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Nokia profit sinks 73%, less than feared Add to ...

Nokia, the world’s largest cellphone maker by volume, reported a 73 per cent fall in fourth-quarter earnings as sales of its new Windows Phones failed to slow the rapid dominance of Apple’s iPhone or to compensate for diving sales of its own old smartphones.

Nokia unveiled a high-profile strategy shift to Microsoft software on its smartphones last February in a bid to rival to Apple and Google’s Android. But Apple’s phones in particular have proved far more popular.

Apple reported earlier this week sales of 37 million iPhones for the December quarter. Nokia said it has sold well over 1 million Windows Phones by end-January.

“More than 1 million shipped Windows Phones to date is more than some were expecting, but it’s not going to worry Apple or Google,” said analyst Nick Dillon from research firm Ovum.

Nokia’s fourth-quarter core earnings per share fell 73 per cent from a year ago to €0.06, beating market expectation for €0.04.

Fourth-quarter smartphone sales fell 31 percent from a year earlier to 19.6 million handsets, roughly in line with forecasts.

Shares in the company climbed 5.5 per cent to €4.28 after the results, in which Nokia proposed a 2011 divided of €0.20 per share, slightly more than expected.

Nokia’s board proposed to name Risto Siilasmaa as its next chairman to replace long-time leader, Jorma Ollila, who is due to step down in May.

Mr. Siilasmaa, a 45-year old enterpreneur, has been a Nokia board member since 2008 and is known in Finland as the founder of software security company F-Secure, but has a lower profile outside the country.

Nokia’s reported quarterly results fell to a loss of €0.29 per share due to a €1.1-billion writedown for its digital mapping assets.

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