Contrary To Popular Belief, RIM Dominates The U.S. Smartphone Market

You wouldn’t know it based on all the buzz directed towards and hype coming out of that Cupertino, CA based company that used to be known for selling computers, however, the BlackBerry, not the iPhone, dominates the smartphone industry in the United States and it really isn’t even all that close.

According to ComScore who does monthly surveys of U.S. wireless subscribers over the age of thirteen, 36 million of them own smartphones.  Roughly 15 million of these smart phones just happen to be BlackBerry devices.  That is over 41% marketshare.

Now, this isn’t to say that RIM, with the BlackBerry, is in a race all by itself.  Apple is in a strong number 2 spot with just over 9 million iPhones out there giving them a solid 25% of the market.  What’s more impressive about Apple is that they’ve blown passed all of their competition in less than 3 years and, with the exception of limiting their choice of carrier to just AT&T, I  can’t really find much fault with the way Apple is going about there business as far as the iPhone is concerned.

As well as the iPhone is doing, the good ole BlackBerry is still top dog.  Apple is growing in share by leaps and bounds, but, they aren’t taking it from RIM.  Believe it or not, BlackBerry market share growth has actually outpaced that of the iPhone.  I can’t say that this will always be the case, however, it is clearly the case right now.

With its antiquated OS, minuscule application store, an internet browser so bad that Big Mike or Jim Balsillie obviously just said “expletive that begins with F-It!  Just put something on there and get product out the door”, and everything else everyone says is wrong with the BlackBerry, the BlackBerry is still number one and gaining ground.

I wonder what the landscape will look like if RIM updates their OS, makes it easier for developers to write applications with legs, stay true to their promise to release  a BlackBerry Browser on par with, if not better than Mobile Safari, and do some other really cool $#!+ stuff that we just aren’t thinking of right now?

It should be an interesting Spring…

[Source] (inadvertently left this off the original post)


  1. says

    Don’t know where the data above came from, but as most know “Popular Belief” as well as the “the buzz directed towards and hype coming out of that Cupertino, CA based company that used to be known for selling computers” is no longer “buzz and hype” but reality.

    “Apple will sell more iPhones this holiday quarter than it has sold in any other quarter since the original model arrived in June 2007. Last quarter, AT&T activated 3.2 million iPhones in the US, representing 43 percent of the 7.4 million iPhone units that Apple moved globally.”

    NICE! = Market Share.

  2. Randy A says

    Market share isn’t the race that Apple is trying to win at all, it is the money race. According to this story (All Things Digital) Apple accounted for 32% of ALL smart phone operating profits while RIM accounted for only around 17%. Double the market share or double the profit? That’s an easy one.

    It’s also really easy for RIM to say that they will release a browser on par with if not better than mobile Safari and it is quite another to deliver it. By the time RIM gets around to pumping out a new browser both iPhone OS and Android will have advanced further and RIM will still be playing catch up.

    Full disclosure: Until 11/6/09 I was a Blackberry owner. Now I am quite happily a Motorola Droid and iPod Touch owner.

  3. crazylegs says

    The US is where all the focus is right now but please remember that the US population is 300 million plus while world population 6.6 billion people. We are less than 5% of global population, so the real growth comes from outside the US where RIM already has tons of distribution. So it is entirely plausible that both of these companies can grow tremendously in the coming years.

    Now the real reason that RIM enjoys such success in the US is the number of parties that subsidize the devices. Not only are carriers providing subsidies, but also every retailer who tries to lock you into a contract with one of the carriers. And often we all know that these retailers will provide greater subsidies than the carriers. So RIM should have much greater market share.

    • Clayton says

      When you factor in countries other than the United States RIM clearly isn’t number one, but, when you look at the difference between where RIM sits and Apples sits, things actually get worse for Apple.

      Outside the U.S. RIM sells considerably more Blackberries than Apple does iPhones. I think the point you made was the exact opposite of the one you were intending to.

      • Randy says

        Again, RIM sits on volume while Apple sits on profit. However, in this case you are totally wrong. According to Gartner Research RIM has 20% global market share while Apple has 17%.

  4. Randy says

    RIM has double the market share yet Apple has the commanding lead in operating profit of the TOTAL smart phone market. Just about double the profits. Seems that RIM is fighting the market share battle while Apple rakes in the cash.

    And no, I don’t own an iPhone. I own a Droid.

    • Clayton says

      You are absolutely right about this but this is really only the case where Apple has exclusive deals with a single carrier that has essentially sold their soul to the devil in order to be the exclusive carrier of the iPhone. Funny how Apple never mentions that part…

      • Randy says

        You say that like it matters.

        Every carrier that signs up for the iPhone knows EXACTLY what they are getting in to. AT&T knew what they were getting; MILLIONS of new customers. Funny how you never mentioned that.

