updated 10:30 pm EST, Wed January 19, 2011
Decline of "feature phones" marks Nokia's fall
In a sign of the rapid shift away from non-smartphones, Apple has recently become the number-one provider of mobile phones, finally surpassing the Finnish giant Nokia as "feature phones" fall out of fashion. Despite competition from companies basing their offerings on Google's free Android OS, as well as smartphone giant Research In Motion, Apple $10.47 billion in iPhone and iPhone accessory sales for the most recent quarter puts them unquestionably ahead of Nokia, whose most recent quarter earnings from its Devices and Services division brought in around $9.7 billion, AppleInsider reported today.
Nokia, like Apple, makes other devices beyond phones, and the Devices & Services division includes handheld computers and tablets as well as it's Ovi music and app stores. For a more even comparison, one could add Apple's $1.4 iTunes Store revenue to push it even further past Nokia and all other comers, and that's not counting sales of the iPod and iPad lines (which added another $4.61B in the quarter just past).
Apple CEO Steve Jobs made the observation about a year ago that Apple was the "largest mobile device company," a claim quickly disputed by Nokia and based on figures that included laptops (which Nokia also makes, but not in large quantities). Apple's present position in phones, however, is no longer disputed. Nokia has since replaced its former CEO, in part because of the inability of the company to compete with Apple and counter the rising tide of smartphone competitors.
Peter Oppenheimer, Apple CFO, made particular note yesterday of the iPhone's rapid adoption in Europe, formerly Nokia's stronghold, where 60 percent of the Financial Times Top 100 European firms were deploying or testing the iPhone.
One of the more interesting factors behind Apple's dominance, notes the report, is that Apple achieved its growth not by undercutting its rivals but by doing the opposite -- offering powerful but high-end phones that had features customers wanted in a way that was easy to use. As of iOS 4, Apple also added business features the enterprise sector desired, something Nokia and their Symbian-based phones were never able to successfully execute.
Tim Cook, Apple's Chief Operating Officer, described Apple as still "just getting started" in the overall cell phone market, of which Apple still has a relatively modest percentage, with plenty of room for growth and expansion for products like the iPad. [via AppleInsider]