Nokia All but Done in US Market

Handset titan Nokia recently has done some high profile deals (with Microsoft and Facebook) intended to compete with BlackBerry as well as more generally reinvigorate its US strategy. But you might as well stick a fork in the Finnish OEM because for all intents and purposes it's done in the US.

Now my assessment might change if:

  • Nokia develops some very inexpensive and highly functional phones that capture the low end of the market
  • Nokia buys Palm
  • Nokia abandons Symbian and adopts Android or Linux or both

However short of a highly disciplined approach to the market or a radical move such as a major acquisition or walking away from Symbian, which it's starting to do, there's just too much established competition among smartphone handsets for Nokia to make any big gains at the top end of the market.

Recently at the Nokia World event CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said "We have not given up, not mentally and not in practice." The numbers are going in the wrong direction however. Symbian saw its global market share decline from 62.3% at the end of 2007 to 47% at the end of 2008. That number further declined to 45% as of the most recent (Q2) Gartner handset numbers.

Taking a look at AdMob's mobile metrics reports for January through July of this year we see that among smartphones, the iPhone and Android grew while all other platforms flat-lined or declined. Nokia's Symbian, for example, declines from roughly 1% to less than 1% (it disappears into "other" as the year progresses). 

 Mobile Web Browsing Market Share (US market)

admob Source: AdMob mobile metrics reports Jan-July, 2009

Absent some radical new phones, strategy or action on Nokia's part, the company is facing an almost insurmountable uphill climb in the US. And the Nokia brand in the US equally continues to lose resonance with consumers; that in turn hurts Nokia's efforts to excite consumers with handsets and services.