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Apple to pass Nokia in smartphone share by 2013

updated 02:50 pm EDT, Tue July 7, 2009

Apple May Overtake Nokia

Apple's share of the smartphone market is growing quickly enough that it could overtake Nokia's in as little as four years, according to data from Generator Research. The analyst group sees the market almost reversing itself from its situation today and believes Nokia will tumble from about 40 percent share today to just 20 percent in 2013. iPhones, meanwhile, should accelerate and hit 33 percent of the market at the same point. Apple would match Nokia's share sometime in 2011 and ship as many as 77 million phones that year.

The apparent flip is expected to come about both through ideal conditions for Apple as well as an inability for Nokia to pay attention to smartphones as much as it would like. Generator sees Apple as entering a "golden age" of fast growth both because of the combination of the iPhone and the App Store, with one driving sales of the other. It also has the benefit of selling both to smartphone users as well as to existing iPod owners. A crossover device appealing to high end media phone users, such as the $99 iPhone 3G, should also give the company a boost.

Nokia, in turn, is seen as a victim of its own emphasis on low-cost phones. As it makes most of its current money selling budget devices in developing countries where there's still room to sell phones in that category, the company doesn't have an actual financial stake in keeping smartphones at the top. The Finnish giant is likely to try and defend its territory but may be only half-hearted in funding its efforts as the smartphone business won't be where Nokia makes its true profits.

Much of Nokia's already ongoing decline in share is commonly attributed to its own slow response to competitors. While it responded to the BlackBerry's popularity outside of work relatively quickly with the E71, the company took a year and a half to react to the iPhone's debut with its own touchscreen phone, the 5800 XpressMusic, and has only just launched its second in the form of the N97. The rapid expansion of the iPhone's App Store also pushed Nokia to launch the Ovi Store as a central portal for software despite running its N-Gage and music stores with modest success for considerably longer.

Generator is convinced that Apple could speed up its sales further by more tightly integrating the iPhone app ecosystem with carriers, which the researchers believe would let developers target specific networks and perform feats that aren't normally possible with Apple's carrier-neutral strategy. Apps could be written to send individual or group SMS messages for alerts, for example, or could establish calls and customize ringtones.

by MacNN Staff



  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    freakin' sweet

    Nokia's tomorrow = Motorola's present.

  1. ojala

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple's current strategy is very carrier-oriented. If they'd be carrier-neutral, you could buy the iPhone unlocked and without contract easily.

    The other issue is the pricing that will put a cap on Apple's growth. An iPhone is a 500 euros devices, just like the top-end models from other vendors. It's out of reach for a lot of people.

    Nokia is a bit like Apple back in the old days -- do they keep the OS9 (S60) alive or start building a new OS X. RIM's success is really about the good package with the carriers, what's behind the Blackberry service is way below Apple next to Nokia and the others.

    I'm a happy owner of an official unlocked, non-contract 3GS but I still think the phone has a plenty of flaws. (My girlfriend wouldn't accept the old 2G, she thinks it's too big and slippery)

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And RIM meanwhile...

    will be sitting at 50% market share, I'm guessing being totally uncontested in the business market because IT refuses to budge an inch.
    Unless Apple can somehow manage an China home run or at least a triple, RIM will be laughing all the way to the bank. Apple being tied to one carrier is just crippling iPhone sales no matter how good they are selling now.

    The enterprise just hates being tied to one carrier. I'm thinking that Apple will not be adding U.S. carriers for at least two more years or until WIMAX or LTE is in wide use.

    The only ace in the hole that Apple has is to introduce another device that isn't called an iPhone and let Verizon use that on it's networks.

  1. AdamC

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RIM is history

    rIM will be history or a very niche player, enterprise is not moving out because of their heavy investment in rIM.

    The future is the smartphones of all makes and Apple is using the iPhone to move into the enterprise. And its innovation will see Apple pulling away from the rest of the industry.

    The iPhone is still in its infancy, give it a few more years it will become the computing platform which happens to make call.

  1. crystalB

    Joined: Dec 1969


    apple rules

    Awesome graph! great also to see that apple has streamlined payments for app developers to get paid from follow-on purchases -- encouraging a further incentive to innovate with more energy than ever to create even more apps. The more apps encourages more purchases along with a price slash of the phone itself. More than a billion app downloads since it launched last july. A berry smart iphone era!

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