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« Return of the Jedi: Nokia can be saved, here is the how | Main | Lets Understand Phones: Market is Shifting from Dumbphones to Smartphones »

February 01, 2011



JudaZ, you are missing the forrest due to the trees. Yes, you cherry picked a few highlights over the past 4 years. But let me be clear, shareholders don't care about total sales volume, trusted brands, volume of downloads on Ovi Store, etc. They care about share price appreciation! That is the simple bottom line. Given that, Nokia has failed.

Nokia versus DJIA, S&P500 and Nasdaq:;range=5y;compare=^dji+^ixic+^gspc;indicator=volume;charttype=line;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=on;source=undefined

Nokia versus Apple, Google and RIMM:;range=5y;compare=aapl+goog+rimm;indicator=volume;charttype=line;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=on;source=undefined

Reality is, you can choose all the feel good metrics you want. Cherry pick until your heart is content. Most sustainable, Greenest company, Most liked, Best brand, etc. If Sr management doesn't deliver shareholder value = epic fail! Since the iPhone was launched on June 29th, 2007 - this has been Nokia's share price performance;range=20070702,20110131;indicator=volume;charttype=line;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=on

Epic fail!!

Bob Shaw

Pump it up: Canalys’ Google Android counts include rival Chinese variants. Most the growth in 'Android' numbers is coming from no-name vendors selling devices in countries such as China, using devices that don't support Google's development of the OS (via ads or search services) nor even expand the platform in any meaningful way that could benefit Android users. Below is the link to the article


Bob Shaw,

please don't link sites like macdailynews to this discussion forum, lets keep this discussion fair and clean and relevant to the site. A site like macdailynews which is maintained by Apple fanbois cannot bring any objectivity to the issue at hand. There are good sites maintained by apple fanbois like appleinsider, but macdailynews is not at all good.


Evan, the article actually links to AppleInsider report.

 Tomi T Ahonen

Wow, thats a lot of comments haha.. I will respond to all, will deal with them in small groups

Hi Joanne, Romit, Bob, GJW, Baudrillard, Sumit

Joanne - ok, fair point.

Romit - haha, yeah, very similar to Dot Com analysts. There is a bit of a race, who gets to call a big number first, like who called the 5B mobile subscribers first etc.

Bob - thanks

GJW - well, there will always be some fudge, that is why we also check against the aggregate numbers (all Android family makers and because they also tend to provide Phone 7, bada even old Symbian and Windows Mobile devices, the analysts need to count all those and factor out the known numbers..)

Baudrillard - yeah, the Strategy Analytics numbers are consistent with what I reported here. What we now need is Gartner and IDC to release their final 4Q numbers for 2010, I am confident both will find Symbian ahead of Android haha.. But the Canalys story got over 400 press mentions within 24 hours and major business TV news like CBNC and Bloomberg reported it too, will anyone bother to issue any corrections when the rivals say it isn't so..

Bob - there is a likely bias in numbers that are self-reported, which are not that company's own numbers. So I have no doubt Apple's reporting of iPhone is accurate, as is Nokia's report of its own smartphones or dumbphones, but when they start to talk about their market shares etc, then there is easily a bias.

When it comes to the analyst houses, they tend to want to be known for being factually correct. But they are commercial analyst houses who want to sell their reports and their analysis services, consulting and forecasting etc services. So they have to balance the needs of reporting accurate numbers, with getting press attention haha. Thus some analyst houses will write headlines to catch the attention of the press - that sometimes leads to wrong interpretation or is even written with incorrect data.

I am here on this blog, known as the mobile industry's 'stats police' and while yes, I also sell my consulting services and my little ebooks of industry stats, I am primarily interested in the integrity of the numbers for the industry. I have been doing these stats police postings on this blog - and before that at telecoms statistics conferences and on industry discussion websites etc for the past decade. If you look over the years, I do not comment (mostly) on forecasts, that is anyone's right to look into crystal balls and foresee whatever they want. I don't bother with those. But on the reported actual numbers, that is where I get seriously cross with some analysts when they report sillyness, like in this case Canalys. That is what my followers and readers expect of me - even honstly, those other analyst houses - they all know it hasn't happened yet, and they all hate it that Canalys grabbed the headlines with the reporting of something that hasn't happened yet.

