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BlackBerry: Improving market positioning across the US

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One among the dominant smartphone operating system providers in United States controlling 20% market share in 2011, the BlackBerry brand is wholly owned by Research in Motion, publicly listed on Toronto Stock Exchange, with a 17,300-strong employee base in July 2011. The company offers core smartphone brand "BlackBerry", enterprise server and internet services across 175 countries worldwide. Research in Motion generated net revenue of US$19.9 billion, with year-on-year growth of 33% in 2010-2011. United States is the biggest market for BlackBerry accounting for 39% of group revenues.

US mobile subscriber base increased to 234 million in June 2011

United States is the largest smartphone market worldwide with thirty one percent of population owning one unit. Smartphone ownership is estimated to touch forty three percent of the US mobile handset population by 2015. In United States, smartphone owner population stood at 76.8 million in 2011. Google Android is the leading smartphone operating system across the United States controlling market share of 39% in 2011. Apple is the second biggest with market share of 28% across the United States (2010-2011). BlackBerry faces niche competitive pressures from Microsoft and Palm controlling 7% and 3% respectively of the US smartphone operating system marketspace.

New product development and inorganic expansion core growth strategy

In Aril 2011, Research In Motion launched BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet in United States and Canada (two core markets for BlackBerry accounting for 45% of group revenues). The company has aggressively expanded distribution of BlackBerry Playbook across Europe and Asia over the past three months. Research In Motion has acquired five assets in Canada and United States (i.e., QNX Software Systems, Tungle, Documents To Go and TinyHippos) to enhance competitive market positioning in core markets. The company acquired JayCut (video editing enterprise) in Sweden to improve brand positioning on long-term basis (July 2011).

Can RIM be the leading smartphone OS across the United States over the next 5 years?

Although the United States is the core market for Research In Motion, it has traditionally faced steep patent infringement lawsuits against NTP Inc and Dolby (primarily in 2011). The company has also been losing smartphone operating system market share to Apple and Google Android in United States over the past 24 months. The parent corporation stock is trading at a four year low with shareholder value reduced by U$83 billion. In July 2011, the company reduced its workforce by 11% due to prospective losses in market positioning and share in Canada and the United States. It is vital to understand whether RIM will enhance long-term sustainability in the US smartphone marketspace in the next 2-5 years.

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