The Nokia results are out and they are brutal. It ended up being almost exactly as I predicted back in February. Nokia smartphone market share has crashed to 12% from 29% exactly 12 months ago. As I said, Nokia's smartphone unit went from generating growing profits, to generating increasing losses. And yes, just like I predicted, all of Nokia Corporation was pushed into loss-making.
For 2010 Nokia sold twice as many smartphones as Apple, and by Q4 iPhone was outselling all Nokia smartphones almost exactly by two to one. This is a historical moment. We have witnessed the establishment of a humiliating world record. We have a new definition of colossal corporate incompetence. Mark this day. We can now evaluate the full effect of the Elop Effect.
Here are the Q4 final numbers for the Bloodbath analysis. Nokia sold 19.6 million smartphones for the Quarter and 77.3 million for the full year. A year ago Nokia grew smartphone sales by 45%. Under Elop's management, Nokia replaced the strong growth with a massive decline, dropping 25% when the industry itself had a massive year growing by over 60%.
The market share exactly a year ago at Q4 was 29% and yes, Nokia was so dominant in smartphones, it was not just the biggest smartphone maker, it was literally more than twice as big as its nearest rival and obviously also bigger than its two nearest rivals combined. Nokia was not fighting its rivals like in most businesses where the top 2 players are close in size, like Coke and Pepsi, or like Toyota and General Motors, not like Boeing and Airbus etc. Nokia was TOWERING over its rivals. Literally, more than twice as big as its nearest rival, just 12 months ago!
Since then we had the new CEO Elop on a Rampage of Ruin, starting with the Elop Effect, where he combined the biggest management mistake ever of current product endorsements of the Ratner Effect, with the biggest management mistake ever of future plans of the Osborne Effect. His Elop Effect alone has cost Nokia billions in revenues and profits. I calculated in December that the Elop Effect had already wiped out from Nokia Corporation revenues as big as those of the total revenues Oracle Corporation, and worse, the Elop Effect had destroyed profits as big as the total profits of Google! The equivalent damage was as if a whole RIM ie Blackberry sized hole was cut out of Nokia, just due to the Elop Effect.
Then he continued feuding with his distributor channel, angering Nokia partners and frustrating Nokia supplier chain. The sales not just crashed for Q1 from 29% to 24% but due to Elop's continued mismanagement, Nokia smartphone sales fell throughout the year, down further to 16% in Q2, then 14% in Q3 and now 12% in Q4.
THIS IS A WORLD RECORD OF MISMANAGEMENT
This is not like New Coke. This is not like the BP Oil Spill. This is not like Toyota's problem with brakes. There have been huge disasters in business in history, but nothing like what we witnessed in 2011. Never in the economic history of mankind has there been a global market leader brand, that collapsed so totally in one year. Nokia was growing 45% from 2009 to 2010 in smartphones. Nokia was successfully migrating its 'dumbphone' customers to smartphones, by Q4 of 2010, Nokia had migrated 25% of its handset customers to smartphones while the world had only migrated 22%. All of Nokia's rivals were far behind in that transition, Motorola so badly, they had lost 8 out of every 10 customers they tried to migrate from dumbphones to smartphones. And how did Elop snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Today Nokia's proportion of smartphones is down to 17% - while the industry has reached the point where 29% of all phones sold globally are smartphones!
I cannot emphasize how strategically moronic this is. Previously, up to 2010, Nokia was GAINING customers, as it migrated its customer base from dumbphones to smartphones. The fact was, that Nokia was so successful in designing desirable phones - for Nokia existing customer preferences - that it actually gained customers while migrating them to more expensive smartphones. As long as Nokia was doing that profitably - and it was - that was perfection in executing a transition from a legacy business of dumbphones to smartphones. Elop has now reversed that.
Now Nokia is on a Motorola trajectory, where Nokia customers are actually lost when shifting from dumbphones to smartphones - and alarmingly that rate has been increasing and is now at the rate of two lost for every one retained! Worst of all, now obviously Nokia is doing this generating huge losses in its smartphone unit. Really, readers. It is like Nokia looked at how Motorola collapsed, and Elop came in and said, lets do a Motorola for Nokia but lets just do it much faster. This is strategic: Elop not only destroyed Nokia's today, Elop is also destroying Nokia's tomorrow. And now Nokia is going against the global trend, where the world went from 21% of all new phone sales being smartphones in 2010 to 29% now. And Nokia is going against the grain, shredding its loyal customers as it peddles undesirable smartphones. Nokia's customers are so disgusted - they are more willing to buy a cheap non-smartphone, than a smartphone!
