Sales Data, New Challengers Don't Bode Well For Moto

RIM, Apple and newcomer ZTE break into the top 10 list of mobile phone sellers.

February 28, 2008
By

Judy Mottl

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A quick glance at new worldwide annual mobile phone sales indicates that beleaguered Motorola is hanging tight, sitting in second place with 14.3 percent of the market. That is, however, until you realize most of its sales were at the start of 2007 and it's a long way behind market leader Nokia and Samsung is a close third.

According to a new Gartner study, Motorola recorded sales of 164,307 million phones while Nokia achieved its long-term target of nearly 40 percent by selling 435,453 million phones. Samsung grabbed 13.4 percent with 154,540 handset units sold.

To keep its leadership role Nokia must continue to improve its portfolio, offering not only more applications and functions, but also novel designs and improved user interfaces, states the "Dataquest Insight: Market Share for Mobile Devices, 4Q07 and 2007" report.

Interestingly, the report provides recommendations for all vendors except for Motorola, noting only that "troubles" that beset Moto in the third quarter of 2007 continued in the fourth quarter.

Gartner did not respond to InternetNews.com on whether this omission was deliberate or related to the recent announcement by Moto to assess its handset division amid rumors about a potential sell-off.

[cob:Related_Articles]News that three new competitors, Apple, ZTE and Research in Motion (RIM), broke into the top 10 list in mobile sales in the fourth quarter certainly won't help Moto, which is also busy in court these days.

Motorola and RIM are battling over patent use and licensing agreements.

The arrival of RIM's BlackBerry on the top 10 list is not a huge surprise, given it nearly doubled its user base in the second half of 2007, hitting 12 million. That happened despite some concerns over service reliability issues last April and this month.

Gartner says manufacturers need to continuously adapt portfolios to respond to operators' demands for open platforms, lower pricing and more personalization.

"They should also try to meet consumers' desires for fashionable, easy-to-use phones," stated Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner, in a statement.

Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users surpassed 1.15 billion units in 2007, a 16 percent increase from 2006 sales of 990.9 million.

Sony Ericsson (101,358 million) landed in fourth with LG in fifth place with 78,576 million units sold.

Gartner says Sony's Cybershot and Walkman products remain popular and adding features such as Wi-Fi and GPS, as well as more low-tier products, will help it stay competitive in the coming quarters.

For LG the quest must be to bolster its high-end product portfolio to stay ahead of emerging vendors such as ZTE, according to Gartner. LG's 7.1 per cent market share is primarily due to its Viewty, Venus and Voyager products.

But every vendor will be facing a market challenge next year, the research firm advises.

"We expect the growth in sales of mobile devices will decelerate in 2008 and fall to about 10 percent growth as mature markets become more saturated," said Milanesi.

TAGS: search,consumer,wireless,Blackberry,IT,Apple,research,HP,Nokia,Samsung,CA,RIM,handset,SEC,Motorola,InternetNews.com,Gartner,Sony,LG



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