Sales Drop Worries Investors

By Reuters -  |  Posted 2008-12-01 Print this article Print


Nokia has led the smartphone market by a large margin for several years, but its sales fell on an annual basis for the first time in the third quarter as it was only ramping up production of new top-end models.

The drop has worried investors and analysts as it is expected to weigh on the Finnish group's profit margins.

Nokia's share of the market for smartphones fell to 38.9 percent from 51.4 percent a year before, Canalys said. Apple's market share jumped to 17.3 percent and RIM's to 15.2 percent.

To battle new rivals, Nokia said in June it would buy out other shareholders of UK-based smartphone software maker Symbian for $410 million and make its software royalty-free for other phone makers to counter new rivals.

Since then, 59 companies have said they plan to join the Symbian Foundation, including major mobile phone makers, making it larger than the alliance behind Google's Android.

Nokia would contribute Symbian's assets to the not-for-profit organization, the Symbian Foundation, uniting with handset makers, network operators and communications chipmakers to create an open-source platform.

Nokia has said it sees the Symbian Foundation as a faster way to bring new products to the markets. It expects to release the first unified Symbian Foundation software next year and introduce a new platform by June 2010.

Nokia's Symbian acquisition is still pending regulatory approvals, which Nokia expects by the end of the year.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki, additional reporting by Brett Young; editing by John Stonestreet)

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