RIM's BlackBerry rapidly lost Verizon share to Android

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Just over a year ago, Research in Motion's BlackBerry made up more than 90 percent of Verizon's smartphone sales. Its share is now below 20 percent, thanks to the heavily promoted launch of Android smartphones on the carrier.



According to a report by John Paczkowski of the Wall Street Journal's "Digital Daily" blog, RIM's slip at Verizon was documented by ITG Investment Research analyst Matthew Goodman, who charted RIM's decline at Verizon at the hands of new Android models (chart below).



The startling speed at which RIM plummeted from being Verizon's number one selling smartphone platform to being a minor player neck-and-neck with Verizon's top four Android licensees closely mirrors the timing of the "Droid" ad campaign Verizon began at the release of Motorola's first major Android smartphone last winter.



Prior to the launch of Verizon's Motorola Droid, Android had a negligible share of Verizon's smartphone mix throughout 2009, with all Android licensees together amounting for less than a ten percent share of the provider's smartphone sales. Most of those licensees were also making a number of Windows Mobile phones for Verizon last year.



The imperfect Storm



Verizon's big push to sell Android devices in 2010 was motivated by a desire to sell more lucrative data contracts, something that RIM's existing BlackBerry models (and the Windows Mobile phones of Verizon's current Android licensees) had failed to do in 2009.



The problematic launch of RIM's iPhone-like BlackBerry Storm in November 2008 did little to slow the rapid decline of BlackBerry at Verizon, and likely emboldened the carrier to shift its efforts to Android, which did manage to sell well as an alternative to the AT&T-exclusive iPhone.



The Storm's failure at Verizon wasn't evident in the company's press releases, which claimed at the time, "customers across the country lined up to purchase the new BlackBerry Storm. The Storm offers customers the reliability of the Verizon Wireless 3G network and the full power of a revolutionary touch-screen, multimedia smartphone with global connectivity."



Despite Verizon's enthusiasm, the Storm launch was plagued with bugs and failed to generate more than a fifth of the sales of the iPhone 3G at Verizon's US rival, AT&T. A second Storm2 model released late last year was given only minor attention by Verizon as it flexed its 2010 marketing muscle behind the new crop of Android 2.0 phones, led by Motorola's Droid.



Commenting on the last year of sales, Paczkowski wrote, "with sales of the [BlackBerry] Tour/Bold series dwindling and no Storm refresh in sight, BlackBerry sales at Verizon are in serious decline." Verizon reportedly believes that RIM's latest BlackBerry OS 6 will not have a "material impact" on its business.







No Android leader



While RIM's smartphone sales at Verizon have crashed, the Canadian phone maker is still the second largest of Verizon's herd of smartphone vendors. That's because, while Android now collectively makes the majority of the provider's smartphone sales, the installed base of Android smartphones is split between a variety of competing hardware manufacturers.



Motorola's Android smartphones only decisively surpassed RIM at Verizon late this summer; Motorola had been selling more phones overall (outside of smartphones) than RIM throughout the entire year. Behind Verizon's first place Android vendor Motorola, its second is HTC, which was just below RIM at Verizon in November, and threatening to surpass it for the number two smartphone spot at the provider overall.



LG, Verizon's third place Android vendor, sells the most Verizon phones overall outside of smartphones (nearly a third of all Verizon phones). It just began selling Android smartphones at Verizon this summer.



Similarly, Verizon's fourth place Android vendor Samsung also sells a large share of the company's non-smartphone models (more than a quarter). It too just recently began selling Android smartphones in the third quarter. Just last month, Samsung also began selling its iPad-alternative, the Galaxy Tab.



On page 2 of 2: Looking for a bigger better deal, Android vs iPhone at Verizon



Looking for a bigger better deal



Despite now having a variety of Android phone models to offer its subscribers from more than four major vendors, Verizon is still expressing a lot of interest in Apple's iPhone.



Analysts have suggested the provider is willing to make significant concessions to Apple in order to be able to carry early next year, with analyst Shaw Wu recently saying in a note to investors that Verizon is believed not only to be accepting Apple's conditions but is also willing to pay extra to keep the iPhone exclusive to it and AT&T, prevent Sprint and T-Mobile from also offering the phone.



