I've already shown you in one picture how Nokia's unit sales that grew faster than the biggest rivals in 2010, grew 53% in just one year in fact, immediately turned into catastrophic decline the moment when the Elop Effect happened in February 2011. I've then shown how Nokia's performance compared to the two main rivals over these past few years, Apple's iPhone and the Samsung series of smartphones. And at the previous blog posting in this series, I showed how the collapse in Nokia market share was in fact, a world record failure in the handset business, far faster than any other comparable market failure, like Palm, Motorola, Siemens, Windows Phone, LG and RIM. Now lets look at how Elop's promised transition ie migration strategy is working out.
A lot of people seem to be celebrating the 4.4 million Lumia smartphone sales number as if its 'good news'. They clearly don't know the industy or Nokia's past. Nokia did 4.4 million smartphones not per quarter, but per every two weeks back before the Elop Effect. The last time Nokia introduced a new Symbian version operating system - like the new Windows Phone 8 right now - was when Nokia introduced Symbian S^3 for Q4 in 2010. How did it do? In the first quarter, it sold 5 million units, led by its flagship, the N8 which sold 4 million units. Now, even as the smartphone market is more than twice as big, Elop's 'magnificent' Microsoft marvels on his Lumia series - after five months of trying, including not one but two new operating system versions and not one but three separate flagships - have yet to match that 5 million sales per quarter.
The 4.4 million seems like a big jump from the miserable Q3 when Nokia managed only 2.9 million Lumia, but bear in mind, that in Q2 of 2012, Nokia sold 4 million Lumia, so in the last 6 months of massive global Nokia/Microsoft Lumia/Windows Phone push, including new carriers announced and new operating systems released, Nokia grew Lumia by.. 10%. yes, a lousy 10% growth for Lumia in the past 6 months while the industry grew in the same period .. get this .. by 57%. You wanna call that a success? I don't, and I won't.
So lets go to the migration ie transition rate then from Symbian to Windows Phone. Elop promised when he released this risky Microsoft strategy in February 2011, that he will achieve 1-to-1 transition from Symbian to Windows Phone. Now we have seen Symbian at its last viable quarter, so its about time to count, did the migration succeed then. Here is the picture:
The above picture may be freely shared
Yeah. The promised transition from Symbian to Windows Phone has not succeeded anywhere near 1-to-1. Its not even doing 1 out of every 2, or even 1 out of every 4. If we measure by unit sales, and ignore the growth in the smartphone industry for the past 2 years, and try to paint this misery in the best possible light for Elop's misguided Microsoftian misadventure, then by unit sales, Nokia sold 28.8 million smarpthones per quarter as the strategy was announced, and today 2.2 million of those smartphones are still on Symbian. Out of the 26.6 million Symbian sales attempted to migrate to Lumia running Windows Phone, there are only 4.4 million that succeeded and 22.2 million loyal Nokia smartphone users on Symbian, that were scared away to buy a rival handset maker's smartphones, Samsungs and others on Android, Apple's iPhones, or Blackberries or whatever others. By unit sales, the failure rate of Elop's Microsoft strategy is 83% only 17% have succeeded. So only one in six existing Nokia customers were migrated successfully to Windows Phone. Thats one way to look at it, the 'rosy' view. How about the reality view? Brace yourself.
If we measure by market share, Nokia had 29% market share when the new strategy was announced. This measure accounts for market growth. So today, Symbian based smartphones only account for 1% of global sales, and Nokia therefore has attempted to transition the 28% of its smartphone customers it had using Symbian to Windows Phone. And now the successfull transition results in 2% market share for Lumia in Q4 and 26% of Nokia loyal smartphone user market share gifted to rivals, in scaring away loyal Nokia users to Android, iOS, Blackberry, bada and others. Now the failure rate of Elop's strategy is a mindboggling 93%. Yes, only 7% of Nokia's attempts to lure Symbian customers to Lumia has succeeded. Out of every 14 attempts to migrate a customer from Symbian to Windows Phone, 13 have run away. Only one in 14 attempts to transition to Lumia has succeeded. You call this strategy good, and worth pursuing?
The independent survey of Lumia owners in America by Yankee Group last year found that four out of ten Lumia owners hated the phones so much, they gave it a rating of 1 out of 5 where 5 is best, 1 is worst. And now we have the Bernstein study of smartphone users by platform, in USA and Europe, which found that only 37% of Windows Phone smartphone owners are willing to make their next smartphone purchase another Windows Phone (most of those are Nokia owners, Nokia has been selling about 75% of all Windows Phone smartphones, the other 'partners' are either completely abandoning the Windows ecosystem like Sony, LG and Dell, or severely cutting down their involvement like HTC or pursuing other platforms like Samsung, or simply no longer providing new handsets for Windows Phone 8 like Huawei and ZTE). Yes, 63% of current Windows Phone owners want desperately to get rid of their phone and replace it with anything else! Compare that to Android which has 75% loyalty or iPhone which has 95% loyalty according to the Bernstein survey. Even poor old beleagured Blackberry has 57% loyalty, far bigger than Windows Phone and look how badly RIM is doing with its current model line. (And yes, in 2010, prior to the Elop Effect, Nokia's Symbian based consumer satisfaction was second highest in the industry, behind only the iPhone. Nokia customers were very satisfied and loyally bought Nokia after Nokia after Nokia).
