Invasion of the Market Share Snatchers: BlackBerry Losing Share to Android?
Research in Motion’s BlackBerry is the leading smartphone brand in the United States thanks to its vast core demographic of enterprise power users. But as the smartphone evolves into the standard for the broader consumer market, RIM (RIMM) may see that lead eroded by rivals with sexier devices.
In a research note to clients today, Piper Jaffray analyst T. Michael Walkley says his checks this month and last suggest the BlackBerry is losing momentum at the country’s largest wireless carriers, mostly to handsets running Google’s (GOOG) Android OS.
“While BlackBerry remains a leading smartphone brand, our checks indicate potential sell-through share losses at AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile,” Walkley writes. “In fact, we believe the Bold 9700 continued to lose smartphone share at AT&T following a price increase last month to $199.”
There’s worse. “In addition, our checks indicated further share losses to Android products at T-Mobile and Verizon. At Verizon, our checks indicated slowing RIM sales, as sales managers continue to push Android products such as the HTC Incredible and Motorola Droid. At T-Mobile, our checks indicate weaker BlackBerry sales due to strong sales of Android products such as the HTC MyTouch and the Windows based HTC HD2.”
But RIM’s situation isn’t dire. RIM is one of the five largest mobile phone manufacturers in the world and it makes only smartphones. Still, these market trends are worth keeping an eye on, particularly the likely arrival of a new iPhone at AT&T (T) this summer and a handful of slick new Android smartphones at Verizon (VZ).
While the new Blackberry Bold 9650 and the Pearl 3G might fend off those devices in the enterprise market relatively easily, they’re likely to have a harder time of it in the consumer market.