It’s the end of an era: BlackBerry’s share of the global smartphone market is now 0.0%.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, more than 431 million smartphones were sold, according to a report published by research firm Gartner on Wednesday — and of those, just 207,900 were BlackBerry devices running its own operating system.
That gives the Canadian smartphone company a share of the overall phone market share of less than a single decimal percentage point.
(To be precise, it’s 0.0482%.)
In contrast, a whopping 352.7 million smartphones running Google’s Android operating system were sold in Q4 2016 — making up 81.7% of the market, according to Gartner’s estimates. In second place is Apple’s iOS, which sold 77 million units in the quarter, with 17.9% of the overall market share.
BlackBerry also sells handsets that run Android, like the DTEK60 and the Priv, which aren’t included in that 207,900 figure. But Gartner’s data confirms what we all suspected: That BlackBerry’s once-unassailable independent phone ecosystem is dead in the water.
Meanwhile, Google dominates the numbers game because it gives out Android to phone makers for free, making it the operating system of choice for low-cost handsets in the developing world like India and China. Apple, on the other hand, keeps iOS in-house and its prices high — limiting its reach but maximising its profits.
In the pre-smartphone era, the BlackBerry was the phone of choice for professionals, even earning the nickname “Crackberry” due to its addictive nature. With full keyboards and email and messaging functionality, nothing else came close.
But the Canadian company was blindsided by the launch of the iPhone, and Apple stole its crown. The BlackBerry brand quickly lost its lustre, and sales have been in slow decline ever since.
In September 2016, BlackBerry announced that it would no longer make its own phones, instead relying on third-party partners for any future BlackBerry-branded devices. It released its first Android phone in October 2015.
As recently as the third quarter of 2016, BlackBerry’s OS was still — just — showing up in Gartner’s data. Its Q3 2016 market share was 0.1%, with estimated sales of 377,800 devices.
Even when you include BlackBerry’s Android-running devices, its numbers are still incredibly low. Last year, CEO John Chen said the company only sold around 400,000 devices altogether in the second quarter of 2016.
BlackBerry didn’t release any phones that run BB10, its mobile operating system, in 2016 — but the company insists the OS isn’t dead.
“BB10 has a strong following around the world in enterprise and government, as well as consumers in particular markets,” SVP for global device sales Alex Thurber told the Financial Post in January 2017. “I want to make sure that our customers and users don’t get concerned that we’re not continuing to support and invest in BB10 because we absolutely are.”
A BlackBerry spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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