Am I without bias, of course not, nobody can be, we are humans. But am I a slave to the facts - yes. Check out how many times I have written 'mea culpa' postings here where my forecasts have been wrong - which is something I have done from my second book in 2002 haha. I am not just the stats police on my peers, I am very ruthless about my own numbers as well - something few of my colleagues do in public haha.. Maybe that is why one reason why I have a loyal readership.

Sumit - well, first as someone else pointed out here, OMS and Tapas are not part of Google's Android so its pretty weird reporting to begin with, but even so, the number of 5 million is far far too high. Total China quarterly smartphone sales (all 3 carriers combined) are roughly between 7M and 8M units - total. More than half of those are Nokia (Canalys latest numbers from Q2). And there are plenty of real Android smartphones sold by China Mobile ie on Samsung, Motorola etc. So the 5M number is WAY too big for one quarter for China Mobile.

GWJ and Bob - on my 'agenda' - I am driven by the math as I say, 'Numbers are my Buddies' - I have never put my Nokia past ahead of reporting real numbers no matter how painful they may have been about Nokia - just look at the past weekend the analysis of why Nokia market share has crashed since June. I do celebrate Nokia for what it does, and I keep reminding US based readers, that there is a far bigger market for mobile phones and smartphones outside of US borders, where Nokia tends to rule - but I have never peddled any PR numbers - in fact, I have often said about Nokia's self-reported market share numbers etc, that they have not squared with my analysis etc. I go by the numbers, even when it means coming back onto this blog (or in my book) and admitting I had forecasted something wrong. You can't really get more unbiased than that haha, can you?

I will return with more comments to the rest, soon. Please keep the discussion going

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@cmk011 "If Sr management doesn't deliver shareholder value = epic fail!"

Incidentally, I compared the number of likes of Nokia and Google on Twitter, and they reveal something interesting on the manifestation and formation of public opinion on social networks.

Where Google has 2,7 million followers on Twitter, Nokia has less than 60K.

Yet, Nokia has almost 2.8 million likes on Facebook and Google only just over 2.5 million.

Not sure what it indicates if anything at all, but I found it an interesting number that might reveal something about the differences between twitter and facebook users.

News outlets have come to rely heavily on the use of twitter to amplify and generate pageviews to their repspective websites. What it does not do is accurately measure how popular a brand actually is amongst consumers everywhere.

Charles Arthur

It would be great if "keeping the discussion going" included allowing through my original comment, which pointed out the errors - as I see it - in your logic.

 Tomi T Ahonen

Ok, lets do more replies

Hi Zorro, kevin, Bob, cmk, Darwin and JudaZ

Zorro - sure, over 300K is not same as 300K, but Google has seemed to make a big deal about announcing the even numbers so it seems like they monitor the numbers and get it out very soon after it has happened. But we don't know for sure. That is why we luckily have 4 big analyst houses, so we can expect them to keep each other relatively honest - like just now, IDC released their numbers for smartphones, and made a point to say that Nokia kept its lead in Q4 haha, with Android closing. So IDC concurs with the view I expressed here haha..

But on peak sales - we do see that the overall smartphone industry was about 25% up in Q4 from Q3, that would be the 'industry-wide' spike for the Christmas season. But we know, that Nokia, RIM, Apple and Microsoft all under-performed that growth rate - and all major Android providers reported giant leaps from 30% to 50% more sales by the big brands (HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG, SonyEricsson). I am hoping we'll get better guidance when Gartner reports...

kevin - but even so, the numbers don't add up with Tapas and OMS, the scale of China's smartphone market is nowhere near big enough - and most of that is Nokia, iPhone, official Samsung (on Android and bada), HTC and don't forget Motorola which continues to sell well in China. And these will tend to be their smartphones in that market, so the vast majority of a modest sized smartphone market is going to be not Tapas or OMS devices..

Bob - I agree. At least what Strategy Analytics did, when some press reported falsely the Apple Top 5 position in all phones (in reality are number 6, Nokia, Samsung, LG, ZTE and Blackberry are the Top 5) - Strategy Analytics website and press release does tell the story correctly and has the table correctly. I didn't bother to go check the original press release when I Twittered about it, as I was seeing the numbers on several news stories and immediately tweeted that it can't be, we know RIM has sold more than Apple (RIM was left out, the stories correctly placed ZTE ahead of Apple in all mobile phone handsets sold for the year) but definitely whether it was wrongly or correctly reported originally by Strategy Analytics, by the time I got around to checking their website, they had the correct count there. I would hope Canalys explain themselves, or correct the error.

Incidentially - I find it always amusing to see how much the analyst houses will revise their numbers without acknowledging it. Look at their end-of-year numbers, for several of them they have upped their whole year by 1% or 2% - math which does not stack up if we go to their previous quarterly statements and add those up haha. So they kind of 'admit' that in some previous quarter or quarters they had under-counted haha, but again, at least I admit loudly and clearly when I change my mind and adjust a forecast or number. They do it kind of secretly.. I think its a bit under-handed but maybe thats just the numbers purist in me haha..

cmk - lets start first with where I agree with you. Yes, the trend is clear, Android is catching up to Symbian and unless a very dramatic about-face happens this Spring, Symbian will fall to Android exactly like iPhone, Blackberry and Microsoft all did already.

Also, I agree that there is some national pride issues at play - but where I am a Finn quite proudly and love to remind the world about what all we happen to do well, when we do it well (not just Nokia but also in ice hockey or Formula One racing etc...) but I am not at all shy about being critical of Nokia and have been meticulous in documenting every percentage point drop in Nokia's market shares in dumbphones as well as smartphones as well as operating systems.

With that said, you make the leap, that Google Android is gaining because 'the majority of telecom news and innovation has been driven by Apple, Google and RIM' - here you are simply mistaken. I am guessing that you are based in the USA, and please don't be offended by that crass generalization, but this kind of view is common in the USA, where the US customers have not been exposed to innovations and leading phones. I wonder what news and innovations you assign to Apple, Google and RIM. But let me put it this way. Do your phones support mobile money as in near field? This is something expected of the next iPhone in June. Near field mobile money has been on Japanese and South Korean phones for half a DECADE already. Nokia launched mobile money in India and is rolling out near field on its premium phones, while Google is trying to figure out what is mobile money.

What of 3D displays without glasses or goggles? Sharp has the phone already in Japan, a local phone brand in India did it first and LG is rolling out 3D phones in Korea this spring. Do you see 3D phones there in the USA? And over there in obsolete Europe, Movidius out of Ireland is one of the big chip providers who do the 3D chips for phones.

How about the in-built pico projector? Do you have those on your Blackberries or iPhones or any US made Android phones? I have one, on my Samsung Galaxy Beam, which is yes an Android phone, but they were selling it in Singapore and South Korea last summer - last summer - and none are yet for sale in the USA. Sharp has already launched a pico projector phone in Japan. Who is leading whom?

What of those obsolete 2G phones - how many of US phones are still on 2G standards? They still SELL 2G phones in the USA, only about a third of all phones in use in the USA are 3G or faster. Japan was the first country to not only stop selling 2G phones, they extinguished their 2G networks already last year. Yes, Japan is the first country where every phone is 3G or faster - and the original iPhone 2G is literally obsolete, could not get a cellular signal because the Japanese market has shut down the towers for that obsolete technology.

