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« The Twittering Cows, seriously.. using Twitter in milk production in Canada | Main | Android sells 100,000 smartphones per day, what does that mean? »

May 20, 2010


Alex Birkhead

Hi Tomi,

Hugely disappointed -- very little to quibble with! ;-) Superb round-up as usual.

One general biggie -- isn't it time to redefine the market definition? Smartphones of old (Symbian, BlackBerry, etc.) are the new featurephone, while iPhone, WebOS, high-end Android are the new smartphones (i.e. mobile computers). Current definitions remind me of the days when BlackBerries were astonishingly excluded from some smartphones stats, making a joke of the numbers. Usage habits seem to support this, especially for devices from the old guard, which are used more as multimedia devices than internet terminals (messaging possibly excepted).

Nokia is clearly god of the mid-market, but not obviously troubling iPhone or Android at the top. Using your auto-analogy, Nokia is the Toyota or Volkswagen of the game (but currently lacking a serious Audi/Lexus brand extension to tackle iPhone/Android), facing mainstream competition from the Hyundais (Samsung/LG) and still-developing Chinese players (ZTE, Huawei, etc.).

In retrospect, seems quite a dull quarter for the major volume players, but I agree this could be the lull before the storm, and more interesting lower down with HTC, Moto, Samsung, LG, SE, ZTE manoeuvring and not necessarily performing short-term as might be expected. I know you think they should be put out of their misery, but perhaps a hint of life at Moto as a smartphone specialist? Android remains the wildcard, and gets rather obscured when focusing on vendors.


"Current definitions remind me of the days when BlackBerries were astonishingly excluded from some smartphones stats, making a joke of the numbers."

Exactly, we need financials on this, not unit numbers based on an arbitrary taxonomy. Who is selling the most 500 Euro phones is a better question.

Anders S. Løvlie

very interesting as always! What's your take on yesterday's android announcement, that they are now selling 100k phones a day? That corresponds roughly to the number of iphones sold per day the last quarter. So are we already seeing android catch up with the iphone also globally? unless iphone sales are increasing even more this quarter, of course - but with your theory about chinese holiday sales in the previous q, and the wait for a new iphone, that may seem unlikely, no?


Tomi, thanks for the chart.

boris, that is a valid information. But lots of people want a mobile solution, not a shiny toy.

I see in our customers that they want our programs, but the cheaper the better.

Also, if I have to prioritize the development, for me is important to know the size of the market. And yes, I know that potential customers not translates directly to real customers.

Alex Birkhead

100k/day (36.5 million annualised) could put Android close to BlackBerry (37m shipped in most recently reported 12 months, or 42m annualised based on last qtr), especially if apparent momentum is maintained -- i.e. vying for number-two spot globally for higher-end mobile devices.

Apple (iPhone only) would already have dropped to #4, at 30m-35m, and unlikely to see its numbers leap (if at all) until iPhone HD (v4) released in second half of the year, i.e. probably too little, too late. Kind of humiliating even for Apple, if overtaken from null by a Google initiative in 18 months. Will certainly have surprised me if Android makes #2 this year, especially when still relatively immature (could be a true monster next year).

Being ungentlemanly, both iPhone and Android could be argued already to be ahead of RIM, as Google is talking about 'activations' and RIM 'only' added 5m new 'accounts' last quarter (20m annualised; it claimed a total BlackBerry account base of 41m -- suggesting pretty high attrition and/or upgrade rates, and, who knows, maybe fat inventory in sales channels). However, presumably some BBs are used without an account, odd as that might be, so real user base could be #2.

OT: I think Tomi may previously have argued that BlackBerry doesn't see much competition/attrition from iPhone, or anyone else. I don't believe this, just as I strongly disagree that RIM is safe in an enterprise stronghold, though I do agree that Apple is moronic not to offer a keyboard BB-killer, and this would definitely be the time to unveil one if Android truly on the rampage...

Alex Birkhead

Anyone taking bets 'against' Apple slashing iPhone average selling prices within six months, perhaps by 30% or more, even 50%, for base models, to make price-competitive?

Apple has the cash, possibly the ambition, and I think there have been hints it is prepared to take a serious margin-hit. This would take on Nokia, RIM, Samsung, etc. in the midmarket, as well as move to rebalance against Android, and so offer potential big volume payback.

This is possibly the one big, fast move it could make to significantly raise its game against Android, short of new form factors or breathtaking innovation in v4. Not sure HD video would be enough in itself.

Currently, Android vendors can happily launch top-end models as high as parity-pricing with iPhone (i.e. very high), then modulate pricing in line with demand. Apple, meanwhile, has set a high price bar and and can't be seen to budge except once a year; not so clever when past sell-by date (like about now).

Without something radical from Apple, I might even have to eat humble pie and start buying into Tomi's iPhone-has-already-peaked theory. Yikes...

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Alex, boris, Anders, Carlos and Alex again..

Thank you for the comments. Will respond to each individually

Alex (first) - me too, so disappointed you don't have more to argue haha.. Seriously thank you very much.

I totally understand the point about re-defining and partly agree with that too, but the point is, there is no metric for anything else, better than 'smartphone'. There are some analysts who now report on touch screen devices, but those are far more than all smartphones combined, as many dumbphones are touch screen (Samsung sold 40 million touch screen phones last year, most were dumbphones). And as the world sees about 2,000 new phone models released per year, its pretty much impossible to have any one entity do a fair evaluation of them to determine on a subjective level, what is a 'legitimate' premium phone and what is only a 'glorified featurephone' haha. I do appreciate what you say and we have this discussion here on this blog hundreds of times and on Forum Oxford etc, and there is near universal need for more refinement in splitting the smartphone space into more meaningful categories, but for me, as an analyst, I can't use anything that can't be measured. And today the only way we measure is by OS.

