Gartner numbers actually indicate a reversal of BlackBerry market share loss

By Chris Umiastowski on 20 Mar 2013 01:08 pm EDT

On Monday of this week, an industry analyst from research firm Gartner posted a blog entry talking about the launch of the BlackBerry 10 platform in the US, and what it means.

I’ve seen several headlines talking about this, yet very few link to the real source, so if you want to read it straight form the horse’s mouth, go here.  Note that this isn’t a formal research piece, but more of an informal post from the analyst covering the sector to his clients.  So what is Gartner saying?

They believe “market conditions will make it extremely difficult for BlackBerry to rise above iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 platforms.”  Obviously I think it makes sense to say BlackBerry 10 isn’t going to rocket past iOS or Android.  But I think Microsoft is in a very tough situation here.  Apple and Google are growing their relevance in a world where Microsoft is under intense pressure.  BlackBerry is still in a very competitive race for holding onto the #3 platform position, and at this point I think they’ll win that battle.

Anyway, what else does Gartner say?  They predict BlackBerry will achieve less than 5 percent worldwide smartphone market share through 2016.  They don’t say how much less than 5%, which is important because as per Gartner’s own estimates for Q4 2012, BlackBerry had 3.5% share of the smartphone market.  So an increase to 5% wouldn’t be a gigantic win, but it would mean they think BlackBerry market share is going to rise, not fall.

I’ll also point out that Gartner estimated the smartphone market grew 47% in 2012.  It’s going to keep growing.  If the market keeps growing and Gartner is actually forecasting BlackBerry to grow faster than the market, that’s not a bad thing! After all, BlackBerry doesn’t need to be the market leader.  They just need to rebuild a sustainable business that produces profits.

The analyst who wrote the Gartner blog post is clearly coming at things from more of an enterprise angle.  Here’s an important part of the post:

The question is whether the new platform is sufficient to motivate the buyer to choose BlackBerry over the platforms they know. It comes down to how effective BlackBerry's marketing will be, and how much money they can spend to excite the user in favor of a BB10 device. That challenge will be daunting, but at least BlackBerry has made a reasonable attempt with a competitive platform, and it will get its chance to prove to both end users and developers that it has an attractive platform. Gartner recommends that enterprises trial BB10 products and familiarize themselves with the offering whether or not they intend to deploy or support.”

My take on this:  The author isn’t taking a terribly negative tone.  He’s simply starting from the position of a skeptic and showing how he could be proven wrong with his forecast.  I think that’s reasonable.  And given the enterprise focus he has, it’s quite possible he isn’t aware of how many Android and iOS users have been buying Z10s since the launch.

I thought it might also be worth pointing out the difference between industry analysts and sell side (equity) analysts.  They are not the same.  Industry analysts mainly function to understand the industry so they can produce a forecast as to which companies will achieve what sort of market share.  Sell side analysts, on the  other hand, are also tasked with understanding an industry and following the detailed financials of companies so they can make stock predictions.  Sell side guys (like I used to be) will often use industry analyst research market share forecasts as a basis for their financial forecasts. 

I tell you that simply to make it clear that industry analysts are not stock analysts and they have nothing to do with trading at all.  But just like stock analysts, industry analysts can get it wrong.  They do get it wrong.  Nobody is perfect.

My guess is that Gartner is at least heading in the right direction by estimating a recapture of market share by BlackBerry.  Any headlines that cast the Gartner numbers in a negative light are missing the point here ... under all the noise, we have a major industry research house saying that the trend of BlackBerry market share erosion has officially reversed.  

Topics: BBRY Editorial

Reader comments

Gartner numbers actually indicate a reversal of BlackBerry market share loss


I really truly believe that anyone who posts 'First" on a blog post should have their accounts suspended for one week minimum. It's the only way.

+1 thermonuclear warhead.

Nice reference. I chuckled :) The whole first thing is so lame. First with a constructive comment I can kind of take but just first and nothing else... just delete them imo.

I'd rather the immature, moronic idiots keep letting the world know exactly who they are.

As for the article, unless I know exactly what these "analysts" own, ...grain of salt. Its quite obvious marketing will play a key role in a competitive industry such as this one.

Nice post Chris!

Just wondering. Do you have a position in Blackberry?

