BlackBerry Storm Doing Better Than We Thought

Research in Motion and the BlackBerry Storm took a bit of a beating yesterday after a pretty stupid comment by RIM co-CEO Jim Balsille in an WSJ article hit the internet.  One of the things mentioned in the article was that only 500,000 BlackBerry Storms shipped in it’s first month as compared to the 2.4 million iPhone 3G devices that shipped in its first quarter.  Verizon Wireless, however, posted Q4 earnings along with a few specifics on the BlackBerry Storm and it would appear that the Storm is doing a bit better than we initially thought.

Through January, Verizon has sold over 1 million BlackBerry Storm devices.  This is still behind the pace of the iPhone 3G, however, don’t forget that the BlackBerry Storm isn’t the only device that RIM sells.  If  RIM has already sold over 1 million BlackBerry Storm devices the total number of BlackBerry devices sold will easily beat the 2.4 million iPhones sold it’s first quarter.

I think that if RIM can put out an official OS update that gets the, “It’s not that bad now that they’ve got a lot of the kinks worked out”, type stamp off approval, I believe that RIM can buy themselves time to sure up a completely overhauled OS that I hope that they are secretly working on.

That, however, is for another post…

[Via ComputerWorld]

Comments

  1. Brian says

    A couple little corrections:

    1) That 2.4 million number for iPhone was in a quarter (three months) and not in one month!

    2) 500,000 in a month seems to jive with the 1 million in sales from Verizon. We are not at a full quarter yet with the Storm. First there were supply problems… But even then we are talking really just December and January (since November was almost shot by that point when the Storm was released). So 500,000 for December and 500,000 for January. Sounds to me like RIM’s co-ceo was right.

    Also, the media has to stop comparing Apple’s 1 device to RIM’s Storm. In features ok, I understand that. But RIM does not have a one size fits all product line, Apple, for right now, does!

    Therefore that magical 2.4 Million number in their first quarter, in sales, needs to be compared against all the RIM hardware releases first quarters for the year. That would be the Flip, Bold and Storm (in all the world just not the US, as that 2.4 million was a world-wide release). I suspect if you add those all together you will see RIM well past 2.4 million for each first quarter for all the hardware releases combined.

    Also, I think it’s telling to note how the users did not return their Storms in the numbers that the “general prevailing wisdom” of the media would of thought! This means the Storm is a good device for those who got it (I am one of them) and don’t want to return it.

    The media likes setting up Apple as the company that “can do no wrong” and RIM as the ugly duckling that is not the standard. The truth is the opposite. RIM is the leader in market share still.

    My theory is the media use crappy old BlackBerrys and are comparing them to iPhones. So in their mind Apple is a godsend because the people in the media don’t like RIM because RIM == Work to them. Apple == fun in the sun. I know this sounds a little crazy. But it makes sense! Since they are forced to use BlackBerry’s they look at them as corporate power and Apple as freedom. Since most of the media is liberal you can understand it. Liberals hate power. They think you must of done something wrong to get it, if you have it. Market share is power!

    Now in that mindset I think you are seeing a similar Liberal vs Conservative struggle in the media. Where the conservatives are rail-roaded and the Liberal thought is heralded as the only ideology. Just change Liberal to Apple and Conservative to RIM, and you can see what I mean.

    RIM will never get a fair shake and I think my reasons for why are valid. You can’t trust em to report truth. Because RIM means something to those who are reporting. And that might not be positive!

    I think we need to really compare Apples to Apples! Because RIM has a very different strategy to win than Apple does! LOL!

  2. says

    @Brian

    I think you may have misread some of my comments because for the most part, I am in agreement with each of your corrections. In fact, these are the very points that I made…

    “One of the things mentioned in the article was that only 500,000 BlackBerry Storms shipped in it’s first month as compared to the 2.4 million iPhone 3G devices that shipped in its first quarter. ”

    “Through January, Verizon has sold over 1 million BlackBerry Storm devices. This is still behind the pace of the iPhone 3G, however, don’t forget that the BlackBerry Storm isn’t the only device that RIM sells. If RIM has already sold over 1 million BlackBerry Storm devices the total number of BlackBerry devices sold will easily beat the 2.4 million iPhones sold it’s first quarter.”

