Sun, August 26, 2012
Business > Industries

BlackBerry's market in India being eaten away by peers

2012-08-26 03:37:02 GMT2012-08-26 11:37:02(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

KOLKATA, India, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- With several contenders in the fray, the much-anticipated BlackBerry 10 expected late this year will probably be delayed. Even as manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) waits in the wings to launch it, mobile phone giants such as Samsung and Apple continue to chip away at RIM's market share.

Analysts insist RIM will be further challenged by the planned release of the iPhone 5, expected to reach the market late 2012.

Vignesh Arora, telecom analyst at Prosound Equipment said, "RIM 's revenues dropped 25 percent to 14.6 billion rupees (265.45 million U.S. dollars) from 19.5 billion rupees (354.54 million U.S. dollars). Among the top 10 mobile handset vendors in the country, RIM had a market share of 4.7 percent and was at the world's fourth spot behind Nokia, Samsung and Micromax." He was referring to a survey by Voice&Data.

South Korean handset maker Samsung, in comparison, saw its revenues jump 38 percent to 78.9 billion rupees (1,434.72 million U.S. dollars) in 2011-12 from 57.2 billion (1,040 million U.S. dollars) in the previous fiscal year. It had a market share of 25. 3 percent, the survey noted.

Though India is one of the few growing markets for RIM, the company has been facing falling sales all across the globe.

"Sales of BlackBerry phones recently fell 41 percent. Though RIM has said the new BB10 will include the ability to run multiple programs at once and will let users switch between programs, by the time it appears on the market, there will be several choices, including a new iPhone and devices running the latest version of Google's Android software," said Keshav Bajaj, telecom analyst at a multinational bank.

On its part, Samsung is contemplating some new launches, though it has 17 smartphone models available across varied OS platforms. According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung shipped 50. 5 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2012, twice as many as Apple.

Analysts also maintain that RIM could be courting Samsung to license its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.

"Samsung has established its market leadership in the smartphone market in India on the basis of its innovative product portfolio, differentiated retail strategy and its multiplatform strategy," he said.

Samsung has offerings across Android, Windows and bada platforms.

In a report on smartphones, tablets and the rise (and fall) of RIM, market research firm Frost & Sullivan has noted that "If the steps RIM is taking now had occurred a year or two ago, RIM would be primed to establish itself as a strong third ecosystem along with Android and Apple."

The report adds that RIM is not just focused on fixing the issues that have set the company back in the smartphone era, but is also looking to the future. For example, Near Field Communication (NFC) is a quickly growing technology with the promise to make applications such as mobile payments, mobile-to- mobile communication, and building access possible from a mobile device.

"RIM is putting much attention on NFC as an enabling technology, and is even educating developers on how to build great apps that include NFC capability.

"If RIM can grab a market leadership position in emerging technologies like NFC and can survive until BlackBerry 10's release, the company still may have an opportunity to rebuild the strong consumer following it has enjoyed historically," adds an analyst with the Telecommunications Practice, Frost & Sullivan.

RIM's brand will need the boost, the report says, as it seems to be the only major output until BlackBerry 10 launch.

"Half a year in the smartphone space is an eternity. Nokia can attest to the negatives of idle time during a market share slide, as its own struggles with the Symbian platform and a new Microsoft partnership have left this traditional market leader far behind in the smartphone era," according to the report.

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