Nokia's Lumia ace could be Microsoft's marketing might

Nokia's Lumia ace could be Microsoft's marketing might

Summary: Nokia's latest Lumia launch could benefit from Microsoft's Windows 8 marketing push. However, all the spoils won't go to Nokia as Samsung, HTC and Huawei also get in on the Windows Phone act.


Nokia will roll out its latest Lumia smartphones that will feature wireless charging, Windows Phone 8 and new colors. And for Nokia this rollout will be even more critical than last year's Lumia debut, which had mixed results, but the smartphone maker may have more help from Microsoft this time around.


Leaks about the new Lumia devices have been picking up leading up to Wednesday's launch. There have been so many leaks that Nokia's Windows Phone 8 devices are largely detailed already.

One thing that hasn't been detailed is that Nokia will have a lot of marketing help from Microsoft this time around. Last year, Nokia began its Windows Phone comeback story with Microsoft marketing, but there was no big bang for the Lumia. AT&T, Microsoft and Nokia were behind the Lumia 1.0 launch, but the stakes are different this time around.


Microsoft has its Windows 8 launch and will market the hell out of it. Windows 8 combines the interface across three screens---PC, tablet and smartphone. There's one code base and multiple screens. A Windows Phone failure this time around reflects on Microsoft's operating system strategy across the board.

More: Why wireless charging won't save Nokia | Rumors: Nokia may announce Lumia 820 and 920 WP8 devices with wireless charging | AT&T to continue as Nokia's lead Windows Phone rollout partner? | Nokia's closure of one small factory is one big lesson about its past - and its future

CNET: Nokia Lumia 920, 820 to feature wireless charging | Nokia again faces make-or-break point with new Lumia phones

Last year, Microsoft only had the now-familiar Windows tiles on phones. Simply put, the story---and Microsoft's commitment to marketing Windows Phone---was incomplete.

Nokia's Lumia launch in 2011 kept the company in the game just barely. Nokia's results have declined steadily---largely because the company is getting crushed in emerging markets---and it's a bit much to ask Windows Phone to save the day completely.

Some analysts are noting that Nokia stands a better chance this time around with the Lumia launch. Swedbank analyst Håkan Wranne explained in a research note:

The first Lumia launch in Q4 last year failed to gain decent momentum. There were several reasons for the lukewarm reception including: a marketing approach that was too broad and too shallow; a new and somewhat immature product, lacking clear differentiators; and no marketing back-up from Microsoft. The main difference this time around is that Microsoft will do a full scale launch of Windows 8 simultaneously, providing much needed marketing support.

In short, Microsoft will initiate massive Windows 8 marketing in the second half and to a large extent this will support Nokia’s efforts to push WP8-based Lumia volumes. This significantly increases the likelihood of a successful Lumia launch. The drawback is that it will be the Windows phone ecosystem that will gain momentum and not Nokia or Lumia, but at this stage, getting the ecosystem going is the paramount objective.

Here's the catch for Nokia. The next iPhone will launch shortly. Samsung will ramp up volume. And Android isn't sitting still. Meanwhile, Samsung, Huawei and HTC will also get into the Windows Phone 8 game. In other words, Microsoft's big Windows 8 push may not completely translate into Nokia Lumia sales. Nokia doesn't have the exclusive on Windows Phone 8.

But Microsoft's marketing might may be good enough. This Lumia launch could be make or break for Nokia, but the more realistic outcome is that Microsoft's marketing support will give the smartphone vendor another year of survival.

In fact, the most likely outcome for Nokia is another year of survival---more of the same. Jefferies analyst Lee Simpson noted:

With the release of WP8 devices, Nokia is keen to impress on us that the pace of transition is about to accelerate. But Android traction in China, a new iPhone set to launch and low-cost smartphone rivals (HTC, Samsung, ZTE, etc.) alongside a marked slowdown in Symbian sales are the issues into 2013. We believe the move to WP8 handsets will see relatively weak smartphone sales again in 1H13 unless we have concurrent, high volume, global rollout of devices across multiple operators. Nokia remains amidst a major transition complete with sweeping headcount cuts, a likely exit from Finland and a non-exclusive collaboration with Microsoft.

