The decline of Research in Motion is quite well known now, especially after a firm estimated that RIM has lost the number one spot for cell phone shipments in its domestic market (Canada). Unsurprisingly, the company overthrowing RIM from its position was Apple. The data compiled by the IDC and Bloomberg indicate that the Waterloo based company shipped a total of 2.08 million units last year. In comparison Apple had shipped 2.85 million units, topping the former by more than half a million units. Comparing these with the figures last year revealed that RIM beat Apple by a figure which was a little less than the current difference between the two companies. Further into the past i.e. looking at the 2008 figures (iPhone debut), RIM sold five times the number of units sold by Apple.
BlackBerry enjoyed good local support courtesy of its made in Canada roots. BlackBerry’s loss in share in its domestic market only goes the show the improvement in Apple’s iOS with regard to ease of use and its huge stock of apps, which is undoubtedly increasingly appealing to corporate customers as well.
In a bid to halt the sales slump in its domestic market, RIM’s current CEO Thorsten Heins, is attempting a different sales strategy all together. There are rumours which point towards the company working hard at improving the UI in the existing BlackBerry 7 smartphones and others which indicate that the BlackBerry 10 range is expected to employ better specs. However, many analysts predict that BB10 will be a case of too-little-too-late.
Canada accounts for 7% of the total sales in RIM’s revenue. In Canada, RIM recorded a fall of 23% in revenue during the third quarter of the last fiscal year. This was the same time when the sales in US tumbled 45%. These abysmal numbers offset handsome emerging market sales, pulling worldwide revenue down by 5.9%. Few critics believe the lack of publicity upon the arrival of the iPhone was one explanation for RIM’s drop in sales. Thanks to these abysmal numbers BlackBerry has dropped to 54th in the world’s top 100 brands while Apple climbed nine places to the 8th spot.
Despite this decline, many customers continue to remain loyal to RIM devices. There are many firms and banks in Canada who continue to issue BlackBerry devices to their employees. RIM continues to have an edge in the Middle East, as teenagers continue to use its messaging service for interacting, which is already quite restricted in such areas. Even in Latin America RIM’s services outsell the iPhone. The BlackBerry’s low marginal cost is believed to be the factor driving these sales. RIM now hopes to leverage its sales in emerging markets to offset the massive loss in market share in its own backyard as well as the United States.