Monday, May 4, 2009

RIM shot across Apple's bow

Consistent with my observation a week ago about living in a BlackBerry nation, the NPD Group said today that Research in Motion upped its US market share to nearly 50% in 2009 Q1. Three out of five of the top smartphones were from the Ontario company. Now smartphones account for 23% of the market, unchanged since Q4.

The iPhone has fallen behind the BlackBerry Curve (sold by all four carriers) but ahead of the BlackBerry Storm (exclusive to Verizon). NPD notes that RIM was helped by aggressive marketing by its cellphone partners. It singled out Verizon, which has been aggressively promoting BlackBerries with a 2-for-1 promotion.

As I’ve argued for years, by giving an exclusive to ATT, Apple gave the majority of the market a reason to promote everything else. The largest US carrier, Verizon, doesn’t have an iPhone (yet), and so is promoting every other smartphone in sight: today BlackBerries, tomorrow Android, and perhaps sometime an iPhone, Palm or Nokia phone.

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