21

Nokia’s financial troubles foretell a potential Microsoft rescue


Further news today that Nokia is having a difficult time in the market. The Finnish giant, while still selling over 83 million phones last quarter, has been working through its cash reserves at a prodigious rate. If this trend keeps up, and sales of its Windows Phone handsets don’t turn a profit, analysts say that it could use up its nearly five-billion euro cash reserve by the end of 2013.

While Nokia wants to sell nearly 20 million Windows Phone devices by the end of this year, and 46 million by the end of next, it seems unlikely that they can offset the massive drop-off in Symbian sales. Its only new high-end Symbian device, the Pureview 808, won’t be widely available, and can’t compete on a profit basis with stalwarts such as iPhone or Android.

Nokia’s goal of improving cash flow — lowering costs and continuing to be financially strong and independent — are less about selling phones and more about making profit off high-margin smartphones like they were doing in years past. The number of Symbian smartphones sold in Q1 2012 was less than half of a year ago, and the company sold 24 million fewer overall devices in the same period.

Investors are also shying away from Nokia at the moment, with both Moody’s and Standard & Poors downgrading the company’s credit rating.

But the trend is not entirely negative. Nokia is the shining light in the Windows Phone world, propped up (and paid $1 billion per year) by Microsoft who seems to be in the mobile game for the long haul. There is no question that both companies are vying for that coveted “third horse” in the smartphone race, and with the recent market share declines made by RIM, it appears companies are up to the challenge. Furthermore, Nokia has entered into exclusive agreements with app developers to bring big-name brands such as Groupon, ESPN and PGA Tour to the Windows Phone app store.

Ultimately, though, if things don’t work out for Nokia independently, they could always be swallowed up by Microsoft, whose former executive Stephen Elop is now the Finnish company’s CEO. We’re crossing our fingers that the worst  is over for Espoo, who have been making some excellent products in the Lumia 710, 800 and 900 recently.

Source: Reuters

  • JadonFresh

    Much of the time it’s all about image and marketing and not about the product. The Lumias are great phones that can compete with most of the ‘popular’ phones out there. However, they just don’t have the buzz. Maybe that’s the price of arriving really late in the game.

  • kad

    symbian would have survived !

    nobody wants windoze

    • TheCyberKnight

      Just to let you know, since you obviously haven’t heard about it, the “windoze” joke has expired several years ago.

      Please, be creative.

  • vengefulspirit99

    What is really hurting Nokia is their image online. The whole running meme of being indestructible but not being advanced or how their latest phone was hit with massive recalls. None of these things are a good thing.

  • Me Ted

    Should have pushed Meego. MS has killed you Nokia.

    • andy c

      i’m leaning towards picking up a N9 later this year if i can get a hold of one for cheap.

      Played around with one in asia and it’s a fantastic little OS.

  • steven schwartz

    They should have not tied their horse to only Microsoft. They could have made a bigger impact with some android flagship devices.

  • briggs

    They’re having problems differentiating themselves from the rest of the market. Awesome phones, but so are IOS and Android, why should I pick nokia wp7 over say, the iphone or galaxy nexus? Especially seeing as samsung makes wp7 phones as well.

    • bob

      Their problem is that their phone are as expensive as many higher end phones, and have mid range specs.

      It’s like trying to sell a corolla for the price of a BMW, saying that nobody needs a 300hp engine and leather seats anyway.

    • Blackkey

      @ bob That is a terrible analogy. More like a big engine in a HUGE car performs well (Android), but a smaller engine in a super lightweight car can perform just aswell. Like the audi A6

  • Corey

    Even the most current windows phones can’t compete with android phones from almost 2 years ago. No dual core, no 1gb ram, low res screens. When you have phones like the Nexus going for $400 right from Google with 720p screens who in their right mind would get a low rent windows mobile phone?

  • metoo

    At least they have MS as a lifeline. What are Android companies like LG, HTC and Sony going to do? Sure their parent companies may still be profitable, but their wireless divisions are hemorrhaging money. Unlike Motorola, they can’t look to Google to buy them. RIM and Nokia own own lots of very valuable IP, so there will always be investors interested, even if only as scavengers at a corpse. The various Android vendors have far less of their own that is worth anything. Maybe they can all look to Samsung as their whiteknight as they seem to have turned the corner to profitability on their smartphones (more than turned the corner, they now own pretty much all Android profits).

