back to article BlackBerries outselling Apple iPhones

RIM's BlackBerry Curve outsold Apple's iPhone in the first quarter of this year, according to a US survey conducted by the wireless-market research firm NPD Group. To help the BlackBerry pass the iPhone, however, Verizon had to give RIM's phones away. From February 6th through March 31st, Verizon ran a "Buy One, Get One" …


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  1. Stewart Midwinter

    well of course

    well of course the Blackberry is outselling the iPhone - for one thing, you can buy it on more reasonable terms, like your choice of contract term.

    This week I tried to buy an iPhone in Canada from Fido. They refused to sell me one at any price! Why? Because I am already on a contract with them. Wait, it gets better! The sales rep then suggested that he could sell me an iPhone if I took out a second line and signed a THREE year contract!

    As for the Blackberry, Fido doesn't sell them, but its parent Rogers will sell you with no term.

    I love the iPhone, but I refuse to be sodomized in order to use one. Instead, I bought a Nokia 5800 for a reasonable cash-only, no-contract price, and will use that instead.

    Apple's iPhone sales will continue to suffer so long as it allows carriers to only sell them under rapacious terms.

  2. Jerry Masterson
    Jobs Halo

    err, ok

    So the only way to "outsell" the iPhone is to give your product away? Now there's a company I want to buy shares in.

  3. Tom Maddox Silver badge


    That's not true! That's IMPOSSIBLE!


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple iphone not rude enought to compete

    Buy a Crackberry Purve from RIM, nudge nudge, wink wink.

  5. Scott Mckenzie

    Hmm.... they give one away free when you buy one, yet it is my understanding that this somehow counts as a sale...

    Impressive market penetration from RIM from those stats, but it stills goes to show what a success the iPhone is - love it or hate it!

  6. Thomas

    BlackBerries have probably been outselling the iPhone since Day 1

    You know, if you add all the BlackBerries together. And maybe politely ignore the Storm. I expect it's all to do with business readiness. I quite like the iPhone on which I am typing this message, but I'm not enjoying typing it.

  7. Long Fei

    World or US?

    I'm assuming this is US only, as they only seem to understand Blackberrys and iPhones over there.

  8. Andrew Matthews

    Only in the Excited States?,North America, the world?

    iPhone=great interface

    Blackberry=serious comm device

    Canajun too!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows mobile

    eh? how come there's no WinMobile phones in the Top 5. Surely, some of the HTC offerings are good enough to have sold a million!? no.... hmmm.... where is Steve Ballmer now?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    OK, numbers are important but not the only importance?

    Somehow I can't imagine Apple being too perturbed about iPhone numbers and world domination.

    There are logistics involved anyway and provided stock levels are not too hight, meet demand and retail (more importantly?) Apple's ethos then I am sure things will be considered ontrack.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "So the only way to "outsell" the iPhone is to give your product away? Now there's a company I want to buy shares in."

    You know the iphone is "free" with a contract here as well right?

  12. Steve
    Paris Hilton

    So what

    Reality TV is also popular but it doesn't make it good, a bit like the Birdy Song or Agadoo.

    Paris? Because she too is popular for some inexplicable reason.

  13. iamapizza

    Dear Editor

    You were right... fanboi excuses aplenty!

    Is there a list or comparison for mobile OSes as opposed to hardware?

  14. Andy Worth

    @Andrew Matthews

    Absolutely agree. So it just boils down to what you need. Personally I've done my duty in the past going for the most highly functional phones - now I just need something easy to use, so the iPhone does me fine and the app store means I can keep it interesting. For other people, particularly high-use customers, the Blackberry will be the far more suitable device.

    It might be that some people are beginning to wait to see what Apple decides to release this year before they buy as well.

  15. Lionel Baden

    @giving them away is stupid

    Not really

    Smartphones are just starting to really make an impact on the mobile phone market and Apple has had the monopoly on average Joe

    What blackberry are doing is trying to shift average joe onto the brand name instead of apple's

    Long term its a bloody good strategy

    All they have to do now is keep them loyal

    Something which apple is having trouble with !

  16. Francis Fish

    I have both and they both suck

    In different ways

    BB screen too small if you need glasses. Hate the keyboard.

