It’s bad enough RIM’s mindshare has taken a dive among consumers, but it sounds like the issue is percolating into wireless carriers as well. While Android and iOS devices continue to fly off shelves, carriers are actually giving BlackBerry devices less shelf space because of their dismal retail performance. That’s bad. How can RIM rebound if its devices have been relegated to a small dark corner of shame?
According to Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette, sales through the summer have largely been unchanged, though inventory has declined significantly. It seems the poor performing handsets have failed to compete against what’s currently pushing the market forward, and as a result, carriers are swooping up less and less BlackBerry kit for its stores.
In comparison to Apple, Google and Microsoft, Research In Motion’s movement in the mobile space has been pitifully stagnant. We’ve seen no marked improvement in the Waterloo company’s BB10 efforts, and nothing to suggest the OS has a fighting chance to survive against the products that are available and upcoming. Heading into the busy holiday period, RIM is at a huge disadvantage. The company is basically going into a gun fight with no weapon and its hands tied behind its back.
BlackBerry 10 still isn’t expected to ship until early 2013, giving its competitors plenty of time to push RIM mindshare well out of the picture (if it hasn’t been already). It’s one thing to lose the faith of consumers, but hugely different to get abandoned by carriers.
Given the data, Faucette stated the obvious, “Even assuming that BlackBerry 10 devices roll out on time starting in 2013, we believe the clear evidence of shelf-space pressure our checks have detected does not bode well for [RIM] in the longer term.”
You might say pushing older BlackBerry devices out of the picture is a common move among carriers as new hardware/software nears; you know, to make room for the shiny new toys. But it’s hard to ignore RIM’s performance over 2012, at least here in the U.S., and not see this as a sign of things to come. BlackBerry 10 might change that, but it’ll have an enormous mountain to climb.