Nokia launches latest Windows phone in fight for survival

The launch of the new Lumia phone comes at a crucial time for both Nokia and Microsoft
The launch of the new Lumia phone comes at a crucial time for both Nokia and Microsoft Photo: Rick Wilking / Reuters

Nokia and Microsoft will unveil the struggling mobile company's most powerful smartphone later today, in what may be their last major shot at winning back a market lost to Apple, Samsung and Google.

The world's largest software maker and the Finnish company that once dominated the mobile phone market will unveil the device in New York at 10 am EDT (3pm UK time) and demonstrate it for industry insiders around the same time in Helsinki.

Nokia has suffered more than three billion euros in operating losses in the past 18 months, forcing it to cut 10,000 jobs and pursue asset sales while its share of the global smartphone market has plunged to less than 10 percent from 50 percent during its heyday.

The launch also presents an opportunity for chief executive Stephen Elop to win over disgruntled investors.

In his two-year stint at the head of the company, Elop has frustrated investors as Nokia smartphones have failed to sell as much as their rivals.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Timo Rothovius, chairman of Finland's Shareholders Association for small investors, said:

Most of our 10,000 members own Nokia shares, and there is a lot of disappointment with the company and its management.People are especially disappointed with Stephen Elop.

If the new phones fail to sell, Mr Rothovius said the group will push for Elop to stand down.

Today's launch is a crucial one for Windows, whose finances are in a much healthier state than Nokia's, but has so far failed to get a good grip on a smartphone market dominated by Apple and Google.

A recent study by Kantar found that Windows phones lagged behind other smartphone operating systems:

  • Windows phone UK market share: 4.3 percent
  • Google Android UK market share: 62.4 percent
  • Apple iOS UK market share: 21.8 percent

The Lumia 920 and smaller Lumia 820 will run on the latest Windows Phone operating software, which Microsoft hopes will rival iOS and Android to become a third mobile platform.

If the new phones do not appeal to consumers, it could spell the end for loss-making Nokia and deal a serious blow to Microsoft's attempts to regain its footing in the market.