Hi guys and gals. This could be the best day this blog has experienced – ever.
You see, ever since this blog kicked off year 2012 I’ve had this dream:
What if we could witness the alternate reality where Nokia had stubbornly kept their Symbian/MeeGo strategy and there had not been Elop in charge?
I mean – how bad would all the prophecies Tomi Ahonen made year 2010 look now? If we just could get back to that era and witnes his credibility crumble as his forecasts fail one after another when it becomes obvious that he has no clue about Nokia and its current business?
- Can you imagine Tomi explaining quarter after quarter how MeeGo starting from zero apps will soon take off?
- Or Tomi explaining how Android is an also-ran?
- Or Tomi explaining how carriers really eagerly wait to sell Symbian/MeeGo phones instead of Android and iPhone (double as funny if you know the full background)?
Now we can!
(Well, sort of.)
Recently Nokia announced their return to handset business via a licensing brand to a third party that incidentally has acquired feature phone business from Microsoft.
Tomi Ahonen jumped through the roof with that. Here are some of the finest he wrote as a result, with my comments in italic:
- Tomi correctly expected Microsoft would sell the remaining ex-Nokia handset business back to Nokia (instead of Hon Hai/Foxconn).
(Except that they didn’t sell it back to Nokia, Foxconn is licensing the brand from Nokia.)
- The new partnership of will become a Nokia brand full portfolio company, designing, manufacturing, marketing, selling and distributing smartphones, dumbphones and tablets under the Nokia brand (exclusively) and using what remains of the original Nokia design, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of ‘original’ Nokia.
(Oh dear, manufacturing again.)
- Nokia’s ex-featurephone business is actually profitable and still sells in the range of 80 million dumbphones per year.
(Well, can’t verify on the profitablity part but let’s go to the next one.)
- It’s not inconceivable that Nokia is able to transition all of this last 80 million dumbphone customer base to smartphones in the next 36-48 months. That would have been a 5% market share last year in smartphones, and would put this unit in contention for roughly a 4th place finish in the Top 10.
(Huh? Nokia lost market share in all phones – smart and feature – ever since year 2006!!! They weren’t able to “transition all of their feature phone user base” to smartphones even back then!)
- Nokia designed a series of 3 ‘X Series’ Nokia Android smartphones in early 2014 just before the handset business was handed over to Microsoft. When we consider the upcoming portfolio, expect several models as updates to those models (and possibly even launching a few of them still now, at lower prices).
(Why on earth would they do that? Those models are two years old and have not only outdated specs but also outdated look and feel.)
- We could see (hopefully will see) the first new Nokia Android smartphones relatively soon. Tomi thinks a Christmas launch of new Nokia Android smartphones is optimistic (but might happen in small volume) but a Spring 2017 roll-out should be very feasible as this deal is now announced in May of 2016.
(Well I hope he’s not very disappointed when the first phones are not being rolled out by Christmas. Unless Foxconn takes some existing model and slaps Nokia text to it, but that won’t be the high-quality Nokia product Tomi is asking for.)
- By the end of 2017 Nokia should have at least 5 Android models, maybe something like 8; and including one clear flagship with Pureview camera, Xenon flash etc. That Nokia brand should be at about 3% market share for Q4 of year 2017.
- Tomi expects a return of ‘The Communicator’ a full touch-screen large screen flaship class superphone with slider/folder physical QWERTY keyboard, in the style of the Nokia E7 and the N950. And a portfolio of at least 10 and could be as many as 20 smartphone models by Q4 of 2018.
(This is his fixation to QWERTY keyboards again. Perhaps worth mentioning that QWERTY keyboard models didn’t account for even 20% of the Nokia shipped smartphones and were a pain because of the large amount of HW variants needed to serve all markets.)
- That means a market share well past 5% and Nokia brand fighting for the 4th ranking just outside the Top 3 of global smartphone brands by market share.
(That apparently implies a banner year similar to the banner year Tomi forecasted Lenovo, LG and Sony would have in year 2015 while Huawei would not.)
- The damage is likely to be most felt by Samsung but also several of the other current Top 10 brands like LG. I strong recovery by Nokia can well have Sony quit its phone business and HTC and Blackberry to finally fold.
(Sony has already said they plan to exit and HTC has been bleeding money so long they swim in red ink. They may quit by 2017 but Nokia will have little to do with that.)
- By 2019 Nokia might be at around 7% to 8% market share which will mean something around 135 to 150 million smartphones sold globally.
(Well… Nokia-branded phones will definitely outsell Jolla but I find it hard to believe they would be visible in the top 10 rankings where you get with 3% market share at the moment.)
- It’s very likely that Samsung will still the biggest smartphone maker and Apple number 2, but the race will be on for number 3 and Nokia as FIH-HMD will be perceived as one of the strongest competitors in that market heading into the next decade.
(Keep on dreaming, Tomi.)
It will be unbelievably fun to watch Tomi defending this forecast during the next few years. I wonder who is going to be the next one to blame?