BlackBerry vs. iPhone: The Storm Stumbles

Owners lukewarm to new smart phone from RIM, which otherwise has momentum

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The BlackBerry Storm

An early survey of Storm users puts numbers to reports that the first BlackBerry with a touch screen has disappointed users. This from a description by Paul Carton at ChangeWave, which conducted the survey:

The overall satisfaction rating given by new owners of the Blackberry Storm can, at best, be characterized as lukewarm. One in three Storm owners (33%) said they were "Very Satisfied" with their new model, well below the 52% "Very Satisfied" rating given by all current owners of BlackBerry smart phones.

The rest of the survey is encouraging for Research in Motion, whose BlackBerrys have the potential to again outpace Apple in sales next year. The Storm, the Bold and other new models have generated enough buzz that the BlackBerry can compete with the iPhone for smart phone "market supremacy" in 2009, Carton says.

That makes the middling response to the Storm particularly worrisome for RIM. It's bad enough that Storm owners are less enthusiastic than typical BlackBerry users. They are much less enthusiastic than owners of the original iPhone -- 77 percent of them were "Very Satisfied." And the Storm's unsatisfied rating was three times that of the original iPhone.

Carton says competitive pressures may have pushed the Storm out the door before it was fully cooked.

But if RIM can rapidly fix its initial glitches and bugs, the survey shows that this new offering - along with RIM's other recently released models - will provide accelerated momentum for RIM in 2009.