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Lumia shipments slip below 3 million as sales continue to slide at Nokia

Q3 2012 results reveal big operating loss

Lumia shipments slip below 3 million as sales continue to slide at Nokia
With the launch of Nokia's (NYSE: NOK) refreshed Lumia line-up a matter of weeks away, the Finnish firm posted yet another disappointing set of quarterly results owing to falling interest in its existing smartphones.

Shipments of existing Lumia handsets slipped to 2.9 million in Q3 2012 – down from a promising 4 million in the previous quarter.

As a result, net sales slipped to €7.2 billion (around $9.4 billion), down almost 20 percent year on year.

No shocks

The somewhat sticky quarter hasn't come as a surprise, however.

News that existing Windows Phone 7 handsets wouldn't be upgradable to Windows Phone 8 effectively put a blocker on Lumia's momentum earlier this year.

The knock-on effect, of course, is that big things will be expected from the WP8-equipped Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 come launch, with losses (on an IFRS basis) for the quarter coming in at €576 million ($755 million) – up from a €71 million ($98 million) loss during the same period in 2011.

Nokia's devices & services division – responsible for its mobile output – saw sales slop to €3.56 billion ($4.67 billlion) from €5.39 billion ($7.45 billion) in Q3 2011, with mobile shipments as a whole dropping to 77 million from 106.4 million year on year.

Looking ahead

"As we expected, Q3 was a difficult quarter in our devices & services business; however, we are pleased that we shifted Nokia Group to operating profitability on a non-IFRS basis," said CEO Stephen Elop, pointing to a €252 million ($330 million) profit when discounting international financial reporting standards.

"While we continue to focus on transitioning Nokia, we are determined to carefully manage our financial resources, improve our competitiveness, return our devices & services business to positive operating cash flow as quickly as possible, and ultimately provide more value to our shareholders."

Indeed, Nokia's report – available here in PDF form – makes direct reference to Lumia shipments taking a hit when the company "shared the exciting innovation ahead with our new line of Lumia products."

The pressure will be on, then, for Nokia's Windows Phone 8 range to perform strongly over the course of the next 12 month, with the Finnish firm's first Windows 8 tablets also expected to launch in the not-too-distant future.

Nokia ended the quarter with total cash and other liquid assets of €8.78 billion ($11.51 billion).

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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