It was announced recently that Windows phones overtook BlackBerry for the number 3 position in the world. This news came at a very bad time for BlackBerry as its own sales numbers weren’t nearly as high as expected. The fact many people seem to be overlooking is that BlackBerry 10 has only been available for 7 months while Windows phones have been available for just about 2 years. To compare a phone that has over a year in maturity to a new operating system seems ludicrous. The fact that there are 3 vendors pumping out Windows phones against a single vendor is another issue that needs to be taken into account. The news has been so willing and eager to jump on the father of smartphones that its like their waiting for any screw up. A new phone, new OS, lack of apps, poor marketing and terrible media have all contributed to a slower then expect start of sales. So it is truly as bad as people think? Lets take a quick peek at some numbers and see if its truly as bad as the news makes it out too seem.
The first full quarter of Lumia sales seen 2 million unit shipped. Blackberry 10 sales were roughly 1 million in the first quarter with the Z10 only being available in markets like Canada for 1 month. The Lumia sells more phones in the first quarter then BlackBerry 10.
The second quarter of Lumia sales seen 4 million units shipped to market compared to the 2.7 million units of BB10 that were shipped. The Q10 was only available in a couple markets again for a short period of time before the quarter ended. This is expected to be the biggest seller as many BlackBerry faithful have the qwerty keyboard phone.
BlackBerry 10 sales have only lasted through 2 quarters and it is extremely tough to predict the sales for the upcoming quarter. But if we were to continue to see the same growth as occurred from Q1 to Q2 then we could expect that 4.4 million units would be shipped in Q3. So lets see how that number compares to the Q3 sales of the Lumia lineup.
The third quarter of Lumia sales sent another 2.9 million units to the market. This is a 30% drop in sales from the previous quarter as the company transitioned from Windows 7 to Windows 8 phones. If we were to see the growth continue at 1.7 million units per quarter for BlackBerry then the Q3 numbers would see 4.4 million BlackBerry 10 devices sold. This means that in their respective quarters BlackBerry would sell almost 2 times what Nokia did if they had started sales together.
Obviously this number is based on the previously quarterly growth and would be subject to chances in the market, sales, etc etc. This simply proves that it isn’t all that bad when it comes to the sales of BlackBerry 10 devices. There is always room for improvement and many people were hoping to see much higher numbers then we have seen but it takes time. I believe that continuing with BlackBerry 10 till their first year portfolio runs out is the way to go. Thorsten Heinz said he wanted to take the company through the process and quitting while their are still plans on the table isn’t the right option.
There is also the issue of the company behind the product. The decline of BlackBerry has been well noted in tradition media and every step taken has been marred with bad press. In North America there isn’t the same press about the issues that Nokia is facing which may be much worse then BlackBerry. Nokia lost 98.8 million dollars in the last quarter even though they sold 7.4 million Lumia devices. The 9 months prior to the Q2 2013 results they had lost 4.1 billion dollars which included many restructuring charges as they cut massively into their employment pool. 24,500 workers will have lost their job come the end of 2013 as the company works to keep its head above water. While they have a large pool of cash they are consistently burning through it with their restructuring and quarterly losses. The position at BlackBerry while slightly better could be headed the Nokia way if things don’t start to turn around. Blackberry lost 84 million dollars in Q1 2014 as issues in Venezuela negatively affected the regions sales. Blackberry too has cut around 6,000 jobs in the previous months as they restructure the company in order to become more cost effective.
I try to write my blog posts as unbiased as possible but I will admit I have time/money invested in BlackBerry so I am biased. I don’t believe that comparing sales of Lumia devices which are in their second generation to first generation BlackBerry 10 devices is fair or accurate. Truly when we break it down the numbers are similar and with growth in the market of BB10 devices the company will continue to grow and proper. Truthfully I don’t believe that BlackBerry can take on Apple or Google but they can take on Windows and win the battle. We simply need more time to develop and push BB10 devices to market.