Kantar Worldpanel releases infrequent updates of its data. We have just seen June 2012 market share data for 7 countries this time, by Kantar, reported at MyNokia blog. The June numbers are compared to a year ago, June 2011. The nice thing about Kantar, is that it is one of very rare houses that reports national market shares of new sales - and splits the Microsoft data apart for Windows Mobile and Windows Phone. So we get some very useful data. Lets explore what facts we find, to try to understand why so suddenly last few weeks, Steve Ballmer CEO of Microsoft has clearly thrown his old buddy Stephen Elop and Nokia's 'strategic partner' Lumia Windows Phone smartphones under the bus? There is an intriguing story in the numbers.
WHEN THEY WERE BEST PALS
The 'logic' in the Nokisoft Microkia partnership was that when you add Nokia handset power with Microsoft software power, you should get the best of both, and in a perfect world, you get "synergy" or 1 + 1 = more than 2. Even as this was not expected by many, there was clearly an assumption that these two should be able to defend their existing shares, when joining. So if we take Microsoft share, and add Nokia share, we should get a 'third ecosystem' haha. So the hope was that at least 1 + 1 = 2.
The industry analysts were not that generous. They took the separate market shares last year February when this 'strategic partnership' was announced by Elop and Ballmer, which had a combined market share of 34% and the major handset industry analysts all felt that for this troublesome alliance, 1 + 1 = less than 2. The best, most optimistic views had this partnership with over 20% market share when combined, the highest I saw by any reputable handset analyst company was 28%. And those numbers have been downgraded again and again and again in the past 16 months. My original 'gut feeling' for this alliance was that they would achieve something 10% by end of 2012. This was said 4 days after the alliance was announced (and I projected on that day that Nokia's end-of-2011 market share would fall to 12% - which it did, and no other analyst dared project such a total collapse of Nokia's share at that time). I said this was my gut feeling and not yet my formal forecast for this partnership after the new Nokia Windows based smartphones would be released.
In July of last year, I made my thorough calculation and forecast for the full year 2012 after the Q2 data was released, and downgraded my market share projections for Nokia and Microsoft. Now based on the catastrophic crash following the Elop Effect, I still believed that Nokia's first Lumia smartphones would be highly desired, and that Nokia would be able to get 1-to-1 conversion during 2012, as it migrated the Nokia smartphone base from Symbian to Windows Phone. I very clearly said, I was confident Nokia can achieve 1-to-1 conversion, but as the industry was growing fast, this would still result in a fall in their combined market share. So exactly a year ago, I had downgraded my Nokisoft Microkia market share projection from the early gut feeling of 10% at the end of 2012, down to 8% combined. That is what I thought a smart, competitive, well managed transition, with a well-designed Lumia portfolio would achieve for Nokia and Microsoft. Note, this means that 1 + 1 = less than 0.5. The separate 34% market share of the two companies would be down to 8% when the Nokia conversion from Symbian to Windows would be essentially complete. Nokia's market share would have taken a huge hit from 29% to 6% in 24 months.
I was accused with that forecast of being too much the pessimist. We saw again silly forecasts by some (paid?) 'experts' who promised a third ecosystem for Microsoft and Nokia+Microsoft combined market shares in anything from 15% to 24% as their target now for 2012. Haha, would that it could be... By the time we got to January and the Nokia horror with Lumia became more obvious, we started to see major analyst houses give far more alarmist views, like Morgan Stanley's projection which translates to 8% for Nokia by end of year 2012. As it transpired, the most 'pessimistic' Nokia forecaster turned out again the most realistic. We are already down to 8% now, in Q1, before Nokia reports next week bad results, and Nokia already warned Q3 will be worse than Q2.
My critical assumption for my forecast for Nokia and Microsoft for this year 2012, when I made it before anyone had seen Lumia smartphones last summer, was that of course Nokia will be able to convert, 1-to-1 the existing Symbian users to the newer 'highly desirable' (haha) Windows Phone OS. I could not imagine Elop to be so incompetent to release the Lumia line with 13 design and marketing defects that it is guaranteed to fail in all markets including the USA. Hey, mom, look at the Lumia with its 101 faults just in its user experience (now with even more Eloppia: 121 faults, get your Lumia here!)
