The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

Summary: The consensus view is that Nokia will face difficulties in the U.S.---and potentially abroad---but it's worth pondering what can go right.

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Nokia's Lumia 900 is landing in the U.S. with a 4G handset on AT&T. The move is critical for both Nokia and Microsoft since any hopes for Windows Phone are tethered to a strong U.S. entry.

As has been the case since Nokia and Microsoft hooked up, critics have praised the combo of a new hardware style with Windows Phone. But consumers aren't exactly lining up around the block yet.

The Lumia 900 is a strong smartphone entry. It's big, thin and supports Long Term Evolution 4G service, which is a necessity if Nokia and Microsoft are going to compete. The 4G market has been handed to Android on a platter for more than a year.

Now Nokia can make a run---or not. I'd quibble that Nokia's Windows Phone device needs Verizon for LTE more than AT&T, but it's a start. The consensus view is that Nokia will face difficulties in the U.S.---and potentially abroad---but it's worth pondering what can go right.

  1. AT&T gives Nokia's Lumia some real marketing support. The largest challenge for Nokia, Research in Motion and other Android and Apple rivals is shelf space. It's hard to get telecoms to push your wares. Nokia and AT&T have been longtime partners and that may give the devices some marketing air cover. It doesn't hurt that Microsoft will throw some dough behind the Lumia too.
  2. The Nokia-Microsoft devices hit features that really matter. In an interview with CNET's Maggie Reardon, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said that battery life may be a differentiating feature. If Nokia can thread the battery life-4G needle then it will have a real advantage.
  3. Consumers could get on the bandwagon. Critics love Windows Phone, but consumers haven't bought in. If consumers get behind Nokia word of mouth may give it some real momentum. Nokia devices could become different enough to be cool. The current view is that Nokia smartphones are just different enough that no one will buy the devices. Americans just don't know Nokia anymore.
  4. Verizon could give Nokia a lift. Don't look now but Verizon has said that all of its smartphones will be 4G LTE. If Nokia can get into Verizon quickly then it'll have more distribution. More distribution combined with better battery life could give Nokia a boost in the U.S.
  5. Nokia could have a sustainable cadence of devices to keep consumers interested. Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum and international analysts noted that Lumia 800 interest may be tapering off already, but the Lumia 900 could attract buyers. The smartphone market is hypercompetitive and Nokia will need a steady cadence of devices to compete. Should hit a good stride with its product roadmap it may catch some volume.

Related:

CES 2012: Nokia relying on Microsoft to get back in U.S. market

Microsoft's Windows Phone Mango Commercial Release 2: What's inside

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Microsoft, Nokia, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software, Windows

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21 comments
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  • What went wrong?

    Nokia will NOT sell their smartphones unit to Microsoft:

    h-t-t-p://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/05/nokia-will-sell-crown-jewels-to-microsoft/
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • Doesn't matter

      MS will gobble it up like they do with everything else.
      ScorpioBlue
      • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

        @ScorpioBlue

        Wp7 is almost dead
        Sultansulan
  • Between MS and Nokia ...

    ... it has been stated that the Nokia Lumia 710 and 900 will be well promoted in T-Mobile and AT&T stores, respectively. Also MS / Nokia will be providing new monetary and other incentives to sales people. Between these two things, I expect sales of Windows Phones to take off significantly. (Sales people are after all going to sell more of the items that benefit from them financially.) When the above are coupled with strong marketing, this should result in Nokia Windows Phones selling well.

    As for Verizon (and also Sprint). These carriers seem happy with Android smartphones - apparently because they can do almost anything they want with them, and the sell well. The only reason Verizon and Sprint appear to like the iPhone, is because of the strength of the brand. With the iPhone, they are able to sell even more services they would not be able to do with Android alone. I believe to a large extent, until Nokia Windows Phones show strong brand strength through sales, these carriers aren't going to be really interested in Windows Phones. Therefore if Nokia does well (in terms of sales) with its Windows Phones over the next couple of months, Verizon and Sprint will likely begin to take Windows Phones seriously.
    P. Douglas
  • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

    The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that will go right

    There, fixed the title for you. Although I have problems with #4 since Verizon crapped all over WP7, but once they see the sales of it skyrocket they will wish they had gotten in with Microsoft and Nokia earlier.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • Verizon and Keeping Momentum Going

    Nokia CEO Elop has indicated that they plan to bring diversified phones to each carrier. I.e., if interest in the 800 was tapering off (are you surprised after the 900 was announced?), there should be a slate of new devices soon. Nokia has manufacturing capacity and scale that they can keep them coming. Also, there've been rumors that Verizon will get the entry level 710 somewhere in there (mid-March), but it wouldn't be LTE as of today. Maybe Verizon's getting a refashioned 710 with LTE on board to give them unique phones and LTE?

