Nokia: Big and Slow
Nokia faces some very significant challenges. The game has changed from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems and competitive ecosystems are gaining momentum and share. The emergence of ecosystems represents the broad convergence of the mobility, computing and services industries. In short, our industry changed, it’s time for Nokia to change faster.
As Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said during the company’s Thursday earnings call, Nokia faces significant challenges in competitiveness and execution. And nowhere is that more clear than in its recent performance in the smartphone market. Nokia may be the world’s largest smartphone maker, but it’s also the world’s slowest growing. As Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu points out this morning, Nokia has been ceding ground precipitously on the smartphone front, with sequential smartphone growth that pales to that of its rivals.
In the November quarter, Nokia’s smartphone shipments grew 7 percent.
- Apple’s grew 15 percent
- Research In Motion’s grew 17 percent
- Motorola’s grew 29 percent
- HTC’s grew 34 percent
In the end, Nokia’s smartphone shipments grew at a slower pace than those of its feature phones. Which wouldn’t be so bad if growth in the feature phone weren’t slowing, but it is. Ferragu expects it to decline from 13 percent growth in 2010 to 5 percent growth in 2011.
If ever there was a time for “Nokia to change faster,” as Elop says, it is now. Otherwise…it has a future of continued weakness to look forward to. Says Ferragu, “For the next 12-18 month, there is only one thing we believe Nokia can do: brace. We believe it is difficult to anticipate how badly Nokia’s market position can deteriorate before a new strategy delivers improving fundamentals.”