This week has seen two interesting shake-ups on the business front of the mobile phone industry. The big news is that Motorola isn’t the top dog any longer. Motorola Inc, has lost its top ranking in the U.S. mobile-phone market in the last quarter.
Samsung Electronics Company now holds the top spot, with 22.4 percent of U.S. sales, which was up from 17.9 percent just a year earlier. This is the first time that the Suwon, South Korean-based company has held the top position in the mobile phone market. Motorola’s share of the U.S. phone market dropped to 21.1 percent from 32.7 percent a year earlier.
What makes this somewhat interesting is that this news is actually hardly being seen that way. When a foreign automaker surges past a domestic one that’s major news. But apparently it’s not such a big deal when it is consumer electronics – of course after TVs went overseas we just became used to the trend. Still, it is disappointing to see that Motorola hasn’t earned more respect to at least warrant a bit more media coverage. No doubt part of the lack of “news worthiness” can be credited to the election and the state of the economy, and more importantly the fact that this isn’t a major surprise as Motorola continues a shift in a new direction.
For now Samsung is in the top spot, and another Korean manufacturer, LG Electronics, which is in third place with 20.5 percent of the market, could also pass Motorola in the final quarter of this year. Both companies are introducing handsets that take advantage of new and advanced features. But we shouldn’t rule out Motorola completely, the company has hinted that it will bring out smart phones, including those that could take advantage of Google’s Android software.
Microsoft Calling to Verizon
The word on the street – The Wall Street Journal specifically – is that Microsoft could be in talks with Verizon Wireless to get the Microsoft search function placed on Verizon handsets, which could displace the Google one already in place. In August Google was very close to signing a deal that would make Google the default search function, but now Microsoft has stepped in to offer Verizon Wireless a larger share of its ad revenue from searches.
The search game is one that isn’t so solid as on the PC. While Google is the search master on desktops, the company faces more competition in the mobile space, with AT&T using the Yahoo! search function. Of course Google is currently the default search provider on Sprint Nextel phones, but given that the third largest carrier also announced that it lost 1.3 million customers in the third quarter, the two companies can now share the respective bad news.
And no doubt there will be a showdown on mobile that could go beyond just search, especially given that T-Mobile launched the first phone to utilize the new Google Android software, which is a competitor to Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS. But then again, this is just business as usual.