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BlackBerry, Nokia Face a Struggle Ahead, Surveys Find

BlackBerry, Nokia Face a Struggle Ahead, Surveys Find
By Adam Dickter

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"I can definitely say that these are early days for these new platforms and both BlackBerry and Microsoft needs to do smart effective marketing to get through the Apple and Samsung noise," Shah told us.
 



Earlier this week financial market research firm Piper Jaffray released a survey of U.S. teens that had some good news for Apple: The majority, 62 percent, said their next smartphone purchase would be an iPhone. That's the same percentage as the previous survey of the same group last fall. Just 5 percent said said they had their eyes on a device powered by Microsoft's Windows Phone while even fewer, just 2 percent, said they wanted a BlackBerry device.

Now, there's even more bad news for the two tech giants struggling to gain share in the highly competitive smartphone market under the weight of the duopoly of Apple and Google (21 percent of the youngsters plan to buy an Android-powered phone in the aforementioned survey).

Low Expectations

MKM Partners released a study this week that also asked U.S. consumers (of all ages) about their smartphones. The study found 33 percent owned iPhones, 28.3 percent owned Samsung Electronics devices, 9.9 percent had an LG phone and 9.3 had a Motorola. Miscellaneous (which might include players like Huawei and ZTE or Lenovo) beat out both BlackBerry (3.4 percent) and Nokia (1.6 percent), according to a writeup by Barron's online.

MKM did not immediately respond to our request for the survey data or a request for information about methodology.

According to comScore, Research In Motion -- as the BlackBerry maker was formerly known -- commanding a 15.2 percent share of the U.S. mobile market in the three months ending in January, while Microsoft's share was 4.4 percent. Apple's share was 29.5 percent, while a range of phones by multiple manufacturers had a 48.6 percent share.

Without commenting directly on the survey data, wireless industry analyst Neil Shah of Strategy Analytics said it was too soon to tell if devices powered by Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 or by the BlackBerry 10 operating system will turn fortunes around in any significant way as the devices are still brand new. BlackBerry's Z10 was released in the U.S. only late last month.

Marketing Above the Noise

"I can definitely say that these are early days for these new platforms, and both BlackBerry and Microsoft need to do smart, effective marketing to get through the Apple and Samsung noise," Shah told us.

"The platforms in terms of UI [user interface] and UX [user experience] are a complete turnaround from traditional Windows 7 and BlackBerry 7. As a result it will take some time for consumers to connect with these new platforms and experiences. A similar thing was said after limited uptake of iOS and Android in the first year of its launch, but seeing where both the platforms are right now, everything is cyclic in nature."

Shah added that change is difficult and takes time for vendors, carriers and end-users to accept.

"With both Microsoft and BlackBerry having enough cash in the bank, it will be critical on how they better utilize it to increase the awareness and adoption, compared to burning it quickly without any returns," he said.
 

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