capex growth could be an indication of its potential, Reitzes said.
Not only do many analysts see the iCloud as a reason Apple will continue its dominance in mobile hardware sales, but some say it will impact the company's competitors. Shaw Wu, analyst at Stern Agee, says Research In Motion could be affected by the iCloud.
We did some additional analysis on the potential impact on AAPL's iCloud on the competitive landscape and believe RIMM could see collateral damage, Wu said.
iCloud has the potential to change the game again in making iTunes even more powerful and useful by giving users access to their content from any device, anywhere. Competitors including RIMM, GOOG, AMZN and MSFT already have a hard time competing with iTunes as it is but we believe will likely find it even tougher with iCloud enhancements.
RIM has struggled as of late in the mobile space. The company had to cut its forecast due to lowered sales a few weeks ago and as a result its stock took a dive. Currently, its stock sits at $39.73 per share, which is the lowest it has been in two years. Over the past six months alone, the stock has sunk from a high of $69.86 per share.
UBS analyst Amitabh Passi cut his target for RIM from $60 to $45 this morning. Passi said the company is bringing out a lackluster product lineup this summer, and won't be able to turn itself around.
We believe RIMMs success is now much more dependent on its consumer appeal where it is under attack from Android and Apple. Further, the Enterprise base is also vulnerable as corporations increasingly contemplate a BYOD (bring your own device) model with Apple and Android alternatives, Passi said.