People probably know that BlackBerry (the company formerly known as RIM) published their BlackBerry 10 devices few days back. Reception has been somewhat lukewarm, at least based on what I saw in Twitter. At first glance device looks like and iPhone 5, UI reminds of an Android phone, iconography in idle reminds me of Symbian Belle, Swipe gestures of MeeGo… Hopefully it’s “best of all the worlds”. Application offering is terrible as they basically start from scratch (Like Nokia did with MeeGo).
Next 2 full quarters (that is up to end of September this year) will give us a hint how this will work in favor of BlackBerry. I have said they are looking at the same setup as Nokia had at end of 2010/beginning of 2011. New cool looking OS needs to win back the lost market. But let’s wait for the future before we evaluate that, now it would be nice to see the past. It’s here:

nokia_rim_unit_sales_absolute

This is the sales loss Nokia and BlackBerry have taken in the recent years. It is rather interesting to note that they had their peak sales almost identical times and then have gone up and down in pretty much same pace. There is a small shift but please remember, RIM ends its quarters one month before Nokia, so RIM has e.g. December “christmas sales” actually reported in the “Q1 sales” of this graph. However, if my 2-year-old would see this, she would probably ask if those lines are the same?

Yes, they have same looks, but how much same? If we are willing to compare these (and we are), we need to scale these equal. I’m now taking the bestselling quarter of RIM (Q1 2011) and reflect everything else as % of that. For Nokia we take Q4 2010 sales and do same. It leads us to:

nokia_rim_unit_sales_relative

(EDIT: quarter titles are messed up. They should be Q4 2009 – Q3 2012. Since numbers are correct, I’ll correct titles later.)
Yes and no, they do have same trend (quarterly fluctuations), but RIM is holding to its customer base more tightly. The tipping point is of interest here, both start pretty much from February-March 2011. (Remember that at end of February RIM had sold its entire Q1 2011 sales.) But we know Nokia had lost market share way before unit sales declined. I wonder how RIM (which held its customer base better) did? Q4 2011 RIM sold almost same amount of units as it did in its best quarter, Q1 2011. Their performance sounds like what Nokia would have had if it had kept its Unit sales. So, once again, Market shares:

nokia_rim_market_shares_relative

Both start losing market share at same time. Weirdest thing is the way these two come down. From Q2 2010 onwards – (the time where Nokia has been affected by the strategy change) if we take into account the RIM reporting period – they both take deeper dives and recoveries in same pace. What on earth was happening in the background?!?

Nevertheless, this was just to point out we have “2nd Nokia” in our hands and now it is their time to show us how one can succeed with in-house OS. Or fail with it, whichever happens first. We’ll know better in 9 months.

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