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May 01, 2012


Antoine RJ Wright

Sheesh, sales or shipments (not that it matters)?

How does installed base or replacement cycles for previous years w/Symbian (and MeeGo) devices factor into this? I remember you saying something about folks wanting Nokia but (a) carriers pointing them elsewhere or (b) returning Windows Phone at higher rates - of which are becoming mostly Nokia-branded devices, where they are being sold.

Not a good picture this post is. I wonder if there's some action from carriers that would cause this to reverse or slow?


Why would any other vendor but Nokia sell a Windows Phone handset at this point? Only one with any ability to differentiate is Nokia (given their "most favored nation status" with Microsoft). All other handsets are bland and too similar.

Then of course, the question is whether or not Nokia can actually sell some Windows Phone handsets, which, like you, I have my doubts as to whether that will happen or not.


Tomi has been very good so far in his Nokia predictions, but I wonder where these next Lumia sales can happen. It seems Europe is burned out on Lumia, Asia is indifferent, China is inhospitable. Minutes ago I checked Amazon. The black Lumia 900 is #9 in sales rank for phones sold with plans (subsidized phones) and cyan Lumia 900 is #47. If people were actually frustrated trying to get "sold out" Lumia 900's at their local AT&T dealers you'd think they'd turn to Amazon, where Lumia 900's are available with two day shipping. I see Nokia's WP line of phones being a total market flop even after WP8 comes out. It's going to have the same metro/live tile interface that has made so little stir with Lumia. Nokia needs a plan b.


Thank you Tomi, you are such a great expert on Nokia! Think about the N9, it would have easily sold 100M units this year if only Nokia's Elop would allow it to happen. I hope you stand a chance if Nokia need a new leader for its sinking platform. You would make a great new Nokka CEO with your insight in the mobile market!


@Antoine RJ Wright,

Sales or shipments doesn't really matter as most reseller now doesn't really want to stock nokia phone too much. So, do not think they will put a nokia phone on stock for 2-3 months.


all WP phone were the same, there were no differentiation at all.
That's why it's flop.


I also admire that Tomi could predict lumia sales 10000% better than all other analyst. Tomi really prove that he's a leader not follower. I'm proud & honored reading his blog



I was wondering about the nokia dumbphone/featurephone sales number.
I know that Asha line in Indonesia, India, Philippine, etc.... were taken a big hit by Cheap Android such as Samsung Galaxy Y (US$ 110-120) and Samsung Galaxy Pocket (US$ 95-100).

Could the diminishing nokia brand in Smartphone effect the dumbphone/featurephone?
or the lost in marketshare mainly because of it can't compete with android on that price level?



I'm curious what factors are considered in the projection of Lumia phone growth slowing in Q4 of 2012? I'd think that the holiday season would give sales momentum with a refreshed product line based on Windows Phone 8, Pureview cameras, and coattail effects from Microsoft's upcoming massive Windows 8 marketing campaign. I'd also expect Verizon to be selling WP8 (as announced, though not necessarily Nokia) in Q4. I'm not saying WP is going to succeed in the long run, but the projection seems to fly in the face of the sales cycle.


Well, this time your Nokia 2012 forecast seems reasonable, at least for Q2-Q3. I'd say it even may be optimistic.

However I can not understand what is your reasoning for only 1 million Lumia increase from Q3 to Q4. This is a Christmas quarter where (barring major economic meltdown) all phone and electronics vendors significantly boost sales compared to previous quarter. Furthermore, Nokia will announce the next generation Windows Phone 8 smartphones on September 25th at Nokia World conference. Hopefully start shipping them within 2-3 weeks like they did last year. And there will be a major marketing push from both Nokia and Microsoft, probably much bigger then the one in 2011. During Q2 and Q3 Nokia's old Lumias will have to compete with the new Samsung Galaxy S3 flagship and reduced prices for older Samsung smartphones. In Q4 Nokia will have a new generation flagships to put against Samsung Galaxy S3. The "only" new smartphone launching in Q4 will be iPhone 5. It will be huge, but I don't think it'll be that huge to slow Lumia growth from 2 million a quarter to 1 million.

So why do you think Nokia will grow Lumia sales by 2 million in Q2, another 2 million in Q3 and only 1 million in Q4?


