Nokia made it six in a row today by announcing its sixth consecutive quarterly loss in Q3 2012, posting losses of 576m euros from revenues that fell 19% from Q2.
Within the greater context of Nokia's recent struggles, however, the loss was actually less severe than expected and saw the company's share price rising in response.
However, the lower-than-expected losses had nothing to do with the Lumia line of Windows Phones that hold the key to Nokia's future as a serious player in the smartphone business, but came instead from strong profits posted by the company's Nokia Siemens Networks telecoms equipment division.
As for Nokia's smartphone division, there was little surprise in seeing Lumia smartphone sales dive from 4m in Q2 to just 2.9m in Q3 – in fact, it could potentially even be a good thing for Nokia, as a drop in Lumia sales suggests people are waiting for the arrival of the latest Windows Phone 8 devices, which are expected to launch within a few weeks.
Either way, Nokia could really do with a more successful Q4 on the back of decent sales of the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 WP8 handsets and the traditional sales boost the entire industry tends to enjoy in the run-up to Christmas.
It would certainly lower the pressure a notch or two, especially on CEO Stephen Elop, who's own legacy will forever be associated with the Windows Phone switch. In the six full quarters since the decision to abandon Symbian and MeeGo and underpin Nokia's smartphone aspirations with Microsoft's mobile platform, Nokia has posted overall losses in excess of €4bn.
If Nokia can turn things around in Q4 and ride improved Lumia sales to – dare we say it – even post a small profit, Elop will argue that the Windows Phone switch was the right move for the company's future.
That's a big if, however, and publicly at least Nokia is warning not to expect much improvement in Q4, fully aware of how big a step forward so many of its smartphone rivals have made in recent months.
Via Nokia (PDF)