But obviously to use the car analogy, what we now need is to have some measurements of sedans vs convertibles vs SUV's vs vans vs pickup trucks vs citycars etc etc etc. Not just dumbphones and smartphones haha. I do agree with you on the need. But I can't provide more for you (and readers) here on this blog until the big analyst houses start to measure something more meaningful.

Also remember only a little over two years ago, smartphones were less than 10% of new phones sold, so this is a new market segment, typically measurements always lag new developments. I'm sure they will come soon. The user interface seems to be a natural way to split them - touch screens, QWERTY phones, basic T9 smartphones, and of course the hybrids of both touch and QWERTY.

About Moto vs other Android 'big brands' ie LG, Samsung, SonyEricsson and ZTE - consider how dramatically Moto crashed onto the US market in the past 2 quarters. This is Motorola's home market where they used to be biggest dumbphone brand so they had excellent market presence and brand preference. And they were able to convert a decent amount of that into Droid sales (as the Droid/Milestone was not available around the world for full Q1). The world loves the iPhone, its not on all networks - Androids will be on all networks and all technologies - and even who could select the iPhone, Android devices give plenty of choices, adding the QWERTY and giving various features like a better camera etc. So, in the USA, Motorola was able to sell in heavy numbers vs iPhone (not matching iPhone US obviously).

Now consider rest of world. SonyEricsson is small potatos in the USA but is big in Europe and Japan (as Sony). Their Androids can do as well in Europe and Japan, as Moto did in the USA. Then Samsung. They are very strong in the USA, Europe and Asia including China - could 'do a Droid' with Samsung Android phones in Q2 and Q3 in the USA - Samsung dumbphones already outsell Moto dumbphones in the USA - and Europe give Nokia a run for its money, sell well in home market South Korea and China, and many parts of Asia. LG similar to Samsung and only now rolling out their full Android portfolio. And then there is ZTE, who is big in their home China, in India and in parts of Africa etc. While they sell cheap phones mostly (and 3G data dongles), they are launching ultra-low-cost smartphones on Android targeting the China/India/Africa markets.

Almost everywhere except perhaps Latin America (a continent split by Nokia and Blackberry) these brands could do similar 'damage' in rapid Android success as we saw with both HTC and Moto in the USA. And remembering each of these brands has its own 'footprint' for where they are strong, we can see very dramatic Android pick-up during Q2 and Q3.

boris - I hear you, yes, adding the financial data adds a lot of insight to who is doing how well. But as you can see, this blog is not a financial analysis/stock advice blog, this is a tech blog about social networking, digital communities, user-generated content, and the related digital convergence including mobile phones. This is not even a smartphone blog haha. So you cannot expect me to go through that hassle to try to get you that info. I think that is up to those who do financial analysis as their day job haha. And I will very happily link to those blogs and let my readers find that info when somebody bothers to do that.

But also remember boris, many of my readers don't care one iota which corporation makes money or not, they are developers who care about the installed base of the platforms - our primary interest and focus here. So to them it does not matter at all, whether the iPhone costs 600 dollars or 50 dollar, whether Apple makes a profit or loss on it, they want to know that iPhone is now selling 3% of all mobile phones, 16% of all smartphones, and the installed base of iPhones is nearing 1% of all mobile phones used on the planet. That is their interest, and my primary focus on the blogs here.

I do accept we could add more info out of the financials - which would turn this monster-long blog into a nightmare-long blog by the way, haha - but something that I can't hope to provide for you. As you can see, we have no advertising on this blog, I have no way to monetize this blog, this is purely a hobby and passion for me to connect with my readers. I have a day job and this blog plus my Twitter feed plus moderating Forum Oxford is taking way too much of my time as it is haha.. (especially as we answer every comment left on this blog too)

And boris - please see Carlos's reply to you. That explains it well.

Anders - very interesting yes, the 100K per day is the rate of 36M per year, which is up from the rate of 24M per year just two months ago - illustrating enormous ramp-up. Last I read an official quote from someone at Google, there were 34 Android based handsets already shipping. Today on Twitter I read someone say (but there was no link, so am not taking it as 'confirmeed') that there are already 60 Android handsets released. That also would correspond with the ramp-up. Remember HTC the best-selling Android maker reported their Q1 to Q2 growth is 30% in just 3 months. That is very similar to the rate of 24M to 36M so all signs suggest that is happening. And it means that globally in Q2, Android is passing Apple iPhone sales level (following inevitably that which already happened in the USA).

On iPhone this quarter. Well, there was supposed to be a decline after Christmas haha, and it wasn't becasue of China. But removing China, there actually was a decline in rest of world iPhone sales (remember AT&T iPhone sales fell 14%). That fits perfectgly Apple's iPhone annual sales pattern, peaks in Christmas, then Jan-May sales decline sequentially, until in June we get new iPhone.

Even though we had China Syndrome, the rest of iPhone sales have definitely fallen from Christmas peak - and they are now falling further in April and May and up till about mid-June (till new iPhone). And the Chinese Lunar New Year peak gives similar 'crash' in China now, for April and May. I bet you the sales of old iPhone 3G and 3GS models April-May-June will be trivial, in the 5M range or so. BUT we will get the big surge at the end of June of the next gen iPhone sales.

So my gut says iPhone total sales Q2 will be relatively flat, maybe slight uptick from Q1. But not as dramatic uptick as we saw in previous years - because the downturn did not occur due to China Syndrome. What is further changing the picture is the dramatic sales of iPads - which I am guessing is diminishing demand for next iPhone, as the Apple fans have recently 'splurged' on an expensive Apple gadget that is still shiny and new when the next iPhone arrives. So Apple's new sales peak for iPhone will definitely be muted to some degree due to recent major purchases of iPads. And in the rest-of-world market, the iPad launch is very close in time to iPhone launch, further diminishing the end-of-June sales of iPhone.