From my own research Tomi might well be right but all his comments are seriously not going to change anything. Nokia will long be pass saving by the time Elop gets fired. Tomi should think seriously about getting a life since his comments can only hasten the decline, but then I suppose he can get the immense satisfaction of saying I told you so. Hitlink’s browser market share numbers, which are updated monthly shows in April 2012 Windows Phone increased from 0.42% worldwide to 0.49% worldwide, a false flickering glimmer of hope for the desperate who want to cling onto a last fragment of hope.



I like Tomi compared to other analyst.
The other analyst that were bluffing about WP7 number could reach 20% by now if not countered by Tomi would only create a false positive. Which is the number will be big, but the reality is the user will hate the WP7.

So, Tomi honesty will bring a balanced review for all user.


Tomi should really aim for the Nokia CEO chair! I'm sure all owners will support him by now, as he has revealed the truth here on his blog. Windows Phone is the worst mobile OS ever!


I think MS might have a better chance to get into the embedded market through Windows on ARM running on laptop and tablet devices. If those devices become successful and create a strong MS based application ecosystem, it is possible that the ecosystem will spread to the smart phone market. But even in the best case it will take a long time, which can be fatal for Nokia, which is relying on MS success in smart phones.



MS will sink as fast as Nokia. Perhaps Tomi can give us some insight on this one. There is not a sole on earth, who would use MShit voluntarily!

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Antoine, PhoneBoy, Eurofan, Earlie and cygnus

Antoine - good points and questions. The returning loyal customer problem is now shifting downwards as the first customers of the Elop Effect return to stores later this year. It only makes matters worse, when ever less of the installed base of mobile phone owners, even own a current Nokia. The carrier support is critical. If Nokia were able to lift the 'boycott' against it, the sales decline would end. I can't promise sales growth by that action, but at least the carnage would end. And as I've written elsewhere on this blog, the cause of the carrier revolt is now Elop and Microsoft. Both have to be gone, before carriers return to supporting Nokia sales

PhoneBoy - yeah, we totally agree. I said something similar last year when Microsoft announced its special relationship with Nokia. Since then Samsung also got itself a special deal with Microsoft but Samsung is clearly using it only to pry some money and attention, they have no desire to push Windows Phone smarthpones beyond lip service

Eurofan - yep. Makes a lot of sense. I did my best to think of the down-ramp of Symbian, the end of Meego and the upramp of Lumia (plus some transition from dumbphones). I didn't do a regional split of where Lumia would sell, but China is pretty dead apart from the smallest carrier, China Telecom. Europe will have some Lumia sales simply because its Nokia. USA will do a million, two down the line, nothing like iPhone but similar to what Nokia did before Elop killed Nokia USA Symbian sales. Other parts, it will be small wins in some markets.

Earlie - your comment seems to be sarcastic, but on the off chance you were serious - the 100 million N9 sales level is utterly impossible. Nokia did 100 million Symbian smartphone sales in 2010, with an average sales price of about 200 US dollars. The N9 has an average sales price twice that. So probably the scale of N9 market potential, if Elop had marketed it broadly, would be in the scale of 20-25 million per year, 5-6 million units per quarter - roughly in line what the N8 (and E7) did before the Elop Effect of February 11, 2011.

cygnus - great point about inventory. Yes, looking at Nokia price slashing and horrid return rates, you are totally correct. The retail channel does not want to be caught holding Lumia in inventory. PS thanks on kind words

Keep the discussion going, I will return with more comments

Tomi Ahonen :-)

space cowboy

Omg... this forum should be called the frustrated and bashing Nokia club. I have a lumia 800 and I really love. Even over my (dual core, but traditional) Samsung Galaxy II. If u dont believe me, read some reviews about the Lumia's. Even Steve Wozniak likes WP7 and the Lumia 900 over Android and on some aspects even over i-phone. Taking numbers from the past (Nokia's Lumia 900 is only on sale for one month in the US only), and forecasting the rest of 2012 and even 2013 with them is quite silly. I's say, give Nokia and Microsoft some time to proof they are on there way up again.


@ space cowboy

Listen to the pros, get rid of that phone and change it to N9!


This is a horrible picture Tomi, absolutely awful. I hope that you are wrong, but your numbers look inescapably reasonable.

I do wonder about pulling out the $250M from the numbers - personally I think it should be excluded from ASP but included in divisional numbers, but Nokia includes it in ASPs so I think by not including it you are opening your figures up to additional noise. Would it be possible to have ASPs listed with and without?

