New Windows phones from Nokia disappoint investors

Wed Sep 5, 2012 6:12pm EDT
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By Sinead Carew and Tarmo Virki

NEW YORK/HELSINKIA (Reuters) - Nokia shares plummeted 13 percent after its new Lumia smartphones failed to impress investors looking for transformational handsets to rescue the struggling Finnish company.

Nokia and its partner Microsoft Corp showcased the Lumia 920 phone on Wednesday in what may be their last major shot at reclaiming market share lost to Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Google Inc.

Microsoft and Nokia hope the device - sporting bright colors, a bigger screen and technology that reduces blur and shakiness in pictures and video - will become a potent weapon in an escalating global war to dominate the mobile industry. But investors said it lacked "wow" and gave it a quick thumbs-down. Some analysts said Nokia's reticence about dates, prices or carrier partners also did not help.

Nokia shares traded in Helsinki began sliding midway through the New York launch and ended down 13 percent at 1.99 euros, their biggest single-day loss since June. Nokia's U.S.-listed stock closed down nearly 16 percent at $2.38. The stock had gained 67 percent since mid-July as anticipation built ahead of the Lumia's unveiling.

The Lumia was the first in a flurry of planned mobile-device launches expected ahead of the holiday shopping season. Google's Motorola Mobility showed off three new smartphones based on Android software later on Wednesday. Verizon Wireless the top U.S. mobile provider committed to sell all three of the Motorola phones. Inc will unwrap its new Kindle Fire tablets on Thursday and Apple is expected to unveil the latest version of its seminal iPhone on September 12.

"The challenge is that the world is working on the 4th, 5th and 6th editions of their devices, while Nokia is still trying to move from chapter 1. It still has quite a bit to catch up," said RBC analyst Mark Sue.

"People were looking for something that would dazzle. Most investors will view it as evolutionary, not revolutionary. Nokia has made some good progress, but investors were looking for quantum leaps. We didn't get that."   Continued...

A Nokia executive shows the new Lumia 920 phone with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system at a launch event in New York, September 5, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid