Since October 2009, BlackBerry has slowly but steadily been losing sales on America’s top carrier, Verizon Wireless, to Android handsets (mostly Motorola, but also LG and Samsung). This probably isn’t a huge surprise to anyone who has seen Verizon’s aggressive (and awesome) Android marketing; in fact, Verizon would go so far as to say as they’re responsible for Android’s success. The graph above, by ITG Investment Research, illustrates BlackBerry’s 45% drop on Verizon over the last year, with a forecast for being down 49% in the fourth quarter. Considering BlackBerry at one point accounted for over 90% of Verizon’s smartphone sales and are now under 20%, I do worry for RIM’s future in the U.S.
Being a devout BlackBerry user, I tend to brush off the poor public speaking skills of RIM’s CEOs and the resulting poor public perception, but when hard numbers like this come in, it’s really hard to ignore. Apple passed RIM as the number two smartphone maker earlier this year, which was another definite down-note, and all the more reason for RIM to get the PlayBook’s operating system onto their handsets as quickly as possible. RIM might argue that they’re a global company, but the U.S. is a massive market that really can’t be ignored, even if BlackBerry beats the competition elsewhere in the world. The only forseeable savior for RIM on Verizon is a new BlackBerry Storm launching with their LTE network. It’ll be interesting to see just how much more share BlackBerry would lose if Verizon picks up the iPhone.