Back in 2006 Nokia had cornered 49 percent of the smart phone market and Blackberry from RIM was holding down a puny seven percent. And the iPhone? It was nowhere to be seen. Fast forward to 2009 and guess which smart phone rules. Well, it’s not the iPhone. Nokia still hangs on to 41 percent of the market share but Blackberry has 20 percent and Apple has 11 percent. Killing off the competition? There no app for that.
As it turns out Research in Motion (RIM) recently topped Fortune’s list of fastest growing companies while Apple, which is larger, older and possibly more charming, made the list at number 39. While all sorts of watchers eagerly await Steve Jobs next move, the Rim guys are somewhat lesser known. Mike Lazaridis, who by age 12 had read every science book in his town’s library, dropped out of college to start RIM. His co-CEO, Jim Balsillie once shared a college dorm room with “Outliers” author, Malcolm Gladwell.
The company’s “aha” moment came the day they noticed student at Canada’s Waterloo University hooked into their e-mail and figured the big need was for a phone that could receive e-mail. And the rest could only be described as smart phone history, although it’s not yet old enough to be history. While the general public might envision some sort of rivalry between Blackberry and iPhone, it turns out that the iPhone’s popularity drives business for other smart phones.
The top selling app at Blackberry is Vlingo ($17.99) which allows you to send voice messages as text or e-mails. For the iPhone, it’s Camera-Zoom ($0.99) that works as the name suggests. According to one of those endless personality tests, if you have to ask what’s an app, you’re probably a Blackberry user. On the other hand if you found a restaurant on Urban Spoon and then downloaded iPumpPilates to work off the calories – well, you know which phone you are.
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