Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

A taxonomy of iPhone competitors

February 21, 2009: 9:54 AM ET

RBC smartphone chartWho can keep track of all the touchscreen smartphones -- and their attendant app stores -- that emerged from Mobile World Congress this week to compete with Apple's (AAPL) iPhone?

RBC Capital's Mike Abramsky can. Attached to a report to clients released Friday is a handy chart of "emerging competitors" that covers most of the latest mobile operating systems: Palm's (PALM) webOS, Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Mobile 6.5, Google's (GOOG) Android, Nokia's (NOK) Symbian S60 and couple of proprietary outliers.

The chart would be more realistic if it included the two smartphones battling most fiercely for the U.S. market: the iPhone and Research in Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry.

But it's hard to tell the players without a scorecard, and this is a good start. The full chart is posted below the fold, with thanks to AppleInsider.

Abramsky sees the increasingly competitive landscape -- and the pressure it will put on Cupertino to change the iPhone's pricing structure when and if it ships a third-generation model this year -- as further justification for the "underperform" rating he slapped on Apple in January. Abramsky's $70 price target is the lowest in the business. (See Mike Abramsky's bad Apple advice.)

Apple shares closed Friday at $91.2, up 0.62% for the day.

Below: Abramsky's taxonomy.

Click to enlarge.

abromsky-taxonomy

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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