Nokia CFO Sees Long Symbian Sales Ahead

Nokia Oyj reinforced its commitment to its legacy Symbian smartphone platform on Wednesday, sending its shares higher.

Nokia said in February it would replace its Symbian platform with Microsoft's Windows Phone over the coming two years, creating uncertainty among investors over the future of its Symbian workhorse.

"We will of course utilise the long-tail of Symbian as long as it gives us profitable margin," Nokia's Chief Financial Officer Timo Ihamuotila told a UBS Technology Conference.

"So the transition period 2011-2012 relates to product creation transition, not sales transition as such," he said.

Ihamuotila said sales of products have often lasted longer than expected in the mobile industry.

Shares in Nokia rose more than 3 percent on Ihamuotila comments, dragging STOXX 600 European Technology Index 0.1 percent into the black.

"Symbian faces similar challenges to Mark Twain whose death was famously announced prematurely," said Ben Wood, head of research at British consultancy CCS Insight.

"Nokia must come out with a strong message that its legacy smartphone platform is alive and well as sales of Symbian devices are going to be critical for the next 18 months," Wood said.

Ihamuotila said the final contract with Microsoft was yet to be signed. (Additional reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Hans Peters)