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Plunging smartphone sales lose Nokia $1.6 billion

Finnish phone giant Nokia has reported a $1.6 billion loss for 2011, as the firm struggles to maintain its leading market position in the face of intense competition from rivals Apple and Google.

Nokia phone new 2012 01 26 0Enlarge
Nokia launched its first two Windows-based smartphones, the Lumia 800 (pictured) and Lumia 710, in October, which it hopes will enable it to gain ground on competitors like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android-based phones. (David Becker/Getty Images)

Mobile phone giant Nokia has reported a $1.6 billion loss for last year, as the Finnish company struggles to maintain its position as the world’s biggest mobile phone maker and fend off competition from rivals Apple and Google.

The firm posted a net loss of $1.6 billion in 2011, compared to a $2.3 billion profit for 2010, Sky News reported.

It suffered a huge loss of almost $1.4 billion after tax in the fourth quarter of last year compared with a $980 million profit a year earlier, according to the New York Times. Net sales of its mobile phones were down by a quarter.

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Nokia launched its first two Windows-based smartphones, the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710, in October, which it hopes will enable it to gain ground on competitors like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android-based phones.

Yesterday Apple reported record-breaking net profits for the three months to December 31, 2011, with the firm more than doubling its iPhone sales to 37 million over the holidays.

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Nokia’s Lumia phones have been launched in a number of markets in Europe and Asia, as well as the US, and Nokia says it will be launching them in China and Latin America in the first half of this year.

“The fourth quarter of 2011 marked a significant step in Nokia’s transformation,” said chief executive Stephen Elop, according to the BBC.

“Overall, we are pleased with the performance of our mobile phones business.”

Initial sales of Lumia phones were not enough to counter a collapse in shipments of its older operating system in the holiday quarter, the Financial Times reported.

However, Nokia’s announcement that it had sold more than a million of them since October, coupled with declines in the final quarter not being as bad as analysts had predicted, sent the firm’s shares soaring 7 percent higher in Helsinki trading, according to the New York Times.

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