Nokia's play to stay in the smartphone game is paying off as buyers flock to its wide range of Windows Phone 8 devices packing great camera technology.
With its upcoming acquisition by Microsoft, the $7.2 billion deal looks to be a good value with sales increasing by a million per quarter and some hot new models on the way.
Lighting up the Numbers
While not quite in Apple's league, with the Cupertino company selling nine million iPhones over a weekend and nearly 34 million for its just announced quarter, Nokia is making rapid progress up the sales curve to cement its third place position and to quash any fears about it losing relevance in the marketplace. Smartphone sales rang in at 8.8 million globally with a 1.4 million rise in US sales, an improvement of almost a million on the previous quarter.
With recent big improvements to the Windows Phone OS, the 1520 phablet offering more screen space and the upcoming Lumia 2520 Windows 8 tablet, Nokia now has a full range of devices to offer, with a differentiated experience from iOS and Android's quaint icon-based structure. As buyers start to return to the brand, the company will be delighted with its latest figures, with net sales of $7.79 billion and a $162 million profit.
While many of those sales may be from the mid- to low-end of Nokia's range, anything that stabilizes and boosts the brand has to be good news, and reception of the high end models has also been largely positive. That'll be a major plus for Microsoft which is acquiring the phones and services side of the company, leaving the network division behind.
Bitter rival Google still doesn't seem to have figured out what to do with its Motorola acquisition, whereas Microsoft now has a healthy and forward-moving business to fold into the mix, linking key apps and services, from Skype to Office, with these and future model phones to tempt new users.
The Lumia Future
Under Microsoft ownership, Nokia will have the potential for massive enterprise penetration with its devices and Windows Phone's support for Office and SharePoint apps. Even when Microsoft finally brings Office to iOS, the lead experience will always likely be on Windows Phone devices.
The new sales impetus will likely get those lagging on app development for Windows Phone to get with the program. One of the sticking points for adoption remains the lack of a few key apps with the likes of Instagram only recently appearing on the format and Flipboard just announced. Still, users are waiting for several others, there's no official Runkeeper app for health enthusiasts for example.
If the positive growth continues under Microsoft's stewardship, then the combined company can further bolster and fine tune the range in and around Surface tablets or the imminent Xbox One console. That could build brand appeal with a new generation of users, and while Apple and Microsoft bicker on their blogs, it is the consumers who will decide which company will be the mobile leader.