Chart of the day: The BlackBerry’s fall to 0.0 percent market share

Dan Frommer
The new BlackBerry Key One is displayed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 25, 2017.
Josep Lago | AFP | Getty Images

Almost a decade after Apple's iPhone revolution, one of its last-standing rivals has all but hit bottom: The BlackBerry smartphone platform fell to 0.0 percent market share in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to research firm Gartner, reflecting roughly 200,000 global device sales.

That continues a five-year slide for the BlackBerry, whose handset sales peaked in 2011, according to Gartner, with almost 52 million devices.

The decline of the BlackBerry, and its parent company (long called Research In Motion) is a well-told story, so we won't belabor it here.

But in short, RIM was a smartphone pioneer that got leapfrogged in hardware — and more importantly, software — capability and design by Apple and the iPhone. Then Google Android swallowed the rest of the non-iPhone market with a capable, cheap operating system.

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It's fitting, sort of, that the BlackBerry brand is now trying to find new life as an Android-with-a-keyboard device, produced by Chinese electronics firm TCL under a name-licensing deal.

The BlackBerry company, meanwhile, has shifted its business to security software and services for corporate customers, and is a fraction of its former size. In its last reported quarter (pdf), which ended at the end of November, 2016, the company's sales declined almost 50 percent year-over-year to $289 million, with a net loss of $117 million. During that same quarter in 2010, the company made $900 million in profit off $5.5 billion in sales.

By Dan Frommer,

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