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Nokia tries to smile as profits slump

Says less money from fewer phones no big deal

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Nokia's third quarter results show the company feeling the credit crunch and losing ground to competitors with cheaper handsets, but still chipper about the future.

Overall revenues in the quarter were €12.2bn, down 5 per cent on the year, or 1 per cent in constant currency. Operating profits came in at €1.5bn 21 per cent less than this time last year.

Nokia still dominates the handset business, but not quite as much: the company estimates its own global market share at 38 per cent, down one per cent on last quarter. Much of that is attributed to the refusal to get involved in what Nokia considers the unsustainable cheaper end of the market, though even Nokia's handsets are now averaging €72, compared to €82 this time last year.

Apparently half that drop is down to the exchange rates, particularly the low dollar - but that shouldn't remain a problem as sales into North America have fallen by 16.7 per cent since last year, while sales into Europe have dropped 5.5 per cent. But these days Nokia's biggest market, by volume, is Asia Pacific with 33.6 million devices shipped in the last three months, compared to 27.4 shipped in Europe.

Elsewhere, including Africa and the Middle East, volumes are up but overall shipments are still down 5.5 per cent.

Not that it's all bad news - Nokia managed to put nine million N-Series devices and three million E-Series ones into punters' hands.

Nokia warned that its figures wouldn't be stellar this quarter. Industry mobile device volumes will be up sequentially, while mobile device market share will be "the same level or slightly up sequentially". This as average prices slip. The mobile infrastructure and fixed infrastrucutre markets will be flat.

But there's still plenty of money coming into the pot to pay for new projects such as Comes with Music and equally interesting business models. ®

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