UNPRECEDENTED MARKET CARNAGE
In the past 12 months Nokia has shredded six out of every ten customers it had! This is comprehensive global collapse in the period of one year. Nothing like this has happened anywhere, in any industry. ANd look at past handset rivals. When Motorola collapsed, it achieved something like this, yes, but that happened over a three-year period, not in 12 months. When Palm died, it did it gracefully over a five-year period. Siemens did not collapse like this, nor did Microsoft's Windows Mobile.
From utter market dominance, literally bigger than its two biggest rivals combined, Elop exchanged 29% market share for 12% today. Both Apple and Samsung have already passed Nokia as bigger smartphone makers in Q2 and Q3. By Q4 Apple sold 37 million smatphones, which is a hair less than twice the number of smartphones sold by Nokia in the same period at 19.6 million. This has never ever happened before, in any industry, not in cars, not in TV sets, not in soft drinks, not in detergent, not in running shoes, not in airlines, nowhere! The dominant market leader collapsed in one year and has gone from more than twice the size of its nearest competitor, to about half the size of its strongest competitor. This is unprecedented market disaster!
I warned this would happen and while there were many points in 2011 where Elop could have saved Nokia, he refused to budge. He admitted the sales crash was worse than he expected. His partner over at Microsoft Steve Ballmer has admitted Windows Phone has disappointed dramatically. The past GM of Windows Phone who left Microsoft has admitted that carriers hate Microsoft's mobile activities and in 2011 Microsoft has only made matters worse. Now we have seen how badly Nokia has done with its Lumia strategy.
Note, one year ago at this time, when Elop had been in charge for about five months, Nokia shareholders had appreciated Elop's leadership and the strong performance in the smartphone unit so well, that the Nokia share price had grown by 11%. Since the Elop Effect, Nokia share price had fallen by more than half. Nokia's shares were rated one notch below perfect at this time last year. Since then all three ratings agencies issued a series of downgrades and Nokia is now rated junk. Nokia's brand was consistently one of the 10 most valuable brands on the planet. Elop's actions dropped the Nokia brand out of the Top 10 for the first time ever.
I am not suggesting that somehow Nokia was perfect - the previous management under Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo had damaged Nokia well from its peak value years ago. But that damage had been reversed, Nokia was strongly in recovery mode by Q4 of 2010. I am not attempting in the least to suggest Symbian was going to somehow save Nokia, the decision was taken long before Elop came along, that Symbian woiuld be replaced - and I had written on this blog many times why that was the right thing to do. Nokia's problems were with execution, not its smartphone strategy. I wrote for example this a year ago, about Nokia problems in execution and marketing. Elop was hired to fix execution problems, not to destroy its smartphone unit, as Chairman Jorma Ollila clearly stated when Elop was announced in early Autumn 2010.
As Nokia was plunged into generating big losses last year, Elop has been since selling various Nokia assets to try to keep the company afloat. He has tried to sell the NSN unit and currently is trying to sell the Vertu luxury phone unit. He has already sold several batches of patents, and just sold Nokia's handset factories in Romania. He also has been firing staff, more than 10,000 were let go already, and we just heard another 13,000 will be fired next. This guy is destroying Nokia as we knew it.
COMPARE THEN AND NOW
One year ago, exactly this time Q4 results, this was Nokia smartphones, compared to today:
ITEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Q4 2010 . . . . . . . . Q4 2011
Smartphone unit sales . . 28.6 M . . . . . . . . . 19.7 M
Unit growth YoY . . . . . . 45% . . . . . . . . . . . minus 31%
Average Sales Price . . . 154 Euro . . . . . . . . 140 Euro
Smartphone Revenues . . 4.4 B Euro . . . . . . 2.7 B Euro
Smartphone profits . . . . 510 M Euro . . . . . . minus 190 M Euro
Market Share . . . . . . . . 29% . . . . . . . . . . . 12%
Smartphone migration . . 25% . . . . . . . . . . . 17%
If you thought RIM was having trouble, it is nothing compared to this. In every way Nokia has seen an epic collapse and please understand, there is no bigger story in mobile, this is a WORLD RECORD in market collapse. Please also remember the recent analysis by Horace Dediu at Asymco blog, that in mobile, once your handset maker degenerates from profit-making into loss-making, there is no recovery. The history is clear about that from Siemens to Ericsson to Palm to Motorola. Not only that, we also see that Nokia's corporate loss of 1.1B Euros (about 1.4B US dollars) was actually 250 million dollars bigger in its operations - yes, the Q4 period included a 250 million cash payment from Microsoft to try to prop up CEO Stephen Elop and his mad Microsoft strategy. Yes, Nokia's losses in reality based on its actual market performance are far worse. And that loss goes to the smartphones unit which in reality generated nearly a 400 million Euro loss if this Microsoft cash injection is removed. And then, yes, the Microsoft 'strategy' - can it save Nokia? No.
