Is it the End of the Line for Blackberry? A Must Read For Realtors

by Joe Sesso on November 28, 2011

It wasn’t too long ago that Realtors and consumers clung to their “Crackberrys” as their lifeline to work and social lives. People were literally attached at the hip. But it looks like those days may be over.

The Blackberry, and its parent company Research in Motion, is rapidly losing ground to Apple’s iPhone and the many Android devices that cover the mobile world today. It’s crazy that just two years ago, Blackberry accounted for 43% of the U.S. smartphone market. Today it only holds a 19% market share as it has been rapidly surpassed by iPhones and Androids.

Recent events at Research in Motion haven’t helped either. There was that three day network outage earlier this year that infuriated Blackberry customers. That was followed by a loss of nearly $10 billion in valuation in its stock price, taking the stock down nearly 70% for the year. Its mobile advertising click-through rates are dismal compared to iPhone and Android. iPhone has a .78% click-through rate, followed by Android at .47%. Blackberry sits third at only .36%. Also, many of the top engineers have left the company this year to join other cutting-edge companies. So is it the end of the line for this once dominant smartphone? Industry experts say not to count them out.

Is It R.I.P. for RIM? Not So Fast

Research in Motion still has more than 70 million subscribers, and the new operating system “7”  is outperforming rivals in browser speed. Blackberrys still have a strong customer-base in Latin America, Britain, India, and Southeast Asia.

With regards to market share, Blackberry is still a strong number three. While once being the undisputed champion of the smartphone market, having nearly one in every five people with one of their devices isn’t a terrible thing. “If I had a product that had 20% market share, I wouldn’t be too worried about my future,” said one industry insider. Looking at the glass half full, 20% market share isn’t too bad. But if you look at it as half empty, you see that Blackberry has fallen very fast to its current level. That concerns many people who follow Blackberry and Research in Motion, because they don’t know where the bottom may be. By next year they could have less than 10% market share.

From a personal standpoint, I owned a Blackberry for two years. I absolutely loved it, especially the ability to type fast for texts and e-mails. It was my first smartphone, and definitely a step up from my Motorola Razr. In 2010, I bought an iPhone 4. At first, I couldn’t get the typing thing down. I missed my Blackberry a lot. But using the web was so much better for iPhone that there was no comparison. I didn’t realize how much I would care about the App store until I had an iPhone. Now I can’t live without it. I can’t see myself going back to Blackberry. Even with new designs and better web capability, Blackberry isn’t even close in the number of apps to iPhone or Android, and many app makers just don’t believe that Blackberry will have the market share necessary to justify building apps for the platform.

Market Share for Smartphones:

2009

1. Blackberry 43%                   2. iPhone 25%                   3. Android 7%

2011

1. Android 44.8%                   2. iPhone 27.4%                 3. Blackberry 18.9%

There are many real estate professionals who have had a Blackberry for so long that they can’t see themselves using any other brand. There’s nothing wrong with brand loyalty, and Blackberrys are really good phones. But as iPhones and Androids continue to dominate the scene with more and more apps and capabilities, many fear that Blackberry will simply be left in the dust. I am one of them.

 

Previous post:

Next post: