Not even a new owner would boost BlackBerry's smartphone share

BlackBerry now ranks as 'secondary' buy for companies, behind Android and iOS, analysts say

The BlackBerry 10 OS was supposed to save BlackBerry, but the company's phones have now has slipped into fourth place behind Windows Phone, according to IDC and others.

The BlackBerry Z10: struggling
The BlackBerry Z10: struggling

That slip seems to be a pivotal event in BlackBerry's decision, announced Monday, to set up a committee to explore selling the company or finding a partner for it.

IDC last week said that BlackBerry's market share fell to 2.9% in the second quarter -- its lowest share since the analyst firm has been tracking its devices. Windows Phone was at 3.7%, while Android led with nearly 80% and iOS held 13.2%.

The BlackBerry decline indicates how corporate buying decisions for smartphones have shifted. Corporate buyers have downgraded BlackBerry devices like the Z10 and Q10 running BlackBerry 10 from "primary" buying consideration to "secondary" status, said Bill Menezes, an analyst at Gartner.

"If BlackBerry goes private or [reorganizes into separate businesses], that's still not going to address how the company restores itself to primary consideration status [with buyers] and it's difficult to see how that happens at this point," Menezes said.

"BlackBerry still has cash, but even though their smartphone share is incremental, what's the strategy going to be to regain or hold onto the incremental share they have?" Menezes asked.

Reports of BlackBerry slipping to fourth position are part of a gradual lessening of interest in BlackBerry by corporate buyers, a traditional mainstay for the company, he said. "Every [negative] piece of public information that comes out saps the BlackBerry brand if you are a large company or already are on the fence deciding whether to continue with BlackBerry, especially if Windows Phone is a bigger share and employees are saying they really want a Galaxy or an iPhone," Menezes said.

The committee creation is "the writing on the wall" for BlackBerry loyalists, said Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research. Loyalists include corporate users of BlackBerry going back more than 10 years who were waiting for the Q10 with its qwerty keyboard, as a replacement for a Curve or Bold device with physical keys.

Sales of the new OS phones totaled only 2.7 million units during the three months to June 1, well below what analysts had expected.

"Sales of its new BB10 devices do not indicate that the platform will regain meaningful market share," Golvin said. Analysts generally said that releasing a new Z30 smartphone later in the year with a 5-in. display and running BlackBerry 10.2 won't make a big difference for BlackBerry's fate.

There are still bright spots, even if its smartphone products are not catching on as hoped. They include the core QNX OS behind BB10, BlackBerry Enterprise Service software, numerous patents and the BlackBerry Messenger brand. "These are clearly valuable, but what's unclear is whether they all hold value as a standalone entity or as pieces," Golvin added.

Six months from now, Menezes said BlackBerry will still be making smartphones and supporting the existing ones, but he said it would be better if a buyer or partner worked with a single BlackBerry, instead of breaking its software and services side away from its hardware side and creating two companies.

Potential buyers could include Microsoft, Amazon or Dell, Menezes speculated. "There are as many guesses as people guessing," he said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags BlackberryGartnerconsumer electronicsIDCsmartphones

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?