Nokia Betting The Farm On US Windows Phone Market

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Nokia will not launch any Symbian phones in the US, doubling down on its Microsoft Windows Phone gamble

Live in the United States? Have your eyes on a Nokia smartphone running Symbian?

Tough luck.

According to reports, the Finnish phone maker is planning to end sales of its Symbian-based smartphones and feature phones in North America, effectively doubling down on its bet that Microsoft’s Windows Phone will reverse its recent market-share declines. Neither will the Nokia’s N9, which runs the MeeGo operating system and has attracted strong reviews.

“When we launch Windows Phones we will essentially be out of the Symbian business, the S40 business, etcetera,” Chris Weber, president of Nokia, told AllThingsD. “It will be Windows Phone and the accessories around that. The reality is if we are not successful with Windows Phone, it doesn’t matter what we do.”

Debut At Brave New Nokia World?

Weber said that Nokia is planning a massive marketing campaign for its Windows Phone smartphones, created by the company’s San Diego outpost, when they are launched in the United States. The first phones are rumoured to be preparing for launch at the Nokia World conference on October 26-27 in London.

For its part, Microsoft is also hoping that its Nokia agreement will result in an increased market for Windows Phone. However, with Nokia bleeding market share at an appreciable rate, it is an open question whether Microsoft can inherit its new partner’s significant market share without significant attrition.

Although Microsoft routinely refuses to release any hard sales numbers associated with Windows Phone, outside analysts generally seem to concur that the company’s smartphone initiative is in trouble.

For example, research firm comScore recently estimated that Microsoft’s smartphone market share declined from 7.5 percent to 5.8 percent for the three-month period ending in June. That included both Windows Phone and the company’s more antiquated Windows Mobile platform, which is being phased out.

Microsoft’s possible revenue from Windows Phone has been estimated at less than $613 million (£377m). That figure came from subtracting Xbox 360-related revenue – some $8.1 billion (£5bn) – from that of its overall Entertainment and Devices Division, leaving $613 million split between Windows Phone and a variety of much smaller projects such as Zune and Surface.

Microsoft hopes its upcoming “Mango” update will help spur greater consumer adoption. The 500 new elements include expanded functionality for the Xbox Live and Office hubs, new multitasking abilities and Bing deeply baked into the user interface. In addition to Nokia, other manufacturers committed to building Windows Phones with Mango include Samsung, HTC, LG Electronics, Acer and ZTE.

Despite some of the issues facing Windows Phone, Nokia is betting everything that Microsoft will prove its saviour – which means doom for Symbian and MeeGo.

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