    I've never managed to get the email client working.

    IP - Apple only web browser, can't look at non-HTML content that isn't Apple technology

    Mail client that doesn't thread

    No cut and pasted

    On the plus side it is an iPod too, but you can't work it from Linux, which annoys the crap out of me.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    BREAKING NEWS : Sun is hotter than the Moon

    Nokia outsells the iPhone. But do the combined sales of the N95, N96, N86 and N810 outsell the iPhone?

    Same for Blackberry - you're comparing the entire product range sales with the the iPhone. How about Storm versus iPhone 3G ?

    I can get browse the web and get email on my Sony K800i, but a comparison of sales figures against the iPhone would not be meaningful.

    I don't own one single Apple product and even I think this is a RIM marketing stunt that El Reg has fallen for.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    An outrage to human reason

    I actually have both a blackberry and an iPhone - when I want to write a text or email I simply swap SIM cards and use the blackberry. When I want to surf, I simply put the SIM card back into the iPhone. It's that easy. Why all the complaints, just get both of them.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    LMAO you guys are such fanbois

    @Jerry Masterson: OMFG, did you actually notice that RIM has 3 out of 5 (plus number 1) places in the top 5 before you posted?

    @Kam: You must be deluded if you think the market leader is being desperate!!! LOL!

  20. Doug Glass

    @Scott Mckenzie

    Maybe market share has a little to do with it. As maybe does cost and lack of sodomization.

  21. Matthew Morrison

    @ Stewart Midwinter

    That's a pretty silly attitude your carrier is taking - here in the UK the O2 network allowed you to end your existing contract with them early if you took out a new iPhone contract. I had thought that would be the standard but obviously not!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    rong agin reg. iphones r supa speshel oresum nd wil outsel nefink dat rim makes.




  23. James Robertson

    iPhone keyboard

    I upgraded from the iTouch to the iPhone, and have to say that I like typing on the keyboard, I never find it a problem, Of course its not as easy as a full size PC or MAC keyboard, any other size than a full size keyboard will slow you down, I find I can type 1 fingered faster on my iPhone than I can using two hands on my PC laptop.

  24. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Carriers subsidies BOTH phones to make money!

    RIM weren't giving the phones away for free, the carriers were. How else do you think someone like Voadfone can give you a Storm for £30 a month (could be less, I haven't checked recently)? Where RIM makes the money is on the Blackberry services, which EVERY Blackberry has to use unless you just want to base voice service. For every Blackberry sold, RIM get a monthly revenue stream as the carriers need the RIM service to provide the secure email and other services that users really want when they buy a BB over a plain voice phone. Even the private users using the webmail version of BB mean money going to RIM. Currently, Apple makes a mint off iPhone unit sales because they can (fanbois will pay the premium), but the longterm plan for Apple has to be the services such as iTunes and the app store, and by giving carriers a Mac OS server equivalent to the Blackberry Server for commercial users.

  25. Scott Mckenzie

    @AC 08.46

    So you're telling me you find it quicker to remove a SIM from an iPhone (no easy feat!) and insert it in a Blackberry, boot it up and send an email/text than to simply use the built in feature in the iPhone...


  26. Anonymous Coward

    Corporate Markets

    First thing that springs to mind is that try as they might, Apple are just not ready for corporate integration. RIM are.

  27. B

    You're kidding, right?

    "All they have to do now is keep them loyal

    Something which apple is having trouble with !"

    - Yeah, they're having TONS of trouble. Especially if you ignore that they have the highest customer satisfaction ratings for both phones and computers. But don't let reality intrude, go back and bury your head in the sand again.

  28. Ascylto
    Jobs Halo

    @ B

    Spot on.

    Apple may have problems but loyalty is NOT one of them!

  29. Matt White

    @ Jerry Masterson

    > So the only way to "outsell" the iPhone is to give your product away? Now there's a company I

    > want to buy shares in.

    Congratulations, you'd have passed up on investing in Gillette. It's pretty standard razors and blades.

    Doing a buy one get one free on certain models is going to mean that the original purchaser is going to be tied into the BB ecosystem, and another purchaser is also going to be tied in. Reading the link, it's not a case of "buy one at full retail and get another free", it's "buy one at the subsidised price on a contract, and get a free one on a contract as well."

