Nomura Calls A Spade A Spade: Nokia Is Going Down

Investment bank Nomura is the latest heavy hitter to weigh in on something wrong in the state of Nokia (NYSE: NOK). The analysts have released a report today that states what many may have already thought was the case: it says that Nokia will, this quarter, lose its position as the world’s top smartphone maker to Samsung. And not only that, but by next quarter, it will miss the number-two spot as well, which will be taken by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL). Nokia has held the top spot since 1996.

The findings, summarized by Reuters, underscore the toll that gradual decline, and the rise of Apple and Android makers, have had on the incumbent leader from Finland. Samsung is not the only Android maker that is rising at Nokia’s expense. Sales of smartphones from the Taiwan-based HTC will “almost match” those of Nokia’s by 2012, Nomura says.

Given the toil and trouble we have seen at Nokia — from burning platform crises to profit warnings over missing forecasts on handset sales — Nomura’s figures are not exactly pulled out of thin air. But they are the first instance of an investment bank calling time on Nokia’s top position.

Given that Nokia still has a sizeable business in feature phones, it looks like it will still retain overall leadership in the mobile market for some time.

Other analysts, like IDC, have had a slightly different view of the market, and have thought that a strong Nokia presence in smartphones could even lift the marketshare of Windows Phone by next year.

But the situation today is quite different. As if to drive the point home, Samsung has announced that it has sold 1 million units of its new Galaxy S2 device since launching it in Korea one month ago.

Nomura believes that the time is now, not later, for grabbing market share: “This is the best year for the smartphone market ever,” Nomura analyst Richard Windsor said in a presentation at the Open Mobile Summit in London. “This is as good as it gets, growth will slow after this.”