updated 07:40 pm EDT, Tue April 17, 2012
1500 square feet to lead the MIddle East effort
Just as Blackberry sales in the United States stagnate under pressure from other smart phone manufacturers, Research in Motion (RIM) is finishing up lease negotiation for a 1,500 square foot store in Dubai. Managing director of RIM's Middle East division, Sandeep Saihgal, stated in an interview with Bloomberg that expansion into Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia would follow completion of the Dubai store. Patrick Spence, RIM's global head of sales, amplified Saihgal's remarks by remarking that the approach in the Middle East would differ from their successful presence in Indonesia.
Shipments of Blackberry devices doubled in the Middle East and Africa to 2.29 million units over the last year, outselling the iPhone four times over. To press its advantage over Apple and try to recover the 76 percent drop in stock prices suffered over the last year. RIM announced during February's Mobile World Conference that 4,000 outlets are planned across Indonesia including full retail stores, stores within stores, and kiosks. Spence added that the Middle East expansion will be likely followed by expansion into Africa.
As previously reported, US Blackberry market share dropped from 16.6 percent to 13.4 percent from the middle of November to the middle of February. In the same time period, Android phones and Apple iPhones rose 3.2 percent and 1.5 percent respectively. RIM's Blackberry Curve 8530 was the fourth best selling phone of 2011, lead by the iPhone 4, 4S, and 3GS.