Apple Inc. (AAPL) & Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Are Nice, But Who’s 3X Better Than The Competition?

Apple Inc.I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been wrong in the stock market. However, I try to remember what Peter Lynch once said. He said you’ll never be right 100% of the time, but even if just 60% of your picks go the way you expect, you can be successful. I read a lot of earnings reports, and with each one I try to keep an open mind. With Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)‘s recent earnings, I find myself in the strange position of suggesting this company has a chance to be a decent investment.

What’s Past Is Past
Adopting a “be here now” attitude with each earnings report is sometimes difficult, as I honestly hate being wrong. That being said, my disdain for BlackBerry shouldn’t be a secret. The company’s refusal to accept that customers wanted a good touchscreen phone was baffling. BlackBerry’s slow time to market with Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) 10 frustrated even the most fanatical fans. However, as they say, time heals all wounds, and there are several positives in the company’s current earnings.

I’ve heard the argument before from BlackBerry investors that their company doesn’t have to take market share, but instead they need to make sure they produce good results on a global scale. The theory is, a company might lose market share because some of their competition is growing faster, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t growing.

I’m not here to debate the merits of the BlackBerry 10 system or smartphones. What I will say is, now that they are finally here, buyers can now make their choice. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) seems to constantly be dealing with this product anticipation issue. Customers aren’t dumb, if they know that the iPhone 5S or 6 will be out in just a few months, they aren’t likely to run out and buy the existing model. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) saw this happen at the end of last year, with the release of Windows 8 creating a slowdown in Windows Phone purchases.

It is particularly important that Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is able to at least hold serve in market share now that their latest products are beginning to hit the market. Last year, BlackBerry held a 4.3% global market share. While this doesn’t come close to the 75% market share for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)‘s Android, or the 14.9% market share for iOS, it was still good enough for third.

That being said, BlackBerry has to watch its back, because Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) increased its global market share from 1.2% to 2% over the last year. This 2% doesn’t sound like a lot, but this represented a 140% increase in shipment volumes versus a 34.7% drop in volumes at BlackBerry.

Why Could Third Place Be Just Fine?
The first reason to consider BlackBerry is, the sheer size of the smartphone market means even the third and fourth biggest players should be able to do very well. According to IDC research, in 2013 there may be as many as 301 million smartphones sold in China, 137.5 million in the U.S., 35.5 million in the U.K. and 444 million in other parts of the world.

This research actually plays pretty well into BlackBerry’s strengths, as the company’s sales come from areas other than China and the U.S. In fact, in the current quarter, BlackBerry got the lions’ share of sales from Europe, The Middle East, and Africa.