Nokia profits dive as new phones slow to take off

Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:48am EST
 
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By Tarmo Virki

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia Oyj reported a 73 percent fall in fourth-quarter earnings as sales of its new Windows Phones failed to dent the dominance of Apple Inc's iPhone or compensate for diving sales of its own old smartphones.

The world's largest cellphone maker by volume unveiled a year ago a major strategy shift to Microsoft Corp software for its smartphones in an attempt to challenge Apple and Google Inc's Android. But Apple's phones in particular have proved far more popular.

Apple reported earlier this week sales of 37 million iPhones for the December quarter. Nokia has sold over 1 million Windows 'Lumia' Phones, since its launch in mid-November.

"It is more than some were expecting, but it's not going to worry Apple or Google," said analyst Nick Dillon from research firm Ovum.

Nokia said it expected its phone business' underlying earnings to be around breakeven in the first quarter, well below analysts' forecasts, with sales falling more than usual in the seasonally weaker quarter.

"The report highlights that the start of the Windows strategy is slow, and we have very little concrete data to predict its success at this point," said analyst Michael Schroder from FIM Securities.

"There are a lot of uncertainties. These are critical times for the future of the whole company. The next months will be extremely important."

SCALING UP   Continued...

 
<p>A text message of the Q4 Nokia results is seen on the screen of an early Nokia mobile phone in this photo illustration taken in Paris January 26, 2012. REUTERS/Mal Langsdon</p>