Can RIM Succeed Without Significant US Market Share?

Thorstein Heins - Let's Rock & Roll This!
By Chris Umiastowski on 2 Feb 2012 12:23 pm EST

BBDoodle: RIM's New CEO Thorstein Heins rallies the RIM troops... "Lets Rock & Roll This!"

One of the most common bear arguments on RIM over the last couple of years has been that the BlackBerry brand would lose momentum in the US market. Unquestionably, this has proven to be true. ComScore's latest results show that RIM has 6.5% of the US mobile phone market. This is down sequentially from 7.1%. For comparison, Apple has 11.2% and Samsung dominates with 25.6%.

I will point out the obvious - these are not percentages of the smartphone market, they are percentages of the total mobile phone market. I don't really care to look at smartphone percentages because we're getting to the point where all phones are smart, and it's really about the death of the dumb phone nowadays.

Although RIM and Apple only make smartphones, Samsung still makes a ton of feature phones, so their 25.6% share is due, in large part, to the millions of feature phones they sell, not just Android. Samsung may or may not succeed in migrating its feature phone customers over to its own brand of smartphones. My bet is that feature phone customers aren't thinking about brand loyalty too much when they migrate to a smartphone. They're thinking about what platform they want to be on.

The investment community is worried that a decline in the US market share is simply a leading indicator of a global decline of the BlackBerry brand. So does that argument hold water?

Maybe and maybe not. I don't think it's fair to draw any conclusions quite yet. It all depends on RIM's execution in getting BlackBerry 10 OS out the door with awesome hardware to back it up, and an improved ecosystem including stronger developer support. Give me Skype already!

Nokia successfully grew for a long time without any significant presence in the US at all. In fact only now are they showing some signs of potential recovery stateside after adopting Windows Phone and producing some pretty nice hardware to run it.

So is it possible for RIM to keep growing its user base internationally despite having poor performance in the US? I don't have my Magic 8 Ball handy to give me the official correct answer, but I think Nokia's experience with Symbian in the pre-smartphone world shows that succeeding in the US is not a pre-requisite for succeeding internationally.

Obviously using Nokia as a case study isn't perfect. Things have changed. A few leading platforms have evolved. Apple and Android are dominating in terms of units sold. Instead of being a world where people bought phones, we're now in a world where people think about the ecosystem around the phone. They think about what platform their friends are on, or what their employer supports.

I'll often refer to Google Trends when I want to check out global demand for brands. BlackBerry still seems to be doing well in a lot of markets around the world including the UK, Latin America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.

I personally feel that we need to see RIM maintain its strength internationally to feel good about its future. If it can hold onto its international strength, why shouldn't it be able to make a decent comeback in the US?

Let's rock and roll this ...

Reader comments

Can RIM Succeed Without Significant US Market Share?


YES They R the Only TRUE International Device, The world is not just the U.S. Look outside the box and you will see the opposite in other countries

True. I am german and i can confirm that most Germans have a bad taste or only want to copy the american mainstream ;)
But in other european countries its COMPLETELY different.

Got some news for you. The world is really not that unique. I travel quite a bit and I can tell you that while we all want to hang on to cultural things, nearly everyone in the market for one wants the latest and greatest gadget.

Think about it.

We live in a truly global world where the 16 year old in New York tends to watch many of the same shows that the 16 year old in Australia sees. Music is pretty much the same way. I'm amazed every time I go to Brazil and hear the latest Rap or R&B album on the radio in the cab, and as soon as return to the states and turn on my car...the same song is playing.

I say all that to say this. The west (read the US) has really made iPhone the standard. Anyone (including blackberry) that releases a phone or tablet must at the very least meet the Apple standard (in Blackberry's case, they MUST exceed it).

So to answer the question...can they get by without a heavy US presence? Sure...but only right now. But when the kids turn on the tube and see their favorite artist holding up an iPhone...that may change.

This is most certainly true.

Another way to look at this is to ask has any phone suceeded without achieving a major share of the US market? What about achieving success without being reviewed by mainstream tech review sites?