So lets take a new look at the same graph I prepared, and add the Bernstein finding. This is the best case of how Elop's Windows strategy has going forward, the green part is the only slice that Elop has been able to win over to remain with both Nokia and Windows Phone on his Lumia series.
The above picture may be freely shared
So yes, when we add the severe dissatisfaction with the Windows Phone operating system and Lumia by their first owners, almost two thirds want to get rid of their Lumia and take some other, any other operating system based smartphones instead of their Windows smartphones, on both sides of the Atlantic, then yes, this strategy is utterly doomed, not just failing now, but into the future. Because, look at the 'real picture' ie taking market growth into consideration, the right side graph - market share. Stephen Elop's mad Microsoftian misery has managed to migrate from totally satisfied Symbian Nokia users - Nokia grew smartphone sales 53% from 2009 to 2010 - to now, only one in 20 loyal Nokia Symbian users who were tricked into converting to Windows Phone, both arrived there and is intending to stay. 17 of those 20 have already been scared away and 2 of the remaining 3 are already decided, they will not remain with Lumia series longer. This is the very definition of textbook strategy failure.
The Windows Phone strategy has failed comprehensively. Nokia knew this strategy was extremely risky, they wrote a massive risks assessment, hundreds of itemized risks to the strategy, in their filing to the SEC and New York Stock Exchange two years ago. And Nokia listed various reasons why the transition might not result in a 1-to-1 migration from Symbian to Windows Phone. Those risks have come true, but the carnage to Nokia is worse than anyone could have anticipated. I had issued the most pessimistic forecasts for Nokia's preformance in 2011, and many derided me for those forecasts at the time. Now we can see that my forecasts turned out to be too rosy. The collapse of Nokia's smarpthone business has set a new world record for failure. Even we forecasters had no model to compare it to, nobody had ever failed this totally in any two year period, not in mobile phones, not in cars, not in soft drinks, not in airlines not in personal computers, never in any industry.
Now look at that graph. If this is the 'success level' for Lumia's transition - failing in real terms 93% of the time, or out of every 14 attempts, 13 fail - and of the remaining suckers who took the fool's gold peddled as Nokia Lumia smarpthones, two thirds hate it so much they will buy any other smartphone than Windows Phone next time, why would you think this 'strategy' can somehow turn into a success under Elop and running Windows Phone? No wonder Elop now is letting rumors spread that Nokia is considering Android instead of Windows Phone. No wonder Steve Ballmer at Microsoft has given up on Elop and Nokia, and is proceeding to build his own smartphones. And it is now no surprise that Elop desperately is peddling any story to trick journalists into believing Nokia is ok, such as reclassifying Nokia's S40 based featurephones on his Asha series as if they were smartphones. Sure, I can also call an Etch-a-Sketch a smartphone, it doesn't make it one. Luckily all major analyst houses are rejecting that silly claim.
The simple fact is, that looking at that picture, it is obvious that Elop has failed totally in his primary goal of his strategy. He did not fulfill on his promise. 19 out of 20 loyal Nokia Symbian smartphone customers have either already left, or have already decided not to continue with this unsatisfying smartphone experience. Its about time for the Nokia Board to wake up and fire this Microsoft Muppet.
That was the discussion of the risk that Nokia might not be able to convert its loyal Symbian user base 1 to 1 from Symbian to Windows Phone. Boy was Nokia correct in testifying to the SEC and NY Stock Exchange, that this Windows strategy was very risky. They were correct and yes, this risk has fully materialized. The strategy is simply doomed.
This was number 4 in my series of blogs about Nokia's strategy distaster, told in short snippets of one problem at a time, and illustrated with one picture. You may fully use any parts of this blog including the stats and the grraphics.
Previously in the series, I did the lengthy analysis of the risks Nokia identified for the SEC and NY Stock Exchange two years ago in their Form 20-F.
Then I showed in Part 1 - the Nokia smartphone unit sales collapse following Elop Effect
Part 2 - The competition during Elop's tenure - Nokia vs Samsung vs Apple iPhone
Part 3 - the Nokia smartphone sales collapse compared to biggest failures in handset history (Palm, Motorola, Siemens etc)
I will return soon with part 5, trust me, this is a disaster that keeps on giving and giving, but what do you expect, we have truly witnessed a World Record being made in management failure and incompetence. There is plenty of blame to lay on Mr 'Call Me The General' Stephen Elop, the Pretend-Patton Canadian, graduate of McMaster University, previously with Microsoft and now Nokia CEO.