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« Serious reply to CTIA Steve Largent - he's cruisin' for a bruisin' | Main | Doesn't Smell Right: Microsoft kills the Kin »

June 25, 2010


David E Albert

Tomi, Apple makes more money from Mobile devices and services than anyone else including Nokia. Androids are going 2 for the price of 1 while Apple's margins are considerably higher than all others. As you say, communities dominate brands and the iPhone, iPod, iPad, iTunes and app store community is winning the profit war.

Guillaume B

@David: But there is no profit war as profits are not a zero-sum game; marketshare is. And the more marketshare you have, the more likely you, your services and your devices are to remain relevant in the future.


To suggest that Nokia makes any products comparable to those from RIM/Google/Apple is laughable. The N8 was to be Nokia's first true competitor but it won't even ship with their new top tier smartphone OS (MeeGo).

As it stands now a top tier smartphone has to ship with one of the following:

- BlackBerry OS
- iOS
- Android

Nokia is not even in the game.


@Guillaume B: Apple's sales numbers are that much more impressive when you consider they do not offer 2 for 1 deals. If marketshare was a major concern for Apple they could easily implement such a sales tactic to boost sales. I doubt they will. That's not how they roll.


iPhone 4 Sales Top 1.7 Million in 5 countries - no 2 for 1 deals in sight. An additional 18 countries by the end of July:

iPhone 4 is going to sell as many units in its first week as the N97 did in its first three months.

Guillaume B

@Iain: And how do you define smartphones, pray tell? What can you do on an iPhone, Android phone or (and that's the one that really makes your argument weird) Blackberry OS that is impossible on a Symbian phone?

Steven Hoober

I was baffled by MS's mobile OS strategy until I started playing with some old Tablet PCs. And found out Microsoft doesn't support the entire OS, never really did (leading to a whole raft of answers about why various tablets before iPad have failed: their own makers all but disowned them).

And now I understand Microsoft's mobile OS strategy perfectly: They don't have one. Everything they do is tactical, and in this world, that means 2 years too late to be any good.

BTW, does anyone have any info on Kin adoption aside from "poor"? I can't find any, but anecdotally the several dozen I have seen are all in the hands of people older than me. It may have fallen into some odd marketing hole like the Honda Element, et. al. and if they change the marketing from the tween/teen focus, maybe they can make it work.

Vezance Xocobs

"To suggest that Nokia makes any products comparable to those from RIM/Google/Apple is laughable"

let me guess, you live in the US? You dissed Nokia AND Symbian OS, both in one blog post. now that calls for a lot of confidence, or cockiness.

Like Guillaume asked, i'd like to know how you define a smartphone OS. Why is it that "a top tier smartphone has to ship with one of the following", and there's no Symbian in the list? You are aware that the features that have existed in Symbian for more than 5 years are only now being started to be offered by Android and iOS, right?

Consider the iPhone 4 launch. I know it has been said a dozen times already, but how backward are you if video chat is a life-changing new feature for you? or if you going to pay through your a$$ for tethering?

And coming to Nokia, supposedly, you have never laid your hands on a N900. Use it sometime. And then use the N8 once it comes out, and then tell me if you are still laughing at Nokia.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all, nice debate going on here in the comments

I have had a week of very heavy travel, but should be better with time next week and will return here to reply to all of you.

Please do keep the arguments going on

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@Vezance Xocobs: I live in Canada. No tethering charges and my network is solid - awesome data speeds, coverage is fantastic and no dropped calls.

One does not need confidence or cockiness to see just how terrible a state Nokia is in in the smartphone arena. Why the heck has it taken three years for them to figure out they have to "fightback".

The recent Nseries product lineup has been utter crap. Not even the dude behind Symbian-Guru can say anything nice about the N97. The N900 can only run on EDGE networks here in Canada and it is way too fat at 18mm thick for a current gen smartphone. No network here has even sold the N900. Nokia has already delayed the N8 to ensure they don't have another N97 quality fiasco and now they announce that it will be the last Nseries product to run Symbian! Who is going to buy the N8 now? Meego is not yet ready for prime time - and this is after 3 years of iOS and 2.5 years after Android. What are they doing?

The big problem for Nokia is that Android partners are shipping N8 competitors now. Phones such as the GalaxyS, Intercept, Optimus One/Chic/Q/Z will be shipping with the Android brand behind them. Nokia will be "fighting back" from a far weaker brand position.

Tomi T Ahonen

Will reply to first 5 comments now

Hi David, Guillaume, Iain (3 comments)

David - your point is 'interesting but not relevant' to this blog. I am not being dismissive, and I know you are perfectly right, yes Apple makes the most profit in the smartphone space, but this is not a race into who makes most profits, its who gets the big market shares (note, this blog is one in a long series, examining the bloody market share war of smartphones in 2010). The profits are not of interest to the developers, but which platforms gain major market shares THAT is relevant. I am not writing a financial analysis blog or advising on investing in some manufacturer over another. I monitor which platform has reasonable mass market market share. That is the point of this blog. So yes, I totally agree Apple makes wondeful profits but thats irrelevant to the market share battle.

Guillaume - thanks!

