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back to article Nokia earnings pain masks intact war chest, brewing counterattack

Nokia reported another painful quarter today and warned of more to come. The Finnish phone giant reported sales were down 19 per cent year-on-year to €7.2bn for Q3, with an operating loss of €576m. On the positive side the war chest of net cash is unperturbed at €3.6bn, and Nokia's networks division and feature phones did well. …

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Here we go again

New Windows 8 Phone devices, which are a significant improvement on today's range and have been called Nokia's "first true Windows phones" are imminent

Windows Phone 7 - This is it

Windows Phone 7.5 - No actually this is it

Windows Phone 8 - We're serious this time this is definitely it. Believe me believe me BELIEVE ME!

I really do like the look and the spec of the new Nokia phones coming out, but despite their previous history they are starting from last place because they've gone about destroying their history in front of their customers eyes. This will cost them by the time they get these phones out the Galaxy S4 will be around the corner which will raise the bar again.

I know people who used to buy Symbian Nokia phones due to their build quality and simplicity of use, but they've been put off now because the adverts for their Windows Phones are so vague and you never see any adverts for non Windows Nokias.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Here we go again

No, actually, the rumour is that Lumia users on 7.5 will get an upgrade to 7.8 when Windows Phone 8 is released. So clearly 7.8 is it because it has both a 7 and an 8 in the version number - best of both worlds, init. ;-)

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Re: Here we go again

burn me once, shame on on you. burn me 8 times shame on me.

wont be touching anything Nokia/ms winpho until they have a real user base. TBH the nokia lumias do look good, but MS track record with mobiles isnt the best. This goes for windows RT/surface too.

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IT Angle

Re: Here we go again

Ummm...just a small question. If people won't buy WinPhone 8 handsets until they have an established user base, how will they get an established user base?

Not a shot at you personally, more highlighting a paradox that can screw over even the biggest phone makers. Remember how long it took the G1 to get Android recognised?

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Re: Here we go again

User base. Thats the huge elephant in the room for MS and Nokia. MS have screwed over early adopters before, i suspect they are aiming for hip young things as they wont remember how crap MS are with anything mobile.

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Happy

Re: Here we go again

>User base.

That's Finns, it seems. I have been seeing more and more Lumia's here ever since they have come down to an entirely reasonable price range. (Lowest I have seen is around 200 € for a Lumia 800, less than half of what it used to be - unsubsidized prices).

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Silver badge

Re: Here we go again

"If people won't buy WinPhone 8 handsets until they have an established user base, how will they get an established user base?"

That would fall into the department of "not my problem", unless you think punters have an obligation to build up a user base for MS/Nokia or something.

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Silver badge

Re: Here we go again

You make a compelling user experience.

Something MeeGo had before it was strangled and RIM 10 might have.

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FAIL

Re: Here we go again

Also..

"Officially, sales of Lumia phones dwindled to 2.9m"

They actually said SHIPMENTS dwindled to 2.9m, there is a significant difference, as the channel is stuffed with unsold, unwanted Lumias, they clearly didn't SELL that many, just filled lots of stockrooms with them....

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Thumb Up

The new Nokia range does indeed look very promising.

Can they release them in time for Christmas?

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Anonymous Coward

Boring 'phones, boring OS.

Once that "war chest" is sufficiently whittled down the master plan will become clear as MS buy Nokia's patent portfolio for peanuts.

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Facepalm

Strange coincidences

Nokia's networks division and feature phones did well. (...) The bright spot was strong sales of its Asha phones: feature phone sales grew by 3 per cent, and sales into Asia-Pacific continued to climb.

So it's in-house technology that is saving the day, while Windows phones continue to flounder?

Why, who'd have thought!

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Gold badge

Re: Strange coincidences

All very well, except for the billions they've pissed away on researching and building other native technology, only to never quite release it, then move on to the next great shiny, without ever finishing anything. Whatever you might say about Elop, at least he's come to a decision and stuck to it. Previous management seem to have had the attention span of 4 year olds at a birthday party. Whether his analysis is correct, is another matter.

