Nokia Reports First Loss Since '96

The globe's largest handset maker reported its first quarterly loss since 1996 today. Here are the big numbers from the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg:

The largest mobile-phone maker took goodwill impairment charges of €908 million ($1.36 billion) on Nokia Siemens Networks, its network equipment joint venture with Germany's Siemens AG, as third-quarter sales at the unit fell 21% on year to €2.8 billion.

The company sold 16.4 million smart phones, it said. Last quarter’s smart-phone sales were 16.9 million.

Sales of the N series multimedia phones were 4.5 million in the quarter, the company said, less than the 4.6 million reported last quarter. Nokia sold 4.4 million of the E series, consisting of business-oriented models that compete with Research in Motion Ltd.’s Blackberry, compared to 4.7 million reported last quarter.

According to Gartner's Q2 smartphone numbers, Nokia has 45% of the world's high-end handsets. However that number will continue to go down with increased pressure from Apple, Android and RIM. Its stronghold in Europe is even under threat long term unless Nokia can improve its user experience considerably.

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I've argued that in the US (re smartphones), absent a low-end, low-cost strategy, Nokia is all but done. There are just too many competitors and the Nokia brand has no resonance at this point in America. However Nokia could gain some traction with a new netbook in the US market. It will sell for $299 but requires a 24 month, $60 per month AT&T contract (which could hurt sales).