Gauging the U.S. stock market’s like refereeing a game of psych-out, so caveat reader, but as short-term signals go, it looks like Apple’s misfortunes—say the world’s most illustrious CEO resigning—are not-so-disguised blessings for Research in Motion.
RIM shares surged more than 2% Thursday morning after the Blackberry manufacturer revealed a new $5 a month cloud-based BBM Music service with a twist—you can share your songs with fellow subscribers. And here’s another: You can select up to 50 songs at a time, and since any of your friends can listen to them, the more BBM friends you have, the more music in your virtual coffers. You’re allowed to swap out 25 songs a month.
Whether you think BBM’s brilliant, boring, or just irrelevant, it’s here today, and apparently winning investor kudos. Apple doesn’t yet have an online music storage and sharing service. All you can do with iTunes is browse and buy, though iTunes Match promises to let you store your music online when Apple’s iCloud service launches later this year.
Apple’s stock was off a modest 2% in early trading this morning following last night’s surprise announcement that CEO Steve Jobs would step down, cede his position to COO Tim Cook and become Apple’s Chairman of the Board. That’s after Apple share prices fell over 5% last night in after-hours trading. So far, at least, the “fallout” over Jobs’ resignation is a non-event.
And while investors may be rewarding RIM in part because of the coincident timing of Apple and RIM’s announcements, it’s unlikely they’re punishing Apple because of BBM Music—or, for that matter, Apple’s MIA alternative, though after the considerable ups and downs of Apple’s MobileMe service, perhaps I’m speaking too soon.