Nokia will see its share of the global smartphone market halved from 40 to 20 per cent by 2013, according to Generator Research.

And who is going to be gobbling up Nokia’s lost business? Why Apple, of course.

Generator believes Apple’s embryonic mobile business could knock Nokia from the top spot in the smartphone market and transform the mobile services market in the process.

It predicts Apple could ship as many as 77 million iPhones in 2013 – while Nokia’s share would sit at just 38.5 million based on the analysts’ calculations.

But is it likely the Finnish company will allow itself to be toppled so dramatically – even given the iPhone’s phenomenal success and Nokia’s continued under-performance in the US?

Based on Generator’s analysis, the matter may be out of Nokia’s hands.

Its report suggests that with cash reserves exceeding USD $25 billion, 33 per cent gross margins and the iPhone just about to enter its fastest-growth phase, Apple is extremely well placed.

The iPhone-maker has the "resources, competencies and motivation" to invest in the mobile sector just at the time when the economic climate is forcing
many established players in the mobile industry to cut back on product development.

Generator adds that the impact on some incumbent players is likely to be substantial – not least Nokia’s.

Andrew Sheehy, head of research at Generator, said the iPhone and App Store constitute a vertical platform for the delivery of advanced mobile services that will be developed in a similar manner to how Apple developed its digital music platform – including the iPod and the iTunes Music Store.

"Outsiders are rewriting the mobile industry’s rulebook for how to deliver mobile services and the new rule number one is that you need a fully-integrated service development platform that has a rich API which is open to third party developers on favourable commercial terms," he said.

"Right now, Apple has the best platform and the best-looking forward roadmap."

Sheehy adds that Apple will use its financial strength and revenue velocity to try to get one or more design cycles ahead of the competition.

"By that time the iPhone will include a range of different models, each addressing different market segments and the App Store will have developed to
the point where third party developers have access to network assets that will allow them to write programs that can send messages and establish voice
calls between different iPhones," he said.

Fanciful ruminations or worryingly accurate (if you’re Nokia)? We would like to hear your comments.

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