Mobile Communications Market Thrives Despite Tough Times
With technology continuing to move ahead rapidly, there is no denying that techs present a highly competitive, and lucrative, market sector. Currently in the news is the battle of the search engine titans as Microsoft and Yahoo attempt to secure at least an increased portion of a market indisputably dominated by Google. Another ongoing battle that is no doubt of interest to stock market traders is that between Research In Motion (RIM), the manufacturers of BlackBerry, and Apple with its iPhone, in what has become known as the “Smartphone Wars”.
Originally viewed primarily as a business tool, BlackBerry shifted its focus in 2008 with an advertising campaign to target the masses – and it worked. During the last quarter, up to 80 percent of new BlackBerry subscribers were non-business users. The fact that President Obama carries a BlackBerry has no doubt boosted the image of this already popular smartphone. Additionally, RIM has been rated by Fortune 500 as number one in a list of ten of the technology world’s fastest growing companies, with Apple coming in at number nine.
A total of 1.19 billion mobile phones were sold globally in 2008, of which around 13 percent, or 155 million, were smartphones. While the smartphone market is growing more rapidly than ever before, it is also becoming increasingly competitive, with a host of new players, such as Acer, Palm, Google and Motorola, entering the smartphone market. Also, the race is on to keep up with, and even anticipate, rapidly changing consumer demands. For many the use of a smartphone for accessing the internet, email and instant messaging, eclipses its function as a phone. Consumers are continually looking for innovative applications and Apple has responded to this demand with around 65,000 application choices in its App Store, while RIM currently offers around 2,000. However, by means of its BlackBerry Alliance Program, RIM is confident that it can continue to meet the consumer demands of the fast-paced world of mobile communication.
The other eight technology-focused companies that featured on Fortune 500‘s top ten list of fastest growing techs are chip-maker Sigma Designs; Chinese internet company Sohu.com; online insurance exchange provider Ebix; cell phone service provider Millicom; enterprise content management company Open Text; software specialists Pegasystems; engineering simulation software developer Ansys; and telecommunications and IT security software designer AsiaInfo Holdings.