- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2013

BlackBerry executives have opted against launching two new smartphone models in Japan, in blunt acknowledgement that competitor Apple is beating them on sales and grabbing up market shares.

The Canada-based company had been regarding its BlackBerry 10 series as a saving grace for its lagging smartphone division. But BlackBerry’s share in Japan’s phone market has dropped from 5 percent to 0.3 percent over an unspecified period of time, according to an Agence France-Presse report. And company executives have decided it’s just too expensive to create a Japanese-language operating system to support its new smartphone line, AFP continues.

BlackBerry has taken several steps to ward off competition from Apple and Android-based phones in the past few months, even changing its corporate name from Research in Motion, or RIM, to BlackBerry in a rebranding move made official last week.

A company spokeswoman confirmed to Wall Street Journal that the company was pulling its new BlackBerry models from Japan — but also hinted that a future entry to that market was a possibility, AFP reported.

“We are in the process of launching BlackBerry 10 globally in key markets and we are seeing positive demand … in countries where it has already launched. Japan is not a major market for BlackBerry, and we have no plans to launch BlackBerry 10 devices there at this time,” said spokeswoman Amy McDowell, in an AFP report.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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