By Matt Burns
Ouch. Remember that time I wrote a post called “Welcome back, Nokia“? I praised Nokia (NOK) for going back to its roots with the Lumia handsets, and the flagship Lumia 900 is a fantastic phone with a great build quality and even better price tag. At the time Windows Phone had just matured into a competent mobile operating system, one worthy of consideration over iOS and Android. But that was in February, and now, two financial quarters later, Nokia is struggling in the U.S. market and revealed earlier today that it shipped just 600,000 handsets in the U.S. during the last quarter. Ouch.
This drop represents a 60% decline year-on-year, and doesn’t forecast sunny skies for either Nokia or Windows Phone. To put that in perspective, Nokia sold 25.3 million devices in North America in 2006, roughly working out to 486k a week. Of the 600k handsets sold over the last four months, 330,000 were of the Lumia variety. Nokia CFO, Timo Ihamuotila, broke down the numbers further during the companies financial conference call, explaining that the Lumia 900 and 610′s sales are increasing while the smaller 800 and aging 710′s are decreasing.
But it’s not just North America that’s hurting. “All regions showed a significant year-on-year decline in the second quarter 2012 except for North America,” Nokia stated in today’s report, “where the sharp decline in sales of Symbian devices was more than offset by sales of our Lumia devices.” Nokia saw a 5% decline on total device sales worldwide during the last quarter, shipping 83.7m devices. This likely further separates Nokia from Samsung who recently took over as the worldwide leader in mobile handset sales.
Unlike the other faltering giant, Nokia still has a leg to stand on. Nokia still ships more phones than every other mobile phone company besides Samsung. Despite the statement above speaking to the contrary, the Asia-Pacific reported a 17% year-over-year change, lending a bit of credibility to the wild claim that Windows Phones were outselling iPhones in China. What’s more, the company is cutting its workforce, killing non-core brands like Vertu, and investing heavily into Windows Phone.
Nokia still has a chance. It ships a boatload of devices and the company is actively trimming its fat. Nokia might never be the world leader again, but there will always be a market for a quality device like the Lumia 900.