According to IDC, Microsoft overtook BlackBerry in May, claiming third place in the 2013 smartphone shipment race. During the first quarter of 2013, Windows Phone devices accounted for 3.2 percent of all smartphones shipped around the world, whereas BlackBerry devices made up 2.9 percent of the market share.
David Felton, president of Canaan Technology, a BlackBerry partner in Norwalk, Conn., said his BlackBerry business has plummeted recently. Felton doesn't believe BlackBerry's decline is about the company having inferior products; instead, he said, the company needs better branding and marketing to match what Apple and Android smartphone makers are doing.
"BlackBerry doesn't have a technology problem. They have a brand problem," he said.
Analysts said that going forward BlackBerry only has a few options: get acquired, go private, corner a niche market or suddenly come forward with a game-changing technology. Although the news now makes BlackBerry an unappealing buy for investors, Technology Business Research's Antlitz said that the data encryption patents that BlackBerry holds, which he estimated to be worth $1billion to $2 billion, could be the key to their value in an acquisition.
"This is a patent story for BlackBerry. They are losing money. There is no light at end of the tunnel," Antlitz said. "It could be a game changer if someone like Microsoft gets hold of those patents and differentiates themselves in the enterprise space."
Felton also said he hopes BlackBerry is able to go private instead of being acquired by a larger vendor. "If they went private and had enough capital, then they could make it," he said.
BlackBerry's shares fell 23 percent to $8.10 on Nasdaq, an all-time low point for 2013.
CRN's Robert Wright contributed to this report
PUBLISHED SEPT. 20, 2013