Nokia profits plunge as its market share falls

Troubled mobile maker Nokia has seen profits plummet by 16 per cent as its market share has been eroded by Apple's iPhone and others, according to a Q4 and full-year earnings report published by the company today.

Profit at the world's biggest handset maker was down to €743 million (£639 million) for the last quarter of 2010, against €882 million (£759 million) in the same period the year before, prompting new CEO Stephen Elop to admit the firm faced "significant challenges".

Although sales of mobile devices as a whole rose 12 per cent last year to 402 units, Nokia estimates its market share fell four per cent to 31 per cent, with big falls in Europe and Asia Pacific. The exception was China, which provides one of the only bright spots in what is a gloomy outlook for the company.

Summing up the company's performance in its annual earnings statement (PDF), Elop said:

"Nokia faces some significant challenges in our competitiveness and our execution. In short, the industry changed, and now it's time for Nokia to change faster."

The Finnish firm will be looking to regain its edge in technical innovation, after the flagging fortunes of its once-open source Symbian operating system.

And the signs don't look too good for its new smartphone operating system MeeGo, either. Nokia is pinning its hopes on the OS - a joint project with chip giant Intel - but the system met with a lukewarm reception in the wake of continuing success for Apple's iOS and its major rival Google Android.