Nokia remains committed to 'long-tail' of Symbian sales

Having tied its future to the success of its partnership with Microsoft, a Nokia exec intimated that it will remain committed to the Symbian platform for as long as it continues to make profits.

Speaking at a UBS Technology Conference, Nokia's CFO Timo Ihamuotila was reported by Reuters as confirming that the company would take advantage of the "long-tail of Symbian as long as it gives us profitable margin. So the transition period 2011-2012 relates to product creation transition, not sales transition as such."

Nokia has said it intends to sell 150 million more Symbian phones during the next few years of the transition. The company has an installed user base of around 200 million Symbian phones worldwide.

Ihamuotila added that products sales often lasted longer than expected in the mobile industry. These comments would appear to have been positively accepted by the financial community which pushed Nokia's share price up by 3 per cent.

One seasoned observer, Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, told Reuters: "Symbian faces similar challenges to Mark Twain whose death was famously announced prematurely."

"Nokia must come out with a strong message that its legacy smartphone platform is alive and well as sales of Symbian devices are going to be critical for the next 18 months," added Wood.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, Microsoft is likely paying Nokia more than $1 billion over a number of years to develop and market Windows Phone 7 devices. Ihamuotila confirmed that the final contract with Microsoft had yet to be signed.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article

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