I’m really fed up with this ****. I’ve been pushing this (for over half a year) to face of Tomi Ahonen – that he reported himself Nokia’s market share drop Q3-Q4 2010 (he wrote about it in January 2011). Let me try to squeeze it to few captions from Tomi Ahonen himself:

Previously, in most quarterly results, and most annual results, Nokia market share in all mobile phones, and in smartphones, was very stable. Thus Nokia’s growth numbers would be roughly in line with the industry growth number. If Nokia’s number was a little bit below the industry overall growth number – like from Q4 2009 to Q1 2010 – then of course Nokia’s market share would dip a little – one or two percentage points from one quarter to the next – and if Nokia performed better than the industry – as it did last year from Q1 to Q2 – then correspondingly Nokia’s market share would gain one or two percentage points. This is ‘normal’” [1]

In June of 2010, after Q2, 2010, Nokia’s smartphone market share stood at 39%. In Q3 it fell dramatically to 33%. Now in Q4 it fell further to 28%. Yes. In only six months, Nokia’s market share in smartphones fell from 39% to 28% – Nokia lost more than one quarter of its total market, in just six months!” [2]

This does not happen anywhere! When Toyota the carmaker had its global recall problems with its breaks, it did not lose one quarter of its total market in a year, far less than in six months. A car-maker will have a great year if they pick up one tenth of their market and may have a horrid year (like Toyota did) if they lose one tenth of their market in one year. When Sprint-Nextel the US telecoms carrier/operator made its famous marketing blunder of ‘firiring the Sprint 1,000 customers who complained too much’ – Sprint experienced an instant exodus of customers, but it did not lose a quarter of its customers in a year, it lost about a tenth. When Motorola experienced the iPhone effect and suddenly the Razr went from the hottest phone on the planet to the undesirable, Motorola lost one quarter of its customers – in one year, not in six months.” [2]

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.” [2]

All this from Tomi Ahonen in January 2011, before Nokia switched to Windows Phone. Now this is what I have been pushing against Tomi’s face for over half a year: he said himself that one or two points of percentage is “normal” and 25% drop in half a year “does not happen anywhere“. So something catastrophic happened at late 2010 and he admitted it himself too!

After Nokia switched to Windows Phone, Tomi Ahonen started writing about unit sales and telling how awesome unit sales Nokia had. Market share was forgotten (unless decline was mentioned from Q4 2010 onwards). So what is the most latest status?

Nokia invented the smarpthone so it started with 100% market share. It is predictable that Nokia would see market share erosion, gradually, over time, as the market drew new competitors, as happens with any new market. The Nokia average rate of market share decline had been historically be about 4% or 5% per annum, and guess what it was in 2010? Exactly to form, in year 2010, Nokia market share (annually) fell from 39% to 35% ie a fall of 4% in market share points (incidentially, there was some shenanigans with that, Nokia’s previous CEO was caught buying market share ie boosting it by artificial prices that cut profits severely, an unsustainable problem which was part of why he was fired in the summer of 2010). Obviously Nokia’s annual market share erosion was so mild, it would not register in this Top 7, in fact nowhere near the Top 10 biggest falls in handsets.” [3]

Huh? I think the drop was not seen as “mild” in January 2011? I’m sure you still remember you reported it then?
Oh wait, you Tomi have also numbers to show us?
We have your numbers from January 2011, so what is it that you will use January 2013?

YEAR 2009 – 39%
YEAR 2010 – 35%
YEAR 2011 – 16%
YEAR 2012 –   5%
Sources: Nokia quarterly data, industry analyst consensus, and TomiAhonen Consulting 2013
This table may be freely shared

Q1 2011 – 24%
Q2 2011 – 15%
Q3 2011 – 14%
Q4 2011 – 12%
Q1 2012 –   8%
Q2 2012 –   6%
Q3 2012 –   4%
Q4 2012 –   3% (est)
Sources: Nokia quarterly data, industry analyst consensus, and TomiAhonen Consulting 2013
This table may be freely shared” [3]

Nice pick, Tomi. So you decided to brush the ugly second half of 2010 under the carpet. Way to go.
But your readers remember you reported it already at late 2010/early 2011. So readers of your blog commented to you that market share dropped already in 2010 (just like you reported in 2011). That is very kind from them. And I think you did comment back for all those who wanted to correct you:

To all in the thread

I removed several comments that were troll-like, that clearly had not read the actual blog article. I addressed Nokia’s previous decline in market share in smartphones – a natural occurance when you invent an industry and start at 100% market share. I also pointed out the natural rate of decline and showed that in year 2010, Nokia’s market share decline matched its historical average. You cannot take one quarter and compare to annual sales because of various fluctuations, the iPhone is launching only one phone per year, so it sees a huge jump with the new iPhone model and that quarter is artificially high (compared to the annual average rate) and there usually is one quarter Apple actual sales decline Quarter-on-Quarter, not to mention huge swings in its market share per quarter. As to Nokia, it saw decreases – and increases – in is market share in the quarters just before the Elop Effect.

As I clearly indicate using Nokia’s own shipment numbers, that Nokia 2009 market share was 39% and in 2010 that declined the normal level to 34%, there was no ‘collapse’ happening during 2010. But when 34% is exchanged to 16% in one year, that is a collapse. And so extreme, it is a world-record collapse in the handset industry.