I live in Asia many months a year, and in the countries that I have been to, all local tech reviews are essentially translation of the tech reviews from the states with personal comments.

Moreover, what is the point of a phone if its not a universal device. IM is integral to modern smartphones, and the mainstream free IMs are not cross-platform. Is it convenience to use a BlackBerry when your relatives in the States use iMessage and you have to ask them to turn on the less practical MSN/Yahoo Messenger beforehand or subscribe with additional fees to whatsapp?

What about other apps like maps etc that you can share your info easily when the other user uses the same platform?

A huge component of a smartphone's communication ability is dependent on the compatibility of the platform. This is a reason why all the early luxury phones failed and most of them now choose to adopt android despite the fact that a common os would clearly not do any good to the image of a phone made of solid gold.

Did you happen to stop in South America, the Caribbean, UK or Indonesia?? Also I was in Holland and I beg to differ on that 1, I saw BlackBerry when I was in the Red Light lol

Because smartphones are introduced much later in these market than the States; their market are still at infancy. For many Asian countries, Apple and Android hasn't even really started any aggressive campaigns. For some countries, it's due to local language input which RIM has already smoothed out years ago due to international communication needs of the device and Apple and Android are still a bit glitchy. Though I doubt UK is a normal market, judging from their tendency to bring back TV shows over and over again...If someone ended up in a coma in the 70s, they would wake up and find the same TV shows RIM may survive in UK, if they are satisfied with only the UK.

Actually in the UK we are still using ivory telephone handets with dials on them, the dials are frightfully heavy to operate but that's what butlers are for. Cha?

Sorry pal, you don't have a clue what you are talking about, but if you like to make sweeping judgements of an entire nation based on the TV show re runs you get in your country then good luck to you.

Fortunately there are enough sensible folk on this board to cancel out your hot air.

JK, I don't think you got that right.
Here in the Netherlands, a country of 16.7 million, there were 6 million mobile phones sold in 2011. Of those, 3.2 million were smartphones, with RIM taking up the lion's share.
Our mobile data market is dynamic, coverage is excellent for 3G, and 4G or whatever it will be called is in advanced trial phase.

To me, it doesn't feel infantile at all, which cannot be said about your comment, sadly.

Small businesses, mothers, teenagers and seniors were using mobile phones here when in the US these were limited to CEO's and wannabees... Lot's of 'm have adopted smartphones or soon will, if they don't skip that and just use a tablet for their mobile needs, that is.

Interestingly, quite a few people here feel more comfortable adopting BB (Canadian) than they would with Apple, as they feel (their opinions, not mine) that Americans tend to be loud, dominant, and ill-informed about anyhing outside their borders... How do you feel your comments would be perceived by them?

are u kidding which part of the world u stay in i am from India and stay in UK samsung,LG,sony ericsson are dumping Indian market with cheap android devices 100$ outright price no contract u say UK is still running in 70s, gud for u which country is in credit crunch u guys dont even have jobs Mr.America yes American market is imp but not anymore India and china make up half the world population and they sell phones outright in that market no credit like u guys so companies make a lot of money theres no more The American Dream its all over i am so sorry to burst your bubble come out of your american dream

It's pretty simple at this point. Blackberry is slipping in the US, but if they do things right with BB10, there's a lot of people that will happily get back on board, or stay on board with Blackberry.

Really? Now we are waiting to see if they do things right with BB10? Please, last year the mantra was, if they do things right with BB7, maybe things will turn around. RIM will be just fine, they will continue to lose market share up to a point and then level off. There will always be a rather large segment of people who will prefer to use a Blackberry. I won't do without BBM for example, I could care less if it is on BB7 or BB10.

I've been a site follower for a while and all I ever heard of BB7 was that it was a placeholder. I never had any delusions of grandeur that BB7 was for anything other than minimizing the flow of blood from the wound. Ever since the QNX acquisition it's been clear (at least on this site) that something from them would be the only shot at a real cure, not anything based on the old OS.

BB7 was only ever about maintaining sales until BB10 hit. You are wrong if you thought BB7 was the next thing from RIM.

