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The Little Engine That Can't

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) --The more that I try to like the prospects of smartphone maker Nokia (NOK - Get Report), the more I'm reminded by Apple's (AAPL) hunger to dominate the smartphone market how grossly misguided, if not foolish are those prospects.

With Apple having released its highly anticipated iPhone 5 to rave reviews, beleaguered rivals including Research in Motion (RIMM) and Nokia face longer odds to succeed than ever before.

As poorly as Nokia has performed over the past couple of years, its issues have been compounded by the fact that neither Apple nor Samsung have made enough mistakes to give Nokia an opening, or even a glimmer of hope. Though Samsung has lost its copyright infringement case against Apple, it does not present enough of an opening for Nokia to capitalize -- at least not to the extent that it benefits Microsoft (MSFT).

The biggest anomaly when assessing Nokia is that here's a market leader in a fast-growing smartphone industry that is grossly irrelevant at the same time. The company has lost close to 80% of its value during the course of the past five years. Dating back to 2007, the company at one point enjoyed almost 50% of the global smartphone revenue. Today, as it is fighting for its life it is still burning through cash like nobody's business.

What's more, the competition that exists within the smartphone space is just too much to overcome -- particularly when considering that Amazon (AMZN) has been rumored to want to enter the phone market. And now here comes Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) with its recent announcement.

What this means is that Nokia's cruise control towards irrelevance seems poised to continue absent some significant developments in its hardware and software platforms. Does it have the means do come up with a great product?
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