Is Nokia’s pain Apple’s gain?

Apple has managed to clinch the number one position in the Q2 global smartphone market as Nokia’s shipments declined to 16.7 million units, down from 24.2 million in the previous quarter.

According to IHS, Nokia posted the “worst performance” amongst leading smartphone brands in Q2 2011 as it faced fierce competition from Apple, Samsung and HTC.

“Nokia’s smartphone shipments have regressed to their level of two years ago. This caused Nokia to fall to third place, losing the No. 1 ranking for the first time in the history of the smartphone business,” IHS analyst Tina Teng told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

“Nokia’s woes in the smartphone market are the result of a double whammy of rising competitive pressures on the outside – and struggles with its corporate strategy on the inside.”

Teng explained that Nokia’s Symbian software platform “simply isn’t competitive” against Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android used on handsets manufactured by Samsung and HTC. 

Perhaps not unexpectedly, the Finnish-based corporation is also encountering challenges in its transition to Windows 7 as Nokia’s principal operating system for smartphones. 

“With the announcement of the transition in early 2011, Nokia eliminated any incentive for consumers and developers to buy into its existing smartphone products, which are based on its Symbian and MeeGo operating systems,” said Teng.

“Because the Microsoft deal is unlikely to yield any products until late 2011, it is having a further negative impact on the Nokia’s already eroding position in smartphones.”

Meanwhile, Samsung exploited RIM’s shipment decline by vaulting to second place in Q2.

“Like Nokia, RIM is losing share to the Android platform as it struggles to develop a complete ecosystem for its operating system and develop a device capturing consumer trends. Most of RIM’s market share loses are taking place in Europe and North America.

“[In parallel], Samsung’s shipments have surged because of its broad focus on all parts of the smartphone business with its shotgun approach to address all segments and leverage the Android platform,” added Teng.