Nokia takes largest Windows Phone 7 vendor crown: Shame about the market share

Nokia takes largest Windows Phone 7 vendor crown: Shame about the market share

Summary: Nokia has become the largest Windows Phone 7 vendor. It's quick progress, but it means nothing because the market share still stinks.

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Nokia has become the biggest vendor of Windows Phone 7 devices on the market.

Research firm Strategy Analytics said today that fourth quarter shipments of Windows Phone 7 devices were up by 36 percent compared to the third quarter. It's better, but considering that the shipping figure is still only 2.7 million units in the last quarter, the numbers mean nothing because the market share figure stinks.

Apple sold 37 million iPhones during the same period. Go figure.

Between August and October 2011, the combined power of Samsung and Android kicked off many big names from the top mobile OEMs list, taking a 25.5 percent reach and 46.3 reach respectively.

But Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform fared even worse than the BlackBerry, a sinking ship in the mobile space. Symbian, however, remains in the top five. At the last count, Microsoft lost as much share as Symbian did.

Microsoft's mobile reach is still well within the 4--6 percent range. Google has over 45 percent, and Apple has nearly 30 percent. Seeing as Microsoft is the world leader in operating systems, it clearly hasn't nailed the success on the mobile yet.

Nokia taking the crown as the largest Windows Phone 7 vendor is like being the most attractive looking person in an ugly contest. The two companies can produce fantastic products, services and platforms. But putting the two together may in theory work well; the results are not showing a vast amount of success.

But if Nokia was counting on Microsoft to save it from an uncertain doom, favouring its mobile operating system over Symbian which remains in a steady decline, perhaps Nokia should not have put most of its eggs all in one Redmond-based basket.

HTC, which was once the top vendor, was relegated to second place. It's bad news for HTC, but because Microsoft follows the Google pattern of licensing out its operating system to others --- unlike Research in Motion and Apple --- it guarantees a further spread of share and a lack of dependence and lock-in by specific hardware.

Having said that, what we have seen with Android and the massive, exponential growth of market share and user base should not be a benchmark. Google managed something with Android that Microsoft could not do with Windows Phone 7.

The U.S. consumer market is still waiting for the 'good' Windows Phone 7 devices to come out, like the Nokia Lumia 900, slated for March 18th. Until then, perhaps Nokia and Microsoft should take a step back and work out exactly why it does not have the force that Google has.

Because if we know anything, Google knows growth. In social networking, search and the mobile space. Take heed, and emulate success wherever possible.

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Topics: Software, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia, Operating Systems, Windows

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106 comments
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  • Sales Volume

    "Apple sold 37 million iPhones during the same period. Go figure."

    Nokia sold 113.5 million mobile phones in that period (up 6% from Q3). :)
    Raju Das
    • Breathing room

      That would tend to suggest hat rumors of Nokia's imminent demise are greatly exaggerated. And it gives them breathing room to help make Win Phone 7 a viable platform. But Nokia and Microsoft really, really, really have to make this thing work otherwise both are in big trouble down the road.
      dsf3g
    • Saving Grace

      Why do you suppose only 3 million of the 113 million chose a Windows Phone unit? The rest all bought some other kind of Nokia phone. Is it just that the 'feature phone' market is that big where Nokia does best?
      Robert Hahn
      • Re: Saving Grace

        There are a substantial number of markets where Nokia Windows Phones are not yet available. Nokia also plays in a lot of markets where the Windows Phones are as of yet too expensive for many people to consider. Which is the very thing they are working on with the next upgrade of Windows Phone (Tango).
        WebSiteManager
    • Just remember...

      ... that is 113.5 million feature phone AND smart phones, some of which sell for less that $15 bucks a piece. Most use some kind of Symbian variant, which you must concede is a "dead platform".

      To give a comparison, Lotus Notes has an estimated 45 market share on the enterprise mail systems, with Exchange an estimate 40... but how many Notes installations do you see on the consumer side.

      With that said, you can't join apples and oranges, until Microsoft releases Tango and Tango 2, which are targeted for feature phones.

      Ironically, that might be the best market niche Microsoft can carve, the only problem is the cutthroat margins and the high turnover rate.
      cosuna
    • Nokia Lumia 710 on WP7

      My wife and I have been Android users for about 3 years now, but she just picked up a Nokia Lumia 710 with WP 7 on it, and I have to admit, it's a nice phone. The user interface is quite nice, fairly intuitive, and once activated through T-Mobile, the phone automatically downloaded all of my wife's Google contact list, and Gmail started working immediately. It's still early, but if this phone is an indication of where this platform is going, I think there is a good chance for significant growth. They won't overtake Android or the iPhone, but so far the experience has been good, an easier transition than even from my old HTC T1 to the newer HTC G2 this last year. I'm still on Android, but the only complaint we have so far on WP 7 is that we haven't figured if we can change the default search from Bing to Google.
      kevinf@...
      • Go look at bings local scout feature on your wifes phone. You wont miss

        google for a second. Or go check out the videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/windowsphone. If youre still stuck on google for whatever reason just go to google in the browser and pin that site to the start screen and you'll have one tap access to it
        Johnny Vegas
    • Grossly Misleading Statistics

      Mostly Nokia sold $20 feature phones, not $500 smartphones. The numbers quoted are not at all comparative.