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Nokia, Smartphones, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The new MicroVAX is here!

    How many remember the MicroVAX, and how it was to keep Digital Equipment Corp in the running and fend off the competition? Combining two losers never makes a winner, economists should stop making that mistake. Penn Central, AOL/Time Warner, Microsoft/Nokia...
    Tony Burzio
    • I'm afraid that

      Windows 8 / Windows Phone 8 will be a huge epic fail, and it will bring down Nokia with it.

      Up to now, I don't understand why MS persists on this tile metaphor. Specially on phones, it looks stupid, bland, and boring. For Pete's sake, how come they have not realized yet that consumers have absolutely rejected this tile stuff. Nobody wants it. Phone users don't want and Desktop users don't want it. The jury is still out on whether tablet users will like it.

      MS: start listening to users: throw away these stupid tiles before it's too late!
      • What are you talking about?

        I've been using Windows 8 as my primary OS since RTM. It was a tiny learning curve at first, but now that I'm used to it, I can honestly say that it's the best OS I've ever used.

        Personally, I love the Live Tiles and so do most of the people at my office. I actually haven't heard anyone at the office say anything negative about the look and feel. So everything that you say about stupid, bland and boring is ridiculous. "Nobody wants it."? I beg to differ. Many people want it and love it.

        Your opinion is just that, an opinion. You're entitled to it, but you should stop making ludicrous claims.
        General C#
        • This is what I am talking about

          Your co workers _already_ bought the phone. Why was that? maybe because they did like that metaphor. I am not talking about those very few people who like the tiles and who have bought Windows Phone. The majority of people just don't like them. Hence, people are buying iPhones and Android phones in droves, while Windows Phone marketshare is lack luster. And if in the past one could argue that the hardware was not there, the award winning Lumia 900 would have change the tide noticeably, but it didn't. Even the best HW in the world is not attractive is the UI is bad.

          That's what I am talking about. The numbers don't lie. After years in the market Windows Phone is a flop. They have ran out of excuses. Drop the stupid tiles and bring a better UI. Things will change then.
          • APPLE RIP(2007-2012)

            Read my subject..this is what my frnd saying abt apple iphone after they launched one recently..the 5 million stupid fanboys of apple who bought it are mad...but i believe wp 8 will sell better thn iphone 5..i dont agree with your comment saying 900 was best hardware when launched on specifications..the body is as solid as any nokia phone and OS made it win the awards not only hardware..i love the wp UI and its the best different thing out ur claims are boring tht no one likes it. Its fast and fluid unlike android(few exceptions) or keep you foolish opinions with urself..the only thing restricting wp is awareness among people and contract culture..
        • Could not agree more with Nokia.

          I purchased the first Nokia many, many years ago. Other than on HTC that was too larg for my hand, none other. I love the Nokia and the Company, cannot say that for the standing CEO. In agreement with the tiles, just a replacement of the Tiles, nothing agains either one of them. Very much looking forwad to the new Lumina, with W8OS, if for some reason it does not work out will make a change, but very happy with my 7.5WOS now.
      • Someone seems a bit full of himself

        I tend to take the opinion of a season technology professional over your own. Steve Wozniak favors the Windows phone over Andriod. So if he can understand live tiles so can other IT professionals.

        This makes your IT skills QUESTIONABLE.....
        • Yes, the millions of smartphones buyers

          who have categorically rejected the ugly and stupid tiles from MS are all full of themselves, I guess

          Who cares about what Wozniak says if people don't like the UI? And since when was Woz a UI visionary? He is a great engineer, but have little to do with the recent success of Apple. His opinion on that front is as good as mine or yours.

