BlackBerry Storm and Stress
Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone hasn’t supplanted Research In Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry as the gold standard of mobile business tools, but give it another year or so and it just might. According to new research from ChangeWave, the iPhone has steadily increased its market share, growing from just 11 percent in June to 23 percent. Meanwhile, the BlackBerry lost a point of market share, falling to 41 percent in the same period.
An impressive showing for the iPhone, which at this point is still available through a lone carrier in the states. Clearly, the 3G model and the App Store ecosystem have built quite a bit of momentum up behind the device. That said, RIM’s new BlackBerry Storm is proving a worthy rival. Among consumers planning to purchase a smartphone in the next 90 days, 39 percent expect it to be a BlackBerry–up nine percent from September, while 30 percent plan to buy an iPhone, down four percent from the same period.
As ChangeWave research director Paul Carton notes, “as we approach the 1st quarter, the ball has shifted back into BlackBerry’s court.” And that would seem to be the case. Sadly for RIM, middling customer satisfaction ratings for the Storm may undermine its broader adoption.
“The overall satisfaction rating given by new owners of the Blackberry Storm can, at best, be characterized as lukewarm,” says Carton. “One in three Storm owners (33 percent) said they were Very Satisfied with their new model, well below the 52 percent Very Satisfied rating given by all current owners of BlackBerry smart phones.” And that’s worth noting, because the first-generation iPhone’s Very Satisfied rating–77 percent–was more than double the Storm’s. Furthermore, the Storm’s Unsatisfied rating (14 percent) is three times that of the iPhone (five percent). So while the Storm would seem to have quite a bit of near-term potential, it’s long-term success could be hamstrung by poor reviews and unsatisfied customers.