John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

New Phones Help BlackBerry Claw Back Some Canadian Market Share

Canada is a BlackBerry nation no longer, with Apple’s iPhone having eclipsed the Canadian handset maker’s share of the country’s smartphone market well over a year ago. But BlackBerry may yet reclaim its home-country advantage.

Research outfit Raymond James says that the debut of BlackBerry’s new BlackBerry 10 operating system and the two handsets on which it runs have gone a long way toward repairing the home-turf market share erosion the company has suffered over the past few years. In the fourth quarter of 2012, BlackBerry’s share of the Canadian market topped out at a dismal 6 percent. But by the first quarter of 2013 it had more than doubled, rising to 13.5 percent.

The reason? The BlackBerry Z10, the company’s new all-touch handset — one that finally gave it table stakes at the smartphone game from which Google and Apple had ousted it. The Z10 had a strong Canadian launch, according to BlackBerry, which said the device’s debut was more than 50 percent better than any other launch day in its history in the country. Evidently the device has retained enough of that early momentum to drive continued market-share gains.

And now, with BlackBerry’s second BB10 handset — the Qwerty-keyboard Q10 — recently introduced in Canada, the country’s largest technology company may be poised to reclaim even more ground in its homeland.

“I think the Q10 will see much better demand than the Z10, as I have to believe the primary reason users are still on BlackBerry is for the physical keyboard,” Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt told AllThingsD. “That being said, a lot of that demand may get stretched out over a few quarters, as it will take time for enterprises to adopt BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, which is needed to support the Q10.”

Make no mistake, these days Canada is more an iPhone nation than anything else — Apple’s smartphone claimed 40.1 percent of the market in the first quarter of 2013. But that’s down from the 44 percent share it captured in the fourth quarter of 2012. If that trend continues, maybe BlackBerry can reclaim not only the market share it lost in the country, but its national pride, as well.

As Andrew MacLeod, BlackBerry’s managing director for Canada, told the Financial Post earlier this: “Canada is incredibly important to [us.] It is our home market, but it is also a very strategic market for us. We are very strong here, and I think we have a very unique relationship here with Canadians, that we treat with an endless amount of respect, attention and resources.”

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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google