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


Credit: GigaOM

Nokia(s nok)’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(s msft) 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(s goog), 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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