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Ninety-one billion dollars. That's how much market value shares of Nokia (NOK-N) have lost since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007. Throw in the rapid rise of Google's Android operating system, intense pricing competition from Chinese handset manufacturers and Nokia's inability to counter the trends, and you've got a company on a slow, seemingly inexorable slide to nowhere.
Nokia's stock on Thursday plumbed a fresh 15-year low after the company announced a $1.5-billion US loss largely due to charges for its unprofitable network business Nokia Siemens.
On the handset side of the business, the numbers are ugly. Smartphone sales plunged 50 percent from last year, with shipments to China down by 60 percent. Average selling prices for Nokia fell 18 percent, meaning profit margins continue to be pressured.
One ray of light for Nokia is its recently launched Lumia phone, powered by Microsoft's new operating system. The company has sold about two million units in a couple of quarters -- not bad considering it took Apple a year to sell that many of the original iPhone.
But Nokia, a former market leader, was leap-frogged by other companies several years ago. As history shows, once that happens, it's sometimes
impossible for companies to stage a second act.