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Is Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NOK) Destined for Greatness?

The breakdown of mobile market share does not tilt in Nokia’s favor at present. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)‘s Android and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)‘s iOS combined for over 90% of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter. Nokia, which is leaning on Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)‘s Windows Phone, shipped 4.4 million Lumias, which dominated the tiny slice of Windows Phone smartphones in the market last quarter, but was still not enough to surpass the fast-fading BlackBerry.

Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) has at least one advantage over Apple (though this may not be as much of an advantage over Android phone makers): extensive experience in lower-cost devices. Forget about feature phones — Nokia can push out smartphones running Windows at a lower cost than many competitors. Apple struggles in unsubsidized phone markets because the cost of most Android headsets is so much lower than that of the iPhone. The Lumia line, with its striking design features (a hallmark of Nokia’s success in the pre-smartphone era), has the potential to capture significant mindshare in emerging markets like India and China. Nokia hasn’t abandoned feature phones, either. Starting emerging-market users off with a $20 or $80 feature phone could be a smart brand-building strategy, especially if it transitions users to more lucrative entry-level smartphones. Apple may be seen as an aspirational brand, but that status is far from assured if the company fails to move forward in terms of design and functionality. Fashion is a fickle thing, especially when that fashion is too costly for the consumer.

Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) is a big fish in the tiny Windows Phone pond right now. It can remain a big fish if the pond grows, but a dry season might suffocate it. This year will be a very important one for the company’s future, but that future remains far from clear.

The article Is Nokia Destined for Greatness? originally appeared on

Fool contributor Alex Planes holds no financial position in any company mentioned here. Add him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter @TMFBiggles for more insight into markets, history, and technology.The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

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