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How Competitive is the Mobile Phone Industry?

How Competitive is the Mobile Phone Industry?

Recent announcements made by both Blackberry CEO John Chen and Sony boss Kazuo Hirai have reminded us all too well how competitive the mobile phone industry is. For those of you who did not tune in, both companies are reconsidering their options and might quit the smartphone market for good next year if profits don’t pick up.

This year saw Blackberry’s market share plummet to 1.2 percent over in the US, while Sony’s market share in the US barely reached one percent, and only 17.5 percent in their main market, Japan. Blackberry in particular, has experienced a huge decline since their golden days back in 2009. They ended the year with a whooping 42.6 percent of the market share. So, what happened? The iPhone happened.

It was not so much the iPhone as Blackberry’s inability to stay ahead of the competition. Sadly, I think the company felt too attached to their comfort zone and might have rested on their laurels too much. Since then, Blackberry has never bounced back, and now the main players in the industry are Microsoft, Google and Apple.

Amidst this sad news comes great news from Microsoft, as Windows 10 mobile rolls in with a large variety of handsets. Now I’m curious as to how Google and Apple will upend this. It’s like sibling rivalry, with one trying to overtake the other in terms of achievements.

Will we see Blackberry and Sony exit the market next year? Truthfully, I’m saddened by this development. Although new mobile phone operating systems like Ubuntu mobile are being introduced in the market, it’s nice to keep your options opened. The three main players in the mobile phone industry all have flaws that smaller companies can use to gain leverage.

For instance, Apple has always received a lot of flack for its strict software limitations. If you own an Apple device, you can only download things that are either created by Apple itself, or a partner company. If you want to use an application from a third-party company that doesn’t have Apple’s approval, good luck with that. Yes, you may try to jailbreak or root your phone, which puts you at a security risk.

Speaking of security risk, Google’s Android is not the most reputable right now in terms of security. The complete opposite of Apple, Google allows users to download whatever they want, and even tweak the source code itself to develop new apps. All this freedom is bound to bite them in the rear, which is exactly what happened. Hackers and other unscrupulous individuals are targeting Android users by installing malicious code inside seemingly legitimate applications. Google needs to develop a method which does not compromise freedom, but at least keeps user secured from untrusted app publishers.

Overall, the potential exit of two big players in the mobile phone industry sends a chilling message to the rest of the industry: If you can’t keep up with evolution, you’re going to get left behind. This does not only apply to the mobile phone industry, but other industries related to technology. Advancement, coupled with consumer demands makes for a very volatile and fast-paced contest. I guess this is a good thing, because as they say, in every competition, the consumers win each and every time.

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