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iPhone outsells RIM's BlackBerry in Canada for the first time

But sexting Middle Eastern teens remain loyal to BBM

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The iPhone is outselling the BlackBerry in its home territory, Canada, in another humiliating mark of decline for mobe-makers RIM.

BlackBerry sold 2.08 million handsets in Canada in 2011 compared to iPhone sales of 2.85 million, according to figures from IDC and Bloomberg.

Canadians have remained loyal to Ontario-based RIM for years, with BlackBerrys outselling iPhones by five-to-1 in 2008 and sales still outstripping iPhones by half a million in 2010. But even patriotism can't keep the falling sales alive in the face of relentless growth from iPhone and Android.

Bloomberg reports that BlackBerry remains popular in certain sectors - among Canada's government and business bod as well as teens in many of the world's emerging markets. RIM's sales are still nearly twice those of Apple in the Middle East and Africa, where teens can get around local religious and cultural practices by using secure and free instant messaging service BBM to chat to members of the opposite sex.

But this won't be much consolation to new RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, who picked up the reins in February and faces dropping sales, a falling share price and a lack of killer products – especially in the tablet space.

RIM appears to be exploring software development as a way to reinvent the company. A job posting from RIM seen today shows that RIM is looking for iOS developers. The hire-in could be a sign that BlackBerry is making a move into mobile device management software that would work on different platforms. A service such the touted BlackBerry Mobile Fusion platform would bring BlackBerry functions such as BBM to iOS on a Blackberry app. ®

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