But yeah, most of all its the competition from the Androids which will hurt Apple. I can't see Apple doing a total surprising game-changing new phone this June which would have things that some Android devices have not already introduced. So Apple's offering will seem far less radical now. But we'll have to see, Apple also has the knack to surprise and truly innovate. This would be the time they should do that haha..

Carlos - thanks, yes, that was exactly what I was trying to explain to boris too. Thank you for vindicating my view haha, I really appreciate it that you wrote that.

Alex (second comment) - very good point and I said earlier in my bloodbath preview that RIM was safe from Android this year, but this ramp-up is something severe indeed. They (Androids) are clearly targeting number 2 position already as a platform. Now, we have not heard from RIM for a long while. They had their two worst months also, and they did not gain a China Surprise because the Chinese carriers haven't been supporting Blackberry strongly up to now. But we hear of enormous gains of Blackberry in bizarre emerging world markets like India, Botswana and South Africa - that part that half of all smartphones on South Africa's Vodacom network are Blackberries - that should by all reason be half Nokia - all of the Continent of Africa is something like 70% Nokia if we add the second hand phones too. So Blackberry can well be continuing its unlikely growth rates haha..

One thing to watch on Android - remember Samsung Bada, so expect Samsung to shift focus away from Android quite aggressively as soon as Bada is up and running and the more the rivals get traction on Android, the more its in Samsung's interest to bail out of that bandwagon haha and differentiate on Bada.

On the enterprise, Alex, trust me on this, please haha. I really know this stuff. Just recently Apple got the world TV media all to carry the news that a UK bank had swapped out Blackberry for iPhone (CNN, CNBC and BBC 24 hour news all carried the story). The real story was that Standard Chartered, a mid-tier UK bank, had allowed iPhone to run parallel with Blackberry in their Asia branches, they were not swapping out Blackberry. And this is one bank. Ranked number 389 on the Fortune Global 500. But there were something like 53 banks in that 500 list, so Apple has taken at best half of one bank, with 52 banks still solidly in RIM's iron grip. No, there is no mass exodus of enterprises abandoning their Blackberries. Its as near a stranglehold as is physically possible in high tech today. Don't delude yourself into thinking RIM is losing the enterprise stronghold.

Incidentially HP would be foolish to try to break into that just as Microsoft figured out its not worth doing their smartphone for enterprise, they went for consumers, far easier target, more open competition, can be done with 'normal marketing', not against 'impossible odds' haha.

Thank you all for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Alex (third comment)

Love the yikes. And you know by now, that I am of course holding against hope, that Apple has its slider QWERTY model coming and we get the 'ultimate' iPhone which can recapture the market haha...

Or of some less-obvious super move this June, to wow us and amaze us and make everybody else's phones seem obsolete (Apple will do that, many times over, in this decade no doubt. But nobody can do that every year, not even Apple, so is it time to happen now in 2010, who knows)

So yeah, I will be the first to be happy to find I was wrong but I really appreciate it that you see there is a chance my brave forecast earlier this year has some potential to actually turn out to be true.

And also - I do think Apple needs 'a jolt' to get into gear again - so that is what would definitely happen if their market share won't recover and Androids rush past them. If so, Apple will react far faster than say Nokia does haha..

Thanks Alex, I really appreciate it that you wrote that Yikes comment haha. Loved it.

Will be exciting times this year of the bloodbath - and yes, Apple has the deepest war-chest to make rivals bleed haha.. so its not over by any means

Tomi :-)


Great article Tomi, as usual.
Question java on mobiles - any data on where JME fits in as an aplication platform and where it's headed?

New reader Chris

Thanks Tomi for the great insights on the market.

I really wish nokia would release meego quicker.. Because nokias QT on smartphones seems like its going to be huge. Being able to develop software that runs on symbian, meego and any other regular operatingsystem (windows, linux, mac..) is a really cool idea.

I'm a developer so this blog is a definite bookmark. :)

Matthew Artero

You are my smartphone analyst God. I just love these surman suuhun reports. Check out my comments below about the bloodbath within a bloodbath.

I don’t think Motorola or anyone else has a future as a smartphone specialist. That’s like saying a PC company has a future as a gaming computer, or video computer specialist. The only thing those specialist PC companies do is assemble parts with screwdrivers. One can’t run a smartphone company based on one’s ability to use a screwdriver.

Apple is simply doing the same thing they did in their early PC days when IBM and Apple software were incompatible. The incompatibility will come to an end for smartphones just as it did for PCs, just as games migrate from consoles to internet and PCs. When the incompatibility ends, the ability to be a specialist ends.

People are wrong when they talk about the greedy telecoms becoming dumb pipes after all, because they abused consumers in the past. They were simply reacting to the terrain of the battlefield at the time. Just like Apple is not being greedy about establishing its own standards and its own App store. That’s just today’s terrain.

Apple knows incompatibility will come to an end and that’s why the real focus is on advertising. Nokia, Apple, and Google have all relatively recently bought mobile ad companies. Google has always been in this to increase mobile search and sell more ads. They just want to ensure their place in the mobile ad eco-system. Android and apps only matter to them to the extent it helps them to sell ads.

Interoperability and standards have always been at the core of phone companies, first with voice, and now with the web. App developers need improvements in the networks so they can develop more apps. Networks need money to improve. The more fragmented app standards are the more fragmented the money for the improvement of various networks. Fragmented improvement means fragmented app development means slower app development. So standardization is very important to developers.

The Wholesale Applications Community says they will have a device portfolio by November. Service providers don’t want to be told which phone to sell or subsidize or have limited profit margin on because it comes with the apps consumers want that only run on the phone’s proprietary OS. Phone manufacturers don’t like this added cost of competing, of having to also have apps and an app store. Consumers like the fact that their phone numbers are portable between service providers and they want their apps to be portable as well. They don’t want their apps to lock them into a specific brand.