LUMIA IS A FAILURE
Nokia refuses to give actual Lumia sales numbers. So does Microsoft. We can see from that, that both companies are ashamed about the lack of traction and fear reporting the number. Note, a year ago Microsoft proudly published its 2 million figure. Since then Microsoft has admitted that Windows Phone sales have declined from quarter to quarter. Now we know that 'to date' by January 26, Nokia's Lumia has sold 'well over 1 million Lumia devices to date'. That more than 1 million was achieved in the three months from November to end-of-January. The Q4 sales will be significantly below 1 million, and analysis of the Nokia launch markets for Lumia sugggest about 600,000 total Lumia sales in Q4. That compares to an equivalent launch of Nokia's then-new operating system, the S^3 release of Symbian, which sold 4 million units in Q4. When adjusted for the market growth in 2011, that would mean 6.4 million sales now. But under Elop's management his Microsoft Madness strategy has yielded a success rate of one TENTH of what Nokia did a year ago with the 'obsolete' Symbian and the then-flagship smartphone N8.
Note Nokia refuses to give us a sales number for N9 sales using the MeeGo OS. That means MeeGo has outsold Lumia. And we have an independent analysis which says MeeGo sold 1.4 million units in Q4. This is particularly relevant, as the MeeGo countries of N9 launch were selected to be very tiny smartphone markets like New Zealand, Singapore, Norway, Nigeria and Kazakhstan. I will do my analysis of what is the equivalent performance of the MeeGo platform vs Lumia phones by Nokia, in a separate blog shortly. It is disappointing to find that Elop refuses to celebrate the huge success that the N9 has been in horrid conditions and with no top management support.
WINDOWS PHONE WILL NOT SAVE NOKIA
First of all, I have of course given my review of the first Lumia smartphone and why it will fail as a flagship phone, whether Nokia intended it as such or not. Then I gave a detailed analysis of where and why Lumia is failing in the market once we had market data. I have given my forecasts of what the years 2012 and 2013 will look like for Nokia and Lumia. And of course, I will revisit those forecasts and give you my latest revised picture based on these latest Nokia numbers. But lets not use my numbers. We have seen now two forecasts for Nokia Lumia success potential, by Morgan Stanley and iSupply. Lets see how plausible these are and what they tell us.
The Morgan Stanley forecast is the one you may have seen promising 37 million Lumia sales this year. The iSupply forecast is the one that promised Windows Phone to pass the iPhone by 2015 and achieve 17% market share. Lets examine briefly these two forecasts.
MORGAN STANLEY SUGGESTS LUMIA ONLY 7% BY END OF 2013
The Morgan Stanley forecast from January 2012, said Nokia Lumia sales would hit 37 million this year 2012 and 64 million in 2013. They add also Symbian sales so total Nokia smartphone sales would be 77 million in 2012 and 80 million in 2013. Note - first of all, that Morgan Stanley clearly expect that somehow Nokia can stem the decline in smartphone sales last year (of 23%) this year to be flat sales this year, and a slight growth of 5% next year for all Nokia branded smartphones. Secondly, Morgan Stanley expects that Nokia can still sell 40 million Symbian smartphones this year 2012 and 16 million next year. I think these are very rosy expectations (especially, now in light of Nokia Q4 results, when Elop clearly said he no longer expects Symbian to sell those promised 150 million more units he committed to last February) but lets assume Morgan Stanley's forecast is close to accurate. What do these numbers mean?
