In U.S. Smartphone Market, There Is No Third-Place Contender

Published on October 3, 2012
by John Paczkowski

Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins is right — the struggling company does have “a clear shot at being No. 3” in the smartphone market. In fact, RIM’s BlackBerry OS is already the third-most-popular mobile platform in the U.S., according to the latest stats from comScore. Problem is, RIM is so far behind the first- and second-place competitors — Google and Apple, respectively — its ranking in the race doesn’t even matter.

For the month of August, RIM’s share of the U.S. smartphone market fell 3.1 percentage points, to 8.3 percent. That was enough to keep it well ahead of Microsoft, whose Windows Phone platform managed to hold on to a 3.6 percent share. But it’s piddling compared to the 52.6 percent claimed by Google’s Android OS (up 1.7 percentage points) and the 34.3 percent captured by Apple’s iOS (up 2.4 points).

So, sure, RIM’s in third place in the U.S. smartphone market. But its market share is less than a third of Apple’s, and it’s about a sixth of Google’s. And it’s on the decline.

In other words, if there’s a viable third-place contestant in the smartphone OS race, it has yet to prove itself. At this point, if RIM truly believes it has a shot at being No. 3, BlackBerry 10, the company’s next generation operating system, must be a miracle of innovation when it finally arrives at market next year.

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