  3. Megan Foster says

    I don’t buy the whole liberal iPhone vs. conservative BlackBerry Storm argument. I am a BlackBerry Storm user and I have no intentions on taking it back, but, let’s call a spade a spade. The BlackBerry Storm has fallen short in key areas that it simply shouldn’t have, namely reliability which RIM has built their reputation on.

    I am not one to say that Apple can do no wrong. I actually returned my original iPhone because of the lack of the integrated email with my work. I will say, though, that they did do a lot of things right.

    When you get right down to it, it doesn’t matter if it is fair to compare the iPhone to the BlackBerry because, at the end of the day, people, simply, are going to. RIM decided to introduce a device that plays in Apple’s consumer sandbox and it fails miserably at many of the things that consumers are interested in. If the BlackBerry Storm had no bugs, which I believe there will be less of in future updates, it would still pale in comparison to the iPhone in the way of its media player, its user interface, ease of use, and its polish on the fine touches.

  4. says

    Brian, your analogy works well. I think anybody who has taken time to master SureType and download some apps like Gtalk or mycaption.com LOVES their Storm. SureType is fantastic and I can type faster than any iPhone user.

    j

  5. Thought says

    These sales figures are nice indeed, and thus we have the reason why RIM isn’t exactly rushing to put out a brand new shiny smooth OS.

    As long as RIM can put up the numbers, they won’t care about any criticism from bloggers/ pundits, etc.

    And the BB is still the king of corporate email…and that will always serve as a very valuable anchor for their business.

  6. Brian says

    Yeah I guess I did miss read… Oops… I still stand by the analysis of why the media is reporting against RIM. If Apple was the standard I think we would see the opposite.

    I am tired of reading about Apple is the one to beat, and Microsoft is right up there and Palm could cause an upset in articles. I have actually read numerous articles that fail to even mention the company RIM and BlackBerry. The truth is RIM is the leader and they are the one to beat. At the very worst Apple and RIM are tied. Media start reporting and leave the decision to us. We have said we LOVE BlackBerry’s more than Apple. REPORT IT!

  7. david_uk says

    @ Brian

    Spot on re media comment.

    But RIM did ask for it by launching a touch phone, thus inviting accusations that they were playing catch-up (they were) and that they’d gone to market before it was ready (they did).

    Contrast newer 8900, slinky Curve upgrade with a few bells and whistles, nothing in Apple’s lineup to compare. Quiet launch, happy user forums, a BB that just works.

    And because QWERTY will always beat touch for messaging, RIM will sell shed loads. Stick to your knitting, Jim!

  8. new user says

    Did you notice BB never post OS update for older model of BB? So, no new features for old BB. People want cool stuff, get a new freaking BB. What a joke!
    iPhone is a software base piece of hardware. Apple has been doing pretty good with update for the 2G and 3G. And almost all software run on both, even iPod touch.
    Now, imagine all the lacking in iPhone can be easily be updated with new software. If there is none today, it will be there tomorrow.
    BB? Old model users will be left behind and eat dirt.

  9. Emma Tysoe says

    it’s selling like hot cakes in the UK I had to wait until January to get one on staff account at Vodafone!

  10. bluehorseshoe says

    You knew the numbers had to be good based on the stock price sneaking up over 25% the past couple of months. Now, if they get the OS fixed, perhaps they can sell more Storms next quarter. I still have mine on the sideline, eagerly waiting to get back into play. It’s just not prime-time yet in my opinion.

