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Nokia reports $1.2b operating loss in Q4, sells 31 percent fewer smartphones than previous year

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The first quarter of Nokia's transition to Windows Phone isn't looking all that rosy, after the company just reported a year-on-year decrease in smart device sales of 38 percent and an operating loss of €954 million.

Stephen Elop Nokia_1020
Stephen Elop Nokia_1020

The first quarter of Nokia's transition to Windows Phone isn't looking all that rosy, after the company just reported a year-on-year decrease in smart device sales of 31 percent and an operating loss of €954 million (about $1.2 billion). Those smart devices cover Symbian, MeeGo, and Windows Phone, with Nokia disclosing that it's sold "well over 1 million" Lumia phones so far. With 19.6 million smartphones sold overall in the quarter, Nokia's continued reliance on Symbian is clear, though the company did better than analysts' predictions, which estimated a figure closer to 18.7 million. Despite seeing average selling prices drop to €140 for smartphones and €32 for mobile phones in Q4 2011 (€154 and €42, respectively in Q4 2010), Nokia generated an operating profit of €208 million from its mobile division. It was its Location & Commerce group that dropped the ball and led to the massive overall loss. The question for Q1 2012 will be, firstly, how the Lumia 800 and 710 do with a full three months of sales, and secondly, when will the Lumia 900 come out to support their common cause.

In terms of geography, €1.9 billion of Nokia's Q4 device revenue came from Europe, its traditionally strongest market, although that again marked a steep decline of 38 percent from the €3.1 billion generated in the last three months of 2010. All other regions also saw a decline, with North America being the sharpest: from €233 million to €55 million. The importance of developing markets to Nokia was evident, however, as the smallest downturns were seen in South America (9 percent, to €652m) and the Asia-Pacific (19 percent, to €1.3b).