Phone maker's stock plunges as transition to Microsoft platform puts damper on current sales.
Nokia said Tuesday that it has "increased confidence" it can start to deliver smartphones based on the Windows Phone operating system by the fourth quarter. At the same time, the Finnish phone maker said it won't sell as many phones overall as it originally expected this year due to the transition to Microsoft's mobile OS.
Nokia shares plunged on the news. The company's stock was down 13.78%, to $7.07, in afternoon trading.
Nokia said second quarter revenues from sales of devices and services will be "substantially below" its previous estimate of between $8.8 billion and $9.5 billion. The company also said it could no longer provide financial forecasts for the rest of the year with any confidence.
"Nokia is taking immediate action to address the issues that are impacting its Devices and Services businesses," the company said. The steps it plans to take include price cuts on its existing inventory of Symbian-based smartphones. Consumers and businesses aren't likely to invest much in Symbian products going forward when Nokia has publicly committed to moving the bulk of its offerings to Windows Phone.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said he hopes to speed up Nokia's switch to the Microsoft platform.
"Strategy transitions are difficult. We recognize the need to deliver great mobile products, and therefore we must accelerate the pace of our transition," said Elop. "Our teams are aligned, and we have increased confidence that we will ship our first Nokia product with Windows Phone in the fourth quarter."
Microsoft last week unveiled details of its "Mango" update for Windows Phone 7, and confirmed that the first Windows Phone-based devices from Nokia will be running the update. 500 new features, from major improvements like multitasking to transparent back-end services, are included in Mango.
Mango also unifies and cross-feeds data and messages from social networks, messaging systems, apps, e-mail, and even voice.
A new feature called Threads lets users glide between text, Windows Live Messenger, and Facebook chat within the same "conversation." A feature known as Groups lets users receive and send messages from predefined social or business circles directly to and from the Smart Tiles home screen, and Contact Cards have been enhanced to include feeds from Twitter and Linked In, in addition to the networks they previously supported.
Nokia is betting big that Mango will make Windows Phone competitive with Apple's iPhone and Google Android-based devices. Nokia is expected to report second quarter results on July 21.
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