BlackBerry is continuing to lose market share in the United States, new figures reveal, showing the scale of the mountain that RIM, the firm behind the smartphone brand, must climb in 2012 to avoid a takeover.
In the three month period to the end of November BlackBerry slid more than three per cent, from 19.7 per cent to 16.6 per cent, according to ComScore.
Android was the main beneficiary of the continuing malaise, gaining more than three per cent to account for 46.9 per cent of the American smartphone market. Most of Google’s new mobile users defected from BlackBerry, as between them Microsoft and Symbian lost a total of less than one per cent of the market.
Apple also gained as RIM suffered. The iPhone now has a 28.7 per cent share in the US, up from 27.3 per cent three months earlier.
Reversing its decline in its biggest market will be a top priority for RIM this year as executives aim to avoid a takeover by a rival.
Most of the major players in the booming smartphone market have been linked with a bid for the Canadian firm recently. Microsoft, Nokia and RIM have all reportedly considered a takeover, as well as Amazon, which is expected to enter the fray this year with its first smartphone.
RIM executives have rejected suggestions of a sale, however, despite a 75 per cent collapse in the firm’s share price in 2011. But unless they can reverse BlackBerry's fortunes in its traditional stronghold, analysts say, takeover talk is sure to intensify.
One possibility is that RIM could licence the BlackBerry software to other smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung, who make more cutting-edge devices.