Behind those smiles is concern
This was another important week for the mobile giant from Cupertino. Apple continued to improve upon its iPhone product line by launching the iPhone 5. While I believe Apple delivered exactly what investors need, none of this really changes the story for the two major comeback players - Nokia and RIM.
So let’s focus on Nokia here. We already know they did a poor job of unveiling the Lumia 920 but I didn’t think the stock market reaction made sense. Sure, Nokia left a lot of information off the table but they still showed off a very nice phone running Windows Phone 8, proving their lineup is becoming interesting again. And as much as I love Apple products (I really do), I recognize that people don’t just want to buy iClones. Apple is an amazing company with amazing products. But they aren’t for everybody.
Stiff competition: iPhone 5 (mockup) versus Lumia 920
Windows Phone 8 is different, and there’s going to be a particular audience who loves what it brings to the table. And Nokia has always done an impressive job with industrial design and overall hardware quality. So it was nice to see that Nokia actually outperformed Apple stock this week - and by a significant margin. As I write this, Apple is up about 2% while Nokia is up just over 10% since the markets opened on Monday.
I still think Nokia faces immense difficulty. They’ve got a huge base of sales running on an old OS, and the transition to Windows Phone 8, even if Nokia succeeds, will be rough on the financial performance of the company. They used to sell over 40% of the world’s cell phones, and I think we can say Microsoft will have proven to be a successful platform in mobile if it wins at least 10% of the smartphone market. Obviously Nokia should take a big chunk of that, but it’s a far cry from their former glory.
The bottom line, in my own opinion, is that Nokia is heading down a path that makes sense for them. They were caught without a modern OS or ecosystem and had to choose between Android and Microsoft. Where Microsoft’s OS has its strengths is not the same as where iOS does. They’re different products, and consumers win by having more choice. The iPhone is just getting better at doing what it already does. The comeback competition, including Nokia and RIM, are just getting started.
Nokia closed the day at $2.98 a share with a day-high of $3.14 for a 1.36% gain.