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March 19, 2008

Nokia vs Apple – It’s a global thing

INTERNATIONAL – Four out of every ten people around the world use a Nokia mobile device. This is a significant statistic on its own, but when you break it down, either country by country or continent by continent, it becomes even more interesting.

Nokia has a strong foothold in Europe, but less so in the USA. In the developing world people use Nokia as a synonym for mobile phone.

Breaking down the stats throws up a range of different influences. Over the last year or so Apple has come from nowhere in the mobile market to selling a substantial number of its iconic iPhone in the US but with less success in Europe. Some, like Hank Williams on his blog,, see this as being a US V EU thing

“What all this means is that Europe loves Nokia, and we in the U.S. are relatively unfamiliar. I am not a Nokia user, but I am familiar with the OS in the same way as I am familiar with the iPhone, which is to say as someone who has read and discussed a lot about the platform and played with one, but does not own one.”

But you don’t just need to look at sales figures to see what’s going on. VNUNet reveals a report from StatCounter on mobile Internet browsers which show Apple’s mobile Safari browser as being number one in the US in March, but behind Nokia pretty much everywhere else.

Despite lagging behind in the US, Nokia is still well ahead in the global mobile internet browser market with 0.25 per cent in March. The iPhone weighs in at number two with 0.06 per cent (0.08 per cent if the Touch is included), ahead of BlackBerry with 0.01 per cent.

There’s no doubting Apple has had rapid success with its iPhone in the US, but taking the device overseas will be a totally different story. Equally, getting more people using Nokia devices in the US will remain a challenge. Is it really possible to be successful everywhere?