    So Blackberry are getting a larger install base, and the network provider is getting a second contract revenue stream for a cost of $70. Damn smart marketing.

  30. jmm

    Giving BBs away

    It strikes me that Verizon is giving the BBs away, not RIM.

    Seems like what's happening here is that RIM can create products that make more money for Verizon than Apple can - lower cost device, higher data revenue - and Verizon reckoned it can double up even if it gave a unit away. The second contract will pay for that free giveaway in 2-3 months. Sounds smart to me... with all apologies to Apple apologists / apoplectics like Jerry Masterson and company.

    BTW, I think the data showed that a single line of BlackBerries (8300 Curves) outsold iPhone. If one counted all BlackBerries sold, I think it's on the order of 2:1 and heading to 3:1.

  31. Jerry Masterson

    @Matt White

    I'd have also passed on investing in Motorola.

    How many die hard Motorola fans jumped ship at the moment a new shiny phone came out. Cellular users are fickle. I was using a RIM when it was the size of a jelly roll. Eventually I was "tied into the Treo ecosystem". It didn't take much for me to switch to the iPhone. Same with my company, die hard BB users until they got the Curve. Not one lasts six months with serious business usage. One by one they are being replaced with iPhones without one user complaint. Even company email works better.

    It's not marketing by Verizon. It was a response from getting bitch slapped by a company that has only one phone with serious carrier restrictions. Given the choice between being number one by cutting prices or number two, keeping ridiculous profit margins, I'd pick two. Volume doesn't always win.

  32. Chief sub

    Alright! Alright! Calm down!

    Before the iPhone fanboiz and their opponents start getting too aerated, have a look at the link to the original press release given on the Register article. Then think about it. Three problems are immediate:

    1) What's the baseline? In other words, from what figures are these percentages made? NPD's last survey? They imply that, but don't say. Without some sort of baseline figure, it's like saying "Bill runs faster than Fred by 15%". Well, how fast does Fred run? He might be a crippled WWI war veteran, for all we know.

    2) What's the sampling, and how is it chosen? NPD says: "sales data based on more than 150,000 completed online consumer research surveys each month". How are these online consumers chosen? Is it a fair sampling, or is it skewered towards customers of Blackberry outlets and against those from iPhone outlets? NPD leaves us clueless. Is 150,000 a fair sampling of wireless mobile phone sales in the US, or is it the equivalent of asking four dog owners whether their dogs prefer Winalot and extrapolating from that? We can't know.

    3) What's the margin for error? All serious survey companies - NOP, yougov etc, will include a margin for error (in their case + or - 3%, but it can be higher or lower). I don't see it in the NPD survey.

    You don't need to have a mathematical degree in statistics to spot these problems - I certainly don't. You just need to have read The Tiger That Isn't by Michael Blastland & Andrew Dilnot (quite cheap on Amazon) to start making real sense of surveys, figures etc regurgitated in the media, including the Register, to see through them clearly.

    I have no particular axe to grind one way or the other on the wireless phone issue. NPD's survey and analysis may well be correct. It's just that we have no way of knowing.

  33. Andy Watt

    2 for 1 on BB's?

    I'm not surprised. their build quality is so frankly shite (thin plastic and silver paint, hollow keyboards, storm screen has a gap around it, etc etc - not to mention the s/w bugs) you'll need 2 to see out your contract.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    World domination requires pre-planning

    ... so I'd guess that some phones really are going for world domination and probably requires as a prerequisite sufficiently many phones on order with scheduled manufacture & delivery dates, a suitably motivated and in place sales team co-ordinated nationally, regionally and internationally.

    Some phones might conform to the above, some might not.

    What seems hot is a race to a more pleasant graphical user interface on top of the range with anything goes UI on bottom of the range.

    I suppose it is more of a mobile phone/cell phone ecology rather than anything else.

    Q: Where does that put the iPhone 3G?

    my A: just exactly where Apple wants it to be and I'd guess that Apple will also outsmart the rest while wannabee models are chasing iPhone 3G looks, feel and functionality yet at the same time overlooking the cross device integration of all things Apple courtesy of Mobile Me.

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