So everyone wants standardization, consumers, developers, manufacturers, and service providers. It’s coming, and when a consumer has his standardized app collection, does he buy an iPhone that doesn’t support it? So even the iPhone will be forced to get on board and lose its app store as a competitive advantage.

So if Tomi is right and 2010 remains a flat year for iPhone market share, 2011 with standardized apps will be interesting indeed. I think the people who say standardized apps are only for feature phones are nuts. Even if standardized apps get their start on feature phones, smartphones are going to want to cater to that market as well. As they try and get consumers to upgrade, allowing them to take their apps with them will be a key selling point. So the new smartphones are going to comply with standardization as well. They already do it for voice, email, and web browsing.

Tech Crunch’s claim that the Wholesale Applications Community is a disaster in the making is utter nonsense. They interviewed Andy Rubin, Google VP of Engineering, in charge of the Android. All of Rubin’s complaints against standardization are things that are already resolved in PCs, netbooks, and the internet. So of course those same issues will be resolved on phones as well.

All of Rubin’s comments are specific to OS software, but WAC is also addressing standards in the hardware and in the networks as well. Rubin’s comments show us what Google is really afraid of. Ads for mobile search have lagged behind all other forms of mobile advertising. So Google is still trying to figure out its role in and still trying to establish itself in the mobile ad eco-system. In a growing market like mobile ads, it is still anyone’s game. It is a bloodbath within a bloodbath; just less visible than the hardware bloodbath.

With ads for mobile search lagging, Google wants to be the one selling the ads in your apps. Of course the ads on iPhone apps are likely to go through Apple’s ad company. Ads on standardized apps that don’t rely on a proprietary OS can end up being controlled by the service provider or other ad company, leaving only mobile-web ads as an open market for Google. And people think standardized apps are going to cause service providers to become dumb pipes, think again. Ad companies are going to have to pay a fee to send their ads to those apps.

So it seems Rubin’s negative comments have more to do with the importance of his role to Google. How important is Android going to be to Google at the end of 2011? How many ads will be directly attributed to Android at the end of 2011?

Some app stores give developers a cut of the ads. Different networks pay developers differently. WAC is addressing standardizing developer pay as well.

Decades ago when I was a highschool student I worked as a channel switcher at a television station. I blacked out commercials that came with shows but did not pay the local fee, and ran a local commercial or public service announcment instead. As technology advances we will see this same business model adopted by internet service providers. If you want those ads to show up, you don't just pay the website, you also pay the service provider. The bottom line is the ads haven't paid for the right and nobody is going to fight to give them a continued free ride. Since TV and radio broadcasters get a cut, why not phone companies? So if you want your ad to show up on a network then you pay the ad company of that network.

You gave some break down of the HTC smartphones but not Nokia. It sure would be interesting to see how many sells a model has to have in order to stay alive.

Especially for someone like me who is pushing what I call the iPhone Killer but in reality it is a QWERTY Killer and a Killer of two handed smartphones, I sure would like to know the unit sells of each model. Not that I expect you to look it up for me. That info would tell me how many units I need to sell in order to get which companies to license my tech.

I saw the video of you talking about the young people who have grown up never knowing a world without Google, and so on. That inspired me to change my fast pitch for the venture I am trying to start. I’ll include it below. I sure would like to have a role in this blood bath.

I read that you are based in Honk Kong. I am in Guam which is not terribly far away. Any chance you could help me hook up with 10 to 20 people who could invest $50k each? Here is my fast pitch partially inspired by your lecture:

iPhone Killer will create over 20 million people a year who will never learn to type on a QWERTY keyboard, or require a table or chair in order to type.

Like a TV remote control iPhone Killer is operated with only one hand, without looking at it, and unlike the iPhone it types just as fast as two hands on a full size keyboard and mouse. It takes only one day to learn instead of the months people spend developing their typing speed on a full size keyboard.

These more than 20 million people a year will demand smartphones and laptops equipped with iPhone Killer; rejecting QWERTY keyboards, thumb-pads, and touch-screens. Many smartphones do not sell that many units in an entire year. This large market will cause smartphone and laptop manufactures to license iPhone Killer and take it to scale for us.

It will eventually grow to over a billion units per year including calculators, remote controls, cash registers, laptops, and smartphones.


Don't think my reply a while ago could go live due to some connection error at my end. Never mind, I would like to extend much deserved appreciation for writing a comprehensive essay on smartphone's market in today's context.


I am struggling to square your bullish approach to Nokia with the Gartner stats in this O'reilly post looking at the trend from 2006 to 2009:

This would indicate that Symbian is losing market share quickly and combined with the May 2010 Gartner results that have Symbian Q1 2010 dropping to 44.3% from 48.8% in Q1 2009. This would indicate a total 2010 share of something around 40-42% down from 47% in 2009. I would further argue the only thing keeping Nokia from falling faster is sales of handsets like the E-63 which really are only mid-range at best. Frankly it looks to me like Symbian is collapsing. And Meego is simply a confusing mess.

And I also think RIM has peaked. The Gartner May 2010 figures have it at 19.4% in Q1 2010 vs. 20.6% in Q1 2009. This fits with what I saw working in a Telco over last 4 years in New Zealand. The iPhone has been absolutely killing BlackBerry in the Small Business market (BIS) as well as making more modest inroads into larger Corporate. In Consumer BB doesn't stand a chance, we couldn't make any business case stack-up to justify BlackBerry for PrePay, and the BlackBerry 'tax' will continue to restrict any Consumer customer friendly pricing. Along with this RIM showed no willingness to invest in raising their brand profile. If the best they could pull-out at their flagship conference (Wireless Enterprise Symposium - note the 'Enterprise') was a PR video of OS6 and not a single new phone then they are in trouble.

