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The Sales of BlackBerry Cover only Three Percent of Total Smartphone Sales in Indonesia

Adjie Priambada - 14 November 2014

Time does fly. Three years ago, Indonesians regarded BlackBerry as a ‘must have’ device. A report by IDC proved it, as in 2011, 43% of smartphones sold were BlackBerries. Now? Well, don’t talk about 43% or even 10%, since the company couldn’t even cover more than 3% of total sales of smartphones in the first half of 2014.

As The Globe and Mail reported, BlackBerry’s role in Indonesia is currently diminishing. A number of factors come into surface, from wrong strategy, strict competition, to the conflict with its HQ in Waterloo. While we can still find many people using the BlackBerries, its brand awareness actually keeps decreasing. Now, its market share is far below other global players like Samsung, even local players such as Advan, Evercoss, and Smartfren.

In an interview session with Andy Cobham, former BlackBerry’s Head in Indonesia, The Globe and Mail reported that BlackBerry actually once had the best technology which led its business to the top, before everything was ruined. Cobham emphasized that it was the wrong decision by the company’s HQ in Waterloo that started the mess. One of the most evident occurrences was the decision to give 50% discount to the first 1000 buyers at the launching of the new series of BlackBerry. Even though the team in Indonesia refused the idea, the plan went on anyhow, as the HQ insisted on doing so. The result? A truly mess.

Another blunder made by the company was when it frankly avoided any required risk and legality while expanding the market.  Cobham added that the company’s executives also underestimated successful local operators. “It wasn’t the time to be arrogant. We tried telling them how to do business in the country,” he said.

In result, Telkomsel and its 130 million customers exile BlackBerry.

However, it’s not fair to put all the mistakes on BlackBerry’s hands, as the government of Indonesia also contributes to this riot. Government asked the company to filter out 400.000 thousand websites containing pornography as well as a secure access to BlackBerry’s database, and the company refused the request.

It even established a factory in Malaysia when the government of Indonesia wished to have one built in Indonesia, which only worsened the relationship of the two parties.

No mistake is bigger than BlackBerry’s decision of allowing its flagship, BlackBerry Messenger, to be accessed from any other devices. This makes people turning their eyes from BlackBerry to other brands.

It is true that the company has just launched its BBM Money and BlackBerry Z3 “Jakarta Edition” to reclaim its popularity among Indonesians. Question is, can they do it?

[Header Illustration: Shutterstock]

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