Is this the turnaround? What you need to know about Nokia’s results

Stephen Elop, Nokia

Nokia’s 2012 results are out and, as expected, they were pretty awful if you look at the whole year. However, there was a glimmer of hope towards the end.

Here are the main points worth digesting:

– Nokia is back to profitability, having made €439 million ($585 million) in the fourth quarter of 2012. In the same quarter of 2011 it lost €954 million.
– But if you look at the whole of 2012, Nokia’s annual losses deepened from €1.07 billion to €2.3 billion.
– Nokia shed 25 percent of its staff during 2012 as part of ongoing cost-cutting measures. That’s more than 32,000 jobs gone.
– The PureView super-cameraphone from last year, is the last Symbian phone Nokia will make.
– Nokia’s sold less than half as many ‘smart devices’ – that’s Symbian plus Windows Phone – during 2012 than it did in 2011, down from 77.3 million to 35.1 million units. That’s mostly because of the collapse of Symbian.
– Over the same period, sales of more low-end ‘mobile phones’, including the Asha full-touch range, fell a relatively small 12 percent from 340 million to 300 million units.
– However, look at the fourth quarter, and you’ll see a quarter-on-quarter rise in unit sales of both smart devices and mobile phones, up five percent and four percent respectively. That said, seasonality plays a big role here.
– The fourth quarter was particularly good for Nokia Siemens Networks, which saw a 14 percent quarter-on-quarter rise in sales to €3.99 billion. That’s not a seasonally-affected division.

In the earnings call this afternoon, Stephen Elop made a couple points that may be worth revisiting down the line:

– Elop thinks Asha can ward off the low-cost Android threat because it has “a lower overall total cost of ownership”, mainly due to the Asha browser’s use of compression to cut down on data costs.
– Remember Google’s cutting-off of Exchange ActiveSync support for Windows Phone – the technology Nokia uses to support push Gmail on its phones? Elop says Nokia is looking “very closely” at “alternative technical means to achieve the same type of thing”.
– Speaking of Google, Elop bashed the company again, repeating his mantra of operators wanting a third ecosystem and characterising Android as becoming increasingly “closed”.

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