In summary - iPhone and Android strongly in the ascendancy, RIM just peaked and beginning downward slide, Nokia declining fast, Microsoft needs to make a big play now.



> In summary - iPhone and Android strongly in the ascendancy, RIM just
> peaked and beginning downward slide, Nokia declining fast, Microsoft
> needs to make a big play now.

No doubt iPhone and Android are in the ascendancy. Android has some growth left in it but I think the iPhone's market share will peak in a year or two unless Apple changes its policies. One model, replaced once a year plus no discounts is not going to work that well in a brutally competitive market. I'm don't think their market share has peaked yet but their growth is going to be a lot slower.

Regarding RIM, I think it is too early to tell if they have begun a downward slide. They will be releasing Blackberry OS 6.0 in fall (plus some interesting new models) and that could give them some momentum.

Disagree somewhat regarding Nokia. Some of the market share loss for Symbian has been due to vendors (other than Nokia) abandoning the platform and the sheer proliferation of smartphones of late. As figures posted on this website will show, Nokia lost some market share but have since stabilized. Their problem is that they have been retaining their market share by dropping their average selling price. They'll have to introduce premium models that will let them generate higher revenues and profits per phone. They are hoping that Symbian^4 and MeeGo (both of which will be out either end of this year or early next year) will allow them to compete at the high end with the Androids and iPhones of the world.

I think Windows is in a world of trouble. Already their market share is down to 6.8 percent or so. Windows Phone 7 is not out till the end of this year. At the rate they are losing market share, they could be below 5 percent by the time it comes out. Unless Windows Phone 7 hits the ball out of the park, I think they are going to forever remain a minor player in the smartphone space.


Tomi T Ahonen

Hi karl, Chris, Matthew, Manu, Tim and HCE

Good comments, thanks. Will respond to each individually

karl - on Java, its the biggest 'app' opportunity out there, over half of the installed base of all mobile phones, essentially all smartphones and featurephones support Java (or Brew) in some way but there is a big amount of fragmentation in the Java world. So its not 'easy' to deploy to it, but you can reach a far bigger audience than on any smartphone platform.

Chris - thanks. And happy you are enjoying the blog. Please note (I'm sure you were aware of this, but just in case) that MeeGo will not be compatible with Symbian so you'd need to re-code your apps if you port them from one to the other. With MeeGo it will be a considerable amount of time before that platform will be 'significant'. Remember that all N-Series only sold a little over 4 million smartphones the past quarter - only half that of iPhone - and not all N-Series would initially go to MeeGo, just the high end of the price range, so we may be looking at a very small niche platform for a couple of years while Symbian continues to be the majority of Nokia smartphones.

Matthew - thank you so much. About Motorola being viable as a pure smartphone play. You make good points but I think there's more to it. I think first of all, that in theory of course that can be done (ie RIM proving that a pure smartphone maker space is economically viable) but Motorola's whole organization is totally unfit for this purpose. Motorola traditionally was the most resistant to the fast pace of handset changes - witness how long they tried to milk the Razr past its due date. Nokia, Samsung, LG have been most adaptive to the rapid cycles in mobile and have the corporate DNA to handle rapid changes.

The premium phones space needs a brand that works with luxury and desire, SonyEricsson is doing a good job at it with the Cybershot and was doing a great job of it with the Walkman until the iPhone arrived (and Walkman phones crashed). Motorola is for the most of the world seen as a discount brand. That makes it almost impossible for Motorola to fight fairly for the top end of the market, without huge price discounts etc (which further do not support a premium luxury brand). The one exception is China where Moto does hold a luxury image. But even in its home market of the USA, Motorola is not seen as a luxury phone - Apple does, but Moto is a safe mid-range phone.

Then the distribution system, warehousing, air cargo contracts (the weekly shipments of new phones to typical large European countries are in the range of 20,000 to 100,000 handsets per week - these tend to be air-cargoed from factories often in China), carrier-specific sales support channels - that is all what Motorola built for being a mass market phone retailer. The premium luxury smartphone sales will also need distribution, will also need sales support, carrier relationships, etc but different competences, needs etc. So Moto would simultaneously need to fire some people and hire other people - very disruptive and demoralizing. And for practical purposes, Motorola should then also rebrand itself - the ultimate irony considering the company is best known for inventing the hand-held mobile (cellular) phone.

So my point is, that Moto could possibly achieve this, but at enormous costs, destroying what little fragments of profits still exist in some pockets of the company, destroying its R&D competence, its sales organization, its distribution system, etc. And for it to have a reasonable chance to succeed, they'd also need to rebrand. Ouch I say haha..

On the advetising part - yes, its part of the hot story right now (I'm headed to New York City to speak at the MMA Global event (Mobile Marketing Assoc) to deliver a keynote, and yes, mobile advertising and marketing is very hot in the news. But the economic opportunity for mobile ad is modest. First of all, the total global advertising spending is under half of what mobile telecoms earns per year. So for the total industry, even if every penny of advertising spending globally shifted totally to mobile, from TV, radio, internet, billboards, magazines, newspapers etc - that would not be enough to sustain the mobile industry. We'd go broke haha. So the mobile industry is that big, it has to rely on real paying customers for the vast majority of its income. That doesn't mean that there isn't a great chance in mobile marketing - its the fastest-growing revenue sector in the mobile industry right now - but TV is not going to die, newspapers will cut their ad prices, radio will too, as will cinema, magazines, billboards and of course the internet. So mobile ads may perhaps account for 10% of all ad spending somewhere near the middle of this decade (today it accounts for about 1%). Its very likely that even then the internet side of digital advertising (Google Ad Words and all that) will still be bigger than mobile (today web advertising is 10x bigger than mobile advertising). So the hype about Apple iAd and Google + Admob plus all the other mobile ad initiatives, is a bit premature. The real economic opportunity will not be visible for years to come haha..

