Who’s Gunning For Apple Inc. (AAPL)? Google Inc (GOOG), Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN)

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Microsoft is playing catch up in the mobile operating system space. Its initial effort wasn’t well received and was quickly dismissed by the market. However, Microsoft has massive amounts of money and a stick-to-it attitude, especially when the market it’s trying to enter is so important. Thus, it has teamed up with Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) to help fund that company’s efforts at creating a competitive smart phone.

Although it is still early in the game, Nokia’s new phone has received rave reviews and posted impressive sales numbers. While Apple clearly beat Microsoft on the music player front (few people still remember the ill fated Zune), the mobile space is far too important for Microsoft to concede as easily. With plenty of cash and an impressive new product showcasing Microsoft’s mobile chops, it looks highly likely that Apple will have to keep a close eye on this industry powerhouse.

BlackBerry, AKA Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)

BlackBerry, which just changed its name from Research In Motion, went from the industry leader to the also ran in the smart phone world. The company’s fall from grace had much to do with ego, a sad fact of life for companyies built by people with strong personalities. However weak, the company isn’t dead. In fact, it still has some market share in the smart phone space, particularly on the important and often highly profitable business side.

With a new collection of phones just coming out, BlackBerry could reassert itself as a viable competitor. One of the nice features about the company’s new phones is the ability to separate work from pleasure, the inability to do this has long been a complaint about the iPhone. Although the big fuss over the new BlackBerry 10 is the touch screen model, Research in Motion plans to bring out a version with its famous keyboard, which should keep die hard BlackBerry fans happy. Note that the company just announced a name change to align its name with the name of its product—BlackBerry.

Proprietary Problems

One of Apple’s biggest problems is that it has to keep being hip and cool, while at the same time bringing out innovative new products. That’s hard to do. Worse, since it doesn’t share its technology, it needs to keep selling more and more of its own devices to keep the top and bottom lines growing. While China should offer plenty of growth opportunities, it doesn’t change the long-term competitive issues the company faces. When everybody’s gunning for you, you’re eventually going to get shot.

Yours,

The article Who’s Gunning For Apple? originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Reuben Gregg Brewer.

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