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Nokia's plan to slowly phase out Symbian for Windows Phone 7 and continue selling Symbian devices during the phase out, is increasingly looking like a colossal blunder.  (Source: Nokia)

"Never let go." "I promise."... Apparently customers aren't buying this philosophy when it comes to the quickly sinking Symbian platform. They're jumping ship to Android or Apple.  (Source: Paramount Pictures)
Company's slow transition to Windows Phone 7 may cost it the global lead in smart phone sales

Finland's Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) is the world's largest smartphone maker.  Nokia also has a very big problem.

The company recently tied the knot with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), promising to phase out its proprietary Symbian smartphone operating system for Microsoft's slick new Windows Phone 7 OS.  The company insisted that the move had nothing to do with the fact that an ex-Microsoft Canada executive recently became Nokia CEO.

Regardless of the move's origins the question quickly became when would the switch to Windows Phone 7 be made?  Nokia has opted for a "gradual" transition in which it slowly phases out the operating system.  At the same time it will release Windows Phone 7 handsets, which will live side by side with Symbian handsets.

The approach has its merits, when looked at from a certain perspective.  But Nokia badly underestimated a major issue raised -- nobody will want a phone on a dying platform.

According to reports Nokia's market share loss has accelerated from a slow bleed to a pouring stream.  

Signs of this have crept up in recent financial filings.  Nokia has lowered its Q2 2011 outlook[press release] for devices and services.  It went from predicting 6.6B € ($9.5B USD) to 6.1B € ($8.8B USD).  That's a big drop.  The drop is fueled by lower predicted volumes -- which seem to be stemming from poorer than expected Symbian smart phone sales.

At the same time the company's operating margins have dipped from a predicted 6 to 9 percent to "around breakeven."

Annual targets are also being scaled back.

If there's one ray of sunshine among the storm clouds it's that Nokia reports an "increased confidence" level that it will deliver Windows Phone 7 handset(s) by Q4 2011.

The question, though, is whether that will be too late.  For now Nokia will have to continue trying to pitch customers a dying platform -- Symbian.  Nokia predicted sales of 150 million more Symbian smartphones "in years to come."  Now, as customers defect to Apple, Inc. (AAPL), Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM), and Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android, it seems like a matter of time before that number becomes the latest financial figure to be slashed at the Nokia headquarters.

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Get your act together
By radium69 on 5/31/2011 7:31:49 PM , Rating: 2
Nokia doesn't need to sink. But if they sit on there bums and do nothing and keep trailing then they will sink.

Just signed a contract 1 year with a Nokia N8, great PHONE and nice camera and so on. But symbian had to be polished. But I guess I shouldn't have to worry about that anymore.

C'mon Nokia, do your userbase some honor and get these windows phones on the shelves already. They should have been there yesterday...

Windows 7.5 is already approaching. I really do hope they can mix their knowledge and experiences together. And reading an article about microsoft and it's windows tablet minimum specifications, I hope they set the bar high for user experience!

By deadmanwalkedaway on 6/1/2011 5:00:37 AM , Rating: 2
Everything was going well with symbian.
Nokia ruined it in last 6 years . Bought symbian back and kept on thinking what to do with this.
Like "Dog runs behind a car and after car stops dog dont know why he was chasing the car". So then Nokia decided to make it open source. Now for almost two years Open Source Committee was thinking like the same dog.

Now They hired a driver for car they stopped, But in real it was a Dog Catcher who can catch the dog but dont know what do with the car. So He is never interested in car(Symbian OS) but interested in DOG. so started killing them. Whichever dog bites he started killing that dog.
After that this Dog Catcher realized that he need awards from his old masters he was faithful of. Telling that okay Now we will have autorikshaw business(Window7). Autorikshaw with with AC cannot replace the car. if you apply the innovation to the AutoRickshaw it is not going to beat car in any matter. So better tp replace the dog catcher with driver.

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