Mobile Madness Heats Up In January
By Mike Anderson
This week has been a hot start to the mobile ecosystem battles expected in 2013. Apple has seen its glow begin to dim. Samsung’s earnings shine to record levels because of smartphones. Microsoft hits its numbers even though Surface hasn’t arisen to drive Windows. And Lenovo has made public its interest as suitor to some or all of RIM.
Mobile Leader Apple Hits a Bump
Apple throughout 2012 could do no wrong, although the maps fumble exposed vulnerability. With its stock peaking at over $700 a share in 2012, market confidence eroded fast with the price hitting $435 this week. Even though Apple sold 22.9 million iPads and 47.8 million iPhones, those numbers weren’t as high as expected and are no longer market dominators. The competition is gunning for the leader and the game is on. Apple has indicated that more for mobile is on tap in 2013 at an even faster pace, and they’ll need to turn up the heat in innovation.
Samsung Grows on Mobile
Samsung had a great earnings announcement as well. Record earnings came on the heels of mobile, with smartphone sales estimated between 58 and 60 million units. Samsung is aiming at Apple and driving to take the lead. It has a major focus on the mobile enterprise, and with SAFE enhancements and recent investment in Fixmo for mobile management Samsung is putting in place pieces to a competitive ecosystem. However, Samsung’s guidance was lower, and other consumer lines may dim the glow of the mobile division successes.
Microsoft Slow to Rise
Microsoft also reported quarterly earnings, and showed a 3% revenue increase over the previous year and earnings that beat forecasts by a penny. Windows was a positive story with 24% growth, but the launch has not produced blockbuster results to catapult Microsoft into the battle. In addition the Surface tablet has been a sidebar with expectations of a slow ramp. Considering that Surface Pro is just preparing to hit the market that’s not a big surprise, but certainly a disappointment for Microsoft. The second half of 2013 will tell how quickly Microsoft can pick up the pace to put heat on the mobile leaders.
RIM Takes The Stage Next Week; Lenovo Is Keeping A Watchful Eye
Taking the opposite route of Apple, RIM has seen its stock price skid until the last three months during which it has gone from around $8 to $18 per share. Confidence, or hope, is higher with RIM. BES 10, RIM’s upgraded mobile management software, released ahead of the BlackBerry 10 OS and devices due out next week to prepare the path for existing customer migration. RIM has stated for most of 2012 that it was essentially for sale as part of its strategic review, and Lenovo openly declared that RIM, or at least BlackBerry, was a target if the price was right. As we shared in our research about RIM and planning exit strategies, the game gets interesting only after BlackBerry 10 gets out the door.
The battle for mobile in 2013 is just getting warmed up. It will accelerate next week. Watch our research for analysis of the action to come.