Nokia To Skip US With Windows Phone Initially, A Smart Move

The rumor making rounds is that Nokia won’t be gunning for the US market with their initial Windows Phone launch. My first reaction was that this is crazy and stupid for a company that’s betting itself on the platform only to miss out on the highly anticipated holiday season in US.

Apple, Google, HTC and Samsung have already shown promising products. Apple’s iPhone 4S is selling a lot, Google’s Android ICS and Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus are interesting, feature packed devices. HTC along with Samsung have unveiled their Windows Phone lineup. A lot was being said about Nokia after the burning memo; CEO Stephen Elop has talked about Nokia’s failure to capture the US market and promised to fix this. Unfortunately according to an Ad Age report, those plans don’t go into motion till 2012. The report cites Nokia is focusing on Europe for now and I believe, after some thinking, that it’s a good move.

An analyst is quoted in the Ad Age report stating that Nokia needs to improve their presence in Europe and this might be good start. As of now Europe does not have a lot of exciting second generation Windows Phone devices. HTC is the only company that has announced the HTC TITAN and HTC Radar for some European countries. The first generation Windows Phone range in Europe was disappointing. Some handsets were available in some countries and there weren’t a lot of handsets to choose from in the first place.

With Nokia concentrating on Europe and Samsung focusing  (see what I did there?) on the US market, Microsoft can make its presence felt in both markets simultaneously. The US market is tricky because of subsidies and carrier contracts, Nokia has always had a problem with those and it would be a good idea to think their strategies through after piloting the devices in Europe. If Nokia (and I  believe  that is their plan) is able to succeed as the popular Windows Phone OEM in Europe AND sell a considerable number of these devices, they can get some of their lost reputation back to venture into the US. Given their current situation and carriers already investing in HTC & Samsung, it would be difficult for Nokia to make a mark for themselves.

Nokia is expected to have phones targeting the mid and expensive markets with the Sabre and 800, respectively. The strategy can work in countries like India and even Europe. Price points matter. Even Apple sells the previous generation iPhones at a cheaper price.

My initial reaction was that of disappointment but for Nokia, on second thought, it might be a good strategy.

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Manan Kakkar

Manan is a technology enthusiast keenly following the consumer products from Microsoft, Google & Apple.