Nokia Posts Third Quarter Results, Shares Plans For The Future

Iohana Georgescu

Written by Iohana Georgescu
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A Nokia handset and the upcoming mobile operating system MeeGo

Following the quarterly results of Apple, Yahoo, Google and others, Finish phone maker Nokia has finally managed to share its own results with the world. Not surprisingly, the company’s devices and services sector has improved compared to the same period last year. Nokia has also set some new goals and is determined to accelerate transformation and increase effectiveness. The company’s employees were made aware of the new plans which include simplifying operations that are a part of product creation in Nokia’s Symbian smartphones organization, services organizations and certain corporate functions.

According to Nokia these plans should result in a reduction of up to 1800 employees globally. From this point of view, we feel sorry for Nokia’s employees who are getting ready to start scouting for new jobs. For the record, Nokia is currently the home of about 132,000 employees (number that was revealed at the end of last month). On the bright side of things, Nokia managed to record a €529 million ($737.9 million) net profit in the three months of the quarter that ended on September 30. In the same period last year it had recorded a €559 million loss according to the Wall Street Journal. Sales in the quarter also recorded a 4.7 percent growth and went up to €10.27 billion. The results far surpass the expectations of analysts which were expecting a profit of no more than €229 million. This estimate was based on the rising of selling prices for Nokia handsets, clearly above expectations.

While a while back people were somewhat worried by the massive number of Nokia executives that were either replaced or simply decided to resign, as it turns out all these changes might be doing the Finish handset maker a lot of good. Nokia’s new CEO Stephen Elop, “borrowed” from Microsoft if I may be allowed to use that term, declared that he’s pleasantly surprised with the company. “In the five weeks since joining Nokia, I have found a company with many great strengths and a history of achievement that are second to none in the industry,” he said. Bu he also added that Nokia is facing a remarkably disruptive time in the industry and needs to make a lot of strategic and operational improvements in order to continue to “delight” customers with new and exciting products and at the same time avoid displeasing shareholders.

Leaving the bad economic times aside, Nokia was forced to face some fierce competition in the last couple of years. As Apple released the iPhone on the market and multiple other handset makers rushed to follow and be a part of the touchscreen and mobile apps revolution, the interest of consumers obviously shifted towards the devices that were popular at the time. Nokia’s handsets clearly weren’t a part of all that and they slowly but surely moved from the spotlight to a darker, less populated corner of stores. After a large period of hearing little to nothing about Nokia’s new products, with new leadership and a newly formed team of talented members, the Finish giant is now planning to strike back. It hasn’t even lost the leading position on the mobile phone market…yet. On the occasion of the Q3 earnings report, we got to find out a lot of interesting things regarding Nokia’s plans for its two operating systems (Symbian and MeeGo).

Apparently the company’s development strategy will be to unify environments for Symbian and MeeGo. Starting from now QT will be the only application development framework used. For smartphone owners what this means is that any improvements made to later versions of the Symbian platform (the user interface was given as an example) can be downloaded on older devices as well. So there’ll be no need to wait for Symbian^4 because all of the improvements that should be a part of that version of the mobile operating system will be introduced as soon as they become available. So according to Nokia there won’t really be a Symbian^3 and Symbian^4 anymore. Rather, users will get one “constantly evolving” and improving platform. To be honest, this doesn’t sound like a band plan. On the same occasion Nokia also took the time to announce support for HTML5 web content and applications for Symbian and MeeGo in QT and the browser.  All of the future changes will completely change things for developers who are promised a huge installed customer base for theirapplications.

Last but not least, we finally get to find out what will happen with MeeGo. Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop mentioned that the first device to run MeeGo will start heading towards shelves in 2011. Actually in this particular case I’d rather just quote Elop. He said: “First MeeGo device will be a 2011 event.” Engadget believes that this device is the N9 we’ve heard plenty about on previous occasions and even got to see a leaked photo of. Overall, Nokia seems to be pretty happy with how the development of MeeGo is going. Elop said that his first impression of the OS inspires confidence and excitement at the same time. Well, we’re still waiting to see what it’s all about. One can’t help but observe how anxious people were to see the new Windows Phone 7. Compared to Microsoft’s latest OS, Nokia’s MeeGo is for some reason much more exciting so I’m guessing the company is expected to come up with something that’s worth our time. This probably also eliminates the possibility that Nokia will ever consider using Android on its devices. As soon as MeeGo is out, it will join some pretty significant competition which is now formed by no less than 4 operating systems: iOS, Android, WebOS and Windows Phone 7. So will it measure up? I guess only time can tell.11

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