Morgan Stanley's forecast of 37 million Lumia sales in 2012 means 5% market share this year and the 64 million Lumia sales for 2013 suggests 7% market share by next year! This is success? I fear not. What when we add in Symbian sales. Morgan Stanley's projection suggests Nokia total smartphone sales this year 2012 would see a further drop in market share to 11% this year and down to 8% in 2013. If you think Nokia who dominated smartphones last year, would have 8% next year, and thus according to this optimistic forecast, Nokia would have expelled three out of ever four customers it ever had - that is the very definition of corporate suicide. (and I think this Morgan Stanley projection is too rosy)
iSUPPLY EVEN BASE NUMBERS ARE WRONG
Lets turn to iSupply. Just now in January, IHS iSupply gives the projection for Windows Phone sales (remember, not only Nokia provides WP7 smartphones, also Samsung and HTC offer a token few smartphones in that space but both obviously give preference to Android). They project Windows Phone to have 1.9% in 2011, then 9.0% in 2012, then 15.3% in 2013, 16.1% in 2014 and 16.7% in 2015. They do not separate Symbian sales out of the numbers, but just to see how implausible these numbers are, lets look at the other 2011 numbers. iSupply has estimated the iPhone to be the 'loser' to Windows Phone. They start with iPhone to have 18.0% in 2011. The reality is, that Apple achieved 20% market share in 2011. So the difference in iSupply's forecast in 2015 is literally one tenth of one percent between iPhone and Windows Phone, but iSupply starts by punishing Apple by 2 full percentage points! Then the growth? Apple grew 2 points in 2011 and currently in Q4 with the new iPhone 4S, Apple is selling 25% of all smartphones globally! Meanwhile iSupply felt that that Apple would be flat in 2012? That is perhaps a fair projection if iSupply thought that Apple's sales were flat in 2011, but Apple grew 2 points. Why would the iPhone then fall in 2012?
But look at iSupply's number for Windows Phone in 2012, this year. Last year all Microsoft partners sold about 5-6 million smartphones in total (remember, MIcrosoft itself was so afraid to give the number they started to count both the new Windows Phone sales with the older and incompatible Windows Mobile sales last year - and still in Q4, Windows Mobile was outselling Windows Phone in Microsoft's best market, the USA, as we found from Nielsen Q4 new sales measurements). Now lets say it was 6 million in 2011. Then suddenly iSupply feels that this year 2012, that will suddenly explode to 63 million? TEN FOLD INCREASE IN ONE YEAR? On what planet? The only manufacturer who will focus on Windows Phone will be Nokia and Morgan Stanley in their optimistic view only counted about half that number for Nokia Lumia sales. Android did not explode 10-fold in the third year of its sales. Apple's iPhone did not explode 10-fold sales in its third year. There is no precedent for this outrageous forecast. And even if it were to be true, EVEN if it were to be true, then by the end of 2015, four full years from now, the total Windows Phone family of handset makers would have achieved selling one out of every six phones worldwide, and Nokia would have some slice of that pie. A year ago Nokia alone was selling one out of every three smartphones sold globally.
We have seen that Nokia's biggest smartphone launch ever, with the biggest market support, with the biggest artificial creation of demand, as Nokia's Symbian based phones were almost extinct from handset stores; with the biggest marketing expenditure Nokia had ever done for smartphones; combined with hundreds of millions of more marketing support from Microsoft's deep pockets - to the degree that in the UK for example consumers got free Xbox videogaming consoles if they bought a Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone - yet the sales in Q4 were well below one million (and likely about 600,000). Kantar measured Q4 sales for Lumia and in no major market did Lumia pass even 2% sales of smartphones - these were Nokia's best markets where Nokia's market share a year ago was between 35% and 60%. Now the Lumia sales have failed to succeed, to the point that Nokia is already slashing prices to sustain what sales remain. Do not delude yourself, Lumia cannot save Nokia.
I will return with more Nokia analysis but these Q4 results are devastating. We did witness a world record in corporate management. Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop took the world's strongest smartphone maker brand and ruined it in one year. He replaced strongly growing sales and 29% market share with 12% today, projected to hit 8% next year. He took strongly growing revenues and profits, and replaced them with declining revenues and big losses. Most of all, he managed to reverse the trend of migrating Nokia customers from low-cost dumbphones to smartphones - now Nokia is literally bleeding customers when they come to replace a phone, for the first time ever, Nokia's market share in smartphones is worse than in dumbhones - and worse than the global migration to smartphones. Last year one quarter of Nokia's customer base had been migrated to smartphones, where the future of the mobile phone business exists. Today Elop has scared those customers away, and only one in six customers of Nokia phones select smartphones. He will be studied in MBA courses as the case study of the greatest management failure of all time, and no doubt, many will arrive at the same nickname as I use for Stephen Elop: he is the Microsoft Muppet. The Nokia Board must fire him immediately before he ruins what is left of Nokia.
PS - I have now added the calculation of Lumia sales for Q4 (600,000 units) - compare it to N9 MeeGo sales of 1.75 Million - both launched in the same quarter and you can sense my frustration with Elop.
PS PS - I now added also the regional split calculation with some stunning customer acceptance findings. But read the Lumia sales blog first (the above link)