RIM drops out of top five phone makers, while India demands more access

RIM drops out of top five phone makers, while India demands more access

Top five phone vendors, from left to right: Nokia, Samsung, LG Electronics, ZTE and Apple. Not pictured: RIM

2010 was not a banner year for Waterloo-based Research in Motion. The company struggled to compete with the iPhone and Android-based devices, and its Playbook entered the world to pretty dismal reviews. The Blackberry maker hardly needed more bad news, but this morning, it got hit with a double whammy. First, the spat between RIM and the government of India continues to fester, with India now demanding unencrypted access to Blackberry traffic. Second, IDC Research revealed that RIM’s dropped out of the list of top five mobile phone makers.

According to the Globe and Mail, India is pushing hard and nobody’s quite sure how this latest round will end:

India rejected on Monday Research In Motion’s offer to allow it only partial access to its BlackBerry data services as neighbouring Pakistan also moved to restrict the popular smartphone’s services.

It was not immediately clear what the Indian government, which says it is driven by security concerns, would now do after the Canadian smartphone maker failed to fulfill demands to monitor encrypted corporate email by a Jan. 31 deadline. RIM had previously said was confident India would not ban its services.

Earlier this month, RIM said it had given India the means to access its Messenger service ahead of the deadline but reiterated that it could not give the authorities access to monitor secure corporate emails.

As for its ranking in the cellular phone marketplace, RIM was pushed out by rapidly growing low-cost producer ZTE. Meanwhile, a different analysis from Canalys says that in the smaller smartphone market, RIM’s global market share dropped from 20 per cent to 14.4 per cent (but it grew in the U.S., so that’s something).

That’s all actually a sub-plot to the main story, which is that the Google-backed Android is now the most popular smartphone OS, outselling Apple iPhones by almost 2:1 and passing Nokia’s Symbian. (Android is used on many different phones, so the argument over whether there’s any one “iPhone killer” continues to rage.)

• India demands full BlackBerry access [Globe and Mail]
• Mobile Phone Market Grows 17.9% in Fourth Quarter, According to IDC [IDC]
• RIM knocked out of top five global mobile phone sellers [Globe and Mail]
• Android Becomes Best-selling Smartphone OS, Says Canalys [PCWorld]