Knowing you Tomi, I assume you have thought about this somewhat. Any ideas why Nokia might want to include it - it obviously masks the real numbers somewhat but are there any other reasons?

Giacomo Di Giacomo

So, you think that Lumia sales will increase sequentially in the next quarters? My personal feeling, as a user, is that they are going to peak maybe in the next quarter and then fall, due to the decline of the momentum of the launch and to people realizing that WP is not that good (as you can see when you search for used Lumias on ebay). Also, you seem to estimate that the 808 PureView will sell no more than about one million units in 2012, while I think it is going to sell several millions (mainly to former N8 users awaiting for a decent successor). This is only what I feel from a user's point of view anyway (but I felt that Lumia would have failed miserably and that's what happened, so let's wait and see).

Giacomo Di Giacomo

Nokia is (was?) incredibly bloated indeed. I cannot understand what all those people are working upon. Heck, I designed all the hardware of a VHF radio transponder myself, alone, in about six months. Add two people working on the software and some days of my colleagues working on the mechanics. The same holds for Microsoft, by the way.

But on the other hand, they do design good hardware. Even if we look only at their recent products, when they introduced high-spec phones they succeeded: look at the N8 and the N9. They are unanimously considered good pieces of hardware. The problem is that the phones that sell the most are the highest-spec phones, such as the iPhone and the Galaxy Sn, with n = 1, 2, ... .

What is currently Nokia offering in this range? Nothing, except maybe the N9, that is sold nearly nowhere and anyway is beginning to lag behind others in terms of performance. Symbian phones are all alike and all mid-range, also the upcoming 808 (not that they are not good, I own a 603 and it's amazing, especially for its price, but people look after super-specced devices even if they will never use the features for which they are paying a premium). WP phones do not match the best in class either, also because they cannot use higher resolution (they are stuck at 800x480) nor multicore CPUs (that are only useful on multitasking machines, such as Android and, ironically, Symbian).

So, how can Nokia sell, if it does not offer devices that people want? Add to this the Elop effect and you're done. The only way out I see is a) kicking Elop off (and the board with him, if this is what is needed) and b) offer some really powerful phones, as the N8 was when it came out, based on OSs that allow Nokia to do something really outstanding (ie Symbian and Meego), obviously with some marketing, not like the hype that surrounded the Lumia launch, but rather highlighting the real strengths of the devices.


Tomi is wrong about Windows Phone only getting 3% market share in 2012.

The real analysts (iHS Suppli) say Windows Phone will get 9%.


@Rob-o-bob: Your cited analysis is out of date. It's from January 2012. Here's the most recent assessment posted by iHS Suppli on April 17, 2012:'s-Windows-Phone-Strategy-is-on-the-Brink-of-Failure.aspx

Two pithy paragraphs:

"Nokia's poor results with Windows Phone are not due to Nokia's failures. The Lumia devices have attractive and differentiated industrial design, in a smartphone market where every handset maker is struggling to stand out. Nokia shipped the launch devices on time and at attractive prices. Nokia's problem is that Microsoft appears to have stood still. A year and a half after Windows Phone 7's debut, it has changed little. In effect, the gap in features between Windows Phone and Android or the iPhone has widened and not shrunk as Nokia needed it to."


"When CEO Stephen Elop made the brave move to embrace Windows Phone, he said there was no plan B. Given the results to date, IHS Screen Digest believes that now is the time for Nokia to create a back up strategy to the current Windows Phone endeavor."

I think we can fairly consider this latest iHS Suppli statement a retraction of its earlier January optimism for Windows Phone.

Earendil Star

It's amazing how entrenched in some people the MS propaganda is.

Despite all facts indicating how bad the situation is.

And the iSuppli comment from April is interesting.

The responsibility, as Eurofan highlights, is clearly placed upon WP, still lagging the competition, and the lack of a Plan B from THT Elop.
Not on Nokia, who's hardware, albeit underwhelming, is nicely designed.

The huge lie, i.e. that MS was good at phone software and this was the only solution for Nokia, is finally being revealed.

Nokia is dead because it chose the wrong strategy (WP, the smallest OS in the wild), and put all its eggs in the wrong basket.

Bravo, THT Elop. Mission accomplished. Time to wrap things up and make Nokia officially the MS captive OEM it was supposed to become since inception.

Good night and good luck.

