Nokia posts disappointing Lumia sales as Microsoft deal nears completion

Daniel Bader

January 23, 2014 9:24am

Next quarter, Nokia will be a very different company. Without a Devices division dragging it down, the Finnish company can finally refocus on its NSN division and leave the handset sales to a company familiar with disappointment, Microsoft.

Lumping its handset sales into “Discontinued Operations,” Nokia was less than forthcoming about the fact that this holiday quarter saw Lumia sales drop to 8.2 million devices from 8.8 million the previous quarter. The fourth quarter is often a boom time for handset manufacturers as companies promote their wares during the holiday period, but Nokia failed to convince buyers the latest crop of Lumias were worth investing in.

The company also saw lower ASP, or average sales price, which means that the average Lumia buyer was looking at inexpensive hardware like the Lumia 520, 525, 620 and 625, not the flagship Lumia 1020 and, in the States, 1520.

Overall, Nokia clearly wasn’t happy with its final quarter of Lumia sales, trying to downplay the results as much as possible. There were some high notes, though: overall Lumia sales for Q4 were up 86% from a year ago, so the quarter isolated looks far better when not compared to the previous one.

With Microsoft inheriting the Lumia brand and the majority of Nokia’s employees, the Redmond-based company has even more incentive to bundle Windows Phone — and use the Lumia brand — with its other products, such as Windows 8, Office, Xbox and SkyDrive.

SourceNokia (PDF)

  • hyperhyper

    Wow, what a big surprise. They limit their flagship’s phone to a few carriers and then instead of moving forward, they start making a multitude of lesser versions from their flagship phone and they wonder why it is not doing well. I would have sincerely given them a chance had a phone that you could move between carriers and had focused on making 1 major ‘lesser’ phone of the 1020 instead of spawning all these different iterations. Confusing like a Samsung product line.

  • Bri

    I think the major issue is the OS.
    Many user reviews are very negative as a lot of applications don’t work as expected.
    I almost bought one then seeing all those reviews had stopped me from buying a WP and I bought another android.
    I’ve been with Android for a few years now and I’m not complaining.
    It’s blazing smooth and fast since Jelly Bean and quite reliable.
    I’m just a little bored with the android OS and I just wish there was another reliable OS other than iOS (iPhones are too expensive).

    • Josh Brown

      What are you bored with? There is so many things you can do with an android and now with Xposed it is just crazy all the tweaks you can do.

    • beyond

      life is too short to waste time on ‘tweaks’

    • Josh Brown

      Well if you don’t care about tweaks and making the OS perfect for your needs, then how do you get bored with something?

      I find it hard to find one thing that you can do on another OS that you cant do on Android in some way, even fully functional computers like Windows 8.

      Thus, why I asked what are you bored with?

      If he just has a short attention span that is one thing, but if he really wanted to mess with stuff the changes he can make to android are endless.

    • Philosoraptor

      I used to love messing with my Android devices. Now, it’s wasted time. Not all of us want to do this. There are things that iOS/WP8/BB10 do better than Android in terms of how I like to use my phone.

    • Josh Brown

      Give me an Example? “Now, it’s wasted time.” I guess that is how we differ, I love that my Note 2 looks, and is set up, completely different than my wifes S4, It does not even look like the same OS. I hate when you look at a WP or IOS and they all look the same.

    • Philosoraptor

      But why do you need an example? We all like to do different things with our free time and most of us don’t have a surplus of free time. Customizing your phone is something you enjoy doing. I also switch phones on a monthly basis (if not even more often), so there is little point in digging deep.

    • Josh Brown

      I am just curious what WP and IOS do better? I have used both devices and found they are very limited OS’s and difficult to navigate. BB10 I can see with the HUB is easy to get around but is also very limited of what you can change.

      The beauty with android is you can back up all your settings from say Nova Launcher and take the set up with you, and with tools like Helium you can take system settings user dictionaries and phone settings with you.

    • Philosoraptor

      Sorry, I thought you were looking for examples of how it’s wasted time rather than what I like about the OSs.

      Backup/restore options are generally better on iOS/WP8 (keep in mind that I’m talking about stock-only devices). Voice commands and car integration are really important to me. Google Now requires me to handle my phone more than I want. Limiting background processes automatically and not having to run apps like Clean Master to keep my phone smooth is another plus for me (though I know that many consider this a benefit rather than a drawback – just shows you that we don’t all want the same thing). For BB10, it’s the hub as you’ve said plus the swipe gestures (both of which are something I loved on my Nokia N9).

    • Josh Brown

      Helium can be used on any android device. All you have to do is enable usb debugging will you are backing up. It uses wireless ADB.

      “Google Now requires me to handle my phone more than I want.”

