Amidst fairly neutral consumer reviews of its two flagship handsets the Z10 and Q10, newly-rebranded BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) restructures because of fears from inside and out that it will lose the battle to maintain popularity among consumers. With early discounts on the company’s two newest handsets and a recent major fall in share prices, this suggests that its hopes for better fortunes from the new handsets and operating system haven’t panned out.
Sales in the US have fallen significantly in the last year. The new phones and operating system were meant to turn the ship around, but BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) admitted such sales had been a “disaster.” This resulted in the company firing Richard Piasentin, its US VP of Sales.
Reviews of the flagship phones and operating system were pretty neutral. Regarding the Q10, Forbes said, “there’s nothing new in the package that lets the Q10 stand out. There’s nothing special in the BB10 operating system that makes it stand out over and above iOS, Android, or Windows Phone.” In a fiercely competitive marketplace, a company must break new ground in order to lead the way. It seems that the OS and phones were too conservative in design, meaning that existing BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) users might upgrade to one but it will not attract new users.
BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) hasn’t yet managed to get a firm grip on the booming app market which generates serious money for smartphone companies such as Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). This is an important income stream for its competitors, yet BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) phones are not widely thought of as having a good range of apps.
There is no doubt that the competition in the smartphone arena today has grown to be considerably stiffer over the past half-decade. From the market that was dominated by BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) six years ago, more and more mobile phone companies started flooding the market with smartphones of every possible configuration at varying price levels. Consumers are willing to pay the price for the all-in-one convenience and practicality of the smartphone.
By all indications, Apple has moved way ahead of BlackBerry in dominating the US smartphone market. Apple is joined at the top by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) whose Android OS rivals iOS in terms of consumer acceptance. Many experts believe that the introduction of the BlackBerry 10 came a little too late in the game. Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry’s CEO, is not throwing the towel in just yet, however; the company is poised to take a nip of the market shared by Apple and Google.
Current market studies show that Google’s Android actually leads by a slight margin in terms of market share, taking 52% of the pie. The slice taken by Apple’s iOS comes up to almost 42%. The partnership between Apple and T MOBILE US INC (NYSE:TMUS) should increase the size of the iOS’ slice of the smartphone market, however, as the iPhone consistently topped T-Mobile’s sales charts for the months of March, April, and May. T-Mobile reported that 31% of their smartphone sales during the same period came from iPhones. AT&T and Verizon’s second quarter iPhone sales were pegged at 60.5% and 43.8% respectively.