Stephen Foley: BlackBerry feels the squeeze and soon it will be crushed

US Outlook: Research in Motion shares have plunged so sharply on the company's profit warning not because the maker of the BlackBerry cut its forecasts, but because it didn't cut its forecasts by enough.

The company's management is losing credibility faster than you can download an app to your iPhone, and its claim that there will be a quick rebound in BlackBerry sales and profits this year beggars belief.

What Thursday night's poor results demonstrated was just how fast demand for the BlackBerry is deteriorating, in the face of a new generation of powerful Android smartphones and the always-sexy iPhone.

Reading between the lines of the latest results, the new, high-end touchscreen Blackberry Torch has clearly been a huge disappointment. RIM says that stocks of unsold phones are piling up with retailers, and the much-needed refresh of its product line is behind schedule.

The problems facing RIM are hardly new news. The BlackBerry went from 20 per cent of the world smartphone market at the end of 2009 to 14 per cent by the end of last year, and there is evidence that corporate customers – the backbone of the Canadian company's business – are starting to loosen their loyalties. Employees want sexy phones too, after all, and IT departments are finding it easy and cheap to integrate workfunctions on Android devices and iPhones instead of signing up to BlackBerry.

Where once BlackBerry was a pioneer, now it looks stale. It has gone from having the most functionality among the products on the market to the least. Apple can boast 350,000 software applications for the iPhone; Android users have a choice of 150,000 apps and growing. BlackBerry App World has mustered only 25,000, and with potential software developers grumbling about the new Blackberry operating system, it doesn't seem likely to gain traction soon.

The sharp cut to the guidance for the current quarter comes only four weeks after RIM published those original forecasts, so it is clear the deterioration has taken management by surprise. Unless RIM has the mythical "iPhone killer" up its sleeve at its annual trade show next week, there is no reason to expect a sudden upturn in fortunes, regardless of what the optimistic co-chief executive Jim Balsillie tells investors.

The smartphone market is fast running out of room for so many different platforms, and BlackBerry looks like becoming an also-ran sooner than even I had suspected.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower