Skies darken above Nokia

Finnish firm Nokia, once the giant of the mobile phone scene, has sent a chilling warning to investors.

The company has warned that it is likely to report no profit for the quarter ending June and that overall handset sales would be "substantially below" the €6.1bn to €6.6bn previously forecast.

Blaming lower than expected net sales, Nokia has now refused to provide annual targets for 2011, saying that doing so would not be "appropriate".

As a result of the news the company’s share price yesterday plunged 15 per cent – its lowest level since May 1998.

The news is the latest development in what has been a miserable year for the company. A partnership with Microsoft and its Windows Phone 7 operating system does not mask the bigger picture of collapsing market share and muddled strategy.

In February a leaked memo from CEO Stephen Elop spoke of apocalyptic challenges and burning platforms. In April Nokia shipped out its aged Symbian platform.

And then last month Nokia saw fit to kill its Ovi brand, once the supposed poster child of mobile commerce and now a sorry afterthought in a market dominated by brands such as Apple and Goole.

"The truth about Nokia’s competitiveness has come out now. We know that the company is loss-making at a group level," Swedbank analyst Jari Honko told The Guardian.

"Consensus estimates will react strongly, and so will the shares. We will see more and more reflection on Nokia’s market share, and that is the worst thing to happen to this company, when the scale is shrinking fast.

"It remains to be seen how low [market share] could go, but for smartphones we are talking about going under 20 per cent this year."

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