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Nokia rings warning bell

20 million handsets down in Q4

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Nokia has updated its predictions on end-of-year sales, knocking 20 million handsets off its fourth quarter forecast for the industry and promising to get rid of all those expensive external contractors.

The note comes ahead of more detailed plans which will be announced at a meeting on the December 4, but clearly the Finnish giant thought a revised expectation for the industry; of only 330 million handsets sold in the last three months of the year, was worth an early warning.

The statement points out that this is still 20 million more than were sold in the third quarter, but that quarter didn't have Christmas in it - the most significant date in mobile phone sales, at least in the, nominally, Christian world. Nokia had expected the industry to shift around 350 million handsets, and has had to revise their whole-year expectation down to 1.24bn for 2008.

They'll be more cost-cutting come December 4, but the direction it will take is clear from the note. Apparently Nokia will "curtail use of external contractors, consultants and professional services" as well as cutting operating expenses, but no mention of curtailing the Mobile 2.0 spending spree that has seen Nokia buying up likely-looking companies apparently for the fun of it.

At one point it seemed that Nokia's strategic transition into a software-and-services company was a sensible response to the growing threat from eastern manufacturers, but these days it's not easy to discern any strategy coming from Helsinki at all.®

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