  11. h says

    I do not understand at all that there is no official update yet we are all ready up to version_90 why don’t we see anything from verizon another bad example off customer service

  12. says

    new user, h,

    You bring up good points. Due to RIM’s lack of native support for anything other than windoz even if a software update was available some wouldn’t be able to install it due to the lack of a universal desktop sync application. Also RIM’s reliance on service providers to provide support and updates is a huge problem. RIM needs to play follow the leader on this one and let providers know they provide the cellular service, and it’s hands off the device and the device software. RIM can and should be taking care of everything on the device side including getting customers timely upgrades.

    Just a thought since this has been a problem with verizon many times before. Could the software coming from RIM be stable and the bugs are coming from verizon’s strange need to add, delete and change things in the software? There have been devices than one can count that have been stable, work well from other providers but once the device has the verizon firmware on it, it’s buggy.

    Why all the sour grapes? It’s not the press which made RIM drop the ball when it came to the Bold and Storm. It’s not the press which made Balsillie make stupid excuses about RIM’s inability to release BB’s without buggy software. It’s no surprise the press Apple gets and why Apple gets the press it does. For one Apple puts up the numbers, for another Apple has paid it’s dues. Even a enthusiast must admit Apple grabbed the bar with the iPhone and sent it over 2 years above what every single established device maker had on the market or what was even in the design phase. There was a huge open space in the smartphone market and Apple filled that space with the iPhone big time. Apple nor the press ever told RIM to make a iPhone like device and sign a exclusive deal with verizon who desperately positioned the Storm in the press as verizon’s answer to the iPhone. As enthusiasts most of us know the current BB’s even the flagship models are not iPhone’s, and never will be. The iPhone is a handheld computer, the BB OS can’t compete with that, yet sadly RIM stuffed the current rather obsolete BB OS under the Storm’s hardware. Even with the Bold and Storm RIM’s BB’s are still behind.

    Whining about the press’s treatment of RIM or Apple isn’t going to help anything, but open eye’s and open mind’s about the industry as a whole will. Holding a grudge against the iPhone will also not help anything either, however RIM could learn from Apple’s steps into not only sales and support but also into Apple’s savy way to deal with service providers or as Steve Job’s calls them “the four orifices” and dealings with the press.

    RIM needs to remember they are not Apple and there is little need for the Storm to try to be a iPhone.

  13. says

    “the Storm seems to have severely underperformed in customer satisfaction. And now, the latest figures from Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM) show that it has underperformed in sales, too.

    Only half million Blackberry Storm devices were sold in the U.S. since November, according to the Wall Street Journal . During the same holiday period, Apple sold more than two million iPhones, totaling over a quarter of the North American smartphone market. RIM’s shares have also dropped more than 5 percent since news broke that Storm users are still unhappy with their experience on the device.”

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/158381/its_official_blackberry_storm_is_no_iphone_killer.html

  14. Storm Watcher says

    The Storm will never be an iPhone, and thank goodness for that. I’ve never had any problems with this Blackberry.

  15. joell says

    I’ve never heard the liberal/ conservative media angle concerning RIM /Apple. Surely you’re not serious.

    A coworker in our rather small (40 workers)office recently purchased the BB Storm & everyone was impressed with it and quickly moved on to discussing something else. Others also have non Storm BB’s

    A week or so later, another coworker bought an iPhone & everyone was lusting after it like a beautiful woman; and this went on for a couple of days.

    And I couldn’t help but think, RIM has big iPhone problems, especially if it becomes available at multiple carriers.

  16. Thought says

    As an aside, I just don’t see this media angle on RIM vs Apple.

    Blackberry’s have gotten a lot of very favorable press attention where merited, and Apple has also drawn some criticism, again, where merited.

    Now, Apple might be a little more fun to cover, and thus please the audience of the media a bit more, as their devices are seen as kind of “sexier” and more exciting.

    So sure Apple may get a bit more press attention, the same way an exotic sports car may get a bit more mention than a workhorse pickup truck. That doesn’t mean that pickup trucks are any less favored, but that one type of item just naturally draws more attention.