Just as last year was supposed to be the year that the "Rimpire Strikes Back" and we all saw how that turned out.

The author uses Nokia as an example. Fast forward to present day. Nokia is going all-in exclusively with Windows Phone 7 OS after a billion-dollar deal with Microsoft. BlackBerry's future is not a question of US or international market share, but how it adapts to market realities. That being said, they should come out with one Android querty and one touch, as well as one Windows 7 qwerty and one touch. All four models would include exclusive BBM and push email. This would satisfy consumer demand and keep the brand top of mind until BB10 devices come out at the end of the year.

I am glad you are not running their company because your suggestion would basically kill Rim due to the delays it would cause to BB10 while it also encouraged people to move onto other platforms.

shawnmobile I think you have it backwards, Rim should license qnx out to other oem's, that will increase the number of people using the qnx/bb10 os and that will increase the number of developers wanting to make apps for the Os first.that strategy wont bring in new bb phone customers in the US,but it will bring new qnx/bb10 customers,Rim's core consumers aren't going anywhere.

I notice a lot of people on this site are optimistic about the possibility of licensing QNX, but is it really a great idea?

The quality of the hardware of these phones would be out of RIM's control, and do we need even more form factors than the ones already available? The licensed QNX phones will have none of signature hardware components due to RIM's patent (no RIM qwerty), they would be pretty much unpredictable hardware quality phones with an os that's only at its infancy. The major blow would be the cut of revenue on RIM's sales of their own handsets. The unpredictable interaction between sales/subscriptions/quality/brand name would require quite an optimist to execute this plan.

Someone who hasn't a clue about OS.

BB10 destroys Android and iOS. Just because the market doesn't understand that, doesn't make it BB10 bad.

They'll realise when RIM have Android and iOS running on BB10 faster and more reliably than they run on a dedicated device.


RIM hasn't shown anything on BB10. Even when they announced it last year they didn't have enough to show a simulated video of it in action. We have QNX but it took a year to even PIM working, I wonder how barebones bb10 will be since it is after all a completely new os.

Are you nuts? As if there are not enough Android phones out there already? And Windows has such little market share. That would be suicide for RIM. The only thing they have to offer over all the other phone hardware manufacturers now is that they have control of their own OS, much like Apple does. Their only chance of survival is to right the ship or get sold off in pieces.

And their only chance to right the ship from what we're hearing is BB10. I find it disconcerting that RIM would put all their eggs into one basket. One can only imagine the quarterly earnings call when they say "nothing to see here". The stock will have that bomb dropping sound effect! By fall we'll be itching for a significant new device and knowing RIM they won't have one til January 2013. They'd be crazy not to explore any and all options right now.

Think about the influence that American culture has abroad, and it becomes apparent that regardless of whether you like that or hate that - American influence abroad is a vehicle for pushing products abroad.

I'm not saying that RIM needs that to succeed, but putting something out there that would be seen as cool here in the U.S. would really help push it outside of the U.S. as well.

Your premise about all phones being smartphones is not even remotely true even if you just use the figures from your own link.

All phones - 234 million
Smartphones - 91 million

As far as your question, they cannot progress from where they are now without recovering in the States as far too many analysts and the media are based there and don't look outside their own borders leading to Rim getting hammered far harder than they deserve to be most of the time.

Even getting there is stretching the reality by a long way, if you had phrased it along the lines of it is getting close to the point where the majority of phones are smartphones then you would have closer to the truth and even that is probably a year or more away.

I disagree. I saw a report a while back that said by 2015 you won't be able to buy feature phones in most developed countries. They also said that by 2013 you won't be able to buy them in the USA.....seeing as all the major carriers have said that they are only going to accept LTE phones in 2012, it makes sense that their feature phones will soon be gone....How long that takes all depends on how long it takes for them to sell out of their current stock.

