BlackBerry admits it is losing the emerging markets that it once dominated

BlackBerry admits it is losing the emerging markets that it once dominated

BlackBerry has admitted for the first time that it is losing its appeal in the emerging markets that have traditionally been its best performing regions, as lower-priced smartphones from competitors and a lack of BlackBerry apps turn customers away.

In a filing — first spotted by the New York Times — which was released on Tuesday, having been initially delayed, the struggling firm detailed the truths behind its collapsing business.

In particular, it specifically namechecks competitively priced Android phones and its lack of apps as reasons why it is losing market share across Asia, Africa and Latin America — emphasis ours:

The intense competition impacting the Company’s financial and operational results that previously affected demand in the United States market is now being experienced globally, including in international markets where the Company has historically experienced rapid growth.

The increase in competition encountered by the Company in international markets is due to the recent entry into those markets of global competitors offering high end devices that compete with the Company’s BlackBerry 10 devices, as well as other competitors targeting those markets with lower end Android-based devices that compete with the Company’s lower cost devices.

The decline can also be attributed to consumer preferences for devices with access to the broadest number of applications, such as those available in the iOS and Android environments.

According to the filing, revenue from the US for its fiscal Q2 2014 came in at $414 million, a huge drop on $868 million registered one year previous.

That fluctuation was mirrored in other regions.

  • Revenue across Europe, the Middle East and Africa dropped from $1.1 billion to $686 million.
  • Its business in Latin America saw revenue crash from $324 million to $196 million.
  • And across Asia-Pacific, revenue fell from $386 million to $277 million.

Reuters recently looked at BlackBerry’s decline in Indonesia, a market where signs of its dominance coming to a close have been evident for at least the past year.

The news agency concludes that, among many things, the company failed to price its BlackBerry 10 devices at a cost that made them accessible to fans of the company in the country.

As a result, cheaper Android devices, coupled with cross-platform messaging apps like WhatsApp and Line, are filling the space that BlackBerry smartphones and its BBM messenger once occupied.

The story is likely the same elsewhere, although the temporarily-aborted move to port BBM to Android and iOS may hold off some of the growth that Android devices are seeing in Africa, where BlackBerry is still the dominant smartphone device in many countries.

Headline images via Kevork Djansezian/AFP/Getty Images

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