GLOBAL TECH WRAP: Nokia back in black

After six straight quarters of losses, Nokia is back in the black with a €202 million profit for the three months to December 31. In the year-ago quarter, it lost €1.07 billion.

The fourth quarter was helped by 4.4 million sales of handsets in the company's new, Windows-based Lumia series - tiny compared to the 48 million iPhones sold during the quarter, but an improvement on the 2.9 million Lumias moved in the previous quarter. 

Nokia's bottom line was also helped by cost-cutting, mass redundancies and the suspension o its dividend for the first time in 20 years. Investors were unimpressed by the latter move. Nokia [NAS:NOK] shares fell 8.9%.

Microsoft December quarter profit dipped slightly to $US6.38 billion, from the year-ago period's $US6.62 billion. Revenue rose 2.7% to a record $US21.5 billion.

Revenue from Windows jumped 24% to $US5.88 billion thanks to the new Windows 8, released early in the December quarter. Investors had been hoping for a bigger lift from the new Windows (although ReadWriteWeb noted the way Microsoft framed its numbers, it was difficult to gauge how well Windows 8 sales had gone, or not). Shares [NAS:MSFT] fell 2.1% in after-hours trading.

Microsoft's online services division lost $US283 million - a big improvement on its year-ago $US459 million December quarter loss.

Revenue was down 10% to $US5.69 billion at the business software division that includes Office, and fell 11% to $US3.77 billion at the division that makes Xbox. Both products are due for a major refresh over the coming months.

Sales figures were not disclosed for the new Surface tablet (which still has no release date for NZ).

Apple shares fell 12.84% as investors digested yesterday's record result, which included some disturbing trends beneath its glossy surface.

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