Starting off (in the smartphone world) with Series 60 (on Symbian) handsets, transitioning through Windows Phone 7.x phones, and ending up on Android, LG has officially closed its Mobile division, with the short statement quoted below. It's been a rocky road for LG, but even back in the mid 2000s at the Symbian shows, I never really felt their heart was in it, at least in terms of selling to - and supporting - the West. Some thoughts and a few looks back below.
Recent News - Industry
Long time AAS readers will remember the Nokia N93, a unique multi-form factor smartphone with a barrel camera that included a genuine continuous 1-3x zoom lens system. It worked superbly, at least in good light, with the caveat that the reduced aperture when zoomed meant that evening and night shots suffered. Partly because of this, Nokia (and then the world) moved to computational photography and smart cropping into large, high megapixel sensors in order to try and zoom without the same degree of aperture loss, cuminating in 2012's Nokia 808 and 2013's Lumia 1020. But now comes news that a continuous zoom lens system may be making a come back, 14 years on from the N93...
After the disappointment of the oddball 'Nokia 9 PureView', compared recently here to the Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 (etc), Nokia (at least the new Nokia brand under HMD) has now announced another contender, this time with a more conventional PureView 48MP f/1.8 sensor - phew! The X71 is only just shown in China and will probably arrive in Europe as the 'Nokia 8.1 Plus', in a few months time. But with 3.5mm jack, expandable storage and capacitive fingerprint sensor (all missing in the '9') as well, plus the single large sensor configuration (plus wide-angle), this possibly is the PureView phone you're looking to move to?
We knew this was coming, of course. The Nokia Store (for Symbian, etc.) closed for new business/apps well over a year ago and we knew that a deal had been struck with Opera for the latter to keep it going in some form. The recent Store update contained the necessary redirect code and now the button has been pushed by Microsoft to redirect any use of the on-device Nokia Store application to the Opera web site/store.
Microsoft today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Nokia Devices and Services division, following approval by shareholders and governmental regulators and almost eight months on from the initial announcement. Microsoft is now a major mobile hardware manufacturer and will now begin the complex process of integration. Nokia continues to exist, primarily as a network infrastructure (NSN) business, coupled with the strategically important maps (HERE) and research and intellectual property (Advanced Technologies) businesses.
Nokia has released its Q3 2013 results, reporting an operating profit of €118 million (up from a loss of €564 million in Q3 2012), with net sales of €5.6662 billion (down 22% year-on-year). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating loss was €86 million. The margin in Devices and Services was -3% (up from from -18.9% in Q3 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 8.8 million (all Lumia), up from 7.4 million in Q2, while mobile phone volumes were 55.8 million, up from 53.7 million in Q2, but down 27% year-on-year.
We knew this day would come, but didn't think it would happen so soon. After January 1st, 2014, Nokia is no longer accepting either new applications or updates for existing apps into the Nokia Store. The email, sent out to all developers today, is quoted below, but my first impression is that the refusal to allow app updates is something of a contravention of Nokia's stated intent to "support Symbian until 2016". After all, without the facility to update apps to maintain compatibility with the wider world and to respond to security issues and bugs, the Symbian ecosystem is rather left in the lurch.
Nokia yesterday published additional material about its proposed transaction with Microsoft that will see the sale of its Devices & Services business and a major patent licensing agreement. The information is intended to give shareholders more information ahead of the proposed 19th November EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) at which shareholders will be asked to follow the board's recommendation and vote to approve the proposed transaction with Microsoft.
Microsoft and Nokia today announced that they had signed an agreement whereby Nokia will sell its Devices & Services business and license its patents to Microsoft for €5.4 billion. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2014, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
The move will be seen as a key part of Microsoft's future devices and service strategy and was, perhaps, inevitable given its reliance on Nokia for Windows Phone devices, especially after rumours about such a transaction were floated earlier this summer. It will shake up both the Windows Phone ecosystem and the mobile industry more generally, drawing clear lines between major technology players, but also leaving questions about the business sustainability of smaller players.
The transaction will close the mobile phone chapter in Nokia's 150 year old history and reshapes a company that remains one of Europe's leading technology brands.
Nokia has released its Q2 2013 results, reporting an operating loss of €115 million (up from a loss of €824 million in Q2 2012), with net sales of €5.695 billion (down 24% year-on-year). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating loss was €33 million. The margin in Devices and Services was -1.2% (up from from -11.8% in Q2 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 7.4 million (all Lumia), up from 6.1 million in Q1, while mobile phone volumes were 53.7 million, down from 55.8 million in Q1, and down 27% year-on-year.
Nokia has released its Q1 2013 results, reporting an operating loss of €150 million (up from a loss of €1338 million in Q1 2012), with net sales of €5.852 billion (down 20% year-on-year). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating profit was -€42 million. The margin in Devices and Services was -1.5% (up from from -5.1% in Q1 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 6.1 million (5.6 million Lumia, 0.5 million Symbian), but mobile phone volumes fell to 55.8 million, down 21% year-on-year.
Following on from a preliminary set of results, Nokia has now released its full interim Q4 2012 results, reporting an operating profit of €439 million (up from -€954 million in Q4 2011), with net sales of €8.041 billion (down 20% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating profit was €276 million. The margin in Devices and Services was 7.2% (up from from 3.4% in Q4 2011 and up from -19.2% in Q2 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 6.6 million (4.4 million Lumia, 2.2 million Symbian).
Nokia today announced that its Q4 2012 results will be better than previously expected, with the key Devices & Services division's non-IFRS operating margin expected to be between break even and 2 percent. Previously the company had indicated this would be -6%, with a +/-4% range. Nokia also currently estimates that it sold 6.6 million smartphones (4.4 million Lumia, 2.2 million Symbian) in the last quarter. Mobile phone sales were 86.3 million, and, of these, 9.3 million were Asha full touch devices, which are sometimes classified as smartphones (in which case, a total of 15.9 million smartphones).
Big software house Digia has announced that it has 'signed an agreement to acquire Qt software technologies and Qt business from Nokia'. Once the acquisition is completed, Digia will become responsible for all the Qt activities formerly carried out by Nokia, including product development, licensing and service. Digia 'plans to quickly enable Qt on the Android, iOS and Windows 8 platforms'. As part of the transaction, a maximum of 125 people from Nokia will transfer to Digia, mostly based in Oslo, Norway and Berlin, Germany.
Nokia has released its Q2 2012 results, reporting an operating loss of €826 million, with net sales of €9.275 billion (down 19% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's losses were €471 million. Margins in devices and services were -11.8% (down from -4% in Q2 2011 and down from -5.2% in Q1 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 10.2 million (4 million Lumia), compared with 16.7 million units in Q2 2011 (down 39% YoY) and 11.9 million units in Q1 2011 (down 14%, QoQ).