  5. iphone addict says

    What is funny is how you Lackberry junkies make excuse after excuse about why the iPhone makes money hand over fist compared to your piece of junk devices. You sell more but make less. How is the a winning situation for you?

    • Clayton says

      Clearly, you don’t have an MBA in Economics from the University of Chicago. Neither do I, but, I know several folks who do, and, although you have the arrogance bit down pat, your fundamental knowledge of how markets work… Well, lacking is the word that comes to mind.

      Growth, my friend, is what both Apple and RIM should be after right now. It is good for Apple that they got a glorious deal from AT&T. I still can’t believe that AT&T gave what they gave to get the iPhone, but, get the iPhone they did.

      The problem for Apple over the long run is that their growth can’t continue at this clip indefinitely on a single network that is growing more slowly than their competition. Eventually, Apple will offer Verizon a deal on the iPhone that they are willing to accept… (Don’t forget, Apple went to Verizon first and second before “deciding” to go with AT&T) The Verizon deal won’t be nearly as lucrative for Apple, nor will AT&T’s remain as they will surely renegotiate once they are no longer the exclusive carrier of the iPhone.

      I wouldn’t worry so much about “How is this a winning situation for (RIM)”. The question for you should be is the situation sustainable for Apple?

      I’ll give you a clue… 2 letters

  6. Amish says

    I love these types of posts because it always strikes up interesting comments. I am amazed at the number of iPhone people that read BlackBerry blogs.

    That comment about Big Mike and Jim Balsillie is classic…

  7. Eric says

    There are people who will NEVER own an iPhone in the U.S. as long as it sits on AT&T’s network. That being said, it is only a matter of time before AT&T is tapped out and Apple starts to sell a CDMA and/or LTE iPhone that will work on Verizon’s network (and they will allow the iPhone to work on TMO’s GSM network as well). They will because that is the only way they will continue to grow the iPhone in the states.

    Apple cannot realistically hope that they will get everyone to upgrade their phones every single year. I doubt they can be innovative in each new model to keep people upgrading year after year.

  8. bluehorseshoe says

    iPhone on AT&T = FAIL. I love the iPhone, but the network is awful. I even have my Bold2 on TMO…at least I’ll get UMA.

    Apple wants to knock the ball out of the park? Put the iPhone on VZW. I’d be a buyer, and I’d bet that would put a servere dent in the Droid too.

    • Hugh says

      Apple have ended exclusivity deals in Ireland and UK and are in the process of doing it around the world. It’s only a matter of time before they open up the US market to newer providers.

      The problem is though that someone in Apple isn’t doing their homework. The thing that makes iPhone so popular is the exclusivity of owning one. They’re an expensive piece of kit, outside the US anyway, and there are alot of barriers to ownership – such as credit card etc. But now Tesco (UK and Ireland’s biggest retailer) have a mobile network that piggybacks on O2Telefonica and they are going to offer iPhone – thus making it accessible to trailertrash all over the two countries. That would make me seriously think about getting an iPhone.

      • says

        With the Google phone being sold direct locked to T-Mo? and unlocked and unsubsidized giving consumers choice to BYOC (bring your own carrier… GSM of course, sorry verizon customers you guys will never can catch a break, well that is unless you wake up and make a break from verizon) Apple will have to continue ending those silly exclusivity deals and do the pro-consumer thing here in the US too.

        Smartphone subsidies will end

        Bring it on! Subsidies are only good for the four orifices, not consumers.

        • mel schoht says

          Dude, you write this high and mighty post about some meaningless survey that more BlackBerrys are sold here and as soon as someone tells you that your stat is meaningless because BlackBerrys are cheap and don’t cost anything you jump on their bandwagon.

          • says

            More Americans buy BlackBerrys than they do iPhones. If you need to rationalize that by saying, “We’ll, RIM is not really number one because they don’t have near the profit margin that Apple does on the iPhone,” OK. That isn’t the point I was making in the post, but, if it makes you feel better, I don’t totally disagree with you on this.

            As a matter of fact, I think that this is a bit of problem for RIM, hence, the link to the Bloomberg article pointing out that it is even getting worse for RIM. This, however, is in no way a contradiction to the fact the RIM sells more BlackBerry devices than does Apple iPhones.

  9. says

    Every quarter and still it sounds like yet again the verizon users and Blackberry owners are getting desperate and grasping to any type of news which somehow skews reality into making it look like RIM’s BB is cool, leading the smartphone industry or somehow state of the art. The only thing to do is either buy a iPhone and live in reality OR make up reasons why they “can’t” own a iPhone on AT&T’s

    AT&T knew long ago a iPhone in verizon’s walled garden would be a complete mistake. big red needs to be in 100% control of the device, and what consumers do with the device and that’s not gonna happen, to say nothing about it makes ZERO sense to make a smartphone that operates on the quickly slipping into obsolescence, non-standard, non-open, non-global cdma network. RIM most likely only is making devices for verizon because of a contract they have verizon’s daddy vodaphone.

