Research In Motion shares fell to a seven-year low in Toronto on Wednesday as the market digested further evidence of the smartphone maker's declining share of the lucrative U.S. market.

RIM's slice of the lucrative U.S. smartphone market fell to 9 percent in the third quarter, down from 24 percent a year earlier, research firm Canalys said in a report this week.

Globally, the report placed RIM in fifth place among competitors, with 10 percent market share, compared with 15 percent a year earlier. It was the latest in a string of data points tracing RIM's dwindling global market share.

There's no disputing that RIM are in a really difficult place at the moment, said Pete Cunningham, an analyst at Canalys.

RIM shares were down 3.2 percent at C$19.03 at midday on Wednesday, after falling more than 4 percent earlier in the day to as low as C$18.77. That was their lowest point since March 24, 2004, when the shares dropped as low as C$18.55.

RIM's stock has been battered over the past year as the company struggles to adapt its devices to a new operating platform known as QNX, which is still months away from being available on its smartphones.

RIM has a couple of difficult quarters ahead of it, Cunningham said. But if it can get to QNX and execute on that and deliver a handset maybe toward Q1, certainly the beginning of Q2, it gives itself an opportunity of being able to compete again.

On the Nasdaq, the stock fell 2.7 percent to $18.77, a six-year low.

The Canalys report, released on October 31, said that Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC had taken the top spot in the U.S. market in the third quarter, with a 24 percent share. Samsung and Apple were a close second and third respectively.

RIM's market share has fallen below 10 percent for the first time, and the current outlook for it in the U.S. is certainly bleak, said Tim Shepherd, senior analyst at Canalys.

The report said RIM was in better shape in other parts of the world, largely driven by the continued popularity of BBM, the BlackBerry messenger service.