updated 06:33 pm EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
Existing models still supported for the time being
As of today, NEC is ending the development, manufacturing and sale of smartphones, other than models already on the market. Despite the exit, which has been rumored for some time, NEC will continue providing maintenance and support services for its existing smartphones. NEC will also continue developing and producing conventional "feature" mobile phone handsets. NEC is not exiting the tablet business, and will continue to develop new devices in that sector.
NEC will utilize NEC Saitama for its Social Solutions Business, as well as the production of conventional mobile phone handsets for the Japanese market. NEC is blaming the "rapid spread of smartphones" and is finding it "difficult to foresee improved performance in the future."
NEC is in the process of assessing the impact of this resolution on its consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. The company says in its statement announcing the exit that it "will report any significant developments on this matter as soon as information becomes available." NEC sold 2.9 million smartphones in the 2012 fiscal year. Apple shipped approximately 44.8 million iPhone 5 and iPhone 4s units in just the fourth quarter of 2012.
NEC's struggle last year reached the point where it declared it would drop 10,000 jobs, following financial estimates at the time suggesting it would be taking a $1.3 billion loss. Most of the jobs were said to be culled from its mobile business.