Jagdish Chandra

Hei Tomi,

Join the company!! for Finland's sake!

Tomi T Ahonen

More replies

Hi Poifan, Karlim, Red, cygnus, Earlie and PlatformWarrior

Poifan - good point, but I haven't seen you here on the blog a lot recently so you probably didn't know my full thinking. The Windows Phone platform is being rejected wholesale by the carriers worldwide (least obvious to see in US market). Microsoft itself is under comprehensive carrier rejection most markets because MS bought Skype and carriers hate Skype (see recent Telia news for example). MS own senior staff admit to carrier relations having been bad, and gotten worse. Meanwhile, on Nokia's side, the past strong carrier relationships by Nokia were poisoned by Elop. He's since fired most of his top sales guys and brought in inexperienced, mostly ex-Microsoft people to sales jobs, further angering the carrier community. You know from past discussions here on the blog that in the handset space, it doesn't matter how great a phone you make (unless you're Apple and have that fanatical Apple customer base) if the carriers refuse to sell your phone, you are going nowhere in mobile. So that is why I see no change coming to Nokia sales and marketing chances with Lumia, even when Windows 8 arrives. In fact, I have said in other blogs, the carriers will punish Windows 8 even more than Windows Phone 7, because of its closer integration with Skype.

I did model an improvement in unit sales for Nokia into Q4 but as the migration to Lumia will be about complete, there is no more Symbian user base to pillage and thus the overall Lumia growth will stall into Q4.

Karlim - very good points, please see what I just wrote Poifan here in the above. The carrier revolt against both Nokia and Microsoft will become even more hostile with Windows 8, because of Skype. Thus the new phones will not help Nokia. And that is, assuming, the new phones are given back to the old design crew at Nokia, not these silly Elop amateur designers from America who did the early Lumia series and are total global market failures. I am again optimistic and hoping Nokia learns fast and brings competitive Lumia phones to the market by year-end

Red - You have no idea how wrong you are. I am nothing if not loyal. I am a Finn, an ex-Nokia executive. Nokia is a reference customer of mine and has supported me for most of my ten-year career as an independent consultant since I left the Nokia HQ. I have literally wept when the worst news has broken about Elop's mismanagement. I would love nothing more than be able to say, I was wrong about Nokia and the company I love is back on the mend. I think you and I agree, that won't happen under Elop or with Microsoft. But if Nokia is to get rid of Elop, the sooner they do it, the better and healthier for Nokia.

cygnus - thank you for the kind words, my friend!

Earlie - haha, again, I have a hard time determining if you are being sarcastic (reading through all your comments here in the thread) but again, if you were serious, no, it would not be the right move anyway for Nokia, as I have written, to save Nokia they need to hire a CEO instantly trusted by the carrier community, meaning the new CEO needs to be a current CEO from one of the carriers/operators and ideally from here in Asia where the industry's strongest growth and biggest innovations are happening.

PlatformWarrior - That strategy for MS makes sense, and it is not mutually exclusive with the smartphone strategy, so MS should pursue both. But the scale of the markets will show you why that strategy is sub-optimal. The total new sales PC market, including tablet PCs, is about 350 million per year. Smartphones sell 745 million this year. The non-PC other format 'embedded' devices as you mentioned, when all are added together, internet-connected TVs, cars, videogaming units like Playstation Portables, etc - all added together are less than 100 million, being a far smaller segment than the PC sector. And even both added together is only half the size of smartphones. Next year, smartphones will be three times as big, as smartphone sales will hit 1 Billion per year.

Thank you all for writing, keep the comments coming

Tomi Ahonen :-)



Where have you seen Meego UI on N9? It has nothing to do with Vanilla Meego, instead it is Nokia's own design (well, part of it from Palm) created from scratch in 8 months. Nokia would have had a blockbuster in their hands, had they kept releasing Maemo devices alongside WP.

I dont have time to check the personne figures thorougly. However, Im quite sure you need to check your facts and conceptions. I'd say that majority of the personnel is working for NSN (~75.000).
Ericsson: 105.000 employees
Motorola Mobility 20.500
Huawei: 140.000
Apple Inc: 60.400
Sources: / Wikipedia

The easiest wayt to decrease personnel would be to outsource manufacturing, but would it be wise?

And dont get me wrong, I believe they have excess personnel and they should streamline the operations. But throwing figures in the air without any critical thinking is not fruitful.

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