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Rocco: Will Microsoft Fire Ballmer When Blackberry Crushes Windows?

Tickers in this article: AAPL BBRY MSFT
AUSTIN, TEXAS ( TheStreet) -- Here at South By Southwest, Blackberry (BBRY) is making a move.

On Saturday, I walked up to the Austin Convention Center and noticed a lovely Canadian flag draped over the Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse across the street. Bummed over missing that evening's "Hockey Night in Canada" broadcast, I wondered if, for some strange reason, "Fogo" was doing something around hockey at "South by" ( I am so hipster cool! ).

But no! It was the artist formerly known as RIM , Blackberry, hosting a private party.

I'm practically Canadian. I love God's Country . I love hockey. And, despite how hard I have been on RIM ( they'll always be RIM to me! ) over the last two years, part of me wants to see them succeed. It must just be an honorary sense of national pride for a Toronto Maple Leafs-loving kid seeded and sprouted in Niagara Falls, N.Y. to a Canadian-born father just a stone's throw from Waterloo, Ontario.

So, I'm sympathetic, but, man, seems like a poor marketing move. Americans do not associate technology, smartphones, apps or anything hip with Canada. Tragically, that's just how it is. Hurts me to admit it.

That strategic decision aside (and there's probably a good reason for it), I can't believe I'm saying this, but Blackberry looks like it's on the right track. Here's my thinking.

comScore reported U.S. January 2013 smartphone market share numbers earlier this month with few surprises.

Apple (AAPL) has a 37.8% share of domestic smartphone subscribers. Samsung comes in second at 21.4% and then there's everybody else.

Google's (GOOG) Android remains the dominant platform at 52.3% ( *Asterisk); Apple's iOS pulls 37.8% at No. 2. After that, it gets interesting.

Blackberry ranks as the third most popular OS in the States at 5.9%. It lost 1.9% worth of market share quarter-over-quarter. Here's where Steve Ballmer comes in. And it's not good. Microsoft's (MSFT) share of the market, via its Windows Phone platform, dropped from 3.2 to 3.1% over the same period.

It's no shocker that RIM continues to lose market share. It's still feeling the pain of not having current/relevant products to offer. But that will change soon. And if the Blackberry Z10 is to be a success we'll start seeing the trend turn sometime in the second half of 2013 I suspect.

But how does Microsoft's market share stay flat as Blackberry's steadily decreases? You'd think at least some former Blackberry owners would move to a Windows-based smartphone. Android also lost market share, but iOS gained roughly 3.5%. So, we're to believe a.) that everybody switched to an iPhone during the quarter (plausible I guess) and b.) the supposedly well-received Nokia (NOK) Lumia didn't accomplish a damn thing for Microsoft?

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