There are two pieces of good news for Microsoft out this morning.
The first is that, hello, Microsoft stock is up 8% so far this year.
The second is that Nokia reported decent sales of its Lumia smartphones, which are powered by Microsoft Windows Phone 8.
Nokia reported Lumia sales of 5.6 million units last quarter – right in line with estimates.
Asymco analyst Horace Dediu made a chart showing that, thanks to the Windows Phones, Nokia smartphone sales may have finally “bottomed” after years of decline.
Few would doubt that 2012 was Android’s year given how rapidly it grew, but it’s good to have some context. IDC is more than willing to oblige. It estimates that Google’s OS climbed from 49.2 percent of the smartphone space in 2011 to 68.8 percent in 2012. As we’ve seen in the past, though, most of that came from customers leaving embattled platforms, including a pre-BB10 BlackBerry and Symbian. Apple reportedly held its ground at 18.8 percent, while Microsoft appears to have turned a corner with Windows Phone by climbing back up to 2.5 percent.
The fourth quarter results paint a slightly different picture. Android still had a comfortable 70.1 percent of share in IDC’s reckoning, but it took a hit from 75 percent in the third quarter — similar to what we’ve seen elsewhere, the iPhone 5 launch helped iOS claw back enough share to hit 21 percent. BlackBerry and Windows Phone weren’t quite so rosy, although they also didn’t have full quarters with new devices to offer. We’ll have to wait for the first quarter of 2013 to finish before we learn of any true shakeups in the status quo.
Finland’s fortunes are affected by one firm. What about other countries?
NOKIA contributed a quarter of Finnish growth from 1998 to 2007, according to figures from the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ET LA). Over the same period, the mobile-phone manufacturer’s spending on research and development made up 30% of the country’s total, and it generated nearly a fifth of Finland’s exports. In the decade to 2007, Nokia was sometimes paying as much as 23% of all Finnish corporation tax. No wonder that a decline in its fortunes–Nokia’s share price has fallen by 90% since 2007, thanks partly to Apple’s ascent–has clouded Finland’s outlook.
Are any other economies so reliant on one company? The researchers at ETLA calculate Nokia’s value-added to work out its importance to Finland, but such data are not widely available. A look at firms’ sales as a percentage of GDP (see table) offers a cruder indication of clout. We used the Dow Jones Global Index to identify firms whose revenues ranked highest in the country of their listing.
Firms like ArcelorMittal, Essar Energy and China Mobile make the top ten because of their choice of domicile; their economic activity mainly takes place elsewhere. Oil-and-gas firms feature heavily, although that may simply show that certain economies are dependent on a certain type of activity rather than a specific firm. Lower down the list the presence of Sands China, a casino developer and operator whose sales are 13% of Macao’s GDP, reflects the importance of gambling to the territory.
Strip these sorts of firms from the list and only one resembles No! kia: Tai wan’s Hon Hai, an electronics manufacturer. Yet Nokia made 27% of Finnish patent applications last year; the corresponding figure for Hon Hai was 8%. Although numbers are falling, Finland is home to the greatest number of Nokia employees; Hon Hai’s staff is mostly in China. It is a similar story with other firms. Sales of Nestlé, a consumer-goods company, weigh in at 15% of Swiss GDP but its share of Swiss jobs is punier than Nokia’s in Finland. Samsung, whose revenues are twice Nokia’s, has half its clout as a share of GDP: South Korea’s economy is more diversified. The importance of Nokia to Finland looks like a one-off.
It is now the second largest search engine in the U.S., just edging past Yahoo for the first time in December, according to the latest comScore data. That’s nice and all, but Microsoft is in a partnership with Yahoo, so it probably doesn’t want to be taking share from Yahoo.
- THE MICROSOFT INVESTOR: Nokia And Microsoft To Ship 37 Million Windows Phones This Year
- Microsoft Wins Again: Another Big Android Partner Signs A Patent Deal
- THE GOOGLE INVESTOR: Motorola And Chairman Schmidt Agree That Differentiation (Not Fragmentation) Is Key To Success
We knew this was coming, but now it’s more official-ish.
Strategy Analytics says Samsung “shipped” 28 million smartphones versus Apple’s 17.1 million.
Tiny caveat: In its earnings release Apple says it sold 17.1 million smartphones. We don’t think Samsung is stuffing 11 million smartphones in the channel to take the top spot, but it’s worth making a note of the distinction in language.
Apple was the top smartphone dealer in Q2, but it had a down quarter as consumers waited for the iPhone 4S. It’s unlikely to return to the top spot unless it has a mammoth fourth quarter.
And for all the Apple bulls out there who will predictably say, “So what, Apple has all the profits.” You’re right! Apple earns considerably more more money on the iPhone than Samsung earns on smartphones.
And the more phones Samsung sells, the fewer iPhones Apple can sell.
- Stephen Elop’s Reasons To Use A Nokia Windows Phone Aren’t Very Convincing
- Android Blows Past Apple To Take The Lead In Market Share For App Downloads
- Apple Will Make A True 4G iPhone In 2012 — REPORT
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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