My how the mighty have fallen. RIM’s BlackBerry, once the most dominate smartphone on the planet, even nicknamed “Crackberry” at a time because of all the people addicted to its email and chat features. But because of the arrival of the iPhone, a concept former co-CEO’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, laughed off, saying “those computer guys won’t be able to come in and just get it right,” they fell behind, dramatically. It didn’t help that Android’s popularity exploded right after the iPhone took off, adding further competition that RIM seemed content on ignoring.
Now here we are heading into 2013 and RIM hasn’t shipped a new phone over a year, their marketshare has fallen to below 3% here in the States and to only 8% in the UK—a former large and loyal market for RIM. To make matters worse, RIM’s fixture countries on which they previously relied on for a firm customer base, has fallen apart according to a new report from Kantar Worldpanel. BlackBerry marketshare in Brazil has fallen from 9% to only 3%, while in France it has fallen from 16% to 7%, and finally the biggest drop off happened in Spain, where BlackBerry now only holds 3% of the market, all the way down from 24%. To make matters worse for RIM, as they fail to release a product until next year, Microsoft continues to see a gain—no matter how small—in marketshare and have even surpassed BlackBerry in the U.S.
RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins says that he believes that they are exactly where they need to be and that BlackBerry 10 will turn the company around. There’s only one problem, RIM’s enterprise business is falling apart, with not only large corporations like Clorox and Yahoo, ditching their BlackBerrys for iPhones and Android devices, so are several big U.S. Government agencies, like ICE, NOAA, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, The National Transportation Safety Board and while they haven’t completely dropped BlackBerry, the Pentagon is even allowing employees to use Apple and Google’s smartphones. Needless to say, RIM’s big dollar clients are leaving left and right and are spending millions of dollars in order to make the switch. Does RIM really think that these companies and agencies will jump back to their unproven BB10 OS, after dishing out millions to leave? I think not.
I’m not saying RIM won’t sell a few million BB10 devices, but without offering users anything “special” they can’t already get on another platform, I just don’t see them selling enough to keep the lights on. Their drop in marketshare is evidence enough that former RIM consumers are done with the company and are ready for something new, be it the iPhone, Android or Windows Phone.
RIM can spin their PR anyway they like, but the numbers don’t lie, people do. I’ll give Heins credit for putting on a good game face, but that still doesn’t change the company’s future, or lack thereof. They’re losing marketshare, customers and clients, they’re also two and half months away from launching BB10, they will miss the crucial holiday shopping season and will essentially launch a new platform in a field dominated by two powerhouses, who combine make up 97% of market, and a third place contestant who has billions to spend. It’s only a matter of time before the employees at RIM share the same fate as Napoleon, they both lost in Waterloo.