That's the strongest indication so far that Verizon is looking beyond Android to back the smartphones its customer want, rather than simply looking to war with Apple or AT&T in dramatic ideological battles.



Verizon has previously shifted its attention from platforms that failed to attract and retain subscribers, particularly ones that, like Microsoft's Windows Mobile, have generated additional costs related to returns prompted by user dissatisfaction. Microsoft's launch of KIN with Verizon this summer was a particularly expensive flop.







Changing of the guard



The rapid fall of BlackBerry at Verizon, foreshadowed by a similar implosion of Microsoft's Windows Mobile (which now accounts for a statistically irrelevant number of smartphone sales there) indicates how quickly customers will leave a mobile platform to adopt something that fits their needs better.



This is particularly notable given that both Microsoft's broadly licensed Windows Mobile and RIM's vertically integrated BlackBerry were historically considered strongly entrenched in business use due to their connections with enterprise server infrastructure and custom software development.



Unlike Windows Mobile or BlackBerry, Android's platform is not protected by ties to enterprise sales. Android itself lacks a variety of features significant to business users, including functional support for Exchange (particularly hardware encryption), 802.1x WPA2 wireless network authentication, corporate proxy servers, Cisco VPNs using certificates, OpenVPN, CalDAV, remote wipe, and managed apps and configurations. Apple has worked to cover those bases for iPhone (and iPad) users, resulting in strong interest from enterprise users.



Android vs iPhone at Verizon



While Android models have offered Verizon a credible alternative to the iPhone during a year when it had nothing else to sell, simply being new and different (and well marketed) isn't enough to maintain customers. This is demonstrated by Palm's tepid launch of its new webOS-based smartphones at Verizon this year. Although Palm's sales were enough to briefly surpass HTC's at Verizon this spring to become the carrier's third largest smartphone vendor, Palm couldn't sustain those sales, and has since tumbled off into irrelevance.



Android is expected to face a significant challenge from Apple's iPhone on Verizon next year. Having access to the iPhone will allow Verizon to lower its customer acquisition costs, as Apple heavily promotes its own products through its retail stores and online. Verizon has so far had to pay for a large portion of Android's promotion in the US itself.



The carrier is also expected to inhale a significant portion of existing iPhone subscribers at AT&T who are dissatisfied with the level of service coverage they currently have, a rare opportunity for the carrier. Apple's iPhone is also proven to retain subscribers and reduce the expensive churn that drives up wireless providers' costs.



Verizon's current Android licensees were once the company's Windows Mobile licensees, and many were also once Symbian licensees. Both widely-licensed platforms have rapidly crumbled since the debut of the iPhone. At the same time, the parallel failure of the Palm OS and the deteriorating share of RIM 's BlackBerry at Verizon also provide warnings to Apple that vertically integrated products that don't keep pace with their competitors won't hold onto their market share either.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Shocker!
  • Reply 2 of 42
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    RiM’s earmings state record sales and profits in, I think, all quarters leading back before Android OS and the iPhone arrived on the scene.



    So has RiM’s smartphone sales on Verizon actually “crashed", or is it merely a change in the smartphone market with a huge spike in consumer smartphone sales?
  • Reply 3 of 42
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,576member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    RiM?s earmings state record sales and profits in, I think, all quarters leading back before Android OS and the iPhone arrived on the scene.



    So has RiM?s smartphone sales on Verizon actually ?crashed", or is it merely a change in the smartphone market with a huge spike in consumer smartphone sales?



    At first appearance, when you look at their quarterly results, RIM is doing quite well, but its a case of an expanding market in which RIM is losing share dramatically. This does not bode well for their future. Further, a significant number of BB devices have been sold under "buy-one-get-one free" promotions which grossly inflates their numbers compared to if they were all sold at normal pricing. I don't know if RIM had to give up any margin for the carriers to run these promotions but needless to say that when your sales are driven in large part by giving the product away for free this is not a good thing in the long term as it masks the reality of the market, and distorts it in the short term.



