Research In Motion Ltd. is the world's fastest-growing company, far outpacing rival Apple Inc., according to business magazine Fortune.
In its annual rankings, released yesterday, the respected U. S. publication said the maker of the BlackBerry topped a list of formidable competitors with average sales growth of 77% over the past three years and average earnings per share growth of 84% over the same time.
The BlackBerry as well as Apple's iPhone have become the sector's top-performing devices.
Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple, which makes computers as well as the iconic iPod Touch music player and multimedia device, was 39th on the Fortune rankings, with three-years sales growth of 27% on average.
Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM largely relied on selling the BlackBerry to business clients up until last year, when it began to move aggressively into the global consumer smartphone market.
The move is a big part of RIM's explosive growth, the magazine said.
RIM has introduced a flurry of smartphones since the beginning of 2008 designed to appeal to consumers. That includs the BlackBerry Curve.
The Curve became the top-selling smartphone in the United States last quarter, helping to give RIM a 55% share of the segment in the United States.
RIM also owns more than 20% of the European market for smartphones, according to analyst estimates.
Smartphones, which can surf the Web, quickly check email and download applications and content alongside traditional functions like placing phone calls, represent the fastest-growing corner of the global cellphone market.
Smartphone sales have seen double-digit gains in 2009 even as overall handset sales have fallen in step with the recession.
Fortune said RIM has expanded its share of the segment worldwide to more than 20% through the first quarter of the year from just 7% in 2006 as incumbents such as Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. have witnessed declines in share.
The smartphone market is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the next several years as more and more consumers adopt the next-generation devices.
Despite the global economic downturn, RIM reported a profit of US$643-million, or US$1.12 a share, last quarter, compared with US$482.5-million (US84¢) in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue was up 53% to US$3.42-billion.
Three other Canadian firms made Fortune's rankings.
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, the world biggest food-nutrient producer, cracked the Top 10, ranking 10th with three-year sales growth of 38%. Software developer, Open Text Corp., also based in Waterloo, Ont. l, placed 15th in the rankings with three-year sales growth of 27%. Calgary-based natural gas distributor Enbridge Inc. came in at No. 99.
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