BlackBerry doesn't consider Xiaomi & Obi as competitors: CEO

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 08, 2014 16:19 IST

Canadian handset maker BlackBerry,which faces stiff competition from domestic and Chinese brands in India, does not consider the latest entrants Obi and Xiaomi as competitors in the world's second largest handset market.

"We don't consider the players you named as competitors since they play to a lower end market and do not pose a threat across our broad set of capabilities," BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen told PTI when asked if they were facing difficulty due to new players like Xiaomi and Obi who are launching powerful devices at affordable prices.

It is important to remember that BlackBerry is more than just a smartphone manufacturer. It is a mobile solutions firm that services the needs of customers looking for secure technologies that drive productivity, communications and collaboration, he added.

When asked if the firm is loosing its charm due to higher than expected prices, Chen said: "I believe the pricing of our devices is competitive, especially for the higher value that BlackBerry delivers. The BlackBerry Z3, for example, has an attractive price point for the features and benefits it provides."

Blackberry's Z3 is available on various e-commerce sites in the range of Rs. 14,860-15,950, while the Z10 is available in the range of Rs. 12,599-18,499.

Often touted as the Apple of China, Xiaomi launched its Mi3 smartphone in India for Rs. 13,999 this year.

Whereas, Obi Mobiles, a company co-founded by former Apple CEO John Sculley, launched its flagship handset, Octopus S520, for Rs. 11,990 in the Indian market this year.

"BlackBerry continues to be among the top five smartphone brands globally, and India remains an extremely important country for us. In fact, India was also one of the first markets targeted for the BlackBerry Z3 and it has been very well received by consumers in that market," Chen said.

The struggling smartphone maker has been slashing prices of its handsets in India -- Z30, Z10, Q5, 9320 and 9720 -- to drive sales due to competition from Android, iOS and Nokia's Windows Phone, which have been offering devices at affordable prices.

In India, in terms of vendor, BlackBerry failed to find a spot in the top 5 in the April-June quarter. Samsung leads the tally with 29 % market share, followed by Micromax 18 %, Karbonn 8 %, Lava 6 % and Motorola 5 %, as per IDC.

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