I believe it would be nice for your readers to know.


why do people insist on just beign forst to message even if they have no comment, what a pointless post, get real.

on another note, it is good to see things shifting well, though i don't see 5% being the number BB will see, i think they will hit double digits but who knows really, they don't need to be the best or the highest marketshare to be profitable and sustain a viable business

Thanks Jojo. Where's your blog? I'd like to go read it so I don't get sucked into all this "positive" reporting.

" They predict BlackBerry will achieve less than 5 percent worldwide smartphone market share through 2016."
Bullshit I predict 5% by sometime in 2013

Good piece Chris. I think they miss the point here: it's not how quickly BlackBerry needs to regains market share or if BlackBerry will surpass iOS or Android. It's about the continuation of regain market share even slowly but steadily. Prediction is a prediction and we shouldn't put too much weight too it. I believe that the solution BlackBerry has to offer now is very compelling and if they can keep up with polishing new features at the same time keeping/pushing forward essential BB7 features that make BlackBerry unique, the adoption will just manifest itself.

Great piece! However, the font used for the quote in the middle, needs to be changed. The font choice itself, combined with the size, italic and possible bold (unless it is just a bold font) make the middle quote almost unbearable to read. Never mind that it is a longer quote, and that the font choice was probably selected on shorter length quotes, just makes it all that much more fun to read.

Other than that, as I stated, great article.

I say the hit 5% by the end of 2013, just by my own experiences with the new Z10 and folks reaction to it.

That said, it also depends on BBRY growing their App ecosystem with the big names that are available on iOS and Android. The cool and slick new BB10 OS only gets you so far, than potential adopters start asking where their must have apps are.

I absolutely love the new BB 10 OS. Now, bring on the apps (native, not android ports).

Posted via CB10

Ya. 5% by 2016 is complete BS. It's going to be at least 6%! Buts its a sign of growth!

Article was 'meh'.

Posted via CB10

If, by 2016, they've leveraged their position in the automobile market and create a unique link between BB10 phone software and QNX-based automobile software, then yes, they'll be way above 5% in my opinion.

+100 I whole heartedly agree. Out of all the positive and negative analyst reports we've come across, I've never heard any mention of the revenues generated by QNX on other platforms (like automobile software). Is there a reason for that? Is the additional revenue not significant enough to report on?

Thanks Chris, I think you do bring some valid points regarding sustaining % levels in a growing market imply growing sales as well. My takeaway from this is that from an industry perspective, they accept that BlackBerry will still be a player in 2016. I think that carries alot of weight compared to alot of internet journalists keep saying RIM/BB is dead *rolls eyes* My second takeaway is that at least BlackBerry has a niche area that is at least considered relevant to enterprises. Compared with the other 3rd platform contender, I dont know where Microsoft's niche or target market lies.


A lot of us here (myself included) started to follow the stock market AFTER BlackBerry's market share and stock prices started to fall. I've watched the stock dip all the way from the high 20's down to 7 and I've been optimistic about their chances all this while.

While I understand it isnt your prerogative to teach us about investing in the stock market - it would be great if you can write up an article about the basics of investing and what terms like "short" the stock means....

I'm aware I can get this information by Googling it - but for whatever reason; your articles on the Stock market seem a lot easier to understand.

Educate us please, if you have the time and I'm sure a lot of us can be successful investors in the BlackBerry Story in the years to come.

I would hope our market share increases on the backs of iOS and Android. Microsoft has been too much of my life to hope they don't make it in the mobile computing world. I wish Microsoft all the best in there platform which is very nice. Lots of pie out there for everyone to have some.

i really dont care what people say. analysts or what not... the z10 is the best ive ever had.. i feel sorry for the moronic isheep and droids.. but to each his own...

Posted via CB10

People are way to concerned over what the market is doing and the blackberry shares. As licensed investor I wouldn't be too concerned over that. The z10 is a great device and platform. It is unique compared to its peers. I believe and all due time it will prove its strength in the market share, providing that BlackBerry keeps up with the innovated ideas and does not let the technology and innovation go stale and just sit on one great piece.