    The greatest threat to RIM comes with the introduction of the iPhone on VRZN since, as Daniel points out, the iPhone is enterprise ready, whereas Android devices aren't even close. This means that the iPhone will be cutting into RIM's core business market. RIM is a dinosaur in the smartphone space and is going to see a continued erosion of their business.
  • Reply 4 of 42
    Rim / Blackberry has lost the WOW factor, there phones are boring, Apps and UI is lacking, what is take so long on the OS 6 release, where is the Storm 3,
  • Reply 5 of 42
    samabsamab Posts: 1,953member
    Even Apple lost market share to Android in the last quarter.
  • Reply 6 of 42
    I manage 100 Blackberry devices and when verizon does get the Iphone i would guess 50% of my user will switch, We are ready, Lotus Notes Traveler. Iphone is enterprise ready. We have a corprate plan with verizon the switch to Iphone just in data cost will save 18,000 a year if all users switch. how about that WOW factor Android swith would do the same thing, Why are we still using Blackberry??
  • Reply 7 of 42
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,937member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    RiM?s earmings state record sales and profits in, I think, all quarters leading back before Android OS and the iPhone arrived on the scene.



    So has RiM?s smartphone sales on Verizon actually ?crashed", or is it merely a change in the smartphone market with a huge spike in consumer smartphone sales?



    I would definitely say its a huge spike in smartphone consumers. Until a yr ago the smartphone offerings on VZW were either crappy or really expensive. The Moto Droid changed that and people bought it in droves. Motorola has had quite the turn around. Going from a division that was thisclose to being shut down to now bring a separate entity as Motorola Mobility and having its own CEO and stock. Moto should imitate Sammy Sosa and say "Verizon has been berry berry good to me"
  • Reply 8 of 42
    Doesn't look good for RIM...that's for sure!



    4-5 years ago, I remember playing tennis with the CEO of Best Western Hotels and during the change overs he would check his blackberry and sometimes make a call. He looked like he was holding a cheeseburger up to his ear.



    To think of the hold RIM had on Enterprise and they really screwed it!



    Best
  • Reply 9 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post


    Doesn't look good for RIM...that's for sure!



    4-5 years ago, I remember playing tennis with the CEO of Best Western Hotels and during the change overs he would check his blackberry and sometimes make a call. He looked like he was holding a cheeseburger up to his ear.



    To think of the hold RIM had on Enterprise and they really screwed it!



    Best





    Smartphones have come a long way, do you remember the first pocketPc phones? Those things were huge too
  • Reply 10 of 42
    newbeenewbee Posts: 2,055member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by samab View Post


    Even Apple lost market share to Android in the last quarter.



    Well, let's see now ... according to Google's vice president of engineering, Andy Rubin, Android has 172 phone models. ... Apple has 3G, 3GS and IOS4 and let's see, that's it, ... 172 vs 3.... and you note that .."Apple lost market share to Android in the last quarter".



    Well, even DaHarder agrees .... Shocker!
  • Reply 11 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by samab View Post


    Even Apple lost market share to Android in the last quarter.



    .....and, Google made even more multiples of $0, while Apple's stock price continues to grow....
  • Reply 12 of 42
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


    I would definitely say its a huge spike in smartphone consumers. Until a yr ago the smartphone offerings on VZW were either crappy or really expensive. The Moto Droid changed that and people bought it in droves. Motorola has had quite the turn around. Going from a division that was thisclose to being shut down to now bring a separate entity as Motorola Mobility and having its own CEO and stock. Moto should imitate Sammy Sosa and say "Verizon has been berry berry good to me"



    as a former startac owner, nothing new



    motorola always had a fad phone every few years that they tried to milk and not change anything until someone came along with something new and took marketshare



    first startac got killed by nokia. then they had the razr and that got killed by smartphones.
  • Reply 13 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


    as a former startac owner, nothing new



    motorola always had a fad phone every few years that they tried to milk and not change anything until someone came along with something new and took marketshare



    first startac got killed by nokia. then they had the razr and that got killed by smartphones.



    I loved my StarTac. I think this time around Motorola isn't going to allow that to happen. They had a huge hit with the Droid 1 and the Droid X. Also that tablet Andy Rubin had looked like a real contender to the iPad. Its nice to have options and a choice plus competition is always good.
  • Reply 14 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tmallon View Post


    Rim / Blackberry has lost the WOW factor, there phones are boring, Apps and UI is lacking, what is take so long on the OS 6 release, where is the Storm 3,



    OS 6 will come out in 2011 with LTE/4G. Think Feb. If you've watched video's of their "Playbook", Honestly It might do okay outside of the traditional blackberry user.

