BlackBerry losing out to iPhone in Washington, D.C.

The World

RIM’s got more trouble than its battered share price. Research in Motion’s BlackBerry appears to be losing its dominance in Washington.

Capitol Hill staffers have increasingly been swapping their BlackBerrys for iPhones, a new survey from the National Journal showed.

The magazine said just 77 percent of Capitol Hill staffers had BlackBerrys in January, down from 93 percent the last time it conducted the survey in 2009.

Perhaps more alarming is this statistic: just one percent of survey participants said they were planning to buy a BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry's decline in the nation’s capital comes as the iPhone is gaining a larger following among workers on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch.

“Washington’s enterprise IT community has been warming to the iPhone, though it lacks the data and messaging security of a BlackBerry,” National Journal said. “Last month, for instance, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it would begin issuing employees iPhones instead.”

The National Journal survey found that 41 percent of Capital Hill staffers are now using iPhones, as are 42 percent of Washington, D.C., area private sector workers and 27 percent of federal executives. In 2009, those figures stood at 13 percent for Capitol Hill staffers, 15 percent in the private sector and nine percent in the executive branch.

The losses come as the BlackBerry continues to lose market share across the US. In January, BlackBerrys accounted for just 15.2 percent of the US smartphone market, down from 17.2 percent just a few months earlier, according to new comScore data cited by the Vancouver Sun.

Apple iPhones were the most popular smartphones sold in the US in 2011 while BlackBerry’s Curve 8530 came in at No. 4 on a comScore list, the paper said.

A recent Washington Post article suggested RIM was with its BlackBerry offering lessons on “what not to do when competitors gain ground.”

The National Journal survey queried 273 Hill staffers, 673 private sector PR professionals and 279 federal executives.

It also found that most Capitol Hill staffers see Twitter  as a news source while federal executives see it as “pointless babble.”

In 2009, nearly all survey respondents saw Twitter as “pointless babble,” National Journal said.

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