It looks like it’s the end of an era. Nearly ten years after the release of the first iPhone, Blackberry’s market share has dropped to 0.0%. Well, it’s actually 0.0481% for the 4th quarter of 2016, but that can be rounded to a startling zero percent. Blackberry, once a notable player within the cellphone industry, has all but vanished from the market.
What has happened to this company? One can remember a time where, around the mid 2000s, almost every working professional had a Blackberry. In fact, the companies products were so well renowned, that people affectionately referred to them as “Crackberries.” People constantly on the go cherished them for their full QUERTY keyboard and and email functionality.
So where did Blackberry’s market share go? It would appear that iOS and Android operating systems, through the rise in popularity of Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxies, have formed what appears to be a duopoly; the two hold 99.6% of the cellphone market share. Most people looking to buy a cellphone today choose not to purchase a Blackberry; as such, the company’s consumer base looks to be a rapidly aging group. This could prove a larger marketing issue than it has in the past, as the company’s value continues to plummet. The fall of Blackberry has been long and drawn-out, even if it hasn’t been noticed by the general populace. Blackberry stock hit its record high of about $140 in 2008, but since then, its price has fallen to $7.35 (February 16th). Although Blackberry does produce handsets that run on other operating systems, such as Android, these products only accounted for around 400,000 product sales in the second quarter of 2016.
One can ask what the future holds for Blackberry. The company has handed off future production of their name-brand cellphones to the Chinese company TLC Communication. Instead, Blackberry is moving away from the cellphone industry. Currently, the firm is looking into producing software and also self-driving vehicle research. For those curious about the developments within the cellphone industry, it will be captivating to see how the company turns out. It is possible that diversifying Blackberry’s portfolio of products could lead them out of a gulley, but it is just as likely that it destroy them completely. Perhaps, it would be better for a firm, like Microsoft or Apple, to buy them while trying to vertically integrate. The employees of Blackberry could almost certainly prove beneficial to any company that acquires them. As Apple continues to increase profitability by limiting their operating system to their own in-house products, the challenge of keeping up will prove to be too much for most companies, like it has been for Blackberry. Apple seems to have the luxury smartphone market cornered, while Android manufactures are able to sell units at all different price points. It is entirely possible that we will see a pure duopoly, or even a monopoly, inside the cellphone market in the not-too-distant future.