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.