It’s still a Droid v Apple World

On Wednesday Research in Motion revealed more details of the Blackberry 10. Blackberry has a chance of grabbing enough of the market for smartphones to survive. That’s due to a legacy effect.

The Blackberry maintains a thin hold on some corporate and government tech departments due to its legacy email integration and security features. If the BB10 impresses those tech departments, the aging population of Blackberry devices will be replaced with the BB10.

That would, in turn, save RIM from oblivion. If not, then Blackberry will be like the TRS-80 and other early models of desktops.

What RIM is facing is a world dominated by Android and Apple. According to shipment reports by Strategy Analytics 217 million smartphones were shipped in the 4th quarter 2012.

Apple had a market share of 22 percent of the phones. The combined manufacturers of Droid had a market share of 70.1 percent.

I’ll save you the math. That leaves RIM and Microsoft (and other manufacturers) with 7.9 percent of the world market.

In the US, the situation is even more tilted towards the two leading platforms. Just 4.6 percent of the shipments in the quarter for the next five platforms, including Windows.

The domination of the two leading platforms is a record in the smartphone market.

For companies like Microsoft and RIM it’s still a market in the millions of units. But it is also a market that is going to continue to shrink. At least for a while. (Or maybe forever. Remember how the PC market has ebbed and flowed from many platforms to what is basically three today?)

Why?

At Next Century we consider ourselves developers and we can answer as well as anyone. We don’t plan to develop a version of our apps for a market that is fragmented and small. (And shrinking. It was 15 percent as recently as the 2nd quarter 2012.)

Folks who insist on using a Windows mobile device, or a Blackberry, can access our apps through a ‘smart page.’ We’ve already developed that.

No apps for a platform? No broad consumer interest either. Without apps these are just expensive phones.

For fun, here is a list of the current (4thQ) estimated market share of smartphone platforms. Smartphones now account for 45.5 percent of all mobile phone shipments. Remember, phones only, not tablets and ‘phablets.’

  • Apple- 51.2% US/ 21.8% World

  • Droid- 44.2% US/ 70.1% World

  • Windows- 2.6% US/ Not Listed for World

  • Other noted mobile platforms: Linux, WebOS, Symbion, Blackberry and Bada share 2% of US market and, with Windows, 8.1% of world market share. 

‘Perfect World’ Replaced by the ‘Impossible’

The world is continuing to grapple with changes brought by the computer. A good example that we are concerned with is the death of local print journalism.

In the area where The Dog is distributed there was a legacy newspaper, the Booster.

After being sold to the Sun-Times community paper group, the Pioneer Press, and then to a suburban chain known as Wednesday’s Journal, there isn’t much left of the Booster, now called the Inside-Booster and no longer owned by a journalist.

Inside-Booster survives on revenue from legal ads.

But that business model is under attack. Why continue to subsidize community newspapers when the purpose of the ads, to publicize a matter of public concern, can be done more effectively and cheaper through the Internet?

The old world technology created a monopoly protecting not just community newspapers but also metros such as the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune.

The Internet is creating disruption that has either destroyed that monopoly or is causing it to evaporate.

This is the ‘perfect world’ that Seth Godin discusses at an advertising conference. The monopoly held by community publishers is eroding. Often the publishers are not replacing the product on the web.

And maybe that’s the right strategy. After all, as Michael Fourcher points out, ad sales are difficult. We’d amend what Fourcher has to say to note that without a market niche survival is nearly impossible.

I asked Avy Meyers about the changes in the market since he started his cable access news program North Town News Magazine in 1991.

Avy talked about how there was a healthy Pioneer competing, as well as larger metro staffs on the two daily newspapers. I’ll add that on the advertising side the Yellow Pages was a competitor.

The news and also advertising has drilled down. Although The Dog is losing one competitor, there are several new competitors in the last six months on-line.

The result of this increased competition has to be lower ad rates for local businesses.

Hyper-Local Ad Revenues Continue to Elude Hyper-Locals

Hyper-Local media is the subject of StreetFight’s East Coast summit being held this week in Manhattan. As usual there is news being generated.

Patch, which had noted that just 11 percent of its local sites are considered profitable, has consolidated 25 sites. Patch President and co-founder Warren Webster told Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici he is confident the remaining 800 or so sites will be profitable by the end of 2011 2012 2013 (2014?).

DNAInfo launched in media-saturated New York. It doesn’t buy the idea that a crowded media market will crush online sustainability. Money, lots of it, and good journalism is a key to DNAI’s growth according to Publisher Leela de Kretser. Several DNAI stories in New York have gone national.

Facebook Rolls Out New Search Function

The weak search function on Facebook allowed you to search for people, places but not facts. That is coming to an end and it will have an impact on small local businesses.

If you’re familiar with Facebook now, imagine you can search for a business and find friends (and others) reviews of that business.

Yelp and Foursquare may be the first casualties of the changes to Facebook. All Things D reports Yelp shares started falling as news of the Facebook changes came out.

Forbes story discusses the changes the new function will have on areas such as entertainment and advertising. The story notes having Facebook create a better search function will probably drive local ad rates down.