Is it September already? Gosh, time flies in the Bloodbath. And the first Q3 results came out already, from RIM the maker of the Blackberry. And Blackberry is indeed failing miserably now in the global race for smartphone leadership. Failing miserably is putting it kindly.
The numbers. RIM reports that Blackberry sales were 10.6 Million for Q3 of 2011. How bad is that? Their sales are down 20% from Q2. This in an industry that is growing 59% in just one year. This is the time of hypergrowth. You can do hideously badly in this industry this year, and still grow sales. And yet, Blackberry sales fell by 20% from Q2. And they fell 8% from Q1 to Q2 - so the decline of Blackberry is increasing. They are going from bad to worse.
How's that in the Bloodbath? My preliminary market share estimate for RIM, at 10.6 Million units is 9% market share for Q3. How bad is that? Just 15 months ago, Blackberry's market share in smartphones was 18%. So literally in just over a year, they have lost half of their market! This is not bad. This is not hideously bad. This is catastrophic. This is so bad, it would be a world record for a handset brand loss in smartphone market share, were it not for Nokia's even bigger crash this year (see Elop Effect). Yes, Blackberry is now in the running for who crashes worst this year, and that race is between only two brands in smartphones - Nokia and RIM. That is truly a definition of horrid business performance.
Now, to the headline of this blog. This is a great test you, the reader, can have of ANY so-called 'expert' in mobile, or any article written about mobile and smartphones. Anyone who says or writes 'Blackberry is losing because of the iPhone' is full of bullshit. Note, it is fair to say, the RIM/Blackberry tablet, the Playbook, is losing to the Apple iPad. That is fair. But anyone who claims Blackberry the smartphone is failing 'because of the iPhone' is an incompetent fool. Immediately lose all trust in that person or organization (or media source). They are parroting a wive's tale, a myth. Here are the facts.
When the iPhone was introduced from June 2007 to September of 2009, Apple grew iPhone market share from zero to 17%. During that time, Palm and Windows Mobile suffered severely, so it is fair to say, the iPhone was killing Palm and Windows Mobile. What happened at RIM over this period? Blackberry grew from 12% to 21% market share in the same period. So, when the iPhone grew massively, so did RIM. There was no cannibalization of the Blackberry by the iPhone when we witnessed the strong growth of the iPhone.
What happened since Q3 of 2009? Blackberry fell from 21% to 9% today. So, how did Apple do? The iPhone has managed a growth of... two points of market share, from 17% back then to 19% in Q2 (the latest quarter for which we have data). Meanwhile Android was at 2% in Q3 of 2009 and was up to 45% by Q2 of this year. So who ate Blackberry's cake? Not the iPhone, it was Android.
If your 'expert' says that RIM is losing to Apple because the iPad is killing the Playbook. That is fair. If your 'expert' claims that Blackberry is losing to Android, that is true. But anyone who claims that the fall of the Blackberry is in any way due to the iPhone, has not even looked at the data. When the iPhone grew, so did Blackberry. When the Blackberry fell, Apple was almost flat. When there was no Android, Blackberry grew, but when Android came to the scene, that is when Blackberry started to free-fall. It is not the iPhone that is killing the Blackberry. It is Android.
Just a little tip here from your faithful Bloodbath-reporter. Just watch how many journalists, analysts, tech-bloggers, pundits and other so-called 'experts' parrot the myth about Blackberry death being due to the iPhone, and make your own judgements about their trustworthiness. This is a complex, difficult and fast-moving area of smartphones. We need facts, we do not need nonsense and myths.
I will be monitoring the Q3 results in the smartphones bloodbath, as usual. Next up should be HTC now in September. Most of the big smartphone brands will then be reporting in October. Stay tuned..