Nokia expects handset market to grow 10% in 2010

Nokia laid outs its vision and goals for 2010 at its investor day in Finland, and said that while it expects its own market share to be flat next year, the overall handset market will grow by 10 percent.

The company, the world's largest handset maker, also reiterated its commitment to the Symbian platform as its main smartphone operating system, and said it will improve the user interface on Symbian. Nokia also promised to deliver a "major product milestone" before mid-year in 2010, and another one by the end of 2010, though it didn't provide details. The handset maker also said it will release its first device powered by Maemo 6, with an "iconic" user experience, in the second half of next year. Nokia just weeks ago began selling its first Maemo 5 device, the N900.

Nokia, which posted an $834 million loss in the third quarter, has struggled to grow its market share amid increasingly intense competition from the likes of Apple, Research In Motion and other leading smartphone vendors. Nokia's global handset market share stood at 38 percent in the third quarter, unchanged from the second quarter or the year-ago period. Nokia's handset business stagnated in the quarter, and its global smartphone market share fell from 41 percent a year ago to 35 percent. Nokia shipped 108.5 million units in the quarter, up sequentially but down 8 percent from the 117.8 million it shipped in the year-ago quarter.

The company said it expects operating margins at its devices and services business of between 12 percent and 14 percent next year, compared with 11.4 percent in the third quarter, but down from 18.6 percent in the third quarter of 2008.

"Overall, we believe consensus forecasts don't change much on this, but it is slightly disappointing that Nokia have not set the bar higher on margins," UBS analyst Maynard Um wrote in a research note.

As for Nokia's infrastructure joint venture with Germany's Siemens, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nokia said that it expects a flat mobile and fixed infrastructure market in euro terms in 2010, compared with 2009. However, the company expects Nokia Siemens to grow faster than the market next year.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)

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