According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, our beloved BlackBerry maker is down to 1.6% of the US smartphone market for the three months ending October. They had 8.5% of the market in the year ago quarter, so the drop is huge.
I think all we can really say here is "duh".
Of course sales are slipping. The BlackBerry portfolio is stale. All hands are on deck to get BlackBerry 10 to market, and the company is seeing a loss of subscribers in many developed countries, while subscribers are still growing quite nicely in emerging markets. It's actually amazing to see BlackBerry subscribers grow around the world despite this current portfolio problem.
We also saw negative analyst reports by two research firms on Monday, including Morgan Stanley. The digestion of those analyst reports along with bad news on US market share is probably to blame for the stock's 10% slide yesterday.
Remember, RIM is going to be a volatile stock. We've said it before and it's worth repeating. In fact, the stock is pretty much back to where it traded in May, after a wild ride down and back up again. Do not even go near the stock if you can't stomach this.
I also want to mention that these quarterly market share studies reflect device sales, not device users. Clearly BlackBerry has more than 1.6% of the US market in terms of actual users, but not when measured by current sales. That's exactly why getting BlackBerry 10 out there is such a priority.
To see just how quickly things can change on a product launch, just look at Apple's iPhone 5 situation. Last quarter, before its launch, Apple had about 22% of US smartphone sales. They gained 26% in one quarter. How? A hot product. I'm not saying RIM will be able to achieve anything close to this, but I do think RIM's share will rise upon the release of BlackBerry 10. Hopefully this will lead to stock volatility in the opposite direction.