Tomi Ahonen scores the least accurate forecast ever made – off by over seven thousand percent


Hello my readers. You recently were able to see how the contest between Tomi Ahonen and myself ended up. Today I’d like to go a bit deeper into Tomi’s forecast about year 2015.
You probably already know Tomi Ahonen calls himself the most accurate forecaster so I want to see more details on what his forecast for year 2015 actually was.

As Tomi titles himself as mobile analyst he shouldn’t have just pulled the numbers from his hat but actually have market share percentage model available. Unfortunately he did not give us the percentage list but we do have some data points to reverse-engineer the Tomi forecast. Let’s however start with this gem:

Pyramid was widely ridiculed for that worst forecast of the industry and for the record in 2013 Android sold 767 million units of smartphones and Windows Phone managed 33 million. That error is as far as I know the biggest error in any forecast in mobile ever made, at 2,200 percent !!!

–Tomi Ahonen, April 08, 2015 [1]

Tomi’s forecast? off by 7,750 percent – OVER THREE TIMES “the biggest error in any forecast in mobile ever made”. [2]

How do we get there? It’s easy and here goes:

First of all we do know that top 3 mobile operating systems were supposed to be Android, Tizen and iOS (in that order) and they will hold “over 90% of the market”:
tomi_tizen_2013_several [3]
In addition to that Tomi also gave top 5 order [4], which was Android, Tizen, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows (in that order):
He did say it then that Tizen and iOS will be close to each other and he had said that before too [5]:

Now this start leaves us with few questions, like:

  • How big are the sizes of Android, Tizen and iOS?
  • We do get maximum market share for Tizen at 30%. Simply because Android needs to be larger, iOS needs to be almost the same size and combined market share needs to be 90% (or a bit over). Basically that would be 31%/30%/29% for Android/Tizen/iOS.
  • We also know that the minimum market share for Tizen is at 6% since the last OS’es take 10% (and if we have maximum of 5%/5% BB/WP we need to have Tizen at least at 6% to be “larger”).
  • But how about the actual ratio between Blackberry and Windows? It defines the minimum Tizen size so is it 5%/5%? Or perhaps 9%/1%?
  • And most of all: should we leave anything for “other OS’es”?

There are too many variables so let’s see what we have to help us. First of all we know Tizen is supposed to be huge. It’ll be bigger than iOS but “probably” never catches Android:

And we also know that Tizen will eat about 10 points of percentage of market share from Android and Android would then be at 60%:

Note, that most of Tizen’s gains would come directly from Android. Still, if you remove 10% from Android’s 70% now, it still leaves Google as the Gorilla of mobile, with 60%

–Tomi Ahonen January 31, 2013 [6]
That statement was made at the same time as Tomi’s previous forecast, so we should use highest Android market share for year 2012, which is 70.7% from Q3 (same as Tomi mentioned), assume it was “the peak” and minus the 10 points. (This increased Tizen minimum market share to 10%, BTW.)
At least Tomi was fine with the idea that Android market share will be down. Let’s for now leave Android there at 70.7% minus 10 so we’ll have it a bit above his 60% prediction.
Next I’ll put Tizen just 0.1% ahead of iOS as those were supposed to be close (and since in reality Tizen did not outgrow iOS, this tries to minimize the error made by Tomi).

More data points: Blackberry was at 3% and Tomi said they will remain niche [8][9]:
So I’d count that 3% for BlackBerry. We can’t really have lower number for poor BlackBerry or “others” corner will be problematic (more about that next).
Windows Phone/Mobile Tomi said will never pass 2%. [10]
In addition to that Tomi listed SailfishOS, FirefoxOS and Ubuntu as something coming in the future. And the fact is that all of them must be smaller than Windows or otherwise Tomi’s top 5 ordering is lost. And none of them should be noticeably bigger than the others but Sailfish OS is the one with 1% market share. [6]

Let’s gather the market share requirements:

  • Order is Android, Tizen, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows.
  • Android has ~60.7%.
  • Difference between Tizen & iOS is as small as possible, Tizen leads.
  • BlackBerry has ~3%, not more.
  • Windows can’t have more than 2%.
  • Sailfish OS, Firefox OS and Ubuntu are smaller than Windows.
  • Sailfish OS has 1% market share.

