LONDON -- Nokia saw its global share in an increasing market for mobile handsets drop by 6 percent to 29 percent for the first quarter of 2004 compared with the corresponding period last year, according to research group Strategy Analytics.
The main beneficiary of Nokia's loss was Motorola, which saw its share of the global market grow to 16.5 percent from 15.3 percent in the first quarter of 2003 with unit sales up 50 percent.
Samsung and Siemens cemented their hold on the third and fourth spots, while SonyEricsson -- a poor performer in the past few years -- also gained ground. Each managed to increase market share by about 1 percent.
The major vendors shipped 153 million units during the first three months of the year, up 40 percent on the corresponding period last year. Nokia still accounted for 44.7 million phones shipped, and still leads the sector by a healthy margin.
Neil Mawston, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics' wireless practice, told CommsDesign.com "it was not just that they have failed to see the trend to clam shell designs, as many people have been saying; it's a combination of factors including internal restructuring, the growth of color and camera phones, and of course increasing and more intense competition."
However, Mawston stressed "we are certainly not forecasting doom for Nokia. It's a temporary setback and I am sure they have the development and financial resources to bounce back."
The report said the quarterly stumble "is an indication that Nokia's core reference design portfolio needs to be updated to allow greater product flexibility that will divert share losses over the long term."
The company predicted there would be increasing price erosion in the mobile handset business in the coming quarters, but stuck to an earlier forecast that 585 million phones would be shipped this year.