    As far as 'cool' matters, it might be interesting to see whether there'll be a phase where having a Nokia 900 Windows Phone is cooler than having an iPhone - because everyone else has an iPhone, too. Not putting any money on it, to be honest, but wouldn't count it out, either.
    WebSiteManager
  • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

    "But consumers aren???t exactly lining up around the block yet."
    One reason for that might be that it has only been announced and is not yet available (not saying they WILL lineup, only that if they lineup now, they might get Frostbite wating for it to be availabe. This is because Nokia has a tendency to take a significantly long time between announcing a product and getting it on shelves for purchase).
    jkohut
  • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

    The phone that will be offered in the US will not move because it will not appeal to early adopters. Why? Specs. No dual core, average screen resolution, etc. Early adopters are looking for cutting edge stuff. Runs great on the hardware will not cut it, they want much better specs than the phone they already have. They are also wondering why they should buy this phone when the Win 8 phones are supposed to be out later this year.
    txscott
    • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

      @rshol I hope that an clear advantage in battery life will overcome the specs dilemma.

      You do have a pt with Win 8 phones (aka Apollo) with the likelihood of HD screens and a better camera.

      To overcome the issues you brought up, the best chance is for Nokia to price very aggressively and maybe add a few more colors :)
      erichon99
      • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

        @erichon99
        What specs dilemma are you referring to? Keep in mind that you can't really compare to an Android handset as that poorly coded OS requires all the power it can get just to make par.
        kstap
    • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

      @rshol

      Disagree, I am an early adopter and I can't wait to DUMP my Droid Incredible but I want a WP7 on Verizon. If Verizon continues to have their head up their arse I will move to ATT. I have played with WP7 and it is faster and smoother and more intuitive to use than my (un)Incredible ever was.
      hopp64
    • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

      @rshol
      I though that consumers did not care about specs; they just want it to work?? My bad; that just apply when talking about Microsoft products!!!
      eargasm
    • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

      @rshol The US is a small market. There is little talk of Windows on a phone in asia where Apple, RIM (yes still very popular), HTC, Samsung are the clear leaders. A Nokia/MS phone will have to join the list at the very end of these suppliers and either target early/social adopters (hard to see how) or go for the low end of the user spectrum (i.e. cheap/affordable).
      That's my view from asia...
      Bradish1
  • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

    Being a WP7 Trophy owner, Nokia faces 2 essential problems:<br><br>1) Consumer Awareness/Brand loyalty<br>This will be easily resolved with Nokia's rolling thunder marketing campaign of over $100 million. I wonder if we'll see a Superbowl ad. If the quality of the experience is as good as advertised (and hopefully the bug issues plaguing Lumia 800 are resolved by release time), then brand loyalty will increase but likely can't be effectively evaluated until 2013.<br><br>2) Carrier support (i.e. sales rep ignorance)<br>This is the toughest issue by far hindering Windows phone growth. Not only will Nokia need to price aggressively, they will need to incentivize even more. The other problem is only AT&T and Tmobile are committed to WP. Sprint gave up and Verizon is being cautious.<br><br>Good luck, I hope it's a successful year because that will benefit me in having more app developer interest.
    erichon99
    • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

      @erichon99
      I think carrier support is going to be a big issue. I went to a T-Mobile store yesterday and said I wanted to see the Lumia 710, and there wasn't one on the floor. The girl had to go behind the desk to get one. There was a poster on the front of the store but that was it. And even though I said I wanted WP she was still trying to get me to buy an Android phone.
      drewsuruncle
  • Contact BING

    Contact Bing and tell them to get on board with the fun!
    https://feedback.discoverbing.com/default.aspx?mkt=en-us&productkey=bingweb&brand=&&locale=en-US&P1=dsathome&P2=&P3=9285&P4=NOFORM&P5=6B4536F0A2FC430497AF8A4B1323D743&P6=Redmond,%20Washington&P7=Original&P8=&P9=47.669/-122.124&P10=24902&P11=&P12=&searchtype=Web%20Search&optl1=1&backurl=http://www.bing.com:80/?FORM=FEEDTU&scrx=1
    Cagny
  • The 900 will do well for ATT. Verizon likes to be last. 5 years for iphone.

    They like to be laggards and have ATT show them the way first. But they get there eventually. They lost a lot of customers to ATT over the iphone and they are beginning to lose over WP too. Once the 900 hits its sales pace on ATT there will be another mass migration. We'll see if Verizon reacts faster than they did last time or not. Once the new Nokia W8 phones hit the market with higher res displays and more storage WP will really take off. 2013 will see a good ground game, 2014 it will gain lots of share and verizon will lose big if they arent a big part of it. By 2015 it will have more than apple and rim combined.
    Johnny Vegas
  • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

    The issue is that it has a bit less to do with Windows Phone per se, than it does with Nokia.

    I just saw a video with a U.S. radio show host interviewing a Nokia executive at CES; the reporter thought that Nokia was Japanese.

    Nokia has been away from the U.S. market for well over a decade, and the problem is, people have completely forgotten the brand. They may as well have named the phones 'Xtreme Lumia 900', because the 'Nokia' brand name won't be doing anything for them.
    Theseus
  • Yawn......

    There is nothing I am seeing in the WP lineup, irrespective of the OEM, that entices me to jump into a 2 year contract with a carrier.<br><br>WP7+ - still lacking functionality I take for granted on Android and iOS<br>Single Core - out of date now and so waaay out of date by year end.<br>Form - so far no bad, but not great.<br><br>I'll wait till these grow up....
    rhonin
  • RE: The Microsoft-Nokia experiment: Five things that could go right

    I have been a fervent MS addict for 25 years.
    But boy do I hate this chromeless Metro user interface !
    Windows Phone and Windows 8 will never make it to my devices.
    Site-Jumper