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« Apple to thank Year of Tiger for China Surprise in iPhone strong quarterly sales | Main | Excellent Location-based Service? Yes, but its not a mass market service: PocketCop for Blackberry »

April 22, 2010




Your figures for 2009 - January to December - are incorrect. Apple sold about 21.5 million iPhones, not 30.1 million. Remember that Apple offset their earnings by a quarter.


Mark, you're correct that my unit number was incorrect for that period. I copied and pasted from the period above (Apr-Mar), and I adjusted the percentage to 14.2% but forgot to change the units.

Good catch, but the correct units should be 25.1M, not the 21.5 you have in your comment.



"What good is it to have 41% market share and you're barely making money on 430 Million phones you sell annually?"

Err, what? Please get some clues about the financials of Nokia's Devices & Services segment.

Buy Palm/WebOS? Abandon the hundreds of million of Symbian users for a couple million (at best) of WebOS users?

No offense but I have a hard time taking you seriously. You're probably a disgruntled ex-Nokia phone user who's letting his emotions do the talking.



Woops! Transposition error!

I think the main point for me is that Apple and RIM's growth doesn't appear to have eaten into Nokia that much.


@Mark: Nokia fell from about 50-51% share of the annual smartphone market down to 36%, and then in these last few quarters, it climbed back up to 39% (annual).

Overall, while Apple/RIM took about 30% over the 3 years, Nokia lost about 11-12%, with the rest losing the other 18-19%. I guess some might interpret losing 11-12% of the highest profit margin submarket as not that much.



Since most of that growth is in the US market in which Nokia don't compete it's not as simple as you're making out. Apple have undoubtedly hit Nokia in the high end market but that's about it.

Look at the market size, the number of sales and then the regional sales. Then look at the difference between the sum of Nokia, RIM and Apple's sales and you can see whose expense most of Apple's and RIM's growth has been at. It isn't Nokia.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi kevin and Mark several comments, and Intosh

Very nice, we got into a very interesting discussion with lots of data by kevin that gets very fascinating. Thank you all.

kevin - very nice thanks. And yes, the data on a rolling 12 month cycle seems consistent. I apologize, good point.

Mark and kevin - on who took market share from whom. Clearly if Nokia is down from about 50% to 40% in the past 3 years, and RIM up from about 7% to about 20%, and Apple is up from near zero to 15%, that means Nokia has given up market share to RIM and Apple. As Nokia's smartphone portfolio was only N-Series and E-Series 3 years ago at the time of Apple's launch and today more than half of Nokia's smartphones are cheaper units than N-Series and E-Series, then its fair to say that Apple and RIM have eaten into the high-end priced smartphones from Nokia.

In rough terms a year ago Nokia's E-Series sold as many smartphones as all Blackberries and N-Series as many as all iPhones. Today that is no longer true. An analysis of the split of Nokia smartphones by All About Symbian has graphs with about 4.5 million N-Series sales vs 8.75 million iPhones in Q1, and about 6.5 million E-Series vs about 10.5 million Blackberries, so in the high end price of the market, its clear Nokia has been losing market share to these two rivals.

But because the gains by RIM and Apple count for about 25% of the total market, and Nokia's losses account for only about 10% of the market, that means that while Nokia counted for part of the loss, that has been a smaller part, and others have lost more than Nokia.

Again, no matter how much it may seem at times, haha, in particular with my Nokia background, this is not a 'Nokia blog' haha. So we really can't forget Palm and Microsoft Windows Mobile/Phone 7 and HTC etc. If we look at the smartphone market from 3 years ago, the two big losers were Palm in handset maker who lost most in market share of manufacturers, and Microsoft Windows Mobile which lost most market share among operating systems. So who was most damaged by Apple and RIM, that was not Nokia or Symbian, both of which have taken hits. Its been Palm and Microsoft.

By the same analysis the newest player if Google Android and they have obviously so far only grown, starting from zero two years ago. During the growth of Android, Nokia has stabilized and recovered to growth, so it seems Android did not take market from Nokia. RIM and Apple have grown in the whole period so Android has not taken market share from RIM or Apple so far. They have therefore been taking it from Palm, from Microsoft Windows Mobile and the small other groups left, like various Linux Mobile based smartphones.