          You Windows Phone guys are starting to sound like the fools who defend Desktop Linux. They get vitriolic and angry and insult when they are pointed out their OS is an utter failure on the Desktop instead blaming everyone but themselves. Consequently, they are the 1%enters whom nobody likes.
          • There are a lot of WP fans and I bet you can't count them if I ask

            You seem to be mad my friend and you need to get a life.

            There are more than 7 Million Lumia users (at the end of Q2, 2012) and they will add at least 3-4 Million users in Q3 2012 and I am not even including HTC, Samsung and others who make so called ugly UI (as per you). This was achieved with a generation old hardware (only one core processor) and a known fact that WP8 was on horizon and most likely current gen (WP7, 7.5) devices will never see WP8 upgrade. People who have tried/used it, seem to love it and I am one of those who just love WP (Lumia 800) and it is way better than iPhone and Samsung Galaxy SII/SIII. Most likely you don't have a taste and can't learn simple things. Maybe you don't even know why you need a smartphone. So, please stop talking about what everyone likes because you are offending MILLIONS of users who love it.
      • markbn

        You obviously never used Windows Phone 7 or Windows 8 Preview. Or you probably used Windows Phone 7 for all of five minutes and passed judgment with a typical closed mind. (Not surprising) But if you don't like something don't speak for people who absolutely love it, like me. And remember this, the VAST majority of people aren't aware that Windows 8 is about to launch. Let the people decide for themselves, and I can guarantee there are more people out there like me.
      • Why do people always think they can speak for everyone

        I Just heard today i long standing iphone user tell me he's bored with it... always those darn icons... he likes the tiles, i like the tiles, many people do, just not you!

        I accept that not everyone likes tiles, but i don't go arround saying everybody hates the incoherent sea of icons that Android and IPhone really is?

        Stop thinking everyone is like you.
  • Nokia's Lumia ace could be Microsoft's marketing might

    Are we talking about the same Nokia here? Because the Nokia of last year did very will selling its Lumia devices, in fact they sold out in stores and online. That's not mixed result, that is a perfect result. Nokia has plenty going for it with Microsoft Windows Phone 8 and Pureview technology. We are very curious to see what they announce. I wouldn't say they are out of the game or just barely surviving.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Sold out...

      "Hey, we finally sold one"

      "Too bad that was the only one we had..."
      • Sales were good

        1st quarter: 1 million, 2nd quarter 2 million, 3rd quarter 4 million. That's pretty solid, and most of that time savvy consumers already knew that WP8 was getting close and that current phones can't upgrade.
  • I have a different angle on this story.

    Can someone tell me when or where MS has displayed this "marketing might" of late? To be honest I've missed it:)

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • How about.....

      Windows 7? Sold more than any other os and still going!
      • not due to marketing

        Windows 7's success was due to Windows being default on the ~350 million PCs sold every year. Marketing had nothing to do with it (except perhaps to overcome some of the ignorant Vista-hating cheered on by the tech press).

        Microsoft's marketing is generally terrible.
    • Pagan jim

      It's referring to $$$$
  • Windows 8 combines the interface across three screens---

    The 3 screens are PC/Tablet, Phone and xBox. Seemless user experience is a really key part of what MS is doing and the engineering Nokia has done complements it fantastically. If you haven't used the 900, you owe it to yourself. Also, if true it's about time wireless charging lived beyond the Palm Pre. It's a killer feature.
  • Wish the 920 looked less like the 910...

    I'm glad that Nokia has some phones ready for the WP8 launch, but it would've been nicer if they gave us a little more variety. The 920 looks a lot like last year's model. It's still nice, but they could've taken a few more risks. Personally, I'd like to buy a Nokia phone, but I think the Ativ S from Samsung looks better. I'm not a fan of the blunt corners of the Lumia 920/910. So now I may wait a few months to see if they release anything else...