      Side load the GE launcher (or just get a motox or nexus 5 if this is too hard for you to figure out) and all you have to say is “OK Google” from the homescreen. Or us home2 to set double tap on a hardware key to bring it up.

      “Limiting background processes automatically and not having to run apps like Clean Master” Just don’t download crap apps. I have never used a app like that and my phone never slows down but I am just careful not to download poorly built apps.

      “plus the swipe gestures” can do this easy with gesture apps or nova launcher(from the home screen).

    • Philosoraptor

      I have a Nexus 5. It’s garbage in the car. Launching the service isn’t the pain, even though I have the voice command disabled to save battery life. A button on my steering wheel will launch whatever voice control the OS has. When it doesn’t recognize a dictated text, I have to tap on the cancel button. I’m constantly forced to interact with the phone by touch. In contrast, both iOS and WP8 voice control will ask me what to do. I don’t have to touch the phone at all. And I can cancel both with the back button on my steering wheel. Furthermore, Google Now often has a hard time recognizing when I’m done talking. I just tried it now and the only ambient noise at the moment is my computer’s cooling system. I had to cancel the command as it would not stop listening.

      I don’t download crap apps. Android is simply not that great with memory management. I don’t have to use Clean Master, but it gives me a better experience.
      Third party launcher options never work as well as the source that they’re trying to emulate. I’ve tried them all. In the end, it’s just not worth the hassle for me.

      I forgot one other thing, and I’ll use one specific example. I like to play Tapped Out from time to time. I always play it on my iOS device (and it’s far from perfect). There is an Android app (but no WP8 app). I’ve stopped playing it on Android because it crashes all the time. It does it on an N5, S4, and HTC One. So much for the app advantage on Android over WP when it’s unusable. I’m constantly seeing more app crashes on Android vs competition. I know that the OS itself isn’t to blame, but poor quality control. But I don’t care about who’s at fault. All I care about is my subjective experience.

    • Josh Brown

      I have never had problems with voice recognition with Google now even in my car with tons of road noise. Maybe your voice is harder to pick up?

      “Android is simply not that great with memory management.”

      I found the exact opposite, my grandmother has an iPhone 5 and it frequently slows down, where you tap a button and the app hangs to the point where you do not know if you tapped it or not, so you tap it again and then end up going back two screens or doing something else weird. Also the navigation in IOS is terrible. relying on app developers is horrible, android is much better with the dedicated back button. With IOS it is called something different in each app and is not in the same location. Also not having away to share between apps is the worst thing in a OS.

      If my grandma is surfing the web for knitting patterns and she finds one she likes, she wants to print it. she has to exit safari, go to the brother printer app and re navigate to the same webpage except this time in a terrible web browser, and then hit print.

      Android, you hit print and it opens the brother app with what you were looking at with the other app and prints it takes about 5 sec. Soooo much simpler.

      I don’t have alot of experience with WP8 does it have a share feature? To me that is the biggest deal breaker with IOS.

    • Philosoraptor

      My voice may be harder to pick up than yours, but why do iOS and WP8 usually know when I’m done talking (and offer me to say something like “change it” in case it fails without having to touch the phone)?

      I liked Android and WP8 back buttons better than the iOS approach, but not since iOS 7. Now, a left-to-right swipe will take me back.

      Regarding printing, there’s no option to do so with WP8 (that I know of). With iOS 7, there is a print option under “share” in Safari. I don’t have a WiFi printer so I can’t see how well it works or if it requires a particular printer (this is Apple, after all). But printing something from my phone is not something I ever need. So yes, points to Android but why should I care if I don’t use it.
      We obviously have different deal-breakers.

    • Josh Brown

      So what if you want to open a web link in Chrome instead of Safari? What if you want to send a text or email from a link with a app other than the default?

      “but not since iOS 7. Now, a left-to-right swipe will take me back.” So what happens if an app uses the same gesture for in app navigation or you are simply side scrolling that seem like a very limiting choice by apple.

      I use my phone as a computer replacement not just a thing to text and phone and “surf the web”, that is why I like android. But hey if you are ok with a limited OS that just works it is fine. I have a Dock that has a HDMI out and 3 USB inputs that I have a mouse and keyboard pugged in to and a tasker app that changes the dpi as soon as I plug it in. It turns my phone into a desktop computer. It really bugs me when I can do something with my phone. I guess that is why I choose android over IOS and WP8

    • Philosoraptor

      But I don’t want to open a link in Chrome on iOS. I’m perfectly fine with Safari.

      The left to right swipe is in-app (and iOS system menus). Side scrolling isn’t affected as you need to swipe from the edge of the screen (I haven’t yet had it mess with side scrolling).
      I don’t want to use my phone as a computer. I’ve tried that before. I prefer my Surface RT or my ASUS Zenbook for computing on the go.