Good points about Wholesale Applications Community - totally agree - and I like the idea in the iPhone Killer - I hope your venture gets good backing and you can make a big business out of the idea (the name is a bit provocative for my tastes haha, but thats ok). Do let us know how it gets along. I think I've seen you also write to me about it in my email (sorry have been very busy past few weeks so am behind in my emails)

Manu - sorry that your original reply did not display. Happy you wrote you second comment, and please Manu, if you had any questions or comments, please do repost them. But of your general sentiment, thank you so much, I really appreciate it that there are readers who find value in this blog.

Tim - thanks, very good comments and I totally hear you, I understand that you've been reading other highly respected opinions with differing views. So, first on Symbian, as HCE already responded to you, Symbian market share has declined quite a lot yes since 2006, but that is not Nokia smartphone sales decline. Since the iPhone and the Androids came along - and the number of Global Fortune 500 rival giant corporations involved in smartphones more than trippled from 7 to 23 - of course those who existed prior to 2007 will have to see some decline in their market share - as new companies come into the space. That is natural. But Windows Mobile lost more than a third of its market share, Motorola lost a third of its smartphone market share. Palm lost four fifths of its market share, yet Nokia smartphones lost only one fifth of its market share. Recently Windows Mobile and Palm have seen catastrophic further declines in their market shares, while both Nokia smartphones and Motorola smartphones have seen their losses bottom out, and both brands have started to gain. So while yes, some legacy smartphone brands have been losing market share to the newcomes - recently (past 6 months or so) - that very explicitly has NOT been Nokia (nor Motorola). It has been Windows Mobile and Palm.

And the winners, yes, if we measure from 2006 to today, obviously Apple and all Androids have gained. But recently Apple has not been gaining. Its peak market share in Q3 of 2009 was 17%. Today Apple's market share is 16%, so Apple has experienced at least 'a' peak (as all analysts now admit), perhaps Apple has actually experienced 'the' peak (as I argued and the data is starting to support). Note that for Q1, Apple lost out to Androids in Apple's best market, the USA, and now as Android handsets sell at the rate of 100,000 units per day, ie 36 million units per year - Androids have passed Apple which was selling at the rate of 35 million units per year. And Apple has already testified in court documents (in the Gizmodo stolen iPhone 4G model case) that the publicity of the iPhone 4G is damaging current quarter iPhone model sales - what was already flat sales from Q4 to Q1, and was expected to be at best flat sales from Q1 to Q2 - why at best flat sales - because iPhone was 9 months old, while all major rivals had released newer models, meaning iPhone's relative competitiveness has diminished in Q2 when compared to Q1. So now Apple says the publicity around the stolen iPhone 4G has damaged its market share - testified so to California courts. They wouldn't be saying this in public court documents if there wasn't evidence to support that argument - due to the US courts system, by which any evidence may be 'discovered' by the other side's lawyers. So Apple would look really foolish if they argue something in front of a judge, that their own documents cannot prove. That tells me that 'old' iPhone model sales are severely down for Q2.

Of course the final sales of iPhones in Q2 will be old model 3GS and 3G model sales from April 1 to June 30 and added to that the new rush of eagerly awaited new model iPhone sales from about mid June on. So those numbers should be very strong if previous patterns hold, and therefore Q2 is likely to end up being another 'flat' quarter for Apple, definitely no better than flat in terms of market share. This while for the last quarter when Apple market share was flat, its two larger rivals, Nokia and RIM - both - grew market share - and Apple's nearest smaller rivals, HTC and Motorola - both - grew market share. Apple is very seriously standing still when all rivals rush forwards to capture the emerging smartphone space.

That is what the current facts tell us. If you want to take any 'expert' view on the near future, and take their 'forecast' haha, feel free. I urge you to read my 'bloodbath preview' and see how accurately I have forecasted the start of this year in it, including that Palm will be sold, that Google Nexus One will not sell that well, including that RIM and HTC will continue to grow early in the year, etc. I trust my forecasts haha, and make no comment on my colleagues who also make a living out of their forecasts.

Then you say you are seeing that Nokia is failing. Your particular experience seems to be in the business-oriented smartphone space mentioning the E-63. But Tim, the total employee phones opportunity in smartphones is only about a third of the global market - the consumer market is liteally twice as big. And Nokia is massive in that market, at the low end of the market, from phones like 5800 Comes With Music. Outside of the US market, Nokia sells half of the world's smartphones. So Nokia's 'problem' is essentially 'only' a US market problem, by no means a global market problem. Nokia is clearly the most desirable smartphone globally, has massive customer satisfaction and in many markets has as high as 70% market share (in dumbphones) and Nokia is the only dumbphone maker whose smartphone market share is better than its dumbphone market share, which suggests Nokia is by far the most successful dumbphone maker to migrate its customers from dumbphones to smartphones.

Now, I am not about to suggest that people don't 'prefer an iPhone'. That is fine, people prefer Aston Martin cars too. But most people can't afford an Aston Martin. And most people cannot see spending 600 dollars on a phone (iPhone real price without handset subsidy like on AT&T). Once when we go past the subsidised phones and look at the real price in unsubsidised markets, Nokia brand wins with its price-features-quality-brand ratio. Yes, many would prefer an iPhone, but only a couple of percent on the planet can afford such a luxury price product (especially when it also has so many 'flaws' like its camera is of such modest resolution, its camera has no flash, the Apple OS doesn't support Flash animations like most videos on YouTube, etc). And like I've argued, for those users who send 100 SMS per day - a third of American youth for example - there is no chance of swapping out their current QWERTY based phone for any pure touch screen phone, they will want a QWERTY keypad on their smartphone.

So like we've said here with many, many times, if Apple is BMW, sitting at the luxury end of phones, making tons of profits on a highly desirable high quality technology - Nokia is more like Ford or Toyota, making a broad range of products for normal people, including some premium luxury products to the high end of the product range, but that Nokia is the most profitable of the classic big 5 handset makers.