90% of Nokia's management time in the last 5 years seems to have been spent on infighting. They've had loads of potentially brilliant ideas, but none of them have managed to emerge from the internal bureaucracy. What a horrible waste of engineering talent! Elop came in, picked his target, and managed to get it developed reasonably quickly. Whether he could have done the same with one of the internal technologies is anyone's guess. But if going Win Pho was a huge gamble with the fate of the company, that would have been an even bigger one. And no $1 billion MS marketing cash to help...

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: Strange coincidences

> Whatever you might say about Elop, at least he's come to a decision and stuck to it

That's really not something to be proud of, when you're clearly making a total arse of everything about you...

Vic.

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Gold badge

Re: Strange coincidences

Vic,

Who says he's making an arse of it? What position do you think Nokia would be in now with it's previous senior management? Do you think Meego/Maemo would have sold somewhere between 5-10 million devices? Didn't that actually go backwards when they merged their Linux platform with Intel's? Has it even got back to where it was before the merger yet? Well OK, that last is an unfair question, as they're no longer spending the R&D cash on it. But you get the point.

Symbian was selling lots of devices, but I don't think they were making much margin on them. I don't know what they're making on the Win Pho stuff either. The Lumia 710's been pretty heavily discounted, so I doubt they've been making much on that, or the 610. However there haven't been that many discounts on the 800/900 (in the UK at least). As long as they've been selling, the big 'bad news' story was that in the US they'd 'halved the price', or to put it realistically given a $50 discount after a few months of selling. So long as they're not holding tons of unsold stock, the first generation of Lumias have been no disaster. They've done OK. Sold in their millions and given them some market share. Whether that's good enough is anyone's guess.

But if the Win Pho 8 lot are a reasonable amount better than the Win Pho 7 ones, Nokia are now feature competitive with Android and iOS. That's only 10% of the battle. Marketing, logistics and the 'ecosystem' are the rest.

Nothing can work without consistency. Elop has that. He may be wrong, in which case Nokia are probably doomed. Their previous management haven't even got that far. It may be that there was no solution for Nokia by the time Elop took over. Or it may be that they had the answer, in a fix for the Symbian UI - but they'd have to start from scratch with Symbian anyway, in order to win market share off Android and iOS at the top end. And the top end of the smartphone market is the place with all the profits. Which is why only Samsung and Apple make any decent money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Strange coincidences

>>"Who says he's making an arse of it?"

This guy, for one.

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/10/the-there-pillars-of-nokia-strategy-have-all-failed-why-nokia-must-fire-ceo-elop-now.html

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bed

"...it's flushing out the channel inventory of its current Lumias at very low prices."

I am not sure charging £379 for a Luminia 800 could be considered "flushing" (details from their web site - buy now, SIM free) . However, a useful metric for this is seeing how much a Luminia 800 costs on e-bay... Possibly £150. While the E7 can cost more. The lesson from this is, perhaps, that Nokia need to produce an "E" series of windows phones.

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E-series

I bought a new E6. Needed a successor to my E71 (which sadly drowned). E6 is the latest and greatest in the E-series, but Nokia seems very half-hearted about selling it, to the point where I had to hunt for it! Why limit such a great product line to the low-end Asha?

FWIW, the apps are a huge improvement on the E71, with just a couple of caveats mainly concerned with some controls having migrated to screen-only. The hardware, alas, isn't: the keyboard is OK but has lost its edge over a mid-range Blackberry, and the touchscreen is a pain in some apps. On the upside, the screen resolution is so good I surprised myself by finding web browsing and email easier on it than on the N900's screen.

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Anonymous Coward

"So, the only way is up?"

Is that supposed to be a joke?

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"The first true Windows phone" - What crap

http://memeburn.com/2011/10/nokia-unveils-first-true-windows-phone/

Exactly 1 year ago...

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As a Lumia 800 user I was disappointed we're not getting WP8

But frankly the phone doesn't have the hardware to use most of the new WP8 features anyway.