      My phone needs to be: 1 – a communication device for voice, text, and Skype/Viber/Whatsapp/Facebook, 2 – a web browser, 3 – a point-and-shoot camera replacement, 4 – a portable media player (with heavy focus on music streaming), 5 – a GPS replacement, and 6 – a very light gaming device. All but BB10 offer me these minimums, so then I’m left to choose according to UX preference.

    • Josh Brown

      Fair enough I guess I just want 1 device that can do it all. It is like having a swiss army knife/leatherman for a tool. Sure I can have a tool pouch with screw drivers and blades and files and pliers, do I want to drag all of those tools around where ever I go. no way. I have a Custom built PC at home for my games and my note 2 for everything else. I would rather have one swiss army knife than drag a tool pouch around with me because the one device can’t do it all.

    • Philosoraptor

      I used to be the same way. But the instances in which that extra capability were used were far and few in between. And even then, I had other devices available to me that could’ve been used instead.

      The Note 2 wouldn’t cut it for me on the go as a computer replacement. Yes, I can hook it up to an external monitor and keyboard, but a monitor isn’t always available to me and it’s not like I’m gonna carry one with me. Even my Surface isn’t the laptop replacement I was hoping for, simply because of the 10″ screen. The 13″ screen of my Zenbook Prime seems to be the bare minimum for me to effectively multitask in my work environment (though that’s still a huge sacrifice from my dual 22″ monitor setup in my office.

      Again, different devices to suit our differing needs. But I must say that it’s nice to chat with somebody online on this topic without it deteriorating into a flame war.

    • Bri

      does Home2 work when the device is turned off (locked status)?

    • Philosoraptor

      And Home2 is hardly a solution for A) me with a Nexus 5 with no hardware keys and B) me not wanting to touch my phone while driving.

    • Josh Brown

      No because that defeats the purpose of locking your phone. if you do not have a lock screen set up then yes it will work

    • RS

      I almost bought wp8 too but most of the reviews I read from previous owners were pretty good. In the end it was the question of available apps not the os that swayed my decision. Wp owners are very defensive about their purchase as I’m sure you’ll see in the comments to come for this article.

    • Philosoraptor

      All the apps I need are available on WP8. Are there certain apps I use on my iOS/Android devices that aren’t on WP8? Of course, but they aren’t essential to me. Others will disagree, but to each their own.

    • RS

      Different users have different needs and no availability of a future blue chip app wasn’t a risk I, personally, was willing to make with a 3 year contract.
      I did fail to mention that I’m heavily involved in the google ecosystem which also swayed the vote.

    • Philosoraptor

      And I fully understand your point and will make no attempt to persuade you. As someone who’s decidedly not loyal to a single platform (I have iOS, Android, WP8, BB10, and Symbian devices and had a Nokia N9 a while back), I can see the pros and cons of all of those platforms (and within-platform variability as well).

      I haven’t relied on subsidies for about a decade so that doesn’t really apply to me.

  • Shawn Payne

    Imagine if the Lumia 1020 was on Android… Nokia wouldn’t be in the position is is in right now.

    • Columbo

      You’re right… they wouldn’t exist as a company at all.

    • AlphaEdge

      With Windows, they will ALWAYS be a tiny faction of the market. I was huge Nokia N8 fan, and went to Android, after Nokia went to MS.

    • Philosoraptor

      How’s Android working out for manufacturers whose name happens to be something other than Samsung in this market (or any market other than China)?

    • AlphaEdge

      By producing the great hardware that they do. If only Nokia+Android! MS has killed Nokia. :(

    • Philosoraptor

      Again, I disagree. Sony and HTC have produced great hardware and where are they? Samsung is king despite fairly crappy hardware because they threw everything including the kitchen sink toward marketing.

  • Philosoraptor

    This isn’t surprising. The Lumia 920 is over a year old and there hasn’t been a compelling reason to upgrade. The 925, 928, and 1020 are essentially the same phone. Sure, the 1020 has double the RAM to handle the 41 MP image processing without grinding your phone to a halt.

    The 1320/1520 could have helped Nokia out in Q4, but carrier exclusivity for the 1520 and lack of availability of the 1320 in the North American market isn’t what Nokia needs right now. For example, I’m dying to try out the 1520 but the only variant available to me for a reasonable price is the ATT version which comes without built-in Qi (thanks to ATT’s backing of the PMA-variant). I’ve spent ~$150 on all my Qi chargers so I’d like to take advantage of it. At least there’s a Qi cover for my 1020, but not for the 1520 (and why would there be, considering that other variants have it built-in and ATT likely demanded that Nokia not make such a cover for their variant because they want you to buy their PMA case).