On your point 'RIM has peaked' - that is absolutely not true. I hear you that you have that feeling that RIM is not growing - and it may well be true, that in the country or countries you know (and market sub-segments that you know) it may well be happening. But the global numbers do not lie. Blackberry grew unit sales and grew market share again the past 3 months, where Apple was flat. And Blackberry is brilliantly executing a transition from business phones to consumer phones, riding on its QWERTY form factor and taking advantage of the Blackberry Instant Messegner, which for teens and the youth, seems like they get free SMS. For example in Indonesia, Blackberries outnumber iPhones 25 to 1. In South Africa - Africa being the biggest Nokia stronghold - on the Vodacom network, half of all smartphones are Blackberries. In Venezuela the bestselling phone - not bestselling smartphone - is Blackberry. These are not done by business/enterprise phones. I was just in Indonesia a couple of months ago, and saw the advertising and all Blackberry ads are aimed at youth, not the business users. Same last year when I visited Venezuela. So please Tim take a look at the numbers and give some scope for the possibility that there is actually a silent RIM revolution going on. In India the cellular telecoms industry association says this year they'll sell 7 million QWERTY phones and while most of those are Blackberry clones, the Blackberry is the most desirable phone there, not the iPhone. Same for the consumer survey out of Britain, Blackberry ahead of the iPhone. So just trust me enough, to monitor this space and see. If these trends hold, RIM is likely to give several quarters of 'amazing' growth numbers - which are not a surprise to regular readers of this blog haha.

And your summary 'iPhone and Android strongly in the ascendancy, RIM just peaked and beginning downward slide, Nokia declining fast, Microsoft needs to make a big play now' is not supported by the latest facts. Yes, Android is growing and yes, Microsoft is declining. But the evidence is clear, that RIM and Nokia are growing, not declining, and Apple is definitely NOT 'in ascendancy'. The last time Apple managed ANY growth in its market share was from Q2 to Q3 of last year. So Apple's growth has stopped in September. Thats 8 months of straight stagnation already, while Nokia, RIM and yes Android have all grown in the same period.

I do appreciate it, Tim, that you have this perception that Apple and Android are stealing the market and RIM and Nokia (and WinMo) are in decline. There is a lot of mis-informed and un-informed reporting that supports that view. I totally appreciate it that you've come to believe that. Please just examine the facts, the numbers, and ask yourself, where is the truth? Clearly it cannot be true that Apple is stealing market from Nokia, if Apple has lost market share from Nokia since September of last year, and Nokia smartphones have grown market share in the same period?

I'd greatly love to hear more from you.

HCE - thank you for responding to Tim. Obviously we are very much in agreement, thank you.

Thank you all for writing, please come back for more comments.

Tomi Ahonen :-)



> Obviously we are very much in agreement,

I don't think so. You seem to think that Apple's market share has peaked. I think they have potentially a year or two of growth left - albeit at a slower pace. You seem to think that everything is hunky dory with Nokia - I'm not so sure. I wouldn't use words like "decline" or "dying" but they are in some measure of trouble. It is not a good sign that they have had to keep lowering average selling price and profit per phone in order to retain share. It isn't good if they sell almost three times as many smartphones as Apple and still make less profit. They need their upcoming high end phones to succeed. If they don't then words like "decline" *will* be warranted.



Apple has no way to grow market share unless the iPhone strategy is completely reworked. There are too many competitors, form-factors and price points coming in at the moment. Globally.

In some countries a touchscreen smartphone with unlimited data (24 month contract) costs around $10 per month. The phone is free on contract. The rules of economy still exists and price is a significant factor, a part of famous "User Experience". $600 iPhone can't increase market share.

Apparently Apple does at least some minor strategy rework after the release of a new iPhone. We will know next year, how it works.



Apple has several potential ways to grow market share - though not at the same rate as before.

The first is opening up to more carriers. In the US (Apple's best market), they are limited to one carrier. If the iPhone was on Verizon that would increase sales quite a bit. If they were on Sprint and T-Mobile as well, it would increase sales even more. There are pretty strong rumors saying that the iPhone is coming to Verizon this fall - so if that happens, US market share could jump.

The second way of increasing market share is adding lower cost models. They have been selling the iPhone 3G alongside the 3GS at a price of $100. That could continue or get expanded a bit.

The third thing they could do is to fix their pricing structure a bit in some countries. In India, for example, an iPhone 3GS 16 GB model costs close to the equivalent of $800. You are not going to sell many iPhones at that price.

None of these are drastic changes and all of these will help boost share. In addition to the above changes, there is probably room for growth in countries like China where the iPhone is just taking off. We are also just before the launch of a new iPhone model - the next two quarters will be good - regardless. Also, I feel that Android apart, none of the other smartphone makers has a platform with the same combination of usability, polish and power that the iPhone has.

These are some of the reasons why I think Apple's market share will grow somewhat for another year or two. In another year or so, everyone else will be out with their next-gen OS and Apple will have a smaller technical advantage than they now do. For more growth beyond the next couple of years, they will need to discount more heavily, introduce more lower end models, introduce different form factors and introduce new devices every 6 months instead of the current once a year pace.


Tomi T Ahonen

Hi HCE (twice) and em

HCE - I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be flippant and certainly didn't mean to put words into your mouth. I was trying to finish a long reply here and on quick read through your latest comment, felt we were in considerable - but not total - agreement. But yes, you are very right, my main thesis on Apple is that its market share has peaked and yes you clearly think there is still room for growth. I did mean that I see that view as very plausible too, and time will tell. I am not seeing anything nearing the catastrophic market share disaster that we saw with Motorola in dumbhones or Windows Mobile in smartphone operating systems, to happen to Apple, I see their peak as turning into gentle decline in the worst case haha. And similarly I interpreted your view to be that Apple would still have room for modest growth in market share, not dramatic gains similar to say Android right now. I meant we were close in that view, not in total agreement. But sorry for being unclear about it.

