It has been no secret that BlackBerry is essentially facing a do-or-die situation with the release of the BlackBerry 10 OS and the Z10 smartphone. Having fallen from a position of complete dominance in the smartphone space, the stock has imploded, and sales have dried up. The new iteration of BlackBerries must bring the company back to a level of even fringe relevance, or it’s not likely to survive.
While the greatest focus of BlackBerry’s struggles to remain afloat are primarily focused on the competition for third place with Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK), it’s worth considering whether the demise of BlackBerry would be of any meaning to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) or even Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) . In the long run, unless BlackBerry explodes back into the limelight, I do not see its existence having much impact on the big two; in the immediate-term, however, the interplay between BlackBerry and Nokia has some significance.
Might BlackBerry fail?
Initial reviews of the new BlackBerry line have been mixed, but they have not been disastrous. As with any new product release, there are highs and lows; the general consensus seems to be that BlackBerry may yet have a chance. The biggest negative from the release was the fact that the new devices will not hit U.S. shelves until March .
Why Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) & Google might care
Given the relative market shares of the various smartphone makers, it would be easy to dismiss the roles of either BlackBerry or Nokia as essentially meaningless for either of the big two. According to research (NASDAQ:RIMM) firm IDC, Android commands 68.3% of the global market, followed by iOS at 18.8% and BlackBerry at 4.7%. A different source has BlackBerry down to 3.4% in the fourth quarter, and under 2% in North America . After Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), the other two make barely a ripple in the overall market mix.
The reason that the big two might care if BlackBerry is driven out of the market is that as long as BlackBerry and Nokia are fighting each other, that’s where the conversation remains focused. Once the battle for third has been cleared away, it will be far easier to see real comparisons being made between the number three and the other two. Also, as soon as either Nokia or BlackBerry takes aim at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google, the push for features and functionality being developed by all three are more likely to see enhanced competition.