Editor's Note: Jim Cramer's column runs exclusively on RealMoney.com; this is a special free look at his column. For a free trial subscription to RealMoney.com, click here. This article was published Jan. 14 on RealMoney.
Who lost wireless? No, I don't mean that the wireless industry is disappearing. But the growth in this engine of tech somehow, amazingly, has just disappeared. Five months ago we were all -- including this writer -- thinking that wireless was going to pull us out of this morass before any other end of tech.
Now it looks like the strength is all in personal computers, and wireless has pretty much drifted out of the growth picture entirely. Everything from the lack of sign-ups at
to the sluggish sales of new phones at
is making me wonder whether we hit saturation somehow in the wireless world.
Or, to put it another way, does everyone have a phone that needs one and is everyone already making all of the calls they need? Have we "done" wireless, so to speak?
How worrisome is this trend? To me it is frightening because we have all long thought that there is much more growth to this industry than we have gotten so far, given the way things have gone in Finland and Japan. Those film clips of people buying Cokes and paying parking meters with their cell phones always have spurred us to believe that wireless growth is in the future.
Indeed, during the period when the stock market was going crazy to the upside, there were days when I dreamed of being able to place buy orders on my regular cell phone.
Now, however, we have expensive models that can do just that while connecting you to the Internet, and it seems as if no one really cares. Some of it might be the recession, but one look at the sales of electronics at
this past Christmas tells me that if people were interested, they would buy.
My fear is that cell-phone mania might have peaked and all of those forecasts for handsets might be too high.
So why do I want to buy more Nokia when it gets lower, not sell it?
(If you are interested in seeing what I will buy before I buy it,
click here and subscribe to Action Alerts PLUS.) Because in the end, if wireless is slowing down, there won't be room for Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia. There will only be room for two, if not one. I can't speak for which one, Motorola or Ericsson, will make it. But I know this: Nokia sure will.
James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. At the time of publication, Cramer was long Verizon, Nokia and Best Buy.
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