Posted via CB10

I'll take that... some reports say that 1 billion smartphones will be sold in 2014. that's 50 million unit sales of BB10 devices. Not too shabby. Definitely doesn't sound like a company going out of business.

man i do love your articles Chris very enlightening and so very cool specially since i get all the financial stuff being a former accountant and current tech :P

Last year, didn't Gartner also say that WP8 would have about 12-15% marketshare by 2015?? Their estimates are just as good as anyone else's. I think BBRY will definitely recapture marketshare, but far more than the 1-2% that Gartner says they will.

I tend to think this is an overly pessimestic view, with the evidence of the sales I've seen I do expect 5% by the end of this year. I also think Blackberry will easily beat out Microsoft's Windows Phone 8, as much as I cheer for Nokia and Microsoft I just dont think Microsoft has enough invested in it to really pull it off at this point, 1 update every 6 months is not sufficient to grow a platform.

It's all a scam, what is the point for delivering free stock analysis other than to make money. NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE.

Don't believe a word of these so called, ANALysts. They never get it right, and somehow all their predictions end up being the opposite. They just have tight butt friends with hedge funds and the trading department of the very same firms they represent.

Others just give you the facts after the new is out, which isn't an analysis at all but rather cheer leading.

A monkey can do their job, no offense to Chris Umiastowski but that's the truth.

Big difference in the tone of the Gartner article and how you "presented" it Chris.

They said nothing about reversal or gaining of marketshare. Just that through 2016 BB would not go above 5%... so they might stay at 3.5%, go up to 4.5% or could drop to 2.5% - all of that would be below their 5% prediction.

And NOTHING in the report is based on anything other than opinions of some researchers at Gartner. It is all a prediction, which in the tech world is hard to do six months out, let alone 3 years. In three years we might all be using a device created by some medical researcher that gets implanted in you head....

When REAL numbers are released, then you can say the "erosion has officially reversed".

Great article Chris. I just wish the analysts would write this way. They should be able to give their opinion and outlook and not be overly pessimistic or optimistic. When they give an opinion such as that blackberry market share will remain below 5% they should also remind investors that the industry itself is growing all around. It shows that BBRY market share is still growing but that their outlook is that it will not be catching up to industry leaders anytime soon. To me, that is a fair prediction. They can write whichever way they want this is just my opinion but I wonder how many people who read this Gartner article looked at it the way Chris did?

Probably a typo - they meant to say that BlackBerry will exceed 15% this year as a conservative estimate...


I understand the importance of marketshare, but I also vaguely remember a report a while ago that suggested that users typically spent more on apps on the (then) BlackBerry World.

If that holds true for users moving to the Z10, then it might woo more even developers. If BlackBerry's market share grows, even by a few percent, but those users spend in the App World, then BlackBerry could carve out its own lucrative niche. I vaguely remember an old Apple adage was "5% of the market, 90% of the profits"

It's not about the unit price, but the number of units sold.

Yes a developer has historically gotten more for an app on BBW than on other platforms - but the key is they sell a LOT fewer apps there. Right now I bet the majority of BB left in the US are corporate or government provided and are lock down, preventing the purchase of many apps.

And if there isn't a major cost to reformat an app and to SUPPORT it on that platform then they should do it. But if it is an either or decision they have to make between doing an app for one platform or another (which it shouldn't be), then most would rather sell 5 Million apps at .99 than 500 apps at 4.99.

First?... go look yourself in the mirror and say F you!

I think 5% in 2013 and i also think its is going to be more if os10 will be completely fixed (including all the bugs from minor major) + 100% working apps and security that stands for government work.

My other opinion and prediction;

In the future, Iphone will go down to 2nd place and will struggle and fight against blackberry.... and android will go number 1.


Because, android is a flexible flatform and has lots of developers that revise almost everything to make it better.

Once they hit the best flatform, google can lock it down with security and publish it as an official flatform.

What iphone has?

Developers of exploits and hackers.

Posted via BlackBerry z10 (CB)

See every negative prediction for the new BlackBerry has been as good as trumped so far. So I'd take that 5% and turn it into a minimum of 15%.

I'm in Qatar, and every businessman wants the bb 10, with good reason, it's an amazing business phone.

Posted via CB10

I believe BlackBerry will slowly rise from its own ashes. I truly find this new 10 platform a reversal itself. Beyond that os 10 gathers all the best features from android and apple: not merely a copy rather a smart enhancement of what is, and yet for a long time to come will be, the best smartphone for professionals ever conceived.

We need tools, not toys.