    Then again, to qoute another posting here, Android's done perfectly fine with Enterprise so I wouldn't rely exactly on blackberry's past merits to see them jump anytime soon. For their sake, I hope I'm wrong.



    If the Verizon iphone is 4G, With Verizon customers they may stand a chance against Android, besides with soccer mom's and the many that are wanting for anything Verizon/Apple. That's no small figure at all. The Biggest Compliment I always hear for Droid, is what it can do. I would hope Apples taking notes, for example, putting adobe flash on their phone's if they choose. Google's GPS apps for that matter third party apps. I know not here a popular subject here, but a big deal to those whom like "Droid". Maybe underestimated. Time will tell.
  • Reply 15 of 42
    Although both the iPhone and Droids have been successful, the market analysis on them is flawed and skewered. In one word, BBM. The BB has a strong hold on the teen market b/c of BBM. This is the lock-in factor. This "tribe" although not zealous like iPhone owners, are very loyal. If the phone does not have BBM, they are out of the loop. If you are a teen and out of the loop, you might as well not exist. Peer pressure is enormous within that age segment. So, BB is still a very relevant play b/c they command a very large following within a demographic that matters.
  • Reply 16 of 42
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    .....and, Google made even more multiples of $0, while Apple's stock price continues to grow....



    Why would you compare profits to stock price? GOOG isn't doing too shabby either...
  • Reply 17 of 42
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    RiM’s earmings state record sales and profits in, I think, all quarters leading back before Android OS and the iPhone arrived on the scene.



    So has RiM’s smartphone sales on Verizon actually “crashed", or is it merely a change in the smartphone market with a huge spike in consumer smartphone sales?



    Exactly. This isn't a zero sum game, not by a long shot. Profit is more important than marketshare.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram


    .....and, Google made even more multiples of $0, while Apple's stock price continues to grow....



    Google is an advertising company. Every phone sold adds to their advertising revenue. They're making way more than $0 per phone.
  • Reply 18 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    .....and, Google made even more multiples of $0, while Apple's stock price continues to grow....



    Yes. When I go out to purchase a phone, that's what I'm thinking. Let me see how I can make more money for Apple's shareholders



    As a consumer, I should care about what's the best phone for me. For me personally, at one point it was the iPhone. For a while now, it's been an Android phone. No doubt for you and many others on this forum, it's still the iPhone.



    Obviously Google doesn't think that Android is not making money for them. And even if it were not obvious to you, at least take a hint from many quotes from Google executives including the CFO that Android was the best investment that Google has ever made.



    As long as people continue buying Android phones, Google benefits. Google benefits when people buy iPhones as well. But it's obviously better to control their own destiny rather than rely on the whims of another company - especially one as unpredictable and imperious as Apple headed by Steve Jobs.



    As Apple continues its attempts to reduce Google's profitability from the iPhone, growing market share of Android especially at the expense of the iPhone will continue to be Google's main driver in the short term.
  • Reply 19 of 42
    ifailifail Posts: 463member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    RiM?s earmings state record sales and profits in, I think, all quarters leading back before Android OS and the iPhone arrived on the scene.



    So has RiM?s smartphone sales on Verizon actually ?crashed", or is it merely a change in the smartphone market with a huge spike in consumer smartphone sales?



    No, RIM is doing well but their sales are now coming from prepaid devices in the US (Virgin Mobile 8530 is a good deal imho), outside the US its selling big in cheap market segments like India and China. In essence RIM is pulling a Nokia. Whats also funny about this is RIM is trying to cover its own stink up by saying they will no longer be announcing the Average Selling Price for their product due to "selling many products into many markets makes ASP hard to forecast", but I think everyone knows its because its been heading south since last year when the Droid launched.



    VZW was RIMs biggest smartphone mover, and second to that was Sprint and T-Mobile. These were carriers with nothing better than Curves and Tours, and the god awful Storm that i used to own when i was with VZW. Now they turned to Android as their premium offering and consumers have left RIM in the past.
  • Reply 20 of 42
    piotpiot Posts: 1,346member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by samab View Post


    Even Apple lost market share to Android in the last quarter.



    Not quite!





    It should be noted that in all these smartphone market share posts, Apple (out of the big three. Nokia, Rim, Apple) is the only player NOT to lose any share.
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