Nokia Beaten Down By Android, iPhone

Symbian is struggling to remain viable as Android and iPhone dominate the smartphone platform market

Just a few years ago, Nokia’s Symbian platform was the reigning smartphone king with 50 percent smartphone market share.

One week ago, the company reported for that fourth quarter that its smartphone market share was 31 percent – 4 percent less than the year-ago period.

Nokia’s profit for the three months ending 31 December was $1.02 billion (£633m), down 21 percent from a year earlier.

As a result, Reuters reported that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who took over last September, will fire several executives and revamp the company’s strategy at the company’s Capital Markets Day investor meeting on 11 February 2011.

“Nokia faces some significant challenges in our competitiveness and our execution,” Elop said in the company’s earnings statement. “In short, the industry changed, and now it’s time for Nokia to change faster.”

The rise of Android and iPhone

So, what has happened to Nokia? The quick answers are Google’s open-source Android operating system and Apple’s iPhone, as Symbian’s slide has coincided with the rise of those superior, high-end smartphone platforms.

Android surpassed the struggling Nokia last quarter in smartphone shipments, 33.3 million to 31 million.

It’s hard to believe that this has happened less than two years after Android’s market share was almost nil. US operator Verizon Wireless launched its Droid line in November 2009 and the platform has caught fire.

As a singular device on a singular, proprietary platform, the iPhone’s growth is even more impressive. And it is pinching Nokia.

Industry analyst Jack Gold said one of Nokia’s issues is that its impact has remained largely centered in Europe, while RIM, Apple and Android have carved large swaths of US market share.

Gold called for Nokia to jettison its total reliance on Symbian, noting that business users, the core of the smartphone market, are abandoning the Symbian OS for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry.