When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone on Jan. 9, 2007, the mobile industry changed forever. All of a sudden, software and user interfaces mattered on mobile devices. It was a turning point for many companies.
Some, like Palm and Motorola, started to crash almost immediately. Others, like Nokia, took longer.
Research In Motion, which makes BlackBerry devices, actually did very well for a long time, capturing a lot of the market with email- and messaging-focused phones, strong carrier promotion, and a solid corporate base.
But RIM has suffered recently as it has been unable to compete with Apple and Google Android in the lucrative high end of the smartphone market. Its growth has been coming from selling cheaper phones overseas, and U.S. carriers aren’t promoting RIM devices like they used to.
Meanwhile, Taiwan-based HTC has been one of the more exciting stories in the industry. It made an early bet on Google Android and has been riding it to success. Earlier this year, HTC passed RIM in market cap. (Data courtesy Capital IQ.)
Continued success isn’t guaranteed for HTC, of course. Samsung has been rising fast in the Android market, and HTC still hasn’t shown it’s going to be a threat in the tablet business.
But it seems to be in much better shape than RIM, which is struggling to stay relevant in the early stages of a big, risky platform change — as it moves away from the old BlackBerry software to a new OS called QNX.
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