Did Google Just Ring Research in Motion’s Death Knell?

Research in Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) Blackberry just took another step toward the fate of Palm Pilots. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) new deal to acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings (NYSE:MMI) continues to support Android’s plan for world domination at the expense of Blackberries or Playbooks running Research in Motion’s operating system.

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Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) has been in deep trouble since Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched the first iPhone. For whatever reason, RIM just sat back and coasted on Blackberry’s laurels rather than continuing to innovate to keep their advantage over an increasingly competitive smartphone landscape. It’s a classic example of the fat king of the hill forgetting that things change and competition is perpetual.

So, today Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) stood up to the big bell and rang Research in Motion’s death knell. Now RIM stands in direct competition with pairings of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), and industry lion Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Call me a skeptic, but I don’t see the odds in RIM’s favor. In fact, from a strategy standpoint, RIM is now also less likely to create a partnership with Android if Google sees more potential with Motorola hardware. Too bad RIM didn’t listen in March when I said they should should pivot and go with Android as their mobile OS.

As I write this, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is out with a huge downgrade on RIM shares from a price target of $34 to $22. Yikes! Goldman says the “competitive gap” is now too wide to close. Although nothing is impossible, RIM is in for a long road ahead unless they procure a miracle or highly innovative new technology. Until then, my ears are ringing.

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