Nokia earnings are out, and the contrast with Apple’s blow-out quarter results is astonishing. The Finnish phone maker, still the largest in the world by volume, reported a Q4 net loss of 1.07 billion euro, down from a 745 million euro profit in the fourth quarter of 2010.
The company’s smartphone sales decline paints an even bleaker picture: Nokia sold 19.6 million units in Q4 2011, down a whopping 31 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago (even though it’s up 17 percent from Q3 2011 thanks to somewhat decent Lumia sales).
Nokia says it sold “well over” 1 million Lumia devices to date (not just in Q4) and that it plans to bring the Lumia series to additional markets – including China and Latin America – in the first half of 2012. The billion dollar question: is this good enough for Nokia’s future to start looking bright?
Nokia needs it line of Windows Phone-powered smartphones to perform exceptionally well to turn the tide – right now they’re getting crushed by Apple and Android device makers in this particular, crucial game. As a Lumia 800 owner, I know Nokia can still make great devices, and that Windows Phone is in a good position to start competing. But that’s not enough to turn the Nokia ship around.
The company will need to kick up sales and marketing efforts a notch or two, enter more markets more quickly, attract more developers (to get more high-quality apps) and continue to improve the quality and appeal of its smartphone products more rapidly. To have a fighting chance, that is.
Reminder: Apple sold 37 million iPhones last quarter.
Nokia chose not to provide targets for 2012, saying this will be a ‘transition year’, “during which our devices-and-services business will be subject to risks and uncertainties”. Well, quite.