Mobile – It’s not a U.S. Centric World
Google has a cool feature called Google Trends which allows you to look at the frequency of searches (top of the chart above) and news references (bottom portion) which occur globally.
The chart above shows how often, ‘microsoft’, ‘apple’, and ‘nokia’ were searched from 2004 to present. The results are pretty interesting. Nokia is in the news less, but consumers search for it more.
The huge spike at ‘F’ on the chart above is the iPad launch in January—searches and press for Apple (red line) spiked to an all-time high. Microsoft is the blue line—it’s declining ever-so-steadily from 2004, which is endemic of the company’s fall from grace under Steve Ballmer’s reign. The most unexpected line is the orange one—Nokia, increasing slowly but steadily over time.
99% of those reading this from the U.S. have long forgotten about Nokia. But the U.S. is not representative of the rest of the world. Despite Nokia being about 4x smaller than Microsoft and Apple (market cap), Nokia has 20% more search volume than Microsoft and almost 100% more than Apple WW!
The data gets more interesting below. These are results segmented by geo of the top countries which search for ‘microsoft’. Note that the U.S. and Canada are the only two in which Nokia (the barely visible orange bars) gets fewer searches than Microsoft. Everywhere else, Nokia outsearches Microsoft. The big one is India—Nokia completely dominates mindshare. China, for reasons we all know, doesn’t register on Google’s Trends feature.
Apple has actually been making a huge push of late into India. They just signed up India’s largest carrier for the iPhone, and have been pushing the iPad hard. But they have a long way to go to catch Nokia based on mindshare with consumers.
Real data is always the best way to defend an argument. I am not a huge fan of Nokia (I used to be) but perhaps it’s because I live in the US. But Nokia sure can’t be dismissed globally. And it’s unsurprising in this context that they are making a big push to add features to dumb phones in an attempt to hold on to India and other captive markets.