Now we could go for 60.7% Android and split the rest of 90% equally between Tizen and iOS. That would be pretty bad forecast for iOS but even worse for Android if we tried to increase iOS market share to meet the real iOS result from 2015.
For the rest we should take maximum sizes for BlackBerry and Windows (3% and 2%) but then we have 5% to spread between the other OSes, of which none can be over 1%. And we cannot increase Windows or BlackBerry OS market sahres either so let’s try this one:
Tomi said Android, Tizen and iOS will be OVER 90%. Let’s toss that sum to 92%. We know Android is supposed to have peak at 70% and then lose 10 points to Tizen so let’s not increase Android market share (as we shouldn’t or iOS is off again).This means Tizen and iOS gain the last 2 points. We cannot make them differ much (and we shouldn’t if we want to keep this as close to reality as possible).
Let’s add one more point: Still in 2014 Tomi said that in his past vision Samsung would be shipping half of their devices running Tizen by 2014 already, plus there would be other vendors included. [11] Samsung market share for 2014 was 24% (down from 31% in 2013) which means Tizen needs to be around 15% at least.

I think we are ready to have the full set and it looks like this:

  • 60.7% Android
  • 15.7% Tizen
  • 15.6% iOS
  • 3% BlackBerry OS
  • 2% Windows
  • 3% others (Incl. Salfish OS, Firefox OS and Ubuntu)
  • 0% Symbian

Now the actual full year 2015 results: [2]

  • 81.3% Android
  • 16.1% iOS
  • 2.0% Windows
  • 0.3% BlackBerry OS
  • 0.2% Tizen
  • 0.1% Others (Incl. Sailfish OS, Firefox OS and Ubuntu)
  • 0% Symbian

Tomi is somewhere in the other galaxy with Tizen, clearly had no clue on how Android would be de-facto OS and was not on track with BlackBerry either. I think this explains why Tomi only talks about Windows Phone when he tells he’s “the most accurate forecaster”.😉

Could we compare it to something? I know! Let’s compare it to the worst forecast we can find! That is of course the one Tomi calls the worst of them all and comes from IDC:

  • 52.9% Android
  • 19.2% Windows
  • 19.0% iOS
  • 5.9% BlackBerry
  • 3.0% Others (incl. Tizen)
  • 0.0% Symbian

Tomi scores closer on Android, iOS, Windows and BlackBerry but fails more with every other OS, especially with Tizen. But let’s score this properly (back to the original punchline in my post):

For Windows Phone forecast Tomi said Pyramid forecast of Windows Phone is off by 2,200% because their forecast was 23 times as big as the reality turned out to be. [1][12] (Idiotic way to compare the forecasts but that’s the style Tomi wants to use.)
With the same math Tomi’s Tizen forecast is off by whopping 7,750% – over three times worse than Pyramid ever was.

If we want to be REALLY merciful we can ignore everything Tomi said about peak Android, Samsung shipping half of its phones with Tizen, Tizen challenging Android and so forth and push Tomi’s forecast all the way down to the 10% absolute minimum market share Tomi clearly stated Tizen would exceed (inconveniently putting iOS at 9.9%). But even then Tomi is off by 4,900% – over TWICE as bad as Pyramid.

