A New BlackBerry Craze May Be Blooming

Tickers in this article: NOK
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The bears on BlackBerry (Nasdaq) are more than 95% American from what I've seen.

Their geographic location over the last three years has no doubt colored their views of the company. Just think, three years ago, BlackBerry had over 50% of the American market share of the smart phone market. An enviable position to be sure.

Today, BlackBerry has around a 3% share of the market in the U.S.

Another way of looking at it is that BlackBerry had 30 million subscribers in the U.S. three years ago and about 17 million today. But that's over a period when smart phone sales around the world have doubled. So BlackBerry -- if they were just growing with the market in the U.S. - today should have 60 million subs in the U.S.

If you're American and all the people around you every day are pulling out their Android or iPhones, you can't help but turn your nose up at players like BlackBerry and Nokia (NOK) that you never really see. Even if analysts tell you that those two companies are still performing well overseas, you can't help but discount that information.

It doesn't help when the New York Times runs stories about cool people in Silicon Valley are embarrassed at being seen using their BlackBerries by their friends.

But let's put all this social stigma and geographic bias stuff to the side and really take a look at where BlackBerry sells its phones today and what that means for a successful roll-out of their new all-touch Z10 phone and, later, the keyboard Q10 in a few weeks.

The U.S. is still a huge smart phone market in the world and this is still the case for BlackBerry --even if its market share has plummeted in the U.S. in the last three years.


Even today -- selling 2-year-old and older terrible phones for the last little while -- 22% of BlackBerry's global subscribers come from the U.S. That's double the second-largest market for BlackBerry which is the UK coming in a 11%.

The next-biggest markets for BlackBerry are, surprisingly, Saudi Arabia at 7% and the UAE at 4%. Also at 4% market share are Canada, France, Spain and the Philippines. Then at 3% are countries like Argentina, Indonesia, and Italy. India is at 2%. Other notable countries are Australia, Nigeria, and South Africa. (All these data are estimated by Tom Astle at Byron Capital Markets.)

So why did BlackBerry do well Monday with the stock up 15%? I don't think it was the BlackBerry TV commercial in the Super Bowl (although I thought it was the right decision for them to spend $3 million or whatever it cost them to reach one-third of the people in their single largest market).