Finally some positive sales figures from Nokia: boss Stephen Elop says the quarter ending in December 2012 saw the company sell a total of 4.4 million Lumia Windows Phones.
Not only is the figure better than market expectations – a rare occurence in recent times – but it also marks the first time that Lumia sales have outstripped sales of devices running Symbian – the OS Elop so famously described as a “burning platform” in early 2011.
Of course, with Nokia no longer developing Symbian it was always going to fade sooner or later, but the unexpectedly strong Lumia numbers are a welcome surprise for the firm. It means Nokia's mobile phone business achieved “underlying profitability” over the quarter, news that saw its stock on Wall Street opening at $4.45, nearly 20% up overnight.
Nokia's full quarterly figures are only due out on January 24, but with Elop's own future effectively resting on the Lumia division's success, it's no surprise to see him quoted as saying he was “very pleased with the Lumia response”.
The figure of 4.4m Windows Phones sold was achieved despite supply chain shortages to the flagship Lumia 920 in particular (a point Elop raised himself in delivering the news). The Symbian division contributed a further 2.2m unit sales, with operating margins at this point estimated as being between zero and 2%, a big improvement on the expected -6%.
However, it still doesn't mean Nokia is out of the woods. The traditionally weak Q1 figures will provide a better indication of whether Nokia's sales momentum has continued, and if it has had to slash prices (and therefore margins) to achieve sales, as was the case in Q1 2012.