Windows Phone is saving Nokia … in Finland

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While angry investors and many Symbian fanboys have blamed Nokia’s recent woes on switching to Windows Phone, looking at their market share over the long term shows that the rot had set in a long time ago, and that Windows Phone does have the potential for righting the ship.

The graph above is Statcounter data from Finland over the last 2 years, from May 2010 till May 2012.  The Cyan line is combined Symbian, Meego, Meamo5 and Windows Phone data, which until week 43 2010 only consists of Symbian devices (red).

What should be obvious and very striking is that even in Finland Symbian had been losing market share dramatically, at a very steady rate. Actual drops in sales were likely masked by a growing market, but started well before Stephen Elop had arrived at Nokia. Also of note is that the post-Microsoft announcement period (the shaded area) did not increase the rate of fall in Symbian market share (red line), until Nokia actually released Lumia handsets in the rest of Europe (week 46 2011). The Osborne effect was a myth. Symbian’s trajectory however seems to have been drawn with a straight ruler, heading steadily down for a very long time. In 12 months time it is scheduled to hit 0.

Nokia added Meamo5 to the mix in week 43 2010, and after a brief period of enthusiasm sales seems to have rapidly faltered.  This was likely one of the things which pushed Stephen Elop to look outside of the company for a solution.

Of note is that Android (green) was rapidly eating Nokia’s lunch, while the iPhone maintained a steady 30-something market share.  Android’s meteoric rise was only tempered by the iPhone 4S in Q4 2011, which boosted the iPhone to 35-40% range. 

Ultimately however it was the introduction of Nokia Lumia handsets (light purple) in February 2012 which halted Nokia’s steadily dropping combined market share (cyan). It also halted the ascendency of both the iPhone and Android inn the Finnish market.  Yes, Symbian was still losing share apace, but Windows Phone was growing faster.

In short, the stats clearly show Meego and Meamo 5 was not going to save Nokia, whereas Windows Phone has so far proven to be effective at halting the Android and iPhone onslaught. Of course this is just Finland, but I am pretty sure Stephen Elop goes to bed at night wishing this success would also spread to the rest of the world.image

The graph to the right, of the UK market over the same period, shows once again that Nokia’s Lumia range is only helping the company, not making things worse, and that things had been pretty bad for a long time, well before Windows Phone came along.

The stats can not answer whether switching to Android would have worked better for Nokia, but it certainly shows those who suggested Nokia continue going down the Meego route was as surely wishing Nokia dead as those who wanted them to continue relying on Symbian.