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Nokia Share Of Smartphone Market Dives

David Gilbert by

Nokia Share Of Smartphone Market Dives

Nokia’s problems in the smartphone market have been well documented, here and elsewhere, and today’s announcement by CEO Stephen Elop confirms that they are losing ground to other manufacturers - and quickly.

Stephen Elop was installed as CEO of Nokia last September. He was the first non-Finnish chief to be appointed and obviously the former-Microsoft executive was seen by the company as a way to reverse its fortunes in the smartphone market. However the reaction to its flagship smartphone the N8 was mixed to say the least and Nokia failed to reveal sales figures today which can’t be a good sign.

Overall sales of smartphones by Nokia rose from 20.8 million in Q4 2009 to 28.3 million in Q4 2010 which was also an increase from 26.5 million in the previous quarter. While this all seems hunky dory, when you look at the percentage of the smartphone market Nokia possesses, the figures become a lot more worrying for the Finnish company. At the end of 2009, Nokia had 40 percent of the smartphone market but by the end of last year that had dropped to 31 percent. It is this decline that Elop has been brought in to halt and he made reference to this at the results call: “Nokia faces some significant challenges in our competitiveness and our execution. In short, the industry changed, and now it's time for Nokia to change faster."

In what could be a more significant indicator of where things may be going, Elop also said Nokia must “build or join a competitive ecosystem," which could, and no doubt will be, interpreted as an admittance that Nokia may have to look to OSes such as Android and Windows Phone 7 if it wants to regain lost ground in the market. However Nokia has made no mention of it getting rid of its Symbian OS and will point to its imminent (?) release of Meego as a possible way forward.

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January 27, 2011, 10:02 pm

Uh... they sold over 5 million S^3 devices. Their CFO announced it. Given the release dates of the N8, C7 and C6-01 I would put the N8 number at about 3.5 million.

Not bad. Not iPhone threatening but not a dead loss.


January 27, 2011, 10:23 pm

Where are they selling these phones? I haven't seen anyone using a Nokia for the last 18 months. Mostly iPhones, HTC and other android varieties.


January 28, 2011, 3:17 pm


That's the reality. These aren't horrible numbers but they're bad. There's been a market decrease in Western Europe and Nokia need to improve things. I've covered what they need to do as have others so not going into that again but the reality is that those who want an iPhone buy an iPhone. Those that don't buy an HTC Desire or SGS in the UK. Nokia aren't considered.

Nokia has been marginalised and whilst the situation isn't a dead loss they do need to start delivering on the improvement strategy they outlined last year. Do that and they compete again, take too long and... well, it won't be pretty.

I own an N8. It remains the best phone for me but the general public have a different view. Nokia need to tap into that again.

Arctic Fox

January 29, 2011, 8:30 am


I think that the N8 is a fine piece of kit. Where I live (Norway) they were roaring off the shelves of the local equivalent of Dixons in the run up to Xmas. Nokia have recently released some very fine phones as you mentioned in your first post. Nokia are in the middle of a fairly fundamental rejigging of their approach, the results of which we are only beginning to see some signs of. We should begin to see them start to release meego based phones from Q2 onwards and they have indicated that the meego UI will be made available to N8 customers (and I think C7 owners?) and they are promising to sharpen up their act when it comes to support in general. The company started to change course for real during 2010 but it will not be before well into 2011 that we will be able to see whether they are succeeding or not. BTW I will be very interested to see N8's sales figures for Q1 and Q2, I may be mistaken but I think that they are going to make pleasant reading from Nokia's viewpoint.



Arctic Fox

January 29, 2011, 8:45 am

I should also add that the rapport from IDC released yesterday covering the entire global market specifically mentions the N8 (in company with iPhone 4, HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy S and BlackBerry 8520) as doing very well in Western Europe. What is slaughtering Nokias figures in Europe at the moment is that their new lines in smart phones are only really beginning to come on stream whilst the feature phone market in general in Western Europe is beginning to tank.


January 29, 2011, 2:45 pm

@Arctic Fox

Oh don't get me wrong - I love my N8 for what it does. Flash UIs and meaningless apps come well down the list of what I value in a phone. Trouble is that's not the perception of the general public and Nokia need to be able to compete there.

Arctic Fox

January 29, 2011, 4:45 pm


I will be in the market for high end smart-phone myself in the next few months or so and I will cheerfully admit that I have looked very closely at the N8. I am in fact really holding off to see what Nokia is actually offering with the much rumoured N9/Meego before I take the plunge. Plus the fact that it is Mrs Arctic Fox' birthday in May and I want to see if Nokia will be offering something that would suit her. I sincerely hope that the N8 (which is, as far as hardware is concerned a superb phone) is a harbinger of good things to come from Nokia. If they get the UI right for a modern smart-phone (with the consequent effect on the attitudes of customers who are not technophiles like us) I think that some of the other players in the "game" are going to find that life has gotten that little bit harder. There are a lot of feature-phone customers out there who are considering moving over to "smartphonery" and an awful lot of them are currently Nokia customers. The company still has everything to play for (IMO) if they get it right with Meego. That they can still produce first class kit they have demonstrated with the N8 - now they have to equip their phones with a modern os/ui purpose built for smart-phones from the outset.

Glad to see that you are enjoying your N8!


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