      Similarly Q3 to Q4 is not so relevant as is Q412 versus Q411, or year-over-year data.

      Anyone clicking a plus up to this silly "Sales Volume" post should first think for a minute about the data.
      Allen_Wentz
      • Not exactly but youre right about the statistics

        Youre only right about one thing.. the numbers quoted are not at all comparitive.
        Especially when you realize that the growth was only measured in the 2nd and 3rd Quarter. Nokia didnt start selling the WP7 until the 4th quarter.

        The only portion that is accurately compared is of Nokia's growth.

        This entire article is bunk.. its funny how these journalists keep their jobs at all !!
        JABBER_WOLF
    • Nokia sold lots of phones

      And lost money on every one. But they're making it up in volume. Only $-1.5B profits for the quarter, or $-13 per phone. Keep rockin' the world, Nokia.
      symbolset
  • Funny, Google's OS isn't helping HTC

    They're very heavy into Andrid, and yet you mentioned they dropped in sales.

    Some force.
    William Farrel
    • Android

      The Android market is quite saturated. For a while there these companies were pushing out phone after phone after phone. Now it's coming back to hurt them.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Nokia takes largest Windows Phone 7 vendor crown: Shame about the market sh

    There is nothing shameful about it. Microsoft started from 0% of Windows Phone 7 up to what they have now, that is pretty impressive and should be commended since they did it from scratch. Its really the carriers that are holding back on WP7. Their sales people are purposely guiding people away from WP7 phones and telling lies about it, and they have been caught in the act many times. There is a site that lists the stores not to go to where sales people have done this, those same sales people don't like getting commission. As soon as Verizon gets on board with WP7 phones there will be a pretty big uptake of the market. Also the analysts reports are saying WP7 is expected to grow significantly over the next 3 years.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • When you start from 0 (Your words not mine) then any

      growth is significant. So yeah I expect and hope Windows phone will show growth we could use a strong third horse in this race. Heck I even hope RIM finds it's way out of it's mess so a forth horse can be added to the race. That said I wonder what the end result will be? Android OEM's are even now in the midst of a PC like Price War. If MS and or RIM or both make a showing will there be even worse Price War Damage to OEM's? As Dell once showed once in this kind of thing it's hard to pull back and start making real money again and the countless PC OEM's that have come and gone over the past couple decades clearly show the danger of being caught up is such. Even if you win what do you gain? Ask HP and or Dell that one:) So i think for many an OEM Android, Windows, RIM the future could very well be explosive.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Hardware is tough, but an open-source OS is less bad

        At least with Android, hardware vendor have a bit more liberty: Google can't do what MS did:
        -Force vendor to restrict themselves (PC book specs) for example you can't sell a notebook with w7 starter with 4GB even if it works (2GB artificial limit)
        -Manipulate them with the price of the OS. "Dear Mr ASUS, we noticed you started selling EEE Linux netbooks, now the price of Windows will be +10$ for you. signed: MS"
        pweltz
    • "...should be commended..." Not!

      MS started from zero because MS (literally) laughed at the iPhone and due to gross incompetence started years late in an important growth area. MS execs should have been replaced, not "commended."
      Allen_Wentz
  • Market Share

    Why are we still talking about 4th qtr market share? This subject has been beaten to death. Nokia's WP7 was only out for 6 weeks of the 4th qtr and in only 5 or 6 countries. It is starting from zero. Give it time....
    Gary554
    • Not to mention the iphone numbers were overly inflated due to everyone

      waiting for the new one and then all buying in the same quarter. Nokia and MS are still just barely ramping up. They still dont have phones in many countries or languages. That's why the smart ones are the ones looking at how the market will look in 2015, not Q4 of 2011
      Johnny Vegas
      • 2015 too far ahead

        Three years is a really, really long time in mobile. Already MS started years behind and needs to get major traction much sooner than 2015. Especially since MS lost about a third of MSFT market capitalization since 2007.

        The good news is that (unlike WP7) WP8 is poised to potentially do well.
        Allen_Wentz
    • Umm Gary...

      Windows phone was out in Q4, 2010. So Q4 2011 is a year after, considering WP 7 + WM6.5 equal less than 2% of the total market, I???d call it a failure.
      Joel-r