Apples iPhone has apparently surpassed Research In Motions BlackBerry as the top smartphone in Canada, according to data assembled by Bloomberg and research firm IDC. What adds insult to injury is that RIM is based in Ontario, meaning Apple is beating the home team.
Those groups posit that, in 2011, RIM managed to ship 2.08 million BlackBerry units in Canada to Apples 2.85 million units. BlackBerry, one of the biggest consumer brands to emerge from Canada, has enjoyed more loyalty among locals who embraced its made-in-Canada roots, read Bloombergs March 22 report.
The tech-news media immediately made a big deal of that report, with other outlets quickly using it as a jumping-off point for their own articles and analysis. But does it matter that the iPhone has surpassed BlackBerry in Canada?
Short answer: no.
RIMs market share has steadily degraded over the past several quarters, even as Apples iPhone and Google Android have made significant inroads into the traditional BlackBerry stronghold of the enterprise. RIM has been focused on the wrong assets for the past three years, competing in a consumer market against the most powerful brands in the world, Ted Schadler, an analyst with Forrester Research, wrote in a corporate blog posting Jan. 23. Its not working.
Its no secret that RIM is in what its executives call a transitional period. In addition to falling market share, the company failed to attract sizable interest in its PlayBook tablet, eventually taking a $485 million pretax charge against that devices inventory in December 2011. Given all that, its unsurprising that Apple, which has been enjoying spectacular sales as of late, would edge past RIMeven in the latters home territory.
But RIM has a plan for a comeback. Later this year, in a bid to reassert its position within the smartphone market, the company plans on releasing a line of so-called super phones running the QNX-based BlackBerry 10 operating system. (Until then, RIM is relying on a product line running BlackBerry OS 7 to retain customers.)
I think we need to get a bit more discipline in our own processes, RIMs new CEO Thorsten Heins said in a corporate video, in one of his first public appearances after taking the role in late January. I want to spend more time on prototyping, on exploring, on research and development.
Apple's overtaking RIM in Canada (at least according to Bloomberg and IDC) isnt surprising. But it does add to RIMs need for BlackBerry 10 to be a resounding, worldwide success.