Same report said Canada would be a year behind the US, so....2014 for us

Oh and Chris, just for your reference, Koreans are extremely loyal to their country's brands. It is extremely difficult to find a Korean using anything but Samsung or LG except the occasional BB that are usually provided by foreign companies in Korea for their management staffs. Though the same could be said of Japan before iPhone took the country by storm last year; Japan never reached the "smartphone as a mainstream phone" stage yet before then.

I would be quite surprised if Korean feature phone users switch to BB or any other non-Korean smartphones.

I disagree that Blackberry has slipped. I think that for those using "dumb phones" out there, it is obvious that they don't know what they are missing and that is on RIM for the lack of marketing in the past. I still remember when I got my first Blackberry and I had no idea that I was grabbing what was then one of the hottest devices out there.

I think that the adjustment will come in marketing. They need to cater to the general public with marketing and still continue their push on businesses as well. Exposure is all that is needed. I would say it is safe to assume that people don't move up to smart phones because they only want a device to communicate and if RIM doesn't make it clear that they hold the ultimate device in that category then there is no where for those people to go.

RIM can't survive anywhere if it doesn't get its margins in order. Sure, there are emerging markets that RIM has done well to take advantage of, and any RIM fan will tell you how they added so many millions of customers in 2011 to total over 75 million. That's all great and the phone is obviously still popular, BUT, many of those phones are sold for nothing.

If BB 10 devices don't fly off the shelves, they'll have no choice but to deeply discount them, and once again their margins will die.

their margins?....True their margins are dropping...but so are everyone elses due to increased competition....Their margins are a lot stronger then most other mobile companies

RIM can certainly make a decent comeback. Those of us in the US seem to think that the world revolves around us. It doesn't. Now if they slip on a global level then I really don't see them making a recovery. But I think that besides RIM doing their part by upgrading hardware and strengthening the OS, we as Blackberry user's need to help out by getting involved and petitioning (Like the Skype initiative in the forums.) some of the application providers\creators.

I think part of the reason that we don't see as many apps (I personally don't care for them but apparently this is a sticking point for many people.) is because companies don't think that there are many Blackberry/Playbook owners out there. We need to let them know that there are a lot of us and we want the same access to their apps and services that they give to iOS/Android. I think if they see the numbers and demand, that may translate to revenue for them it may change the current attitude. That's how I see from my limited view of the playing field anyway.

I agree with most of your arguments. I would like to know if any developer could create a skype client or it would necessarily be microsoft. In that case, I think they would never do it as they would be helping a competitor.

The US market is very important. It's a major league playing field.

Every market has value as we live in a 'global village' but RIM needs to have a successful presence in the US, definitely...

"I personally feel that we need to see RIM maintain its strength internationally to feel good about its future. If it can hold onto its international strength, why shouldn't it be able to make a decent comeback in the US?"

Maintaning and market recapturing are two entirely different issues with very little relation to the other.

Unless RIM makes it clear on the specific market in which they wish to compete in, (ie general consumer vs business/corporate)'s hard to gauge the real change in market share.

Case in point, a german luxury brand like BMW vs North American cars/trucks like Ford. Each of these manufacturers produce goods that cater to the clients they've targeted. Each don't care too much how clients of the other manufacturer buy their own products. They probably do buy each other's cars, but their marketing campaign are geared towards their own consumer demographics that seek a premium auto or a pick up truck. That's just smart business. You can't be everything to everybody.

So if RIM picks to fight in very specific markets, I'm curious to know the distribution there. But to gauge against the overall cellphone or smartphone market, I'm not convinced that's as indicative of RIM ability or lackthereof to thrive.

Apple makes and sells monitors. I'm sure they're not too fussed that brands like Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba or Samsung are selling more than Apple does each year. The general public overall is much too price sensistive to buy a premium monitor. Apple chooses to compete in the premium echelons of the monitor market. Its likely RIM does the same with their focus on highly secure devices. Not everyone needs one but its there if people realize they want one.

My $0.02 worth.

Unfortunately rim has waited to long on bb 10 and I think at this point its going to be difficult for them to come back unless bb 10 is a all around superior platform. Rim has a tall hill to climb with several obstacles to get over. The biggest one is their platform need to what others are doing and more for rim to gain the market share back!