So that is how this 'start of a beautiful friendship' went sour. When Ballmer shook the hand of Elop, to get Nokia onboard the Windows Phone ecosystem - and Ballmer went to his pocket and promised to help Nokia launch Lumia with 1 Billion dollars per year in marketing support ($250 million per quarter) - that was definitely on assumptions that after the Nokia Symbian customer based was fully converted to Symbian, Microsoft would stand on something near 20% market share. As Microsoft at the time was already falling under 4%, this was a big gain for Ballmer. He calculated that even if Elop messed this up, and Nokia only limped in with half, then they'd have a combined market share in the 12% or 15% range. That is what was on Ballmer's mind when he committed the Billions to this venture. And yes, if you were able to take 12% to 15% of smartphones today, you'd have something like the 'third ecosystem'. In Q1 for example, Android had 56% of the world smartphone market, Apple had 24%. Blackberry had fallen to 8%. So yeah, a very fair argument, if you could get to 12% or more, that you are the 'third ecosystem'. If. If you could get to that level.
NOW THE FACTS
Now lets take Kantar Worldpanel data. This happens to be quite opportune timing. The June 2011 data is after the Elop Effect, so much of the shock crash of Nokia Symbian has already been factored in, and it is before any Lumia launched (which would be November) but just about the time when the first Lumia leaks started - by Elop himself. So the buzz about Lumia is just about starting in June. Lets see what story Kantar tells us of this attempt. What is 1 + 1 = ?
Kantar does not release all of its data, it takes selected countries when it does. This time we have the EU 5 ie UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, plus USA and Australia. This is by coincidence the 'best market' region for Windows Phone potential (Windows was never successful in Japan or South Korea, for example and in the Emerging World, Windows Phone based smartphones are not competitive at the low end). I took the population-weighted average to count the market shares and when we look at this 'strategic partnership' the world picture is quite.. fascinating as Spock would say on the original Star Trek
MARKET SHARES FOR NOKIA-MICROSOFT PARTNERSHIP (in 'West' Advanced market countries)
OS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . June 2011 . . . . June 2012
Symbian . . . . . . . . . . . 13.5% . . . . . . . 3.2%
Windows Mobile . . . . . . 1.0% . . . . . . . 0.6%
Windows Phone . . . . . . 1.6% . . . . . . . 2.4%
Total partnerhship . . . . 16.1% . . . . . . . 6.3%
Total Windows . . . . . . . 2.6% . . . . . . . 3.0%
Market Share calculation by TomiAhonen Consulting July 12, 2012, from Kantar data
This data may be freely shared
So? Before Lumia launched, Microsoft total market share, in its VERY BEST markets, USA, Western Europe and Australia, was 2.6%. Now Nokia has run the world's most expensive marketing launch of the Lumia series - Elop told us he budgeted 3 times the amount of money of the previous top launch - and Microsoft threw in hundreds of millions more including handing free Xbox 360 gaming systems from the UK to Sweden. And where are we? Microsoft's market share in the best possible markets, gained 0.4% market share over the past 12 months. So Nokia's Lumia which was supposed to bring Microsoft 10% to as high as 24% gain in market share, when run by the 'brilliant' ex-Microsoft dude Stephen Elop, and as close as is humanly possible, with the Lumia launch micro-managed by Ballmer himself from Redmond, he gains 0.4%. Not one half of one percent!
Meanwhile, what was the damage to Nokia? This is after the catastrophic collapse due to Elop Effect from 29%. Now last June when in these markets Nokia's market share had fallen to 13.5% - that Symbian share was sacrificed like a lamb, and Nokia's Symbian share 12 months later is 3.2%. Yes. Elop took 10.3% of the best loyal Nokia customers, to achieve a 0.4% gain in Microsoft's customer base. Hmmm.. I would say this is a poor exchange. The overall math looks like this:
13.5% + 2.6% = not 16.1% but only 6.3%
So what was Nokia shift then? Well, if we say 80% of the Windows Phone sales is Nokia Lumia (we know Windows Mobile is not), and this would be roughly in line with the overall Windows stats (Samsung, HTC and others have been selling Windows Phone based smartphones too) we have this Nokia exchange rate:
13.5% Nokia Symbian share has become combined 5.1% Nokia Lumia and Symbian share now. At 1.9% Nokia Lumia market share in these 7 countries of the West, Nokia went from 13.5% down to 3.2% in Symbian. Nokia exchanged 10.2% market share in Symbian to gain 1.9% in Windows. So yes, Nokia lost 4 customers for every 1 it managed to force to take the Lumia. And this is before they learn that their brand new Lumia is now obsolete, effectively Osborned by Ballmer.
Yes. For every 10.2 customers Nokia forced to change away from Symbian, 1.9 took Lumia/Windows Phone and 8.3 customers went elsewhere - mostly to Android or iPhone. Good move, Mr-call-me-The-General.