    Nokia may be in rough shape but I expect some other casualties first, mainly in the Android space.

  • Atrix

    Rim and Nokia are sooooo dead!

    • KC

      How so? RIM has an all new platform and competative hardware coming later this year which is exactly what consumers have demanded, they are still number one in enterprise and will never lose that title as thanks to Mobile Fusion, RIM makes money no matter what phones people bring to work, plus RIM is a well diversified company that through QNX is involved in many sectors that have nothing to do with mobile phones. They’ll be ok.

      Nokia has Navtec, that’s their lifeline, and they also have Microsoft and the lease with option to buy deal that sees nokia get a $250 million per quarter cash injection. So worst case, Nokia becomes to phones as XBOX is to gaming – Microsoft’s division for that market. Realistically, with the business model that Microsoft has chosen for Windows Phone, I see that being the most likely outcome as other OEM’s in the Windows Phone ecosystem have absolutely no way to differentiate themselves and they do not get the money or special privillages Nokia does so they are not likely to ever give the same ‘focus’ **cough**Samsung**cough** to Windows Phone as they do to Android.

      Plus with Samsung being the undisputed top dog in the Android game, Nokia and RIM would have been stupid to choose to be an also ran OEM in a field where even the number 2 player has less then 10% share of the market. Both companies are doing what they need to do to survive. We have yet to see who picked the smarter path, but potentially, both companies will end up becomming very different from what we remember them as. RIM may end up as a service and software company, and Nokia may end up as a division of Microsoft. But RIM has more chances in my opinion of remaining independant even if BB 10 flops as they have the option of restructuring the business without hardware. Nokia gave up on their in house software and Microsoft would love to own Navtec, so if Nokia fails, they will be aquired.

  • 5Gs

    I just got myself a nokia lumia 710. I was debating between nexus s or htc 4g but when i got nokia hands on. Have to say not pricey at all and i am actually impressed with the software..

    I am actually loving the phone more because of the software…

  • Atrix

    Rim and Nokia are fail and failer. Any investment in these companies is like throwing money into a black hole.

  • Babble On

    Wasn’t it always the plan that “they could always be swallowed up by Microsoft, whose former executive Stephen Elop is now the Finnish company’s CEO” and one of Microsoft’s largest shareholders…

  • tigger

    I think a few people hit it on the head.
    I think I understand why Nokia went with Windows Phone OS.
    Microsoft is in it to win, the Windows Phone having a list of Apps, they getting money from MS, it seems reasonable why they did it. I’d prefer they stuck to Meego, but I see how this was reasonable.
    That being said, I think going exclusively Windows Phone OS is a huge transition that leaves many wanting.
    Symbian has more options/features than Windows Phone, and Meego has a nice usability when compared with Windows Phone.
    They should have continued transitioning Symbian over to Meego while working more closely with Microsoft to launch and sell hard their Lumia line.
    That gives us, customers, more options.
    Some of us like phones that can last more than a day, or are used to the Symbian OS and like it’s functionality. We know that change was needed and needed fast. However, not everyone would like the Windows Phone OS.
    I think they are realizing this now.
    A lot of the user base looked at Windows OS and the phones offered and said… no thank you.
    Those that wanted the N9 couldn’t unless they were lucky enough to live in a country that offered it or that had a source. I think they could have done more to shore of the transition, or keep Meego alive. Hopefully they look at their books and numbers and reconsider Meego phones and plan future ones.. or offer an updated N9 to the wider masses.

  • John

    Since when Lumia 710, 800 and 900 are excellent products? :)

  • stylinred

    Nokias main issue was how they allowed Elop to handle the transition…. by driving a spike into your 2 smartphone platforms a full year before your rescue plan (wp7) even had a chance to prove itself not only did they leave a bad taste with investors, customers, fans, but most of all developers

    Symbian was actually attracting a lot of developers (finally) many of whom were well on their way of releasing their apps, having invested time/funds into them already… and here Elop comes and says “HAHA” and what happens? App development was virtually graveyarded for Symbian and developers weren’t going to risk developing for WP because 1) WP wasn’t selling anything 2) nokia was too much of a risk now
    and that’s why Microsoft has been having to foot the bill for developers thus far

  • Thilan

    They DID have a good OS in MEEGO. I have an N9 and it is an amazingly intuitive OS. Too bad they took their sweet time releasing it. If it had been released about 2-3 years ago it would have possibly made for better times for Nokia.

Trending News

Other Articles