Consumers are walking away from Nokia in droves with some analysts now speculating that even Microsoft and their Windows Mobile 7 OS will not save the struggling phone maker.
New sales figures revealed this week show Nokia is back to 1997 levels with the company in Australia now moving to buffer criticism by trying to isolate journalists from access to information or company executives.
Last month ChannelNews was told that management at the local subsidiary got “really upset” when at a recent Nokia press conference several journalists from both trade and mass media publications interrupted a product presentation with questions that “local management did not like” regarding the company.
The questions regarding Nokia’s long slow decline in the market and their inability to produce a Smartphone to compete with offerings from Apple, Samsung, Motorola or HTC have been borne out with research showing that their N8 has struggled when compared to sales of both the Apple iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S and the HTC Desire.
According to Gartner research Nokia sales are down 25 per cent, to a level last seen in 1997.
To put that into perspective consider that in 1997 the world still hadn’t heard of 3G phones. The big tech bubble of 2000 was only just beginning to form.
Right now Nokia is banking on a last big hoorah after cutting a deal with Microsoft, who is another lost soul in the brutal phone market.
Nokia is hoping that the Windows Phone OS will be their road back to glory despite the fact that consumers and vendors are switch off the Microsoft OS offering in favour of offerings from Google and Apple.
The same Gartner research that has exposed the deepening of Nokia’s current problems has also revealed how far Microsoft is behind the Android Apple pack.
According to Gartner, just 3.6 million smartphones using a Microsoft mobile OS were sold last quarter, for a 3.6 percent market share. Even more disturbing is the news that the newer Windows Phone OS saw sales slump to just 1.6 million of the 3.6 million total Windows mobile sales.
Recently LG executives said that sales of Windows Phone 7 had slumped and that the company was seriously questioning whether to continue making a Smartphone running the Microsoft OS. At a recent Telstra event executives admitted that sales of Windows Phone 7 devices were slow while a Vodafone Manager said “No one is walking in and asking for a Windows Phone 7. Consumers want an iPhone or Android device”.
In a desperate attempt to get back in the race, Microsoft will unveil its newest version of the Windows phone operating system on Tuesday, May 24th, giving the world the first real taste of what Nokia Windows phones could look like.
Carolina Milanesi, mobile analyst at Gartner said Nokia has come under fire both at the top end of the market from iPhones and Android handsets and at the bottom end from virtually unknown Chinese entrants pumping out entry level mobiles into emerging markets.
It is the latest in a series of small defeats for the Finnish handset maker. In April, HTC of Taiwan overtook Nokia in terms of market value. Last year Apple’s mobile handset business became more profitable than Nokia’s.
A new defeat is set for next quarter, when it looks as if Samsung could overtake Nokia in sales in parts of Europe.
Android now rules the roost in the smartphone market with handsets using the Google operating system accounting for 36 per cent of the market in the first quarter, compared with just under 10 per cent a year ago. Nokia’s soon-to-be defunct Symbian operating system is only in 27 per cent of smartphones compared to 44 per cent this time last year.
Android’s rapid rise isn’t surprising considering that dozens of handset manufacturers make Android phones. But the figures do highlight how rapidly things can change in the handset business.
During the first quarter of 2010, Android’s market share stood at just 9.6 percent, putting it in fourth place. Symbian at the time had a 44.2 percent market share, followed by BlackBerry OS and iOS with 19.7 percent and 15.3 percent market share, respectively. The older Windows Mobile had 6.8 percent market share.