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Nokia Corp. announced on Thursday that cumulative sales of its Lumia smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2012 exceeded its expectations and totaled 4.4 million units. For the first time ever, shipments of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone-based handsets exceeded sales of smartphones powered by the Symbian platform at Nokia. Still, it will take a long time before Nokia will be able to regain its smartphone market share from Samsung and Apple.

“We are pleased that Q4 2012 was a solid quarter where we exceeded expectations and delivered underlying profitability in devices & services and record underlying profitability in Nokia Siemens Networks. We focused on our priorities and as a result we sold a total of 14 million Asha smartphones and Lumia smartphones while managing our costs efficiently, and Nokia Siemens Networks delivered yet another very good quarter,” said Stephen Elop, chief executive officer of Nokia. 

Shipments of Lumia Family Finally Exceed Sales of Symbian Line

Nokia currently estimates that devices & services net sales in the fourth quarter 2012 were approximately €3.9 billion, with total device volumes of 86.3 million units. Total smartphone sales were 6.6 million units composed of 4.4 million Lumia smartphones and 2.2 million Symbian smartphones. Nokia also sold 9.3 million Asha full touch phones and for some reason called them "smartphones" in the press release concerning its quarter results. Since Asha are powered by Series 40 operating system, they cannot be considered as smartphones, despite of rich functionality.

Mobile phones net sales were approximately €2.5 billion, with total volumes of 79.6 million units of which 9.3 million units were Asha full touch phones. Smart devices net sales were approximately €1.2 billion, with total volumes of 6.6 million units of which 4.4 million units were Nokia Lumia smartphones.

Other net sales were approximately €0.2 billion, including a positive impact from non-recurring IPR income of approximately €50 million, a result of the patent deal with Research in Motion.

Windows Phone 8 Impact?

During the quarter there were reports about shortages of Nokia’s latest Lumia smartphones based on Windows Phone 8 operating systems as well as claims that initial volumes of the new Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 were relatively low and could not significantly affect total sales of Lumia-branded handsets. At the same time, previous-generation models with Windows Phone 7 got cheaper and more appealing to some customers. Therefore, it looks like cumulative effect of new product launches and price discounts helped Nokia to set an all-time-high Lumia shipments record in Q4 2012.

Still, with 6.6 million smartphones sold in total per quarter, it will take Nokia many quarters, if not years, to get back to the smartphone sales levels of early 2011 and to rival Apple or Samsung with its Lumia smartphones. In fact, life-to-date sales of Lumia are about 14.3 million, about half the number of iPhones that Apple sells in one quarter.

Tags: Nokia, Lumia, Microsoft, Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8

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