The way things are going, RIM will release bb10 at the same time as iphone 5. Guess who's going to get forgotten?

The US is a bunch of fickle children running from one device to another. Want to make a big splash? Scare the crap out of them. Make them BELIEVE the boogie monster if going to get them through their phone and steal all their money. The market is won on who can SELL their device/software/whatever to the public. If RIM sells it with some brilliant marketing, people will buy into it. Come on, the US is the same country that has the Tea Party and the Occupied movement, and god they couldnt be any more different.

I think RIM should get some BB10 hardware on the market as soon as after Playbook OS 2.0 is final as possible. This notion of waiting for a specific chipset to be available is crazy.

In the interim, I agree, BlackBerry needs to market its strengths. An ad campaign that talks about the amount of things these smartphones can do and the amount of personal data in them and how safe and secure your data is on a BB because BB cares about your security and your privacy. Through in some information about the lack of security on other phones and before you know it you have a market differentiator.

I agree with you. I, myself, and many of blackberry community in Indonesia are waiting for Official O.S 2.0 released in this month. And after that? ofcourse, we are waiting for awesome BB10 Handheld to be purchased. I, myself, cannot wait for a long period to get a BB10 Handheld. I have so many sweet temptations to explore, Android ICS or even iPhone 5 (which is said that has lots of new features). If BB10 Handheld release after ICS or iPhone 5, then RIM already places its market into deep ravine.

The US is a lot bigger than the Tea Party or Occupied movement. Despite what you may think or say.... the US market is very important in RIM's survival. I am from the US and I am a proud Blackberry fan since 2006. I think that RIM needs to watch the trends that are happening in the US because those trends could spread outside of North America quickly. Don't let your hate for the US cloud your judgement.

RIM needs to ensure that the new hardware and OS have stellar reviews when they come out. At this point, you're basically counting on reviewers to do the marketing for you. If everyone thinks it doesn't bring anything new to the table, then RIM will have a tough time indeed.

Agree, review, review, review.

RIM needs to do whatever they can to get positive reviews, not just public press , etc, but actual reviews. Bribe them or do whatever, no one will even consider a phone that gets extremely poor review.

Honestly... can Apple survive with bearely above 10% market share? YES!!!!

Why bother with these kinds of Blog posts. It dependa on BB10. That's it, simple. And all of your analysis won't change that.

Maybe you get paid by the blog post but there really is no value here.

i think RIM will be fine if they maintain(or grow) internationally...the US isn't the only market in the world....i hope that BB10 will be the savior of BlackBerry...myself? if RIM doesn't not execute well with BB10 i'll give Android a shot until i fill its safe to come back to BlackBerry platform.

Why all the hate towards the iPhone? It's a great phone and honestly I think at the moment iOS and Android OS is way ahead in the mobile devices department.. And they both provide great experiences..

I love the Playbook OS and I know that we will be seeing the same with BlackBerry 10.. But having used a few BlackBerry phones before I don't see why anyone today would choose a BlackBerry device..

I understand that things will change when we seen BlackBerry 10 devices.. But for the time being I don't see any reason that anyone would go for BlackBerry..

Why all the hate for a closed, limited, frustratingly simple device that limits you to what Steve Jobs wanted you to do?

Are you kidding? I could go on for page after page, but you still might blindly follow the cult of Crapple.

BlackBerry isn't perfect, but they are in many ways the opposite of iOS and much better for a lot of people that don't fall victim to the marketing machine.
Over 25 years of technology experience.
Background in Avionics, self-taught on computers since the days of MS-DOS 2.0.
Experience with Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Palm OS, Android, BlackBerry OS, QNX, etc.

First of I love RIM (read: Blackberry)!! I live in the US, but most of my family lives in the Caribbean (the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands) and my little sister is at University in England.

I recently went to the Turks and Caicos for New Years and EVERYONE and their baby mama had a Blackberry. Its free to send and receive BBMs, the phones are reasonable priced (most people buy phones out right), and Blackberry has started to cater to the Caribbean region where as Apple and Android has not.

