John Paczkowski

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Confirmed: BlackBerry to Stop Selling Smartphones in Japan

BlackBerry10_AppWorldLooks like the global rollout of BlackBerry’s new flagship smartphones will not extend to the entire globe. Certainly it won’t include Japan.

Confirming news first reported by the Nikkei, a BlackBerry spokeswoman told AllThingsD Thursday that the company is indeed pulling out of the Japanese market — at least for the time being.

“We are in the process of launching BlackBerry 10 globally in key markets, and we are seeing positive demand for the BlackBerry Z10 in countries where it has already launched. Japan is not a major market for BlackBerry, and we have no plans to launch BlackBerry 10 devices there at this time,” spokeswoman Amy McDowell said. “However, we will continue to support BlackBerry customers in Japan.”

The company declined to comment on its plans for other non-critical markets.

A surprising move for BlackBerry, though perhaps it shouldn’t be. Over the past few years, BlackBerry’s market share in Japan has suffered a decline so precipitous that it no longer even ranks by name on comScore’s survey of the top smartphone platforms in country. As of June 2012, BlackBerry was lumped into the research firm’s “Other” category which itself claims only a 0.4 percent share. At the time the survey was conducted, 24 million people in Japan owned smartphones. So, while the country may not be a major market for BlackBerry, it is very much a major smartphone market.

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