It won’t be a nice day to go to work at Motorola (MOT), Samsung, or Sony Ericsson. Their larger competitor, Nokia (NOK) said it sold 19% fewer phones in the first quarter than it did in the same period a year ago. Total units shipped dropped to 93.2 million.
The company said first-quarter net income fell 82% to 122 million euros. Revenue collapsed 27% to 9.3 billion euros.
While companies like Motorola (MOT) will suffer because of the trend of falling handset sales across the globe that Nokia is signaling, the questions is whether it will spread to the smartphone businesses, particularly Apple (AAPL) and RIM (RIM). While Nokia’s line up of handsets is not weighted heavily with smartphones because it has 40% of the global mobile phone market, it is a reasonable proxy for both the high end and the low end of the industry.
There has been a great deal of concern about whether the iPhone, Blackberry, and new Palm (PALM) Pre can keep strong sales momentum through the year. Now, it looks like that may be a problem.
Douglas A. McIntyre