    The bottom line is that both RIM and Apple are great companies with bright futures. Both will sell boatloads of product. But that doesn’t excuse the software failures of the BB Storm, or as someone else pointed out, that it was RIM that hyped the Storm and played it up as an iPhone killer.

  17. Brian says

    For those who disagree with my comparison. I am dead serious. Sorry the media is totally ignoring the issue that RIM is the market leader.

    You can run around with your ‘lusting’ after the iPhone stories. But then there is that little nagging truth. BlackBerry’s are what people want. Again, your right Apple found it’s following. Just like it did in the 80’s.

  18. Ted says

    I love my blackberry and I hate people who try to convert me to be an apple or a mac user. I have nothing against the company and I do believe they put out quality products, but for god’s sake, let me enjoy my third app party for my pc! I don’t want to be tied to a charger for my IPhone all day because of it’s weak battery life at “3G Speeds” when browsing. I like my blackberry because well it freaking works all day and I only charge it daily because I’ll tend to say oh it has plenty of life for tomorrow and then 2 days later I’m like *bleep* I need to charge it!

    Those are just my personal feelings in regards to MAC lovers. I love you guys/girls too but comon, give me a break!

    As far as the Storm is concerned with, RIM did a fantastic job of adding play to business. BlackBerry is meant to be used as a business device! E-mail, scheduling, calendar, all that fantastic stuff that us CrackBerries love because it’s so functional, that I’ll go far as my life is on my BlackBerry. The touchscreen was simply a new move to take. Offer a different aspect to the successful line of RIM’s devices. The Storm is an improvement in many ways to the curve (in a Verizon customer perspective)! The web browser is a whole lot better, so are the media features. The MS office support is like omfg I always wanted to have this to make things easier for me.

    Yea I may sound a little too excited but when you deal with a lot of excel and power points and word documents, getting these docs. on my phone is like wow, this is great.

    The Storm is great but it’s not perfect. Like any new product a company comes out, buggies tend to happen. Even IPods had buggies when they started and still do! It’s the nature of the beast.

    But what RIM offers is diversification. Something Apple will not be able to achieve, probably in this generation. Sure you may be able to get Pandora Radio and ants crawling in your phone screen savers and the fun stuff. But at least my phone can last a day after heavy use and I don’t really have any dropped calls (I live in North NJ). Do I want Pandora on my BB? Yes, but getting my e-mails and the functionality of a phone is more important to me. Thus RIM’s die hard following. Because even us marketing professionals, IT professionals, the finance guy at the end of the office, love our functionality, but like to have a little fun too be cool and have phone envy when we head to the martini bar after work.

    So, the 8900 curve is coming out (jealous verizon customer), what’s the Storm’s next move? Well if RIM is going to come out with another touchscreen, do take note of IPhone’s features such as the multitouch. I have to admit the multi-touch feature on the IPhone is unparallel. If the Storm had that feature combined with it’s other features of the touchscreen application, you woulda seen articles from pc world and engadget and everyone else that Storm is the iphone killer blah blah blah. But I think I may speak for a lot of BB users, that that’s not the goal of RIM. RIM wants to dominate the 1.) business world, 2.) consumer world, compared to the target high school, college following. Business before pleasure.

    But these are just my thoughts and there are too many for postings on this for me to read so sorry if this may seem redundant.

    P.S. I just did this on the train into the city on my BlackBerry.

  19. joell says

    @Brian
    Unlike many RIM & Apple cultists, i’m not going to buy ANY product because I “love” the company.
    I have a BB and considered the Storm., but the browser sucks and it lacks wi-fi.

    Lets face it, before the iPhone . BB was , in part , a status symbol phone. I knew people who wanted to subtly let you know that i’m using a BB; now that its been usurped, iPhone envy & resentment has emerged.

