BlackBerry Struggling In Indonesia?


Sometimes it’s best just to laugh at those who start with a headline and work backwards, just to make something fit what they want to portray. And that’s definitely the case with Iain Marlow of the Globe and Mail who wrote a fascinating, yet utterly outdated, piece just a couple of days ago.

In it, Iain rakes up all the old coals of why BlackBerry, under Thorsten Heins, but also those before him, spectacularly gave everyone a lesson in how to race to the bottom between 2011 and early 2014, even going as far as to grab quotes from former Indonesian BlackBerry boss Andy Cobham of how badly the situation was mis-managed.

And all this would be fair enough, if the piece had been given a balance, a counterweight if you will.

You see, Iain’s piece very specifically stops quoting statistics at the end of May 2014. Which, strangely enough, is when the Z3 was launched.

And the fightback began.

So, just to be helpful, here’s what seems to have happened since:

Interest For The Z3 Completely Outstripped Other Phones Prior To Launch

Yes, just as Iain was packing up to go home in his article, the Z3 was THE most hotly anticipated phone on the market as we reported here and can be shown by the Google Trends graph of the time:

Google Trends Z3

Huge Queues Formed Desperate For The Phone

z3 queues

Unsurprisingly a budget BlackBerry attracted rather alot of attention and the good people of Indonesia flocked to grab one. Our man Veeru was on the ground and struggled like crazy to find a handset as they were sold out everywhere.

StatCounter Reports Increased Market Share

z3 nov market share

Whilst not a perfect metric, StatCounter is currently showing that BlackBerry are now enjoying a 12% PLUS market share in Indonesia. This is far and away ahead of the 3% quoted by Iain in the Globe and Mail. In fact, if he fancies balancing this out, if this number is true then BlackBerry has a higher market share in Indonesia than iOS has in Germany, for example. That would make a nice article! Even if not, then SOMETHING is going on that is nothing but positive for BlackBerry for this line to move so dramatically.

BBM Money Takes Off

Indonesia is currently the only country using BBM Money and, by all reports, it’s doing very nicely, thank you.

BBM Regains Top Messaging App Status

According to an article today over on Seeking Alpha by Food for Thought, BBM has taken back it’s number one APP spot (never mind messaging app) in the country. Quoting AppAnnie, they demaonstrate how BBM is surging forwards whilst WhatsApp and Line are falling behind:

November 9 2013

BBM #2
WhatsApp #3

November 7 2014

BBM #1
WhatsApp #5
LINE #14

All of which adds up to rather a rosier picture of things SINCE May 2014.

Let’s be fair, some would say a 12% market share in the world’s 4th most populous country is nothing to be dancing about in comparison to where BlackBerry were in 2011 (and those people would be wrong). But this is a comeback of Lazarus proportions for a company that was declared deader than an Egyptian Mummy.

John Chen has declared that he is more than satisfied with the sales numbers of the Z3 without disclosing specifics. And I’m with him on that. Why give the likes of the writer of this article the chance to say ‘Only 1 in 10 Indonesians using BlackBerry compared to 3 years go when it was 9 out of 10 so BlackBerry are collapsing’.

Oh, he did anyway when quoting the shopkeeper in his article:

“Three years ago, all we knew about selling phones was selling BlackBerrys – nine out of 10 phones we sold were BlackBerrys,” Mr. Chandra says.

But that has changed. “Now, it’s one out of 10. I barely sell any.”

BlackBerry Ltd.’s market share is collapsing in Indonesia

What a load of rubbish.

BlackBerry’s market share is far from collapsing in Indonesia. It’s very much on it’s way back. A growth from 3% to 10 – 12% in a matter of 5 months?

That’s a success.

And if John Chen is happy?

Well, I’ll trust him before the Globe and Mail on this one, thanks.


Bigglybobblyboo is a legend almost nowhere at all. He is a founder member of UTB and spends his spare time taking out his anger at the world with a fishfork and a spatula. He is also a Cribbage Master, having won 1 fight online as the other guy refused to turn up out of fear for his life.