As Engadget reports, the word on the street is that the Nokia N9 will not be coming to the US of A, at least not right now, which effectively means it isn’t ever. But the more interesting piece of information comes from All Things D, which based on an interview with former Microsoft employee and now the head of Nokia US, Chris Weber, reports that Nokia is looking to exit the Symbian and feature phone market in the US and concentrate solely on their Windows Phone portfolio.
Chris Weber, goes onto say “When we launch Windows Phones we will essentially be out of the Symbian business, the S40 business, etc… 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 (elsewhere).” Currently whatever little market share Nokia has in the US is because of their low cost feature phones and apparently that’s not making as much money as they would ideally like. But the most interesting part is that from now on Nokia will exclusively look to sell their devices via the carriers in the US, which might spell the end for unlocked Nokias stateside.
Nokia has bet the company on Windows Phone and clearly they are read for a all or nothing gamble. Aiding in that endeavour would be tons on marketing muscle more that anything Nokia’s every done. So much so that the US will be getting bulk of advertising dollars, “significantly larger than anything we have done in the past and the most we will invest in any market worldwide,” according to Weber.
I cannot say I’m surprised. The decision to kill Symbian and low cost phones in the US more that anything, is about changing the company’s image. They want to be seen as a premium smartphone manufacturer and not somebody who’s good for cheap disposable phones.
As for the Nokia N9, it should come as no shock that that it isn’t coming to major markets around the world. Nokia believes in what they are doing with Windows Phone and launching a MeeGo Harmattan device one month before the Windows Phone devices isn’t sending the right message. They’ve clearly made up their mind about the N9 being a niche device, a last hurray for their own development teams, nothing more. Chances are that come Q1 2012, you wouldn’t even hear about it and the everyone who’s lusting after one will have moved onto the next shinny piece of hardware, or so Nokia hopes.
The only thing that I am a little surprised about is the fact that Nokia is looking to make carriers their exclusive retail channel. May be that’s the price they are having to pay in order to get in bed with the carriers but at a time when even Apple is selling iPhones unlocked, one does hope that it wouldn’t be the case.
One last thing, Weber points out that “We’ll develop for North America and make the phones globally available and applicable, … In fact, evidence of that is that the first Windows Phones that will ship are being done by our group in San Diego”. That has worked well for Apple and to an extent for Google, it’ll be interesting to see if the rub of the green goes Nokia’s way too.
We sure hope so.