A Foolish Week of Telecom

Perhaps it's not yet time to write Nokia's (NYSE: NOK  ) obituary.

Though it did lose its crown as king of the world's cell phone makers to Samsung several quarters ago, it is holding onto second place with a 21% market share versus the South Korean company's 26%, according to ABI Research. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) is No. 3 at 7%.

Another portent of un-doom for Nokia is its top-of-the-line Lumia 920 smartphone becoming an actual wanted item: selling out on, on back-order at AT&T (NYSE: T  ) for some colors, sold out in black, and out of stock at some retailers in Germany and Austria.

Nokia's good news has been reflected in its stock price jumping 33% between Nov. 14 and Nov. 23 to a six-month high of $3.56.

A T-Mobile iPhone?
Despite T-Mobile USA's COO Jim Ailing last week indicating the "economies" of offering the iPhone were not yet right for his company, Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig reported in a note that "speculation is heightening" that parent company Deutsche Telecom will confirm a deal with Apple next week.

Whether or not such a potential deal would help T-Mobile's bottom line, it would likely slow down its subscriber losses. "We recognize that [not having the iPhone] has been a point of churn for us," Alling said at a conference in Barcelona.

iPhone 5, Android killer?
Driven by strong iPhone 5 sales over the last 12 weeks, Apple's iOS has knocked Google's Android from its place as the most popular mobile operating system in the U.S., according to analysis and research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The score now stands at iOS 48.1%, Android 46.7%.

This definitely bucks the global trend. Market research company The NPD Group found Android's third-quarter market share grew to 68.1%, versus the iOS share shrinking to 16.9%.

The last time iOS pulled ahead of Android was after Apple released the iPhone 4S in 2011.

On the other hand, even though Apple kept its lead in tablet sales during the third quarter, its tablet market share fell 14%, according to ABI Research. Android-powered tablets have been nibbling away at the edge Apple has held for 10 straight quarters since it first launched the iPad. Apple now has a 55% share. Android tablets are now up to 44%.

A Microsoft confession
Speaking of tablets, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) CEO Steve Ballmer swallowed hard and told shareholders at the company's annual meeting this week that moving into the tablet arena was something "maybe we should have done ... earlier."

That acknowledgement came in response to a shareholder pointing out that 10 years earlier then-CEO Bill Gates displayed a tablet and called it "the future of computing."

"Maybe if we had started innovating then, which is what we really did with Surface ... Maybe that tablet shift would have been sooner," said Ballmer.

At the same Microsoft meeting, Steve Ballmer threw out this bone: Windows Phone sales have quadrupled over the last year. But that claim raises this question: four times what?

You see, Microsoft hasn't given out actual Windows Phone sales figures to use as a benchmark. So, as a worthwhile metric, well, it's not.

Sprint's push-to-spend more plan
Sprint Nextel
's (NYSE: S  ) message to those push-to-talk iDEN network subscribers leftover from its ill-conceived 2005 $36 billion Nextel acquisition is this: don't let the door hit you in the back.

To show how much Sprint has appreciated those subscribers' patronage, the carrier is giving them the opportunity to pay an extra $10 a month for the privilege of staying on the iDEN network. Sprint plans to shut iDEN down by the end of next June.

To avoid the extra fee, all the customers have to do is switch to Sprint's new CDMA push-to-talk network. Of course, they'll have to buy new handsets, too.

A road map to embarrassment
Apple's Maps app mishap has claimed a second victim. According to The New York Times, which spoke to people knowledgeable of the matter but who wanted to remain anonymous, Richard Williamson, the senior manager in charge of Apple's mobile mapping service, was fired just before Thanksgiving.

The mapping program, which comes bundled in iOS 6, the operating system that runs the iPhone 5, was so full of problems that Apple CEO Tim Cook felt compelled to make a rare public apology.

"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," Cook said in a statement last September.

The first executive to be dismissed as a result of the map app failure was Scott Forstall, the man who ran software development for the iPad and the iPhone. As reported by the NYT, Forstall thought the mapping problems were exaggerated and refused to sign an apology, apparently the one that Cook eventually made.

Despite the recent mapping embarrassment, there is absolutely no doubt that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with over 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and more importantly, your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2134814, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/23/2016 2:44:54 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 day ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/21/2016 4:00 PM
AAPL $116.60 Down -0.46 -0.39%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
MSFT $59.66 Up +2.41 +4.21%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ****
NOK $4.92 Down -0.08 -1.60%
Nokia CAPS Rating: **
S $6.55 Down -0.17 -2.53%
Sprint CAPS Rating: **
T $37.49 Down -1.16 -3.00%
AT and T CAPS Rating: ****