Stephen Elop was faced with the monumental task of reversing Nokia's misfortunes when he took over as CEO in early 2011. Unfortunately for the Finnish handset maker, things are still looking bleak as the company reported its sixth straight quarterly loss on Thursday.

Nokia recorded a loss of $754 million for the third quarter of 2012 which in actuality is an improvement over the past year. In Q4 2011, the company lost $1.3 billion, a figure that inflated to $1.6 billion in Q1 2012. Nokia trimmed the loss to just $1.1 billion last quarter and managed to stay under the $1 billion mark the past three months.

It's pretty impressive that Elop was able to cut losses despite a significant decline in Lumia smartphone sales. Nokia moved four million handsets last quarter compared with just 2.9 million during the most recent quarter. A reduction in sales isn't a surprise considering existing models are reaching the end of their life cycle.

Overall, Nokia managed to move 77 million handsets (a figure that includes their entire catalog of phones). This is up from 73 million mobile phones in the previous quarter. Notably, 6.5 million of these phones were of the new Asha smartphone variety.

A bevy of new Lumia-branded smartphones are expected to hit the market starting next month. Whether or not consumers will scoop them up in droves, however, remains to be seen.

Nokia is certainly hoping that Windows Phone 8 handsets will be what they need to break into the US market in a serious way. Of course one has to wonder just how detrimental the exclusive partnership with AT&T on the Lumia 920 will be towards that goal.