BlackBerry Limited's India market share may dwindle further

Written by P P Thimmaya | Bangalore | Updated: Sep 27 2013, 19:12pm hrs
BlackBerry Z10Even the launch of new models by BlackBerry with a new OS could not prevent the decline in its market share.
BlackBerry Limited's market share in India could dwindle further from the current level of 2% with uncertainty surrounding the companys future plans as it turns into a privately held entity following the buyout by Fairfax Financial Holdings. BlackBerry Limited has been on a decline even in India, ever since the Apple smartphones and Android operating system (OS) started dominating the market.

The share of BlackBerry Limited in the Indian smartphone market dropped to 2% during the April-June period of 2013 down from 7% a year ago, according to IDC.

Even the launch of new models by BlackBerry Limited with a new OS could not prevent the decline in its market share.

IDC India senior market research analyst Manasi Yadav said that BlackBerry has been operating on a small base and it is only shrinking. The smartphone market in India is very dynamic and BlackBerry has not been aggressive enough to make an impact, she added.

Given the current scenario in the Indian smartphone market dominated by Samsung and other national vendors like Micromax and Karbonn, BlackBerry Limited does not figure anywhere in the top 10 list in terms of sales.

Gartner principal research analyst Anshul Gupta said, We do not know what they are planning to do and what are their intentions.

BlackBerry Limited is estimated to have around 10 million subscribers in India and this base is also expected to further decline as it has not been receiving positive consumer feedback. Android OS has been dominating the market with 91% share, according to IDC. Gupta said BlackBerry is faced with challenges on multiple fronts in terms of limited range of devices, lower quality of apps and general service levels.

Ovum chief telecoms analyst Jan Dawson said, Taking BlackBerry Limited private doesnt solve the fundamental problems at the company. First, the companys device sales are cratering, and its announcement last week that it no longer intends to pursue the consumer market is essentially the death knell for this business.

Some of the former executives of the company in India bemoan the fact that they have not received enough support from the headquarters despite emerging markets being the region where BlackBerry could hold onto to its market share.

However, the likely new owner of BlackBerry led by Fairfax Financial have certain long term plans for the company.

Fairfax chairman and CEO Prem Watsa said: We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter forBlackBerry Limited, its customers, carriers and employees. We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world.

Dawson of Ovum remarked, Unless Fairfax plans to radically change or accelerate BlackBerry Limiteds strategy, its unlikely to be able to turn the company around. And that means were likely seeing the beginning of the end for one of the most iconic brands in mobile technology.