Iain (first comment) - my guess is that you are USA based? In that case, yes your evidence from your home market does lead to that conclusion that the biggest installed base is RIM, then Apple then Android. But to suggest Nokia is somehow not 'in the game' reveals that you don't know anything about the far bigger global market, and not about Nokia's total portfolio. Take your 'magnificent' iPhone 4 right now. Apple celebrated that it has a forward facing camera for video calls, that its camera is now up to 5 megapixels, that it offers multitasking, etc.. These were all STANDARD features of Nokia's top smartphones in 2006 and early 2007, BEFORE the FIRST iPhone ever launched. Apple has made four bug-fixes to its iconic iPhone, where almost every feature they upgraded was standard on say the N95 of 2007 or the even older N93 from 2006! For you to suggest Nokia is not in the same game as the Blackberry - where Nokia's QWERTY phones like most of their E-Series actually outsell the Blackberry worldwide - again reveals that you do not know of the global phone market. If you want to see truly phenomenal phone leadership by Nokia, go to year 2008 Nokia top phone, the E90 Communicator - which was the first smartphone in the world to offer twice the sharpness of a screen (something that Apple now offers as 'retina display' with even more sharpness but now, two years later). The current N900 is also a 'superphone' with specs and performance far beyond the run-of-the-mill Androids or iPhones and anytying from RIM. The N8 is not Nokia's top phone, not even near it. It is a mid-priced smartphone (cheaper than the iPhone when both phones are not subsidised) but its the first time Nokia has 'bothered' with a direct iPhone clone.

I am not suggesting Nokia hasn't released dogs as phones - even Nokia admit their previous flagship, the N97 was a severe disappointment - but even driven with that 'lousy' smartphone, Nokia grew market share from Q3 of 2009 through Q4 through Q1 of 2010. Apple driven with its iPhone 3GS did not manage ANY growth in its global market share. Remember, Nokia sell more smartphones than Apple and RIM combined. And outside of the USA, Nokia sells half of the rest of the world's smartphones, where literally Nokia sells as many as RIM, Apple, HTC, Samsung, LG, SonyEricsson, Motorola, Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei, Sharp, Panasonic, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Kyocera, INQ, Sendo etc etc etc - all added together. Only in the USA, Nokia is not able to gain market share - and that is mainly due to the carriers who hate Nokia and refuse to carry its premium phones (and offer a subsidy for them). Rembember, in all those markets where phones are not subsidised, and phones are not locked to one carrier, in ALL those markets, Nokia has more than 50% of the market share in dumbphones and often over 70% of smartphones. If the consumer really pays full price and understands the value involved, they love Nokia...

Iain (second comment) - the pricing policies at Apple are obiviously driven by the huge brand loyalty of the Apple loyalists (77% of iPhone 4 buyers are owners of an older iPhone). Apple skims a premium profit from this army of fanatics and yes, it does not need 2 for 1 deals. If Apple ever felt they needed to boost their market share, they have huge reserves to discount the phones or offer other deals like 2 for 1, and boost sales.

Iain (third comment) - Apple's sales in the first days are impressive. That is of course also driven to a large degree by the visibility of 'stolen iphone prototype' which essentially stalled all iPhone 3GS sales two months ago - as Apple testified in court. So there was a huge - and exceptional - pent up demand. Now, if you factor in that 1.7 million sales in five countries, and compare to Samsung's Galaxy sales in just South Korea - a country of 50 million people ie 1/6th the size of the USA - and they did 200,000 Galaxy sales - where South Koreans have to pay the full 600 dollar price rather than the subsidised 199 dollar iPhone 4 price that Americans pay - you'd be at something like 1.2 million for the US market equivalent.

Then think about this - the Galaxy is on all 4 major US networks, ie they have both the GSM/3G and CDMA/3G versions. They have QWERTY versions (dual inputs, with touch screen) and if Apple spreads to 18 more countries, Samsung is launching the Galaxy in 110 countries. Do you think Apple has a chance against the Galaxy? Meanwhile Nokia is bigger than iPhone, RIM is bigger than iPhone, Android has grown bigger than iPhone now in the second quarter, and Samsung will catch Apple by the end of the year or latest early next year. Remember Apple has not been able to grow market share even one point since September of 2009. Nokia has, RIM has, Android has, Samsung has... No, the iPhone 1.7 million launch is impressive yes, but Apple market share has peaked many months ago and is now in decline (was 16% down from its peak 17%)

Ok, that was the first 5 comments, will return later for more

Thank you all for writing, please keep the discussions going

Tomi Ahonen :-)


"Remember Apple has not been able to grow market share even one point since September of 2009. Nokia has, RIM has, Android has, Samsung has"

Actually, Nokia and RIM have not been able to grow market share even one point since June of 2009. In fact, Nokia has lost 5.3 to 5.6%, and RIM 1.2 to 1.8% (depending on Canalys or IDC numbers). But Apple has grown share by 2 to 2.5% (due largely to the iPhone 3GS).

As I've done before, just pointing out your selective use of a start date (and of course, right after the iPhone 3GS intro quarter) for your comparison.


"mainly due to the carriers who hate Nokia and refuse to carry its premium phones (and offer a subsidy for them)"

Why is this is your view?

To the best of my knowledge, Nokia has an incredibly large userbase and some of the most loyal customers in the world?

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Actually, Nokia and RIM have not been able to grow market share even one point since June of 2009. In fact, Nokia has lost 5.3 to 5.6%, and RIM 1.2 to 1.8% (depending on Canalys or IDC numbers). But Apple has grown share by 2 to 2.5% (due largely to the iPhone 3GS).

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