Nokia’s head of sales steps down after it reports $1.7B first quarter loss

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Nokia Lumia 900, company reports low ear5ningsThe tough times continue for Finnish phone giant Nokia, which has struggled to keep up with Apple and Android in the smartphone era. Today the company announced its results for the first quarter of 2012. Net sales fell sharply year over year from $13.6 billion to $9.7 billion. The company took a $1.7 billion loss on those sales, and Colin Giles, the head of sales, stepped down after 20 years at the company.

CEO Stephen Elop argued that much of that loss was due to one time restructuring costs. It chalked up nearly three quarters of a billion in costs to the massive restructuring it did within its Nokia Siemens division, where it laid off 17,000 people earlier this year. Other big costs include axing 4,000 jobs as Nokia ditched it factories in Europe and South America to focus on production in Asia.

Nokia has been touting bullish sales figures for its new Lumia line, and Microsoft is also heavily invested in the company’s success. But Europe, traditionally Nokia’s stronghold, is no longer giving them a warm welcome. A recent report in Reuters quoted the major telecoms saying that Nokia’s Lumia line isn’t good enough to compete with Apple and Android.

“No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone,” an anonymous European mobile executive told Reuters. “Nokia have given themselves a double challenge: to restore their credibility in terms of making hardware smartphones and succeed with the Microsoft Windows operating system, which lags in the market.”

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