Swingin' Elop demonstrates Nokia's Swing Factor

The ship that is Nokia has not quite plugged up its holes, with the company posting a phenomenal loss in its latest quarterly financials.

Even alleged Microsoft stooge, CEO Stephen Elop, can’t find much to say other than Q2 figures have been “clearly disappointing.”

The buzz on that really long street, the internet, is that Nokia delayed posting its results, presumably to prepare for the roasting it’s going to get from all and sundry. It has posted an operating loss of €487 million ($692 million).

There was a huge decline from the sales of €10.003 billion ($14.2 billion) in Q2 of 2010 to sales of €9.275 billion ($13.19 billion) in the same quarter last year.

The landslide was blamed on Nokia’s trouble flogging its Symbian smartphones, with many holding out to see what devices would be offered as a result of its partnership with Microsoft. This is, at least, the line it is pushing officially – demonstrating a clear shift to becoming a Windows Phone advocate, only.

It sold 88.5 million handsets in the quarter, 20 percent less than a year earlier.

It’s also no secret that the company is facing increasing pressure from the likes of Apple and Android products, something Elop was brought in to sort out. Again, that’s the official line.

Margins for its devices and services fell to a negative 4.5 percent in the April to June period, from 9.5 percent a year earlier.

Its one saving grace appears to be its telecommunications equipment arm – Nokia Siemens Networks – which was the only part of the business to show growth year on year.

Its share of sales rose 20 percent to €3.64 billion ($5.17 billion), while operating loss dropped to €111 million ($157 million), from €179 million ($254 million) the same time a year earlier.

Of course Elop says the company is bravely soldiering on. Decisions to make… certain changes had “started to have a positive impact on the underlying health of [the] business.”

The loss is one way to look at the “swing factor” Nokia has trouble defining. Stephen Elop first unleashed the Swing Factor at Mobile World Congress earlier this year.

Nokia is “making better-than-expected progress toward [its] strategic goals” according to Elop. 

Elop says, in the first quarter of 2011, the company “took action” in China and Europe to address an inventory build-up, as well as taking a better approach to pricing.

No surprises here, but in a statement, there was plenty of opportunity for chest-beating about Windows Phones. 

“In Smart Devices, those who already have viewed our early Windows Phone work are very optimistic about the devices Nokia will bring to market and about the long-term opportunities. Step by step, beginning this year, we plan to have a sequence of concentrated product launches in specific countries, systematically increasing the number of countries and launch partners,” he said.

Windows Phone 8 does look nice from early indicators, and if the company can survive that long there is a chance Nokia could pull a winning surprise out of its bum.

Elop also claimed that accelerated plans for expense reductions will mean the company will have shed around €1 billion ($1.42 billion) in expenses for the full year of 2013.

However, he didn’t go into much more detail. We’re wondering if Elop is going to give a couple thousand more employees the fantastic chance to go on a life journey with another mass cull.