    Correct me if i’m wrong. RIM has definitely sold more phones than Apple; RIM has been selling them for 10 plus yrs & Apple 18mths. It is my understanding that for the last two quarters, Apple has sold more total phones than RIM.

    So what is the factual basis for your “RIM is the market leader” comment? If its total sales, you’re in denial.

  20. Thought says

    The media loves a good story, and Apple provides that.

    Apple is one of the legendary tech companies of our time; Steve Jobs will go down in history much like Henry Ford or Thomas Edison.

    Very few companies have had the influence of Apple on our times, or on technology. Apple has launched 3 revolutions: the personal computer, digital downloaded music, and now with the iPhone, the concept of mobile phone as a personal computer platform.

    Let’s face it; without the iPhone, RIM would never have released the Storm.

    The Apple brand probably carries the greatest brand equity in all of the tech world.

    RIM has a great history as well, having almost single handedly created the mobile email space. Thanks to BB’s, mobile email has become a staple of industry and govt. Even our brilliant new President carries a BB.

    But the RIM story is just not as compelling as Apple’s…and that is why the media loves to cover Apple. However, I would add, that both companies are treated fairly.

  21. Teddy says

    I agree with you Thought.

    Apple has an up and coming American Dream story by revolutionizing industries. And you really have to hand it to their marketing team who really do wonderful job of capturing audiences with their commercials. I peronally like the MAC vs PC commercials, even though I’m a PC. They make me laugh because they do a good job at pointing out Microsoft’s problems, hence why Vista was such a failure and Microsoft Windows 7 is on the verge of coming out…but so is Mac’s new snow leopord os.

    Personally, I feel that commercials and adveretisments are a culture phenomineon. I believe each and everone one of us have a favorite commercial that we can enjoy all the time or intrigue us. For example, we all love ESPN commercials. They sent a benchmark on comedic commercials about their company thus increasing our likeness towards them, thus us gravitating more towards them. Apple has done that with the Ipod and Iphone. Like we say “hmmm” or “wow” when they promote a new product.

    It’s bound to happen when a competitor resets the bar. It took Apple a decade to reach RIM’s technological status but they got there and you have to give them props. They remind me of Google’s start up…new and full of hope and promises… and Apple has a pretty sound business model or their products and services with a modern taste to it.

    Someone asked Larry Page (founder of Google) how his employees do such a good job. And he asnwered simply that he provides them the ability to make a difference. And Apple has that same kind of vision.

    So what’s next? Well apparently the new Nokia N97 or something like that is about to destroy the smart phone world with 32 gig storage and really really nice features. It’s about doing better, and if you lose you try again.

    RIM will no doubt put out a better product as far as smartphone/cp phone products. I personally feel the 8900 curve will be a huge blowout for t-mobile.

    And personally, I prefer a keypad anyway over toughscreen lol

    P.S. This comment forum has great postings!

  22. says

    Getting the facts straight about smartphones before posting bias, incorrect thoughts about devices one doesn’t have, doesn’t use on a day to day basis would be a real eye opening experience for some.

    Sure sounds like some are more interested in labels “market leader” and perceived status symbol of certain devices instead of gaining a true understanding of the devices and the devices abilities. Claiming the iPhone can’t be a business device and do what the BB can do is much like claiming the BB can’t be a business device which can’t do what the iPhone can do. Why can’t some understand both the BB and the iPhone can and are both are able to do business? Bias? Status? Better to understand reality instead of trying to convince oneself otherwise.

    Sure think it’s better to step back call the Storm a good first try at being a copy of the iPhone but there are serious software and hardware flaws keeping the Storm from ever being RIM’s and Verizon’s proclaimed answer to the iPhone. Does RIM even want to or need to be making a iPhone like device? It’s doubtful RIM’s current direction in software will allow for such a device.

