UPDATE 1-Apple-IBM deal dents BlackBerry's prospects, slams stock

Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:03pm EDT
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(Adds analyst comment; updates share prices)

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, July 16 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd's shares took a beating on Wednesday after IBM Corp outlined plans to partner with Apple Inc to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with applications for business users.

The Apple-IBM tie up, beginning this fall, is set to target the customer base that BlackBerry needs to woo as part of a turnaround under new Chief Executive Officer John Chen.

"It is not a crushing blow at this early stage, but it is a negative for BlackBerry," said IDC analyst John Jackson. "There can be little question that it is unwelcome, if not entirely unexpected news."

BlackBerry's stock has been on a tear this year. As of Tuesday, it was up more than 50 percent as some investors became more optimistic about the company's future.

News of the Apple-IBM venture took some of the steam out of the stock on Wednesday.

BlackBerry shares fell 9.4 percent to $10.24 on Nasdaq and 9.3 percent to C$11.03 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after analysts said the alliance could hurt the turnaround plans.

IBM said late Tuesday the tie-up will offer services geared toward security and mobile device management, an area viewed as BlackBerry's strong suit and a key selling point in its battle to win back market share from the iPhone and devices powered by Google Inc's Android software.   Continued...