Of more concern will be if Apps start to be released that don't use the missing hardware features, but also won't run on WP7.x. I doubt that will be common though, since WP8 can run WP7 apps, and new WP7.8 phones are still going to be released into the future. Windows Phone 7 is not quite dead any more than Android Gingerbread is (well, apart from the user-base size)

So until I upgrade I'll keep using my current phone without regret (and it is going to gain *some* functionality with WP7.8 after all), at least until it's time to upgrade.

I find Windows Phone a nice OS. It's a decent tool.

I also run a Desire HD and an original Xoom tablet, and whilst I run Jelly Bean on the Xoom (hacked it to be a GED - otherwise I'd still be on Gingerbread), the fact I haven't bothered rooting my DHD means it's stuck on whatever the hell the last update was all those many months ago, so a similar situation to where I'll be with the Lumia 800 (or possibly even worse?). I could probably root the DHD to JellyBean, but I'm underwhelmed by the Xoom running it - But that's just me. Just because I'm not bothered, doesn't mean everyone else shouldn't be too. Don't follow me, You are all individuals!

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Silver badge

Re: As a Lumia 800 user I was disappointed we're not getting WP8

> since WP8 can run WP7 apps,

It seems that is not actually true. What will happen is that MS has a re-compiler that will convert the existing WP7 apps and repackage them so that Windows RT, and probably WP8, can run them. So there will be a version of (some or most) WP7 apps for WP8.

It may be that some developers may continue to develop WP7 apps and have them converted, but the new VS will no longer support WP7.

> and new WP7.8 phones are still going to be released into the future.

That seems very unlikely. Existing stock may continue to be sold, or remaindered. There was a rumour that Nokia was scrapping 1 million WP7 phones because they were unsold.

> Windows Phone 7 is not quite dead any more than Android Gingerbread is (well, apart from the user-base size)

I can buy new Android devices with 2.3.6 and put 4.0 (and later 4.1) on it. That will never happen for WP7 getting WP8 - completely different hardware.

> (and it is going to gain *some* functionality with WP7.8 after all),

As far as I can tell there is no new functionality in WP7.8, there is some cosmetic changes in the home page such as a few extra colours and a couple of different tile sizes. This is just to make it look the same as not-Metro.

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Stop

Never under-estimate idiots however

They will be sucked in by Lumia/Surface slick/misleading marketing, and only find out that the apps stores are barrent wastelands after it's too late.

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Meh

Re: Never under-estimate idiots however

Colour me an idiot then.

I have every app I use on my Android on Windows Phone. I've purchased upwards of 100 Android apps (including games), of which I use very few.

I must have paid for about 25 apps on Windows Phone (including games) and don't really feel I'm missing anything.

I probably use about 10 apps regularly on each platform (Google news readers, twitter client, facebook, tasks, games, etc).

More choice is good, as long as it's a quality choice. I've wasted money on both platforms with hindsight, but both offer enough quality apps for me, and I welcome more appearing for both platforms to keep me interested.

The bigger issue for Windows Phone is not that it doesn't have 50 facebook apps and 80 fart apps, but that the apps it does have tend to be more expensive (on WP) than other platforms.

Still, as somebody who remembers paying £10 for games on cassette in 1985, I don't begrudge paying £4 for the occasional excellent game now and then. That's a pretty good inflation rate for the comparable quality offered, on both platforms.

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Gold badge

Re: Never under-estimate idiots however

That's a silly thing to say. If people really are suckered in by slick marketing, then the app stores will fill up right quick. If there's customers, the developers will quickly follow. And a lot of these mobile apps get knocked out pretty quickly.

Anyway, the Win Pho 7 Marketplace isn't a barren wasteland. it's got loads of apps in it. Admittedly it's even harder to find stuff in than Apple's App store or Google Play, and seems to have even more rubbish apps in than they do (or possibly just less good ones), but empty it ain't.

Really, you ought to get over this bizarre need to make multiple rude posts on every story about Win Pho. Microsoft aren't the evil destroyer of competition any more. That role is filled by Apple (with its legal department) and Google (with its data hoovering, copyright theft and free stuff to screw over everyone else's revenue stream).