My friends give me grief about having a Blackberry, but I don't know of another phone that can let me talk to my sister in England and all of my family in the Caribbean (BBM).

America is a big market, but RIM shouldn't cares solely about the American consumer and their lack of focus.

International is where its at!!

I have a BB and iOS growing a little tired of iOS and android doesnt excite dying to see what RIM wil give me in BB10 / 2012

I dont think the US market isnt much different.

The trend for RIM is the same everywhere. Global marketshare slipped to 10% November 2011 compared to 15% November 2010 and 20% in 2009. It's dropping worldwide and the trend isn't slowing.

If you think you can only draw a fair conclusion on these results after the release of BB10 I think you're kidding yourself. BB10 might help stem the hemmorage but I doubt it'll reverse the tide.

Sure, they can and will succeed but as a much smaller player than they once were.

The cellphone market is notoriously fickle.

One minute its Nokia, then Samsung, then BB, then iOS (at which point Samsungs share dropped like a stone), then Samsung Android.

And all the above in the space of 6 years.

Next year it will be something else, and folks will be wondering what happened to Apples share price.

Apple knows this of course, and is playing very dirty.

the yanks are extremely arrogant! they think they are the best and deserve the best and if they dont like what they see then they are prepared to kill it off, yes i am saying america would not care if, as a result of them, a huge company like RIM went bust, they would just say "oh well".

what i think rim need to do is let america have access to blackberrys but give them no priority nor attention and start focusing on their loyal customers and countries such as over in sunny england. but serious though, if they focused on europe, africa, south america and the parts of asia where the highly secure blackberrys arent banned then based on a globle aspect RIM will succeed. they just need to forget that america is just a very small portion of this very large world and one where they are far more appreciated!!

BlackBerry's are for the self-assured type ;)

I live in Mexico, and at least in my experience, BB is doing very well here in Northeast Mexico. Almost everyone has a cellular phone, and as the iPhone is very expensive (a status symbol, really) most people get a BB, main reason being the BBM.
Even Nextel sells a lot of their ancient BB 8250i. My son has one of those, wishes for a thinner Nextel BB, but is the only one available, so... And, yes, his other phone is an iPhone. :-)
Saludos desde Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

In the words of the late management guru Peter Drucker, " the first job of any business is to define its customers".
If RIM wishes to define its customers as business customers with secure applications and email system then sell it that way, If they want young people that want texting and quirky applications to amuse themselves with then. sell the security of BBM and open the whole application market of Android to them.
Apple is the US's success story even though it's made off shore, and the media there loves it.
Defining your customer will dictate the market your focusing on with your efforts, not trying to duplicate someone else and always playing catch-up.

IMO Android will always outnumber the competition as long as it is free. Soon even dumb feature phones and go-phones will run a dumbed down version of Android. Why not? It is free! One would really need to break these numbers down further to understand what they are saying. After all, there are so many Android phones, I really doubt they are all at the same quality of a 4s or a Bold 9900. Droid fans have to admit, it is getting ridiculous. There are so many Android phones; it is almost hard to make the switch. Which one do you get? Walk into any mobile store and be welcomed by the sea of Android phones and you will see what I mean.

If RIM cannot keep a reasonably-sized and generally respected foothold in the U.S. consumer market, I'm afraid RIM risks losing much if not most of its enterprise and government business over the next few years.

Its possible that RIM could still survive even with that loss, but it would be very different kind of business.

The US is not, in my opinion, inherently any kind of leader in the mobile phone industry. For years, Nokia made terrific phones with features far superior than those of phones sold in the U.S. But, Nokia phones weren't sold in the US because US carriers did not want them.

What will happen in the US will depend not only on what RIM will produce, but also on what US carriers decide to do.

RIM's past great relations with US carriers doesn't mean that RIM will have great relations with them in the future. I doubt that PlayBook bridging exactly endeared RIM to US carriers.

I would really like to read more analysis of the US carriers' motives and their likely reactions if RIM produces a superb QNX phone.

