Nokia, which has led the mobile phone market for years, is getting shelled. Shares are down 3.4% today to $24.55, and are down 28% from recent highs in April.
Why? Well, for one, the Western European mobile phone market, where Nokia does a lot of business, isn’t doing so hot. But now Nokia has Nokia-specific problems, too — it’s about to see a lot more competition at the high end of its business from Apple’s iPhone 3G and new 3G BlackBerry gadgets from Research In Motion (RIMM).
Earlier this week, Nokia unveiled two new phones designed to compete in the high-end, business smartphone market, the E71 and E66. But AmTech analyst Mark McKechnie says the new phones still aren’t a “credible response” to RIM and Apple. (Based only on the pictures we’ve seen, and what we know about the strength of the iPhone and RIM’s email system, we agree.) And McKechnie says European brokers are now “voicing concerns of competition at the high-end,” too.
Why does this matter? Because Nokia’s smartphone business, while small unit-wise, means a lot to the company’s sales and profits. The 7% of Nokia’s phones that sold for more than $300 last year represented 15%-20% of its mobile phone revenue and 20%-25% of its gross profit, McKechnie says. So if Apple’s expansion into Europe and Asia — and new phones from RIM — cut into Nokia’s high-end smartphone sales, it’s in trouble.
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