    But then again Robb probably knows better and only posted this thread based on obviously skewed data since there is page after page of RIM threads which are going by with zero comments since non-one cares and the ones that might have already upgraded to the iPhone.

    Not bad from “that Cupertino, CA based company that used to be known for selling computers. Apple has “blown passed all of their competition in less than 3 years and, with the exception of limiting their choice of carrier to just AT&T.” Add another 3.2 million plus iPhones in the US from the quarter and even the skewed data is gonna show how even with manipulating the numbers RIM is in trouble, the single NOC system has been proven a failure and the RIM BB devices are FAR behind when it comes to state of the art. Verizon is trouble too if they are not able to upgrade their antiquated network to LTE/GSM ASAP.

    And that aint no buzz and hype….

  10. AT&T says

    Just to let everyone know. I hired The Rock to come here and make rambunctious comments and promote us and make the big Red look bad. He’s the best employee of all time! Go get em Rock! They smell what you are cooking!….rofl

  11. says


    Hold onto your panties… REALITY has been uncovered, and I’m not talking about the desperate person above claiming their name is AT&T or that I work for them or any other wireless company, oh the truth hurts verizon users so.

    iPhone Now The Most Popular Phone In The US

    Not bad for a device available for just one US service provider, Not bad for device which only has one model for sale, Not bad for a company which never made a smartphone prior to 1/2007. OH the TRUTH is out and no wonder why big red is so desperate and trying to hold consumers off from upgrading to at&t and the iPhone by continuing to claim that the iPhone is somehow coming to the verzion network… NOT!

    Oh poor verizon and poor RIM smartphones and state of the art, standard, open, global communications have pasted both right by.

  12. bluehorseshoe says

    Uh…two models are available. 3G, 3GS. AT&T sells both.

    Interesting review from PC Magazine on how the Bold2 9700 gained better reception than the iPhone 3Gs, side by side. Oh, and the 9700 model was the AT&T version, on open, state of the art, global standard communications.

  13. says

    Uh…. No reason to try and change subject or desperately try to change reality into dreamland. Embrace the truth, Mobilecrunch reported reality on 12/22/09 The iPhone is Now The Most Popular Phone In The US, which both trumps and DEBUNKS the data the thread was based on, which was half-baked at best.

    Oh poor verizon and RIM smartphones fanboys. “Contrary To Popular Belief, Apple’s iPhone really does Dominate The U.S. Smartphone Market.” The truth is out and reality is always better than desperate dreams. The TRUTH is that poor verizon wireless and poor RIM smartphones have both been pasted right by, by state of the art, standard, open, global communications, Thanks to at&t and Apple.


    and a bababooie to yall!

    • says

      What you are stating, Rock, is not quite right. It’s exactly wrong, to be more precise.

      The iPhone 3G S, according to the Nielsen Company report cited in the Mobile Crunch post that you reference, is the number one selling smartphone in the U.S. January through October. The iPhone 3G nor iPhone make the top ten.

      The BlackBerry Curve does trail the iPhone 3G S by .3 percentage points with 3.7% share, however, the BlackBerry Storm and the BlackBerry 81XX make the top ten list in spots 7 and 1o with with 1.4% and 1.2% share respectively.

      The title of this post states that RIM dominates the smartphone market, not that a particular BlackBerry device dominates the smartphone market. Even though failed to mention that the very post you clearly have misinterpreted says that RIM’s share is nearly double that of Apples, the Nielsen Company report actually reinforces the points that I’ve made here.

      RIM dominates the U.S. smartphone market, it isn’t really all that close, and they are gaining ground.

  14. says

    I apologize to anyone offended by the aggressiveness what I am about to say next, but,

    Rock, if you are going to “try” to come at me on my own blog, as Jim Rome would say, “Have a take and don’t suck!” I actually read many of the same articles that you skim over, the difference being, I don’t try to pick out words individually in an effort try to support your grail quest type crusade to personally get everyone visiting a BlackBerry blog to think that the BlackBerry sucks, Verizon sucks, and that we should all be grateful to Steve Jobs for sharing his vision of what a smartphone should be to the world.

    You really need some new material. You’ve been saying the same stuff with multiple incarnations here for years. It’s your prerogative if you insist on repeating the same ole, tired, easily debunked, opinions that you have about the BlackBerry, but, quite honestly, I have grown board with reading the same thing in most every comment you leave.

    A very smart man once said “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity.

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