BlackBerry (RIMM) might be struggling to gain market share in the United States, but that’s not the case in Nigeria.
Of the four million smartphones owned in the country, two million (HALF!) are BlackBerrys.
Why does the company have such a large presence there? Its free text messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger, has a lot to do with it.
Robert Bose, the company’s managing director in the region, says, “We think BlackBerry Messenger is very strong, has a very strong community, has a very strong connectedness that Nigerian society enjoys.”
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Indeed, for many of Nigeria’s two million users, BlackBerry Messenger is key. As one resident in Lagos says, “You can reach your families; you can reach your friends through pinging – without spending much money.”
If only BlackBerry Messenger had such cachet globally.
But with free text messaging services like iMessage for the iPhone and Kik Messenger (which works for Android, iOS, Windows phones and BlackBerry), the company needs to figure out a new way to generate market share.