Earnings comparison: Nokia vs Apple

Nokia and Apple reported calendar 3Q13 results within a few hours of each other this week (Apple’s figures cover its fiscal 4Q13). Here’s a rundown of some of their key comparable figures.
Device shipments
Nokia sold a total of 64.6 million devices during the quarter compared to 82.9 million in 3Q12. Smartphone sales comprised 8.8 million of the total, up from 6.3 million a year ago.
Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones – a record for its fiscal 4Q, and up from 26.9 million in the same period of 2012. However, iPad shipments grew just 100,000 year-on-year to 14.1 million.
Devices sales and profit
Nokia’s device business dramatically cut its operating loss from €252 million in 3Q12 to €47 million ($64.6 million) in the recent quarter, despite a 19% drop in sales to €2.8 billion.
In contrast, Apple’s net profit for the quarter fell from $8.2 billion in calendar 3Q12 to $7.5 billion despite a rise in revenue – up to $37.5 billion in the recent quarter from $36 billion in 3Q12.
Nokia overturned a flow of cash out of the company of €429 million in 3Q12 with a modest €9 million net cash position in 3Q13.
Apple generated cashflow of $9.9 billion, and returned another $7.8 billion in cash to shareholders through dividend payments and share repurchases, in calendar 3Q13.
4Q13 outlook
Nokia predicts a non-IFRS operating margin of 12% in the final quarter of 2013, with an error range of plus or minus four percentage points. It also plans to begin reporting its device businesses results as discontinued operations due to the planned sale to Microsoft.
Rival Apple is more bullish, forecasting a gross margin of between 36.5% and 37.5% in the final calendar quarter – the firm’s fiscal 1Q14. The firm predicts it will generate revenue of between $55 billion and $58 billion in the period.
CEO statements
Risto Siilasmaa, chairman and interim chief executive, Nokia
"Subject to the planned completion of the Microsoft transaction, Nokia will have three established businesses: NSN, HERE and Advanced Technologies.
Our strategy work is making good progress and it has already become clear that there are meaningful opportunities for all of our business areas...In all of these businesses, we have strong assets that we continue to invest in for the long term benefit of our customers and shareholders."
Tim Cook, chief executive, Apple
“We’re pleased to report a strong finish to an amazing year with record fourth quarter revenue, including sales of almost 34 million iPhones.”