A Bloomberg survey of more than 22 analysts suggests that Nokia's late-2011 entry into the Windows Phone market is a success: The Finnish company sold as many as 2 million handsets between November and December 2011 alone, despite sales being limited geographically mostly to Europe. And with Nokia's US phones just now hitting the market, the once-struggling mobile firm has apparently found its feet.
Nokia hasn't provided any official numbers yet, but the company's stock has gained 15 percent since the start of the new year, after falling 52 percent throughout 2011.
Of course, Nokia's successes are relative. Apple might have sold as many as 30 million iPhones in the last quarter of 2011, a unit sales pace that would give it as much as a 5-to-1 lead over Nokia. But Apple benefited from a new product launch, and of course Nokia's phones were available in only some regions.
Too, some will no doubt point out that Nokia's sales do not represent "sales to end users" but rather sales into the channel. This is the same argument that Microsoft's detractors make against Windows license sales, of course, and in both cases it misrepresents how companies register sales of their products. To be clear, Bloomberg did ask analysts how many devices they believe Nokia had "sold ... globally to operators and retailers ... last year." That is indeed how Nokia sells devices, to operators and retailers, and not generally to end users directly.