So you say 4G? Like that which Sprint uses? That 4G which until recently was called WiMax. Do you know who was the first country to launch WiMax, not the USA. Two years earlier, KT and SK out of South Korea launched WiMax and rolled out a national coverage for the technology. But they have late last year announced that both carriers will now also terminate the operation of the WiMax (ie 4G) networks and switch over to LTE. So if you think Sprint was advanced, South Korea is so much more advanced, they had it first on their phones - and they've moved past it so fast, they are now shutting down those networks.

Who is leading whom? How many megapixels do you see on your phones? You see 12 megapixels? When did you first see a 12 megapixel cameraphone? Last year? South Korea had a 12 megapixel cameraphone in 2008! Japan today sells cameraphones with 14.

If you have never seen advanced phones, its easy to believe that the iPhone 4 or the Blackberry Bold or some Motorola on Android is 'advanced'. You need to travel to Japan and South Korea to see the most advanced phones. Even here in Hong Kong we are at least a year ahead of the USA...

But yes, I'll agree with you that Nokia has recently messed up rather badly. Its not that they had a bad strategy, it was that they executed it very badly, and were not clear in what they wanted to achieve. So we do agree, kind of. But cmk, please do not be delusional. The Japanese who like the iPhone - go ask them, most Japanese who have an iPhone - have it as their second phone! Not their first phone. Or else its a foreigner (often US based expat). You gotta see Japanese phones to believe it.

Darwin - I think you know, you've been here before, that I am slave to the numbers. I report them exactly as I find them. But I am also an analyst and a forecaster, and I warn you not to think the game will be over in the year 2011. Nokia can utterly mess it up in 2011, lose HALF of its current smartphone customers - and still finish first in 2015 - only by focusing on satisfying the remaining dumbhpone customers it has - and migrating THOSE to smartphones (Symbian and MeeGo). Do not misunderstand the scale here. This is not Ford vs Toyota, this is not Toyota vs GM. Nokia is almost as big as its THREE nearest rivals added together. And most MOST alarmingly for all rivals - Nokia has had the best success in converting its existing customer base from dumbphones to smartphones. Compare to Motorola - which lost 9 customers out of every 10 it tried to convert to smartphones - landing literally with only 1 out of 10 that remained loyal to Motorola in that transition.

You may not like the look and feel of Nokia. You may not like the N8 or Symbian, but don't misunderstand the scale - Nokia is bigger than Apple and RIM combined - the two biggest stand-alone smartphone makers! I totally agree with you that Nokia has executed poorly (recently, from about 2008) but - this is how badly Nokia does when it messes up (and still in the worst economy we've ever witnessed in our lifetimes, of the legacy dumbphone makers only Nokia's handset unit reported a perfect series of profitable quarters!) - imagine how strong Nokia can be if it just gets its act together.. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the guy who leads at the 10 mile marker in the marathon will be the winner in the end. And this marathon (for smartphones) will last at least this whole decade. Nokia has ample time to recover. But yes, it needs to make corrections now, and fast.

Bob - excellent point that MeeGo is killed off in the press before it even gets its launch, and gets not even one breadth of mention that Intel is the equal partner in MeeGo - if US tech giants like Google and Apple and Microsoft can be credited with creating successful new operating systems why can't Intel be at least given the benefit of the doubt haha.. Not to mention, many who used Meego loved it, so it may well be that Nokia know a thing or two about how to make a successful operating system haha. Its not like its their first time around the block on it, or even the third haha..

Judaz - good points and thanks for the links. Yes, its easy to forget the facts and be taken in by the 'conventional wisdom' haha..

Thank you guys, keep the discussion going, I'll return with more comments soon

Tomi Ahonen :-)


IDC says that Nokia leads the vendors, but to my knowledge they do not say that Symbian still leads Android.

IDC agrees with Canalys on the market size. IDC says 100,9 million and Canalys says 101,2 million. So it seems that they also agree on Android numbers, because all other major platforms are easier to estimate.


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