So about a month ago I got jazzed about mobile technologies again (like I was last winter around this time) and switched gears and started following all the latest mobile and wireless news. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you know this already.
The reason I mention it is because yesterday it struck me incredibly odd that I was reading GOOD news. I've become accustomed to the fact that over the past couple of years, the tech sector has generally sucked and most days the news is horrible or worse with closures and losing money, except for Microsoft which seems to always constantly be growing - which is horrible news in and of itself. But yesterday, I started seeing concrete signs of Good News in the mobile and wireless tech areas:
First, Nokia posts a great quarter, and even though it warned about Q1, it has $8 billion cash in the bank. That's not the $40 billion that MS has, but it's a damn nice little pile of cash.
Nokia, which has double the market share in global handset sales of its nearest rival Motorola, reiterated that it expected industry-wide unit handset sales to grow 10 percent or more to about 445 million in 2003 from 405 million in 2002. That is at the top end of Wednesday's forecast from Motorola, the U.S. wireless company, at 430-440 million units.
Ollila forecast Nokia's global handset market share would grow in 2003 after reaching a record 38 percent last year.
Again, depending on your slant on things you could take the good news (great last quarter) or bad news (bad quarter ahead) and I read that Nokia bombed in their sales push for the 7650 over the winter (doesn't suprise me since this is a phone only a strong-armed geek could love). But in general, they've got strong sales, huge market share, lots-o-cash on hand and are going to ship almost 1/2 a BILLION phones 2003. Yeah, baby! Go Nokia!
The second good news was about Qualcomm. I said to Jim "Buy Qualcomm Stock" after I read a piece in The Reg UK about their growing support for WCDMA, and we both should have realized I wasn't joking since Qualcomm stock rose 6% on the news since it beat analysts expectations so handily (their sales jumped 80%!!) Here's a little history on Qualcomm. Basically, they hold the key patents to CDMA, the base for the high-speed next gen/3G communications. So unlike MS, their monopoly is legal. The key here is that there's some debate over which version of CDMA (CDMA2000 or WCDMA) is going to win out in the global marketplace and Qualcomm wants the former to win even though Europe and other regions want the latter. But it seems that Qualcomm is finally getting their heads out of their butts according to the Reg and supporting both standards. Smart move and their profits show it.
But although [Qualcomm] talks tough, it's actually been stealth-selling systems based on the WCDMA alternative that it so vehemently disparages. The WCDMA licensees must actually pay a royalty to Qualcomm, so in a way it can't really lose.
"Twenty-seven subscriber licensees reported sales of [Qualcomm's own] CDMA2000 1X products and seven subscriber licensees reported sales of [the unspeakable alternative] WCDMA products.
"Twelve infrastructure licensees reported sales of CDMA2000 products and seven infrastructure licensees reported sales of WCDMA products"
So as you can see, WCDMA is increasingly important to Qualcomm's business.
And beyond this good financial news, there were a bunch of little announcements that just made my day too, like Siemens planning to launch their Symbian phone in the coming weeks which is going to be great! And more (which I'm going to continue to blog about in another post). - Also I almost forgot that the Palm CEO says the handheld market is recovering, which is also great news.
This is FUN. Good news is fun! I hope it keeps up!