March 14, 2008: 12:18 PM EDT
Email | Print    Type Size  -  +

Got grimple in your portfolio?

Remember when investors bet on 'Wintel'? Today the smart money is on 'Grimple.'

By Adam Lashinsky, Fortune senior writer

(Fortune Magazine) -- Back in the '90s, "Wintel" became shorthand for the seemingly unstoppable combination of Microsoft's Windows and Intel's chips. Wintel wasn't a bad investment thesis either. For years betting against either stock proved a sucker's game.

Lately hedge fund traders have started using a new term: "Grimple."

Grimple is a conflation of Google, RIM (the acronym for BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIMM)), and Apple. Each company is the clear leader in one of tech's hottest areas: Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) for search advertising, RIM for wireless communicators, and Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) for the convergence of computers, consumer devices, and recorded entertainment.

During market instability, owning three mega-cap market leaders (combined market value: $283 billion) is a comforting idea for some. "People think there's safety there because they're huge," says Douglas Whitman, a tech-focused hedge fund manager in Palo Alto. "The three have fantastic businesses, and none trade for ridiculously high valuations." (Especially now that Apple, Google, and RIM are off 39%, 37%, and 19%, respectively, from their all-time highs.)

Whether the term will spread beyond trading desks is no sure thing, though. Or as a Google spokesperson told Fortune, "I had not heard of 'Grimple' before your e-mail. Sorry about that."  To top of page