Anyone who wants to come here post comments talking about Nokia collapse started prior to year 2011, has to address THIS BLOG ARTICLE AND FACTS IN IT, not post nonsense about irrelevant factors such as what happened with Symbian or some given quarter or some given rival. Nokia faced its totally normal rate of decline in annual numbers, from 2009 to 2010, in market share – the historical average decline that is normal for the market leader who invented a new industry 14 years earlier. Exact average in fact and suddenly in 2011, the bottom fell out of Nokia smartphones. The market share collapsed – in year 2011, not in 2010.

Tomi Ahonen 🙂” [4]


Could you Tomi explain me why you talk about huge swings in Apple’s market share (quarterly) and imply that Nokia saw decreases and increases like that? This is Nokia’s market share for over two years before “Elop Effect”. Only big swing is down and it starts before Elop even takes charge (Source: IDC)

Or, if you wish, let me put that in a more descriptive form:

Symbian Market share as it has happened (numbers reported by Tomi Ahonen):


compared to:

Symbian (and Nokia) Market shares as Tomi Ahonen claims they would have been:


Sources: TomiAhonen Consulting 2010-2011

First graph is history as it happened, but what do we have in the latter graph?

  • The solid lines (to bitter end of Q4 2010) are Symbian Market Share, Android Market Share and Nokia market share, all as reported by Tomi Ahonen in his blog for Q1-Q4 2010.
  • Then we have dashed lines going to Q1 2011. Tomi Ahonen claims that there was consensus of leading analyst houses at end of 2010 saying “either Symbian or Nokia will continue as the world’s biggest smartphone OS/maker into the future, from a minimum to the end of 2011 for Nokia to as far as end of 2015 for Symbian.” [5]
  • Therefore dashed line of Symbian Market Share is projected towards end of 2015 and lined to close (but still differ by 0.1%) the dashed line of Android Market Share at end of that year.
  • Dashed line of Nokia Market Share is result of Tomi’s statement that Nokia was heading towards market share of 28% in Q1 2011. [5]

Realistic looking, huh?
And I do know Tomi says every now and then that Symbian lost market share in 2010 since other manufacturers abandoned it. That naturally means that Nokia’s percentage of Symbian sales increases towards the point those two lines meet. Tell me if you see any mentionable movement to that direction. This is full year, you know?

Nokia 2009 market share was 39% and in 2010 that declined the normal level to 34%, there was no ‘collapse’ happening during 2010.

–Tomi Ahonen, January 2013.


And please note, Q2 2011 market share indeed drops due to “Elop Effect” but it is utterly silly to blame that Elop Effect caused market share collapse that had been ongoing for three adjacent quarters before it.
So yes, Tomi Ahonen, we know you delete all comments that try to tell you this. That is why this blog exists.

And Tomi, you can’t blame iPhone about the quarterly fluctuations as you wrote it yourself very clearly about 2010 market share collapse – the one you now call “mild” but then said that you “honestly do not remember any such instance in any industry” – cannot be due to it:

The Apple loyalist have been waiting to yell out – obviously, the timing issue for June 2010 is the iPhone 4! The most celebrated and most anticipated new phone of the year. This is perfect cause and effect. Q2 of 2010 had only a couple of days of iPhone 4 sales in the USA, the iPhone 4 had its first real quarter of sales in Q3, and the iPhone market share explosion mirrors Nokia’s crash in Q3. Almost perfect parallel. This must be the reason! Apple market share shot up 4% from 14% in Q2 to 18% in Q3, while Nokia market share fell from 39% to 33%. Yes, Apple grew 4 market share points and Nokia fell six points, but at least the vast majority of the reason for Nokia’s crash is Apple. Has to be!

That makes very compelling sense, for one quarter only. Now the theory breaks down in Q4. Apple market share declined from 18% to 16% – and Nokia further declined from 33% to 28%. If the two were linked, if in Q3, the sudden drop by Nokia was caused by Apple’s iPhone 4, then now that the iPhone market share has declined a little, then Nokia would have to have recovered roughly as much for Q4! It cannot be the reason. Yes, probably the iPhone 4 did take some Nokia sales but it also probably took some sales from Motorola and RIM and HTC etc in Q3. Because the pattern breaks down in Q4, we know it cannot be the reason. Nokia did not crash only one quarter, it crashed for two quarters straight – and in Q4, also Apple lost market share. The cause cannot be the iPhone 4 either.” [2]

Calling it FUD, twisting of numbers, intentional hiding of facts, falsifying the truth, you name it.
Liar, liar, pants on fire.


[1] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/01/undesirable-at-any-price-what-happened-to-nokia-who-invented-the-smartphone.html

[2] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/01/sherlock-holmes-hounds-of-the-nokiaville-why-did-nokia-market-share-crash-dive-i-may-have-an-answer.html

[3] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2013/01/the-seven-biggest-collapses-in-mobile-handset-or-smartphone-history-this-is-part-3-in-the-nokia-disa.html

[4] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2013/01/the-seven-biggest-collapses-in-mobile-handset-or-smartphone-history-this-is-part-3-in-the-nokia-disa/comments/page/2/#comments