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Lumia: Is the light visible?

The following graph shows the history of smartphone volume shipments from Nokia.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 4-18-1.48.21 PM

 

Lumia sales have increased to 5.6 million units last quarter. Up from 4.4 during the previous quarter. Symbian devices have nearly disappeared from the market with only 0.5 million shipped.

This puts an end to Symbian sales after over a decade since sales start and two years after it was declared that sales would end.

The bad news remains that smart devices as defined by Nokia are still not profitable. If volumes grow it’s possible that the cost structure (without further cuts) can be sustained and perhaps the business will get its footing.

The level of 6 million units/quarter is about where HTC and RIM are today but only half of what ZTE and Huawei are probably shipping. As a hardware business it might work, barely. It certainly helps to have $250 million as platform support payments from Microsoft.

As a platform it’s still a very long haul for Windows Phone. Even if we assume a nominal $15 revenue/ Windows Phone license and ignore the kickback, at this level of sales the platform generates less income than what Microsoft gets from licensing IP to Android vendors.