And on Nokia, I try to be a realist as best I can. My writing is in stark contrast with very many reputable IT experts and financial journalists who write about mobile without understanding it, ie writing of mobile from the view points of say the computer industry, internet or home electronics. These are far more open industries where 'normal' open market rules apply. The mobile industry is not such an upen industry. It is totally ruled by the operators/carriers as I have many times written on this blog.

But my writing on this blog is based on a deep understanding of the mobile industry, and I call it as I see it, Nokia does not compete against the specialist smartphone makers like RIM and HTC, nor against a multi-digital device maker like Apple whose only phone interest is smartphones. None of these makers control even 5% of the total global phone market. Nokia controls 35% of the global phone market, it is Nokia's main business. Nokia's rivals are Samsung, LG, SonyEricsson and ZTE (and until recently Motorola). So if my view is too 'rosy' - if you ignore Apple and RIM, honestly, HCE, compared to Samsung, LG, SonyEricsson and Motorola (and ZTE) - hasn't Nokia executed its total dumbphone strategy far better, and executed its transition to smartphones so far better that Nokia is its own league, the only one of the big 6 dumbphone makers who bests Apple, RIM and HTC in smartphones alone.

I do not mean to say Nokia is doing everything right, and that Nokia doesn't make mistakes and hasnt' stumbled many times along the way. Apple brought - as I warmly welcomed them - to this industry very much highly-needed innovation and fresh thought. The whole handset business was forever transformed by the launch of the original iPhone in 2007 - and not by any Nokia phone before or any Motorola or SonyEricsson or other phone before. So back to our 'disagreement' haha, I hope to be realist on this blog, I do do not claim Nokia is doing it all right. They have their work cut out for them and they are painstakingly slow often in implementing their changes to that giant ship. But even then, if we compare to other giants of similar size - take Microsoft, a company like Nokia where smartphones are not their main business - see how clumsily Microsoft has messed up year and again in trying to get a major stake in smartphones - vs Nokia who rules this market while its not even its main focus.

So yes, we agree, the price declines are a concern of course as are shrinking margins. But Nokia does have strong profits - not as strong as Apple obviously, but far stronger than any of the true big 5 rivals of dumbphone makers - and Nokia can afford to drive the price down, to squeeze its main rivals and hold onto market share. The world is in a price war in phones and all analysts say the prices will continue to decline in all classes of phones - Nokia did not invent this trend, Nokia is fighting within that trend and doing very well. But also we agree, Nokia is bound to lose market share in this year of bloodbath - again something I wrote many times - and I am surprised how strongly Nokia is faring considering the huge Android onslaught - Nokia doing better than Apple in fact over the past 6 months.

So, sorry HCE, I didn't mean to put words in your mouth. But I did think we are of similar views, not dramatically different views. We both see it possible that Apple may grow mildly, I do think Apple will lose market share mildly, but have said before, that the next iPhone model out this June will determine very much exactly how Apple does perform. And Nokia, no it is not performing as well in the market today as its strongest rivals, but Nokia is selling smartphones at a stronger growth rate than the global smartphone industry itself grows, and while it is cutting prices - that is what every maker has to do - just yesterday brought news that US resellers are slashing the retail subsidised price of the iPhone 3GS model to 97 dollars if I saw the TV news item correctly (I was rushing in an airport so I didn't have time to watch the actual news item, only read the ticker feed, it may have been on CNBC or CNN)

em - totally agree with you, yes, Apple cannot grow market share in any meaningful way anymore, unless it totally revises its strategy. Apple has to introduce more models per year, offer more variety within its model range and introduce some iPhone models into significantly lower price points. Again to be clear the real price of the 3GS is about 650 dollars and the real price of the iPhone 3G is about 550 dollars (their actual price is not disclosed by Apple but Apple does say the average of the two models is about 600 dollars and these prices can be determined in a rough level from the unsubsidised prices in markets where there are no handset subsidies like Belgium, Italy, Israel etc).

So the current recent pricing gimmick of selling the older 3G model for 99 dollars in America on AT&T was not a real price cut, its just the same subsidised handset on a long term contract. What Apple needs to do is to do is to create a true 300 dollar smartphone - mid-range price rival to say the Blackberries or about where N-Series phones from Nokia tend to cost on average. It is not possible in this highly competitive market place this year for Apple to gain meaningful market share unless they change their strategy like you say, and I agree, Apple has to make a big change in it.

I think we see even HCE partially agrees with us on this view, haha, when HCE writes that within a few years Apple has to join the choir and offer lower priced smartphones, release new models every 6 months rather than once per year, and introduce more form factors.. I think the main difference between the view that you em and I hold, compared to the view HCE holds, is that we see the need being now in 2010, and HCE believes Apple still has a year or two of a grace period before the real market forces collide to force them to change.

Who knows who is right, haha, we have to wait and see. I do think that the current quarter and the new iPhone model out June will tell us a lot. It is possible that most major analysts are bowled over by the new model, that almost everybody says its the ultimate phone and its far better than all rivals, and we have to all have it - that has happened before with Apple and even with the original iPhone 2G, so Apple is capable of this. But my gut says Apple's recent focus has been on the iPad and we'll only see incremental improvements to the iPhone model, and then it will be just one in the comparison versus many Androids and other smartphones, and that won't be enough to give Apple this year.. But we'll see, I will be blogging about these things of course all year so please come back and we'll see how it goes.

Thank you both for writing, and I'm sorry HCE for not being so clear about what I meant..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Matthew Artero

Thanks for the revenue numbers on mobile ads. I can always count on you to improve my thinking.

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