BlackBerry manufacturers RIM held tight to home town favoritism for longer than many expected.
However, new figures out of the IDC/Bloomberg camp have revealed Apple finally surpassed its long-term smartphone rival in its native Canada.
In 2011, Apple shipped a cool 2.85 million units to Canada, while RIM shipped 2.08 million units.
It’s a sharp turnaround over just 12 months. In 2010 RIM shifted half a million more units than Apple in Canada.
BMO Harris Private Banking fund manager Paul Taylor told Bloomberg what everyone else is thinking: “For RIM, in its home market, to lose that No. 1 position to iPhone is strategically important.”
“It does identify, even with a home-country bias, how consumers are responding to the greater functionality of the iPhone.”
In response to the North America-wide sales slump, new RIM chief executive officer Thorsten Heins pledged to do something “dramatically different”. He cited the 2011 release of BlackBerry 7 handsets with improved web browsing, mobile website display and touch-screen functionality as a step in the right direction.
The manufacturer reportedly plans to release a further ten new devices in 2012.
Sales in Canada equal 7% of RIM’s total revenue. However, it dipped a dizzy 23% in the third quarter last year compared to 12 months prior. Meanwhile, US sales fell 45% in the same period. Growing sales in emerging markets stemmed the decline; worldwide revenue finished down just 5.9%.
“The challenge for Mr. Heins is to take that iconic brand and products that are reasonably competitive and ensure that they do get appropriate attention from the average consumer,” Taylor said.
“That’s the challenge: to reverse the negative sentiment that has developed.”