Business

BlackBerry sales in Latin America and Caribbean plunged in third quarter

Steven Jackson

Wednesday, December 25, 2013    

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Blackberry said its revenue from the Latin America and Caribbean market plunged by 75 per cent in its third quarter.

The traditionally loyal marekt, which includes Jamaica, saw sales drop by US$400 million year over year to US$135 million durign the three months to September 30, while other regions dipped by roughly half, financials indicate.

It hints that even the most loyal regions are slowing down the purchase of BlackBerries.

The declines across all four regions translated to a quarterly total revenue drop of nearly 60 per cent to US$1.2 billion.

The region with the greatest declines following Latin America included Asia Pacific, down 56 per cent to US$165 million; Europe, Middle East and Africa down 52 per cent to US$549 million; and North America down 47 per cent to US$340 million.

Blackberry in a fight to remain relevant released its new operating system BB10 earlier this year but it could not stem the US$4.4 billion loss for the November quarter.

In fact, financial notes indicate that the bulk of the 1.9 million total handsets (3.9 million a year earlier) sold in the quarter were for its existing BB7 operating system.

The company, however, entered into a joint device development and manufacturing agreement with Foxconn.

The initial focus of the partnership will include the development of a smartphone for Indonesia and other fast-growing markets in early 2014.

"This partnership demonstrates BlackBerry's commitment to the device market for the long-term and our determination to remain the innovation leader in secure end-to-end mobile solutions," said John Chen Blackberry CEO in notes accompanying the financials. "Partnering with Foxconn allows BlackBerry to focus on what we do best - iconic design, world-class security, software development and enterprise mobility management - while simultaneously addressing fast-growing markets leveraging Foxconn's scale and efficiency that will allow us to compete more effectively."

BlackBerry noted it would own all of its intellectual property and perform product assurance on devices through the Foxconn partnership, as it does currently with all third-party manufacturers.

Internal data from BlackBerry indicates that the Caribbean has 2.7 million phones loaded with the Android operating system compared with Blackberry at 1.7 million and Apple at 305,000.

Blackberry still leads in terms of actual brand name smartphone sales as Android devices refer to the software loaded onto a myriad of phone makers, including Samsung at 110,000, according to according to industry data polled earlier this year from research provider Canalys, afforded to Blackberry and obtained by Observer.

Also the shift away from Blacberry is evidenced online with searches using Google Trends (a rival of Blackberry).

It however indicates that Jamaicans are now more interested in searching about Samsung than BlackBerry on the internet. GoogleTrends data highlights that for every 100 searches for devices within Jamaica in December, Samsung interest averaged 65, outscoring that of BlackBerry at 44 and the iPhone at 33.

The Google search engine geographically compiles searches over time. Its affiliated site, GoogleTrends, then gauges the popularity of these terms from 0-100. Last year in Jamaica, Blackberry scored 73 with Android at 27 and iPhone at 31.

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