Nokia, AT&T and the $99.99 consumerization dream

AT&T will push Nokia's high-end Windows Phone for $99.99 with a two-year contract. Is that enough to prime the consumerization pump?

Nokia and AT&T will start selling the flagship Lumia 900 on April 8 for $99.99 with a two-year contract. That's a lot of Windows Phone for the money, but it's unclear whether consumers will tote Nokia's best to work.

As noted by CNET News' Roger Cheng, Nokia and Microsoft need a hit in the U.S. AT&T will give Nokia's Lumia 900 a big push since it wants to diversify from being the iPhone carrier. Microsoft needs to get traction in the U.S. with Windows Phone. In the U.K. spot checks at Carphone revealed that Nokia is selling the Lumia line pretty well. It's no iPhone, but it's a start.

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What's unclear is whether Microsoft and Nokia's master plan will play out. Roughly speaking, the Windows Phone plan goes like this:

  • Aggressively market Nokia's Windows Phone in the U.S.
  • Gain traction in the U.S. and Nokia has an emerging market---the Finnish giant has been a no-show in the States.
  • Microsoft, AT&T and Nokia marketing---along with a low price---will grab share.
  • These workers will tote the Nokia Lumia to work.
  • Eventually Microsoft gets its enterprise mojo back and can hook into all of its back-end goodies---Office, Exchange, SharePoint etc.

That plan, however, completely rides on the public reception to Nokia and Windows Phone, which has struggled against Apple's OS and Google's Android. We're entering a bring your own device world and Microsoft and Nokia need consumers to play along. Windows Phone is a fine mobile operating system, but it needs a groundswell. Today, there's just not a lot of glory being the first person on the block with a Nokia Windows Phone.

Should that reality change Nokia and Microsoft may just claw their way back into consumer and corporate hearts.