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BlackBerry still number one in the UK, claims RIM

Uses GfK numbers to back up health

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The BlackBerry is not dead yet. According to figures released by RIM, the handset maker has added a third more subscribers to its worldwide base and is still the best selling brand in the UK.

Using figures from marketing group GfK that have not been released in detail, the BlackBerry now has 75 million subscribers worldwide, RIM claimed, a 35 percent rise to December 2011.

The BlackBerry’s continued success in the UK is particularly marked, accounting for 8.5 million of its subscribers, giving the company a healthy 27.7 percent market share in the country.

GfK doesn’t say it but this performance is all the more impressive when considering the limited development of the company’s handset line compared to its rivals in the last two years. It has released a clutch of handsets but most have been small developments on previous models.

At face value, the BlackBerry still has immense appeal.

The platform’s popularity in the UK is not totally surprising; numbers from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for the three months to last June put the BlackBerry in second place for sales, not that far behind Android.

In the US by contrast BlackBerry is struggling, losing 1.8 million subscribers in the three months to last September, a sales picture which partly explains why BlackBerry’s joint chiefs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie bowed to investor pressure recently and resigned.

The tragic-comic struggle of its PlayBook tablet to gain some popularity in the teeth of low popularity has been a particularly hard nugget for RIM, leaving the company with no credible product in a booming sector.

What is clear is that each platform will have slightly different numbers depending on where it is measured and when. Since different marketing companies don’t always synchronise where and when that happens making judgements about the health of a platform is difficult.


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