Also, if Steve Ballmer is an evil genius capable of getting his Manchurian Candidate made CEO of Nokia, so he can buy it up for cheaps - how come he's Steve Ballmer when he makes every other decision? He can't be an ignorant buffoon 99% of the time, and a genius the other 1%. Plus, how did he get Nokia's previous management to be so shit, for so long, that they managed to get into this horrible mess in the first place - in order to hire Elop to burn all their previous platforms? Hence I go for cock-up over conspiracy every time.

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Race to the bottom ...

They used to be number one. Now they are in a different race, hope they won't be number one this time.

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Windows

Re: Race to the bottom ...

Yeah, agree, Think Nokia's racing to be covered in shi*t as fast as possible. I read the report today - athough not thoroughly - short break, and it seems once again that the Networks division is surprisingly holding the ladder to save Nokia from its precarious perch, and from hanging itself on the Microsoft-provided noose - Sendo didn't chafe the rope so much that it couldn't be used again.... (They did it before - Nokia, that is - in the late 'nineties. Networks 'saved' the phone division). Time will tell.

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El Reg changing tunes, very slowly

I notice the Nokia stories are having a more positive slant these days. Not so the comments, where everyone already knows the future for certain. Still, good read.

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fch

Amazing how much Symbian must be left after the torching ...

... given they sold 2.9M WinPhone-Lumias but 6.3M smartphones in total, does that really mean more than 50% of what Nokia sells as "smartphone" are still Symbian devices ?

Wow. I'm truly impressed. All the backstabbing, burying-(half-)alive, torching, butchering, burning, throwing-off-platforms etc. of Symbian, but the zombie just won't go away.

Somehow, other ex-Symbian-licensees like Samsung, Sony, LG, ... didn't need two years to get their product line to over to Android. Wishing all (ex-)Nokianites good luck!

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Silver badge

Re: Amazing how much Symbian must be left after the torching ...

Ashas are also classified as smartphones by Nokia, they've got the Evolve theme, look smartphoney enough, and some might even have a fairly decent spec (1Ghz ARM) but they're S40 devices and as such only have a Java API and limited multitasking.

The reason for this nebulous smartphone category is to hide terrible Lumia sales as they're in the same category as bucketloads of Asha sales in India and Symbian (even while it's being busily hacked to death),

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Silver badge

Re: Amazing how much Symbian must be left after the torching ...

> does that really mean more than 50% of what Nokia sells as "smartphone" are still Symbian devices ?

No, but it could mean that N9/Meego is outselling Lumia/WP7

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FAIL

Couldn't give them away!

How long will Nokia continue to ignore what the market has been shouting at them for the past 18 months? And been shouting at Microsoft for well over a decade; No Windows on our phones.

It's a real shame, as WP does have some nice touches, and Nokia, as always, turn in some great HW designs, it should be a success, but the market just isn't interested.

I wonder, if somewhere in a soon-to-be-sold-off office in Espoo, there's a spreadsheet with the sales projections for those canned-just-before-release MeeGo and Symbian handsets. I wonder if it still seems like a good idea to the Nokia Board.

And what of Meltemi? If 'smartened-up' S40 handsets can outsell all of the Smart Devices division's efforts who knows how well a properly smart replacement platform could've done?

I'd love to hear what Elop is telling the Board.

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Anonymous Coward

A largely "and so?" response to Apple's iPhone 5

i have the impression that the so called experts, who are the ones saying "and so" lose more and more touch with the reality. el reg should delimit itself from this trend of people who may be experts in the technical field but no fine sociologists or people who are actually emulated by others.

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WTF?

Can I have the name of Nokias accountant please

Corporate accounting (or tech reporting) sure must be a dark art.

"operating loss of €576m. On the positive side the war chest of net cash is unperturbed at €3.6bn"

How does one lose half a billion dollars and not come out the other side with less money?

I sure would like to have that ability after a bad day at the races or whatever.

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Anonymous Coward

"How does one lose half a billion dollars and not come out the other side with less money?" By actualy knowing how there job works and knowing how to use google to find out simple things like accountants names, who would of known.

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