Microsoft's partnership with Nokia has already yielded some reassuring results for the Finland-based handset maker.
Research firm Strategy Analytics announced today that fourth-quarter shipments of Windows Phone 7-based devices were up 36 percent compared with the third quarter, reaching 2.7 million units. Nokia, which entered the Windows Phone 7 fray in the fourth quarter, took the top spot among vendors, securing 33 percent market share on 900,000 units sold.
"An expanded portfolio of Windows Phone 7 models, such as the Lumia 800, an increased retail presence and highly visible marketing campaigns across several European and Asian countries drove Nokia's growth," Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said today in a statement. "Nokia is by no means out of the woods yet, and it is still on a long road to recovery, but capturing top spot in the Microsoft smartphone ecosystem is an encouraging baby-step forward for the company."
Nokia announced its partnership with Microsoft last year. After watching Symbian lose appeal to customers and its market share decline, Nokia was forced to decide how it would revive its business. The company took an offer from Microsoft.
With its first Windows Phone 7-based phones, Nokia decided to focus much of its efforts on Europe and Asia. The company is now targeting the U.S., among other countries, quite heavily.
Its success last quarter is, of course, relative. According to Strategy Analytics, the company couldn't even muster 1 million unit sales during the period. To put that figure into perspective, Apple sold over 37 million iPhones during the same period.
Still, Nokia's success came at a cost for HTC. According to Strategy Analytics, HTC was formerly the top Windows Phone 7 vendor in the world. Now, though, it's been relegated to the second spot.