Jefferies cuts RIM rating, sees delay to plans

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NEW YORK (AP) ? The maker of BlackBerry phones is delaying or even abandoning what has been rumored to be a plan to license its new operating system to Samsung Electronics, Jefferies & Co. said Friday, as it downgraded shares of Research In Motion.

Analyst Peter Misek also expects the company to back off or at least delay a tentative plan to launch a secure, subscription-based email and BlackBerry Messenger application for Android phones.

Instead, Misek expects new RIM CEO Thorsten Heins to continue RIM’s strategy of going head-to-head against Apple Inc.’s iPhone and the phones running Google Inc.’s Android software.

That leaves no near-term positive news to expect out of the struggling phone maker, Misek said. He cut his price target on the shares from $17 to $15 and downgraded his “Hold” rating to “Underperform.”

Shares of the Waterloo, Ont., company fell 1.6 percent, or 28 cents, to $16.89 in midday trading.

A representative with Research In Motion Ltd., had no immediate response.