Windows 8 saves Nokia's bacon – for now

It is starting to look like Nokia’s big gamble in moving away from Symbian to Windows 8 might actually pay off.

According to Slashdotsales of Nokia’s Lumia phones picked up and the company has had a pretty healthy fourth quarter 2012.

Nokia still has a long way to go, but it is starting to look like the company’s risky move to become Steve Ballmer’s henchman might have paid off.

During the quarter, Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumia smartphones, a decent rise from the previous quarter, which had sales of 2.9 million Lumia devices.

The risk is that the spike in sales could be short-lived and there is a fear that the traditionally slow first quarter could drag down the Lumia line in the first months of 2013.

That is still a better scenario than when Microsoft executive Stephen Elop took the job of CEO a couple of years ago. He compared the company to a burning oil platform in the North Sea.

He said that the company had suffered more than one explosion and had multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire.

To belabour the metaphor he said Apple and Google had “poured flames on our market share”.

At the time his answer, which stunned everyone, was to abandon Symbian and other homegrown operating systems in favour of Windows which had a paltry share of the market.

For a long time it seemed that Elop had not only bet on the wrong horse, but had entered the wrong race, and may have put his cash on a dog by mistake.

Sales of Nokia devices running Windows Phone spiked briefly to 4 million units in the second quarter of 2012, before nose-diving to 2.9 million units in the third quarter.

To be fair, no one really expected Nokia’s comeback to arrive with Windows 7, everyone expected it to come with Windows Phone 8, which Microsoft announced over the summer.

With the Lumia 920, a flagship Windows Phone 8 device with features such as built-in wireless charging and an augmented reality app, things are starting to look a little better.