Despite much acclaim from technology circles and critics, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s new Z10 smartphone has a long ways to go before the company can begin gaining traction again against its rivals, namely Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system.
This is nothing new, as anyone who has been following the BlackBerry saga has an idea of the monstrous hill the company must climb to regain some of the former glory that it used to enjoy. Not only must the Z10 contend with the best-selling iPhone (of which variants are expected to be released this year), but since BlackBerry was a significant competitive force, numerous companies have joined the fray including Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Lumina, which runs Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) mobile based OS, and numerous hardware manufacturers like Samsung who run Google’s open-source Android system.
Analysts have started to crunch the numbers to find out what BlackBerry must do remain competitive, with the latest report coming from the researchers at Gartner. The results are unsurprisingly lacking in optimism, despite the strong initial performance that Z10 has shown in its American pre-sale numbers.
Gartner surmises that due to “extremely difficult” market conditions, BlackBerry will manage less than 5 percent of worldwide market share through 2016, at least. To put that in perspective, Apple’s iPhone has maintained about 20 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, second only to Android, which is used by several companies.
Van Baker, vice president of Gartner, outlined three key impacts that will drive — or hinder — the success of BlackBerry’s new system moving forward. The three recommendations are geared more towards organizations and enterprises who would be interested in investing in BlackBerry’s framework, but the overall ideas are good points to consider regarding the individual consumer as well.
The first point he raised regarded the BlackBerry 10 software platform. Specifically, will the BB10 OS be able to lure consumers from the systems they are familiar with, enough to make the switch to a new BlackBerry? Baker argues that this point will be settled by BlackBerry’s operating budget, and how much money they are willing to use to excite the user enough to make the switch.
The second, perhaps the point on the forefront of everyone’s minds, addresses the market conditions that BlackBerry must compete in and contend with currently. “BlackBerry’s major market is the consumer buyer,” the report said. “So while BlackBerry possesses a strong enterprise brand, a resurgence within that market will not rectify BlackBerry’s financial position.” BlackBerry’s reliance on consumer sales is largely responsible for the difficulties the company will face with its competition. BlackBerry’s network security has always been at the top of the industry, but the company can no longer rely on businesses and organizations alone in order to compete effectively.
The third point is more directed at enterprises, which historically have made up a significant portion of BlackBerry’s clientele. BlackBerry’s new enterprise system, or BES10, does not offer opened management API support to popular MDM (Mobile Device Management) tools. In simpler terms, organizations who offer a multi-platform approach to their networks may have trouble syncing the non-BlackBerry devices, as they use policy manager features and not the container strategy it offers for BB10 devices.
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