It's not whether you're right or wrong that's important, but how much money you make when you're right and how much you lose when you're wrong.Markets are designed to allow individuals to look after their private needs and to pursue profit. It's really a great invention and I wouldn't under-estimate the value of that, but they're not designed to take care of social needs.
Given all the current success at tech stock Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), it’s easy to forget how much the company has actually grown over the past five years. Apple stock investors become desensitized to the ever-climbing share price, the torrent of inflating analyst expectations for both earnings and product sales. Sure Apple’s doing great, tell me something new?
Here’s something new: Apple is not just booming but competitors are going bust. Thanks to ever increasing market share, Apple could be the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer in the world, in terms of how many it ships out to retailers, by the first quarter of 2012. An IDC report last weeknoted 18.7 million iPhones were shipped worldwide during the first quarter of 2011, netting Apple an almost 19% share of the overall smartphone market. Not bad considering Apple only has the iPhone while Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has scores of handsets runnings its Android OS andMotorla (NYSE: MMI) has a dozen or so models on the market at any given time.
Even more impressive, the IDC report shows Apple’s smartphone business grew just over 114% inside twelve months.
That kind of growth isn’t coming from nowhere. Here are three companies in particular that are being slowly killed by the iPhone. These companies aren’t sunk yet, but they need to dramatically reinvent their smartphone business before Apple drowns them for good.
Nokia (NYSE: NOK) CEO Stephen Elop said in February that his company was standing “on a burning platform” in the smartphone market, a comment that heralded Nokia’s dramatic partnering with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and its Windows Phone 7 phone operating system. According to IDC’s numbers, that platform has already burned. Though Nokia is still the leading smartphone manufacturer in the world, its marketshare has shrunk from almost 39% in 2010 to just above 24%. Its shipments grew only slightly over the year. Unless Apple’s growth slows and the new Windows Phones from Nokia take consumers by storm, it’s unlikely Nokia will still be the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer in 2012.
Research in Motion (RIMM)
On the one hand, Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) shipped significantly more smartphones at the beginning of 2011 than they did in 2010. Jumping from 10.6 million phones to 13.9 worldwide, growth of more than 31%. The smartphone business is a much bigger market now though, meaning their share has crumbled from 19% in 2010 to 14% in 2011. The company’s done a great deal to transform itself from the face of business communication to a strong consumer brand, but the long-term outlook isn’t promising. If things keep going as they are, the BlackBerry will once again play successor to the Palm — a once-iconic brand that didn’t keep up.
OK, the joint venture between Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) involves two stocks. But that venture is in deep trouble. The company was positioned to be a major competitor against the iPhone back in 2007, but as Apple has ascended, Sony Ericsson has declined. When the company reported its earnings for the first quarter of 2011 on Apr. 19, phone shipments had declined 23% year-on-year, profits fell more than 47%, and revenue fell almost 18%. The company’s plans to turn things around with specialized phones like the Playstation-branded Xperia Play was sound in theory, but considering the Playstation name is mud these days, it doesn’t seem like that strategy is going to pay off.