updated 04:05 pm EDT, Wed July 8, 2009
iPhone and Pre Hurt BBerry
The iPhone and Palm Pre together are dragging down BlackBerry sales, according to estimates by Piper Jaffray analyst T. Michael Walkley. Both the iPhone 3GS and the $99 iPhone 3G have hit the BlackBerry the hardest, as some June customers at AT&T were buying one of Apple's devices in place of similarly priced phones from Research in Motion, like the Curve 8310 or the Bold. BlackBerry sales at that carrier were lower this past month than in May, a rarity for a company that has seen sharp growth from year to year.
Walkley also noticed a partial effect at Sprint, where the Palm Pre's "solid" performance had a small but tangible effect on BlackBerry sales. Verizon's decision to end a promo that would buy two Curve 8330s for the price of one has also hurt the BlackBerry, although the lack of a more recent iPhone-like rival has seen many customers loyal to Verizon opt for a recently discounted LG phone instead.
A combination of these three factors leads Walkley to worry about RIM's performance during the summer and has him pinning most of the Canadian company's hopes on the BlackBerry Tour, which could revive sales at Sprint and Verizon as neither have had a modern QWERTY BlackBerry for a year. Even so, he warns that these sales will have to be strong in July and August to make up for the deficit.
The $99 iPhone 3G is considered by many pundits to be the most damaging device to RIM as it not only overlaps the cost of its most affordable phones but of mid-range feature phones, luring in buyers from both segments.