I am absolutely sick and tired of the US nonsense. I've said this for months, and I'll say it again: Americans are EXTREMELY patriotic. They have Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Why on earth would they ever push anything non-American?

It's pathetic that bullshit like this really has an effect on a company like RIM. I'm sick of garbage getting shrugged off while RIM is nit-picked all the time. Android is a piece of shit, unfinished OS to me. The apps feel like they were developed by children and the OS just lacks that finishing touch. It's so bad that seeing screenshots in App World for ported Android apps grosses me out. I used to own an Android tablet and was constantly questioning the legitimacy of an app I was buying or downloading. Anyone to defend that statement is silly and is obviously shrugging off these types of things.

Patriotism is lame though, and I'm constantly questioning the credibility of the analysts because here in Canada, fuel costs fluctuate constantly. And not necessarily day by day, but more town by town, or city by city. Isn't it analysts who determine the price of oil ultimately?*

*-this entire statement may not even be accurate, it was merely a tangent and I was running with it - at least I didn't quote it for fact. ;)

I apologize for the generalization. It should have read "MOST Americans are extremely patriotic."

To all the people bad mouthing the USA because we demand more from our mobile devices than what 2007 technology BB Bolds and Curves can provide; I'm sorry. But by all means please keep enjoying those great spinning clocks.

i think bb is doing really good internationally is just because of bbm...i think its their biggest selling order to come back in the us market is apps...i think apps r more imp than device...device is also imp but not as imp as apps...they r really really behind....i just got my bb bold 9900 at&t and have to return it just because they dont have vonage extensions.....there r ppl like me who make international calls all the times so in that case vonage extensions is the way to go but bb dont support it...i called vonage to find out and they said they dont have one for blackberry and they r not planning on putting one either...all they have is vonage mobile application i think and they r planning to take that back as well like gmail...i wish i could keep my bold i just ordered...i didnt even open the box since i found out they dont have vonage...i should have researched first..:(

This kind of reminds me of Sega. The Master System kicked Nintendo's ass in the UK. In Brazil, the Master System was still selling until around 2004. Then the Genesis out sold the Super Nintendo there as well. The Saturn and the Dreamcast were still popular in Japan long after they had died in America. But they just couldn't keep up without the US market. I worry that RIM could have the same problem.

im going out on a limb here, and suggest something out of the box. why cant rim differantiate itself from the us market by marketing blackberry as a canadian brand internationally. canadians are well received globally, and after the olympics have even a greater exposure. i undersand the strong us presence when it comes to media and image, and the popularity of us celebrities with technology. if rim is to be a strong contender in the mobile space, it needs to seperate itself and its image from the us image. kind of like saying " we are rim, looks whos using our devices" as apposed to the other way around. as i have said before ios and andriod are now, qnx is the future of mobile.

also rim has factories globally, why not use that advantage in marketing, creating employment for local communities thereby establishing and solidifying a strong international image and presence.


I don't think the main issue has anything to do with Americans thinking the rest of the world 'has' to follow them or anything (that's my hope anyway), but the reality is that for many types of technologies, the US market is the leading edge of technology adoption, by a few years. (parts of Asia might be an exception to that, of course).

Let's take Indonesia, compared to the US. Everyone says RIM is killing it in Indonesia - I maintain that the Indonesia of 2011/2012 equates to the US of 2006/2007, when RIM was 'killing it' here in the States. My point is that RIM will eventually see the same declines in those other markets that they've seen here in the US.

'But wait', you say. 'BB10 and London will save RIM in 2012!!'. I say to that - really? The other competitors have ALREADY jumped ahead of RIM. It's not like the other guys are just going to stand still and let RIM catch up. THEY are making strides and advances as well. RIM would have to come out with SOMETHING that let's them jump ahead by five years or so. They have exhibited NO propensity to do that. And I'm a BB fan. I'm also a realist.