But now Microsoft has changed its game and entered the phone maker category itself. I think that signals a possible 'end to the bleeding' in particular as the Kin/Pink phones are aimed at the youth segment at a lower price point. Palm's share has been decimated, its likely Microsoft's steep decline has been halted. And Samsung is starting to roll out Bada based smartphones. The battle is only getting tougher and rougher. Everybody cannot grow haha, so the next quarter gets very interesting indeed. Nokia has already cut the prices 10% of its total phone range (something it does a couple of times per year) which adds pressure to all rivals. RIM has launched new Blackberry models. Apple's new iPhone is coming in June. HTC is on a roll. Its really getting hot in this space haha..

Intosh - lets be fair.. Nokia is a conglomerate in the telecoms infrastructure space, it sells handsets, networks and services. The infra side of telecoms has been very poorly performing for many years and gave Nokia the corporation its only non-profit-making quarter of the past decade a few quarters ago. So if we look at phones, Nokia's total handset division is only part of Nokia's revenues and profits. At least we have to consider Nokia's handset unit's revenues and profits and there Nokia has been by far the most profitable handset maker in total profits per year, of the big 5 any year, every year for the past decade.

Its not fair to compare Nokia's total handset division to a luxury or niche rival like Apple or RIM who only do smartphones. Nokia, as opposed to say Motorola or SonyEricsson - has been able to bring sub 50 dollar phones - at unsubsidised prices so these are without contract commitments - to Africa and still make a profit. Only Samsung is in a similar position now and Samsung for the past several years has been willing to trade thinner margins for market share gain. IF you look for which of the giant phone makers makes profits, Nokia is the gold standard for the industry.

But of smartphones, yes, Apple makes the most profit and obviously does that with the most expensive smartphones and best profit margins so they achieve it selling the smallest number of phones. RIM makes a better profit margin on its smartphones than Nokia does on Nokia branded smartphones. Nokia's smartphone range is the lowest-cost average of all of the big 5 smartphone makers. Nokia uses its competitive advantages, a brand that is very highly desired in all markets except North America, the world's widest distribution chain in telecoms, and the best logistics in the business. Classic market leader strengths. But it can't devote the amount of attention to every detail of design that say an Apple does for the iPhone. So the best that Nokia can bring to the market will inevitably be a compromise, much like a big car maker's sports car - take GM's Chevrolet Corvette for example - is a compromise and far les the performance car than a maker who can specialize in only sports cars like a Porsche or Ferrari.

Thank you all for writing, please do come back

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Glad we kind of resolved issues here :-)

Hats off to Kevin for pulling out all those figures. I would never have had that patience.

Let me just say that while I disagree with some specific aspects of Tomi's predictions, his overall point is well taken. There is a limit to Apple's market share growth. I don't think they are done growing market share yet, but they are never IMHO going to dominate the way Nokia once did (or they way they do in the MP3 player market).

Apple is too idiosyncratic a company to dominate an entire segment this way. They won't discount, they won't produce really low-end models and they won't produce anything that violates any of their aesthetic principles (like phones with a physical keyboard). The advantages they have with their API and apps are temporary and in another year or two, Nokia, Microsoft and RIM would have caught up. At that point, Apple's market share growth is going to slow and stop. They'll still remain a major player but just one of many.


Lee, Chung-Yang

People in China/Taiwan normally bring some small gifts when they visiting their friends but it won't be as expensive as a smartphone.

However, Chinese employers tend to pay the annual bonus before the Chinese New Year. IMO, This along with the 'red envelop' are the main reason behind the CNY sell.


What good is it to have 41% market share and you're barely making money on 430 Million phones you sell annually? That's why their shares are down because despite the volume they sell they hardly make any money on that junk they sell.. how much they make like 4 bucks per device? Nokia is like General Motors, they sell a ton but dont make any money on it because they dont offer a good value to the customer and a horrible experience.

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