    I don’t agree at all with some making claims at what RIM’s focus or market is. This has been proven wrong many a time now as RIM continues to innovate and add functions and features to devices. For example when non-RIM smartphones all started getting camera’s there was many a call for RIM to also add camera’s to their BB’s but there were some who took issue with those requests and claimed “RIM is making the BB for business and thats why there are no camera’s on BB’s”. As history shows those claims were incorrect, there is no rule that business and camera’s can never meet. There might be some exceptions but RIM shouldn’t and lucky for us doesn’t narrow focus to exceptions at least without first taking care of the majority.

    Don’t think the situation is a RIM vrs Apple thing, don’t think the situation is a Storm vrs iPhone thing. The questions for RIM is do they really want/need to make a iPhone copy? Can RIM make a iPhone copy? Face it Apple hit a home run with the iPhone which none of the more experienced device makers have been able to catch up with in 2 plus years. Perhaps the problem lies with verizon positioning the Storm as their answer to the iPhone? IMO RIM would be much stronger with non-branded, non-exclusive devices, with RIM calling the shots when it comes to the hardware, keeping/allowing the providers at arms length to do what they do and provider cellular service, not make changes to device hardware and software.

  23. Brian says

    “So what is the factual basis for your “RIM is the market leader” comment? If its total sales, you’re in denial.”

    Total sales? Are you serious? LOL! RIM has sold more BlackBerry’s this year than Apple. They are the standard.

  24. h says

    There we go again sales sales sales….and no customer support the only thing that’s happening is that there are one million people with a slow bb storm and don’t get helped at all

  25. says

    Labels “the standard” are dangerous and at the same time have no factual basis either. Do sales numbers really matter? If they do:

    “only half million Blackberry Storm devices were sold in the U.S. since November, according to the Wall Street Journal . During the same holiday period, Apple sold more than two million iPhones, totaling over a quarter of the North American smartphone market.”

    The RIM Storm might / maybe be turn out to be a decent smartphone when Bastille gets all the bugs worked out. But when RIM and verizon positioned it / called it their answer to the iPhone they called for the comparisons and they got those comparisons, only it wasn’t the numbers they were hoping for. No need for sour grapes, no need to blame the press, they are only reporting the facts. It’s been said and proven many times you don’t out Apple, Apple.

  26. says

    h,

    It’s not that bad. Less than a half “million people with a slow bb storm and don’t get helped at all” (When you factor in reported total sales and all those who returned the Storm)

  27. bluehorseshoe says

    ^ correct numbers are:

    500,000 Storms sold in the first month, not quarter. Also, 1.9 million iPhone activations last quarter.

    If AT&T had 2.1 million new customers, and 1.9 are iPhone’s, just goes to show how crappy their network is if it wasn’t for the iPhone. Just a thought…

  28. joell says

    @ The Rock
    “……perceived status symbol of certain devices instead of gaining a true understanding of the devices and the devices abilities.”
    I know some BB owners who, beyond the basics, are unaware of many of the devices abilities; they’re just not going to invest the required time.

    Status symbol & “cool” are factors for many phone buyers, including some BB business users. Regarding consumer users, last week I overheard a waitress excitingly tell a coworker of her plan to buy the Storm.

    “Does RIM even want to or need to be making a iPhone like device?”

    Yes. IMO, the phones of the future will more resemble the iPhone than non Storm BB’s

  29. says

    hmmmmm,

    Guess The Wall Street Journal and many others don’t seem to be able to get the numbers right now? That’s the new spin? That and a sadly typical a bias, non-factual, uneducated shot at a service provider which one doesn’t have.

    LAME.

  30. bluehorseshoe says

    ^ the numbers are not only from the Wall Steet Journal, but from AT&T themself. Read on…

    And I own an iPhone too. A legitimate shot.

    And all of this is true because “Stone Cold said so!”

  31. Meegan Foster says

    @The Rock,

    I’ve been reading a lot of your comments and it seems like really hate Verizon and the BlackBerry Storm.

    Do you have a Verizon BlackBerry Storm? What are you basing your opinions on?

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