Think of it like a 1500 meter race - the other guys (iOS, Android) are already on the bell/final lap, and RIM is still on the second lap. RIM is running hard, and maybe even making up ground, but the other guys are so far ahead that the thing is basically lost. (see Palm of 2009 for a classic business school example of how to run the thing into the ground)

The real question isn't 'can RIM survive without US marketshare?' - the question should be 'how do the technology adoption rates and trends that happen in the US, apply to overseas markets, and when?' - that's the best way to predict what's going to happen to RIM over the next five years.

I think the assumption that the US leads and the rest of the world follows is obsolete. The US is actually now very dependent on Korean and Taiwanese technology. That technology is focussed on meeting US market needs while the US is perceived as being the technology fugleman, but as the home markets, emergent markets (BRIC) and Europe grow, the real opportunities may be elsewhere.

For instance, whatever their other mistakes (which were legion) I think BB got the right answer on the size of the PB. In the US, the 10 inch iPad fitted in well, but in much of the rest of the world everything - people, living spaces - is smaller. Now a number of manufacturers are bringing out 7 or 8 inch tablets, and for "everywhere else" this could well be the preferred form factor. (This doesn't help BB because Samsung in particular is very active in this size range). A simple observation is that an iPad is just a bit too big to be convenient on buses or most underground lines, while a 7 inch tablet is fine.

I suspect that personal computing will end up like cars, with the US market completely detached from the rest of the world.

Based on comscore data RIM gained 0.2 (share of U.S. mobile subscriber base) in December compared with November (6.7 vs 6.5). The gain is not big but what is important is that this is the first month in 2011 when it reversed the trend.

The gain would signify something if they launched something new...but they didn't.

Let's not be absurd and think miracles happen just because there are people who have enough faith in RIM that RIM doesn't even need to do anything.

The world market for smartphones is now big enough that it can probably afford to fragment, with different systems in different regions.

At one time smartphones were the entire "premium phone" market. Now they too are segmenting. Apple has focussed on staying at the very top of the tree in terms of pricing. But there are increasing numbers of mid- and low-range Android phones which are much more affordable outside a few economies - the USA and the German-speaking world perhaps being the main ones.

Blackberry seems to be doing two things: it is aiming at the corporate market that wants a different design aesthetic (BB phones are much more Germanic in design than iPhones), and this is where BB10 will go first. They also make entry level smartphones with NFC, and the relatively low bandwidth of their communications means they are more affordable for carriers in regions with weaker infrastructure. There is an opportunity to develop low cost services in emerging markets like Brazil, Turkey and some of the African nations where an iPhone would be largely useless because of its bandwidth needs.

Therefore I am guessing that the BB strategy is to try to retain the existing US market as far as possible while concentrating on growth outside the US. Meanwhile Apple and the Android makers sue one another, Microsoft keeps trying and failing.

Leaving the US market to Apple and Android may be a very good idea. Unlike Sony and Motorola, RIM is profitable. It could destroy itself trying to grow US market share, while the same money spent in South America or the East could bring big returns.

Keeping strong international presence will be their only saving grace, but they have to be careful. The general world tend to follow the movements over in US. If BB10 fails look out for the slow decline to follow suit worldwide. For now blackberry is king in Jamaica, everywhere you turn you see 1 but RIM have the local carrier networks to thank for this. Most countries don't have strong data offerings at low cost and I believe that is what is keeping RIM afloat for now... my 2cents

For myself its frustrating when I hear "Rim is in trouble" or "Go away already"
In my opinion, Rim needs to get boots on the ground in the US.
That includes marketing, advertising and CARRIER SUPPORT.
In terms of advertising I'd like to see real life situations where BB makes life better for anyone who uses it. Personal and business. The ad with the glowing bicycles made me say "HUH?"
The two other BeBold ads are getting closer but they need to SHOW US not tell us.
BBM is proprietary- show the strengths we all know that BBM has. Especially for world travellers who use different sim cards worldwide. Send loacation/voicenotes/pictures etc and all the other BBM connected apps.
Get the APP developers on board by showing them the profit opportunity with BB.
Develop the BB apps that aren't available like Android and for Apple. Do it or fund them THEMSELVES if they have to.
I believe Rim will bounce back in 2012 and surprise/silence the critics in 2013