“The Nokia handsets business that Microsoft is due to take over saw sales continue to slide in the fourth quarter as its Lumia smartphones failed to draw business away from larger competitors like Apple and Samsung,” Matti Huuhtanen reports for The Associated Press.

“Shares in Nokia Corp. slumped Thursday after the company said it suffered a net loss of 25 million euros ($34 million) in the October to December period, with smartphone sales plunging 29 percent,” Huuhtanen reports. “The devices and services unit, which will be transferred to Microsoft Corp., saw sales fall to 2.6 billion euros from 3.7 billion euros a year earlier. The unit recorded an operating loss of 189 million euros compared with a profit of 97 million a year earlier.”

“Last year, it agreed to a 5.4 billion-euro ($7.2 billion) sale of its ailing handset unit to Microsoft. Shareholders overwhelmingly approved the deal in November and it is expected to be closed during the current quarter, subject to regulatory approval,” Huuhtanen reports. “Nokia gave scant information about the handset unit and did not say who would succeed Stephen Elop as Nokia CEO. Elop, who left Microsoft in 2010 to become Nokia’s chief executive, has stepped down to be executive vice president of devices and services before he rejoins Microsoft once the acquisition of the unit closes.”

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