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Nokia Lumia 800 can't stop Nokia losing €1bn at end of 2011

The hotly anticipated Nokia Lumia 800 wasn't enough to prevent the Finnish phone-flinger losing a whopping €1bn at the end of last year.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read
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The hotly anticipated arrival of the Nokia Lumia 800 wasn't enough to prevent the Finnish phone-flinger losing a whopping €1bn at the end of last year.

Nokia's Q4 results, announced today, reveal that the new Lumia Windows Phones arrived too late to turn around an £800m loss during the last three months of 2011, although Nokia says it has sold more than a million Windows Phones, while Symbian phones continue to do well in the developing world.

Honestly, how can anyone lose a billion Euros? We go a tenner over our overdraft limit and Barclays is after us like we kicked its dog.

The figures are certainly a stark contrast to Apple's results, also announced this week: the iPhone folks made a staggering $13bn profit in the same period -- almost exactly as much as Nokia made in revenue. 

Industry expert Ernest Doku of uSwitch.com reckons the "sea of minus signs" in today's results show just how "frail" Nokia is now. From its heady days as an innovator and market leader, Nokia has fallen behind the curve, and even the new Lumia Windows Phones feel like a "rear-guard action" against the iPhone and Android.

The success of non-smart phones in developing markets is the company's "get out of jail card" -- but that won't last, reckons Doku, as non-Western markets mature and smart phones become the norm, even the developing world's mobile users will begin to demand smart phones.

IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo describes the transition from Symbian to Windows Phone as "painful", with the next six months looking "gloomy". But despite the poor results it's been "a good start for the Nokia Windows Phones", with Nokia set to be the leading manufacturer of Windows Phones at the expense of HTC and Samsung, who also use Microsoft's colourful operating system.

We really like Windows Phone and the 800, and we're keen to see if Nokia has the clout to open up the iPhone and Android-dominated smart phone market into a three-horse race.

Nokia still needs to cut costs, but with the Lumia 710, Lumia 900 and more Windows Phones in the pipeline, the grand old man of the phone world hopes to return to past glories.

To see how Nokia went from making paper, tyres and gas masks to classic phones like the one off of The Matrix, press play on our entertaining and informative video.

Can Nokia turn things round, or are the Finnish phones finished? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.