So first, clearly, the Kantar numbers are brutal, in that Nokia's Lumia strategy is failing. Secondly, we have now insights into what drove Ballmer to throw Nokia under the bus. Ballmer can read numbers. He knows Windows Phone is excluded from Japan and South Korea. He knows China's two big carriers/operators refuse to take any Lumia. He knows the cheapest Nokia Lumia smartphones are priced too high to achieve meaningful sales in India or Brazil or Africa. The only chance his boy Stephen Elop had to make Lumia the success it was supposed to be, was in Western Europe, where Nokia was strong, and in North America, where Microsoft was strong. Now we have the evidence.
Last year, in June, when final plans were being made on where and how to launch the early Lumia smartphones, and how much money to throw into that project, Nokia brought to the table 13.5% market share of Symbian to play with - as high as 40% in Spain and 39% in Italy. Now one year later, Nokia's Symbian share has been exploited, it is now down to 6.3% across the 7 countries and only Italy has any meaningful share left that might be still convertible (16%). In Britain Symbian is down to 2%, in Spain 3%, and Australia and France down to 4%. There is nothing more to be gained from this 'partnership' from Microsoft's side. Nokia has been bled dry, there is nothing more to give.
If Ballmer was the man to stand by his word and his 'strategic partner' he would stay and fight. He would give Elop more time. He would push more money to the project - and most of all - of course if Ballmer believed that Nokia can climb out of this with Microsoft, he'd let the Lumia series be upgraded to Windows Phone 8. But no. Ballmer threw Nokia under the bus. And honestly, look at those Kantar numbers. Wouldn't you do the same? Elop has so totally mismanaged even the Lumia launch - remember these numbers were generated before the Osborning of Lumia, now that for example Germany's biggest carrier/operator T-Mobile announced they won't launch Lumia 900 after all.
A year ago, in September when asked about Windows Phone (as it had been on the market for a year), Steve Ballmer said that by his view, Windows Phone sales had been "below expectation." That was at the level of 2% in these best markets for Microsoft. That disappointment had Ballmer removing the top VP in charge of Windows Phone. If Ballmer felt that was disappointing then, and he's now thrown 750 million dollars into Elop's endless marketing void, and Windows has managed to pick up.. 0.4% of total market share - do you think its possible Ballmer feels Elop is incompetent and deserves to be fired. I mean, Elop used almost exact words calling Lumia sales "below expectations" now in May of 2012. And would you know it, suddenly Ballmer doesn't want to hang out with his BFF. We hear that Microsoft was given the chance to buy Nokia in January and Microsoft said no, not worth it. Now we see Lumia can't be upgraded to Windows Phone 8. Microsoft suddenly comes out of the blue and announces its tablet (while rumors had it that Nokia would make a tablet for Ballmer) and now when Ballmer is asked will Microsoft make smartphones in the future - Ballmer won't bother to say no.
Ballmer gave Elop the chance to play with Nokia and make it a legitimate handset unit/partner for Microsoft. And then Ballmer looked at the numbers. These Kantar numbers are pretty brutal, the Pretend-Patton has failed. Elop launched such a disasterous line of Lumia phones that out of every 5 existing loyal Nokia smartphone users, when offered the Lumia, four will walk away from the deal and take an Android instead. And this.. even as Lumia 900 smartphones were even offered with 100 dollar rebates etc. (Now you'll find Lumias in the discount bins selling for a penny)
So now we have some of the facts behind the bizarre step that Ballmer took in abandoning its 'strategic partner'. Last year early in the Spring, Nokia did not need Microsoft, it was Microsoft who needed Nokia. The brand new Windows Phone was failing in the market, even according to Ballmer's words, was below expectation. Then came the biggest new smartphone launch ever. And after that, Windows Phone market share has barely moved, gaining less than one half of one percent. This, after Microsoft threw 750 million dollars into this disaster. Now Ballmer has had enough. Elop is incompetent, he is also thrown under the bus. If it were to transpire that Ballmer makes a bid for Nokia as it inevitably will be sold shortly, then watch, within a year of that acquisition, the VP in charge of Microsoft's smartphone unit will no longer be Elop. Ballmer can see Elop is incompetent. He would be shifted to something less harmful.. But seriously, if Nokia now brings 3.2% market share to the table and that would be traded at 4 lost to every 1 gained Windows customer, why would Ballmer even want Nokia? His gain - in the best markets for this partnership mind you, not globally where it would be worse - would be a paltry 0.6%. And Nokia would cost well in excess of 10 Billion dollars to buy in a competitive bidding war, I think. Not worth it. Totally not worth it for Microsoft. Just let the mobile dream die, Ballmer, and focus on the desktop.