    Hopefully Microsoft will not bow to carrier demands. Hell, HTC isn’t exactly doing well and they’re not limiting their flagships to certain carriers.

  • TechD82

    Wow. Way to spin it guys.
    Year-over-year is all that matters, and sales were UP 86% in Q4 and UP 125% for the full year.
    Comparing Quarter-over-quarter shows your bias and/or incompetence.

    Terrible reporting. Seriously.

    • Philosoraptor

      Plus, “…leave the handset sales to a company familiar with disappointment, Microsoft” is hardly something that belongs in a news article. Maybe they’re turning this into a blog.

    • SuperDSpamalot

      “Tech Journalism” doesn’t exist, it always devolves into rampant, un-helpful fanboyism. This website is no different.

    • Philosoraptor

      I still find this site to be better than most I visit. GSM Arena is the only one I’d put above Mobile Syrup.

    • Columbo

      That’s pretty subjective… I’d say if they sold more phones over the summer than over the holiday period then it’s fair to call that disappointing.

    • TechD82

      Nope. No new models were released shortly before or during Q4. Best models (high end and budget) have all been out for awhile. A Quarter-to-quarter drop was probably expected (and has happened before). Fact is, Nokia MORE THAN DOUBLED sales from 2012 to 2013. That’s over 30m units. Plus, they almost doubled unit sales in Q4 2013 compared to Q4 2012. That’s how you measure these things.
      You know, if you’re a real journalist.

    • AlphaEdge

      You being way too defensive over a phone that has a tiny tiny tiny fraction of the market. Less than 5% in North America I believe.

  • neville1355

    This is expected when you only release your phones on a small amount of carriers. I’d buy the 1020 if it was on WIND or a reasonable price unlocked.

  • Mythos88

    It’s a bit of shocker but they have to get away from those idiotic carrier exclusives. And Microsoft has to pick up the pace–what the frack are doing? I would still rate WP as the least bad mobile OS but there is no reason the development of WP is going so slow.

  • Lyndon Boychuk

    I will laugh a loud “HAHA” if Nokia’s Android phone outsells anything currently out there. It might be ms’s best interest to dump their own platform and adopt Android….it’s what the masses want. Give the people what they’ve been asking for. I love the phrase where ms is used to disappointment lol.

    • HelloCDN

      Why is it that everybody thinks that Android is “what ALL people want”?

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      Most people like freedom and to be unique is my guess. Unless you are the type that needs to be led around on a leash and told what you are supposed to like etc?

    • HelloCDN

      Interesting, isn’t it what you are telling me right now? That I’m supposed to like Android because it “gives me freedom”? Seriously, you sound like one of the die-hard Apple fans. And since when is it that Android makes you unique?

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      There are more choices available when it comes down to customization and OEM’s compared to other options out there…that should be plainly obvious by now to most people. I’m guessing you are on a windows phone of some kind? Would you mind telling me what it is that you like about your phone and its operating system?

    • Mythos88

      Ya freedom for the carriers to install uninstallable bloatware and tracking software and freedom for the developers to include spyware in the apps without any resistance from Google whatsoever. You can have it.

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      Depends actually… My Moto X has very little bloatware to speak of. I was very pleased to see that Facebook wasn’t preinstalled on this one. Is there any phone out there that doesn’t come with some form of bloatware from the carrier? I wouldn’t be surprised if the bloat becomes a thing of the past soon. The carriers will need to differentiate themselves by their service and support quality rather than making skins and bloat no one wants. As for security bud…no phone is safe these days, nor is PC , and neither is Mac. But in my life opinion Android is the best as it does what I want it to do and the fact that it is being adopted on such a grand scale through many different devices is very appealing to me.

  • Jeffry

    it will be going to continue ( drop in sales) as long as they use windows platform..
    and they deserve it

  • Cormang

    Nokia and all the other OEM’s are waiting for Windows Phone 8.1 before releasing the next batch of flagship devices. The only two devices this holiday season were targeted at minorities. Neither the 1020 or the 1520 are devices the majority of people want. I know I’d take both in a heartbeat but that’s just me. If Nokia has released a 5 inch and a 4 inch device they would have had more success. Unfortunately that never happened. The Lumia 625 and 525 are a great devices but they feel dated compared to the Moto G. And quite frankly, the Moto G is a better deal. I’m a Nokia fan and I own a Lumia 920. But the North American market can’t grow on budget hardware. We need high end devices the majority of people want to buy. A 6″ phablet and a 41 megapixel monster isn’t what the majority of smartphone buyers want. The lack of main stream devices is stunting growth in North America and other regions around the world. Put the brand in the hands of the majority and the budget hardware and niche markets will pay attention.