The final stats from fourth quarter smartphone sales are in. Reuters reports that the iPhone had a phenomenal end of the year and accordingly doubled its share to 44.9% of the market, just squeaking by Android’s 44.8%. Everyone else, clocked in third place with dismal scores of 9.3% for BlackBerry and 2% for Windows Phone.
The 9.3% number for BlackBerry is an especially troublesome number because it reflects almost no growth during the key, high-spending holiday season. Last June when Apple announced iOS 5, I predicted that BB maker Research In Motion was on its way to the funeral homes and, a few months later, it’s become all but a certainty. Last week, after countless empty promises, missed deadlines and the Blackberry PlayBook disaster, their executive management was shaken up, including the firing of their co-CEOs. With their company teetering on a cliff, the new team is already on the hotseat and desperately trying to jump-start their pipeline to avoid a takeover and/or being dissolved.
Every time I’ve written negatively about RIM, there’s been a significant backlash in the c-section from BB loyalists, citing various reasons such as better security, less distractions and apparently continues to be the staple of the business world. But the fact remains that BB has STILL not successfully innovated and progressed to give consumers a reason to purchase their phones instead of an iPhone or a Droid. These last six months were crucial for the company to prove they could catch up to their competitors and simply put, they just couldn’t get the job done and now they’ll pay for it. The business market is a niche market that cannot sustain the company by itself. And even businesses (my own company included) are now abandoning BBs for iPhones. The writing is on the wall. It’s a matter of time before the inevitable happens.