That error is as far as I know the biggest error in any forecast in mobile ever made



Some old babbling from Tomi Ahonen quickly covered

Let me start by saying that the performance of Stephen Elop as a CEO of Nokia was poor at best and he deserves all the bashing he can get.
Then I’ll renew my stand that there is no need to make stuff up if you want to bash Elop.
Why so?
Well, Tomi Ahonen is on the run again. Today I want to check if this blog works like it would if it was the database it should be by now. So I’m covering Tomi’s new blog post by just pointing back to old posts of mine. Here goes:

Stephen Elop personally caused the fastest collapse of any Fortune 500 sized global giant leading its own industry of ANY INDUSTRY that has ever been.

No, he did not cause it. Accelerated, sure. (visit link)

Elop was literally worse than New Coke or worse than Exxon Valdez or worse than Toyota Brakes.

Perhaps so, but should we compare it to something else that was worse than Toyota brakes? This is from you Tomi, about events preceding “Elop Effect”:

This level of Nokia market share loss is pretty much unprecedented. I have been a close follower of global business for over thirty years, I honestly do not remember any such instance in any industry where any major global brand lost a quarter of its total customer base in a period of only six months. Even airlines with air crashes or devastating strikes do not suffer this badly. Cars with ‘unintended acceleration’ (ie ‘killer cars’) like Audi experiences in 1995 did not destroy a quarter of their customer base globally in six months.

Yeah it is true Elop was a failure but at least compare him to the next worst event available. (visit link)

This moron Stephen Elop you just hired – as your STRATEGY boss – is so clueless, he ran the Osborne Effect TWICE on Nokia. First for the switch from Symbian to Windows Phone ie his Lumia phones; then again when he announced the ‘new Lumia’ onto Windows 8, which would not be compatible with his current and shortly-to-be-sold Lumia phones that ran with Windows Phone 7.5 and 7.8.

Actually you have to choose – if he did Osborne effect on the Windows Phone 7 -> 8 transition, then also Kallasvuo did the same under his tenure. You can’t have just one. (visit link)

So Elop was refusing to sell the hottest Nokia phone ever, the N9 with MeeGo, in most countries including your country of birth, Andy, in Britain – where the N9 won the D&AD industry award for best design (considered the Oscars of design as the ultimate design award globally).

Okay… But the design was copied to Lumia line which ALSO won design awards so once again you have to choose. Either the design awards matter and bot N9 and Lumia had the same advantage… Or then design awards don’t matter at all.

That phone, the N9 was regularly considered as good as, or better than the iPhone and its operating system, MeeGo was the only one on the planet considered as good as – or by some better – than the iOS on the iPhone. The OS was miles better than Symbian and far far FAR better than that dog called Windows Phone that Elop preferred.

N9 was not “regularly considered” as good as, or better than the iPhone.
N9 was not rated better than Lumia 800.
And neither was the MeeGo OS ever the reason for rating.
(visit link)

Oh, and you in Australia didn’t get to buy the N9 but your cousins across the sea, in New Zealand did. Again, because idiot Elop somehow felt that Australia was too big a market to bother to sell the N9 even though Australian reviewers LOVED the phone.

Huh? Yes N9 was sold in Australia. And thirty-six other countries including likes of Russia, Brazil and Italy. (visit link)

Even though Nokia was developing FIVE handsets for MeeGo and the OS was winning praise the world over.

Five? Try three. Of which N950 was cancelled already in 2010 because it was seen as outdated. (visit link)

Your boy Stephen Elop had his ‘strategy’ genius idea to abandon naming and lettering on Nokia phones and go to a confusing numbering scheme instead which had no rhyme or reason whatsoever.

Well, let’s for the sake of argument assume Elop did that decision by himself and Nokia product design, branding team or marketing had nothing to do with it… Doesn’t he also get the credit for Asha/Lumia namings? (visit link)

Nokia’s Interbrand ranking fell from 8th to 57th.

After they had already dropped it from 5th to 8th. And Brandz ranking fell from 13th to 43rd…
…but that was before Elop was even a CEO. Does it surprise that Interbrand followed suit? (visit link)

Nokia’s credit rating fell from AA+ to Junk by all three credit rating agencies.

Not this again. (visit link)


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