Nokia has faced an uphill struggle to assert itself in the smartphone market, ever since it first announced that it would be adopting Windows Phone as the platform for its smartphone strategy. There's still a long way to go for the company - its CEO, Stephen Elop, stated this week that a major target is to achieve double-digit market share, and given the continued rapid growth of Android and iPhone sales, even that seems like an ambitious target.
But as Nokia today revealed preliminary financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012, it seems that the company is beginning to see its efforts pay off. Nokia stated that its Devices & Services division "exceeded expectations and underlying profitability" during the last quarter, with total global sales of 86.3 million devices.
Here are a few highlights from the information released today:
- 4.4 million Lumia smartphones were sold, along with 9.3 million Asha full-touch handsets and 2.2 million Symbian devices; this marks the first time that Lumia Windows Phone sales have exceeded Symbian sales
- This marks a 52% increase in Lumia sales over the previous quarter
- Global devices sales totalled €3.9bn EUR, of which €1.2bn came from sales of smart devices, around two-thirds of which were Lumia handsets
- Operating expenses in Devices & Services were lower than expected, partly due to improved efficiencies and cost reductions in its restructuring efforts
- Nokia Siemens Networks also had a strong quarter, with record underlying profits recorded, and an operating margin of 13-15%, with net sales of around €4bn
- Nokia makes numerous efforts to the results being "better than expected" and "exceeding expectations"
The company's outlook for this quarter is somewhat more cautious, citing "competitive industry dynamics continuing to negatively affect the Smart Devices and Mobile Phones business units", "the macroeconomic environment", and "the first quarter being a seasonally weak quarter". Nokia will make further details on its Q4 results later this month, when it publishes its full-year financial results on January 24.
A recent report pointed to Nokia's dominance of the Windows Phone ecosystem, with Lumia sales far outstripping those of rival manufacturers. With 4.4m Lumia sales last quarter, this suggests that Windows Phone sales across the board are still selling in very modest numbers compared with rival platforms.