RIM's BlackBerry Dominance on Capitol Hill Fading

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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It used to be that a BlackBerry was a must-have for just about everyone working in government in Washington, D.C. – and business everywhere for that matter. But times are changing.

About three in every four (77 percent) staffers on Capitol Hill said in January that they have a BlackBerry – which might seem like a good number – but that's down from a whopping 93 percent in 2009, National Journal said in releasing the results of a new survey. And here's the much worse news for Research In Motion, the device-maker: Only 1 percent of those surveyed said they plan to get another.

The Journal also surveyed private-sector staff, only half of whom now say they own a BlackBerry, compared to more than three-quarters (76 percent) in 2009. And again, only about 1 percent of those private-sector employees said they're going to get another.

If anything, these numbers might be surprisingly high considering the great change in consumer market share over the last couple of years, in which BlackBerry has dropped like a rock. Most estimates put Android's share at about 45 percent and Apple at 30 percent, leaving RIM with about 10-15 percent in most studies. The business and government segments, however, have long been strong categories for RIM – but this study clearly shows those numbers are fading also.

The enterprise community in D.C. has been turning to iPhones more and more lately, the Journal said, citing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as one agency that recently said it would start issuing Apple's iconic device to its employees instead. Messaging and data security have been strengths of the BlackBerry in the past, but Apple has caught up in these areas in many ways. The widespread popularity of applications has also been a feather in Apple's cap.

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