The Blackberry 10 and new Blackberry devices took center stage today, but despite Blackberry's best efforts, it will lose out to Windows Phone as the number three smartphone operating system. Despite the improved new hardware, it will be no match for Microsoft and Windows Phone.
There's certainly a lot to like in the new Blackberries. The Blackberry 10 operating system finally brings Blackberry into the modern mobile world, and the new touch-based Z10 Blackberry model looks like a winner, with a solid, high-resolution screen, an integrated view of notes and tasks, and a unified inbox for all communications.
But that still won't help Blackberry beat Windows Phone. The fight between the two platforms is more than just a fight between individual pieces of hardware. It's a fight between entire ecosystems, and that's where Microsoft has the edge, and a very significant one.
To give Blackberry its due, it's starting with an edge over Windows Phone. Gartner reports that in the third quarter of 2012, Blackberry had a 5.3% market share of new smartphone sales, versus a 2.4% for Windows Phone. But that 5.3% is less than half of the 11% Blackberry had a year previously. Windows Phone was up from 1.5% a year previously. So despite a larger market share, the Blackberry trajectory is down, while the Windows Phone trajectory is upwards.
Microsoft has far larger ecosystem than Blackberry, which is why it will become the number three smartphone platform. When I talk about the ecosystem, I don't mean developers. I mean the entire Microsoft ecosystem -- Windows for PCs and tablets, Windows Phone for smartphones, Microsoft Office for all of them, the Xbox gaming system, SkyDrive cloud-based storage...I'll stop here, but the list is a long one. As for Blackberry, it has Blackberry phones, and not much more.
With Windows Phone, you'll be able to tie into the entire Microsoft ecosystem. Read and edit Office documents that you've created on a PC or tablet via SkyDrive and Office. Sync settings and files with other Microsoft devices. Play games remotely on your Xbox. Sync entertainment with PCs, tablets, and the Xbox.
That's simply too much for Blackberry to overcome. The battle these days is among giant ecosystems, not discrete pieces of hardware. The Blackberry doesn't have much of an ecosystem. And so Windows Phone will overcome Blackberry's lead.