Nokia Is Just Apple's Latest Victim

by: Markos Kaminis

The king is dead! Long live the king! Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is kicking butt in the mobile marketplace, with the latest blow falling upon Nokia (NYSE:NOK).

Nokia shares dropped 10.7% Wednesday, after the company cut its outlook. An early casualty of the faltering euro perhaps? Nokia blamed the currency, among other issues for its second quarter woes. The company's statement reported:

"Multiple factors are negatively impacting Nokia's business to a greater extent than previously expected. These factors include: the competitive environment, particularly at the high-end of the market (read Apple's iPhone), and shifts in product mix towards somewhat lower gross margin products. In addition, the recent depreciation of the Euro affects Nokia's cost of goods sold, operating expenses and global pricing tactics."

What a cop out! I think it's clear Nokia is not keeping pace with Apple. Hey, at least you are in good company Nokia. The Apple Victims' Club is growing and full of plenty of once-hot names.

Nokia said its Q2 revenues would fall into the lower end or slightly below its previous guidance range. Operating margins would take a hit on the narrowing of its gross margin. Nokia said that while it expects its full year market share to remain as expected, flat versus 2009, its "value market share" will be lower than previously estimated. This is due to a tough competitive situation at the high end of the spectrum...

Basically, Apple is kicking Nokia's rear end, and the iPhone is stealing market share. Earlier this year, Apple almost sent Palm (PALM) into bankruptcy; until Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) came to its rescue anyway. Please recall that we advised Palm executives to deal with HP sooner rather than later (apparently people are listening - take note that our article was published a full month before the deal occurred).

Apple just surpassed Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) in terms of market capitalization. Talk about taking out the "king of the hill." Apple is the new tech king, officially crowned by The Greek. Hear ye, hear ye: The king is dead! Long live the king! Now, Apple has its sights set on (NASDAQ:AMZN) and its Kindle Book Reader. I wonder if Jeff Bezos is losing any sleep.

It looked like there might still be some hope for old school cell phone makers, given AT&T's (NYSE:T) so-called iPhone security breach (was an AT&T system overload issue due to the traffic to its website - 13 million visits Tuesday alone). I cannot help but wonder if Apple's rivals are getting desperate. After all, Apple announced it took 600,000 pre-orders ahead of the June 24 launch, breaking its own record, and AT&T said it stopped taking orders due to the exhaustion of its supply. The iPhone is so hot, it's driving some folks to change networks in order to get it, and it's altering the way service providers do business, since they all want to be affiliated with the iPhone. Apple is still in third place in smart-phone market share, but the week is young.

Disclosure: No Positions

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