Nokia: 2 million Lumia Windows Phones sold in last quarter

Nokia revealed that it sold 2 million Lumia smartphones in the first quarter of 2012. Is that good or bad?
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Nokia revealed on April 11 that it sold 2 million Windows Phone Lumia devices worldwide in the first quarter of 2012.

Is that promising or alarming?

It's not good enough to boost Nokia's results, as company officials acknowledged on April 11, when it lowered estimates for its first financial quarter from "around break even" to negative three percent. Nokia officials called the results for its devices and services first quarter "disappointing." Company officials are expecting operating margins for the second quarter to be similar or below the first quarter. Nokia is set to announce its Q1 earnings on April 19, the same day Microsoft is reporting its Q3 fiscal 2012 earnings.

Update: Here is more on Nokia's warning today from ZDNet's Larry Dignan.

Nokia launched its U.S. comeback flagship device, the Lumia 900 Windows Phone on AT&T, on April 9. Last night the company admitted there was a software problem with the just-released phones that results in a data connection loss for those affected. Nokia is providing all customers purchasing the Lumia 900 through April 21  -- whether they encountered the glitch or not -- with replacement phones or $100 credit.

Market share for Windows Phone has dropped in recent months, according to market watchers.  Microsoft hasn't shared publicly the total number of Windows Phones sold to date. One of my inside contacts said that number is around 3.5 million handsets, which, if true, is definitely nothing to write home about.

Update: Other Microsoft watchers like WMPowerUser, think that number is closer to 10 to 11 million units. Again, as I noted, Microsoft officials won't comment on sales.

I've also heard from my contacts that Windows Phones accounted for only about three percent of all smartphones sold by AT&T and T-Mobile here in the U.S. They aren't even a blip on Verizon's radar screens, supposedly.

My ZDNet blogging colleague Zack Whittaker wondered in a post today whether it's time for Microsoft and partners to throw in the towel on Windows Phone, which remains a distant third behind Apple and Android-based phones.

I can say with near certainty there won't be any white flags raised in Redmond any time soon.

Microsoft can't afford to give up in smartphones. Microsoft is going to keep throwing money and people at smartphones -- the same way it did with Xbox when it looked like a laughable competitor to Sony in gaming. Microsoft's future strategy is built around the idea of unifying the phone, PC and TV/gaming console platforms via a common interface and development platform.

I don't know how Microsoft defines "success" in smartphones, but failure, in terms of completely dropping out of a market is crucial as smartphones, isn't an option.

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