NOTE: My original post, originally published in January 2013, continues to be one of the most viewed on the site. Android and Apple have enjoyed an estimated 98% market share between the two, and many of my earlier projections regarding this market appear to have been borne out. However, the smartphone market has now matured to the point that it is at a strategic inflection point which has major implications for the future of this market and the major competitors. The rapid maturation of the smartphone market should have been foreseen: the rise of domestic Chinese competition combined with the predictable end of the Western consumer fascination with “the next smartphone”
The sale and breakup of a flagship technology company is a reoccurring theme in Canadian business. But this time is different. If BlackBerry Ltd.goes, there is no ready replacement. That’s a telling switch from the situation Canada faced with the sale of Newbridge Networks in 2000 and the demise of Nortel Networks in 2009. More than a decade of declining business investment in research and development has left Canada without an obvious BlackBerry successor. Despite bright spots in Waterloo, Ont., and Ottawa, the country’s performance on most of the important benchmarks of innovation has been deteriorating for years.
Readers of this blog will recall last week’s post on the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) report on the mobile phone market. The problems for both Microsoft and Blackberry were exposed again for all to see. Microsoft’s Windows Phone market share at 3.7%, would have been even smaller without Nokia. Blackberry’s situation was even more dire. A few months back Microsoft and Blackberry opened another new patent war on each other, as if this would somehow help their situations.
This week Blackberry has announced the inevitable search for a potential buyer to take the company private, as has also happened recently with Dell Computer. The suggestion that Ballmer and Microsoft should consider purchasing Blackberry is actually a potentially very interesting idea. A broader market consolidation, with much larger implications, may be on the horizon.
Students of Industry Analysis will note the importance of high technology industry analysis firms, like International Data Corporation (IDC), which this week issued its quarterly reports on the state of key technology markets. The report has been seized upon, sliced and diced by the Wall Street Journal, and a host of other media sources. The technology blogosphere is alive with comment, PandoDaily, Gigaom, TechCrunch, Gizmodo have all been furiously offering their own spins on the IDC Report. It is amazing to see so much of the industry talking about nothing else but IDC today. Similar firms like Forrester, Gartner and others offer similar industry analysis reports, but IDC is the big dog, and the mobile market is their dog food.
New developments in the global smart mobile and tablet war at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain, continue to add to the intrigue, infighting and mega dollars being bet on this market…with little impact so far on the probable outcome. I have spoken with two colleagues who are in Barcelona this week watching it all unfold. Blackberry (the former Research in Motion), Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, and Microsoft, are all struggling and at risk, and making bold survival moves, with mega dollars. Meanwhile, Google and Android continue to consolidate their market dominance globally, but not without major worries about Samsung “wearing the pants” in the Android market.
NOTE: This post, originally published in January 2013, continues to be one of the most…