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  (Source: South Africa World Cup Blog)
"No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone." -- Euro executive

It's been a wild ride for Nokia Oyj.'s (HEL:NOK1V) first Windows Phone super-phone, the Lumia 900 LTE.  The last week has brought strong salesembarrassing bugs, and even a bit of respect from the American market.

I. Sampling the Hatorade

But Reuters reports that the increasing Nokia Lumia Windows Phone buzz is met with icy disdain across the pond in the UK.  One of Europe's top markets, UK carriers appear to be giving up on Nokia's Lumia, after hardly giving it a chance to shine.

An executive at a European telecom who had been selling the Lumia 710 and 800 complained, "No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone.  Nokia have given themselves a double challenge: to restore their credibility in terms of making hardware smartphones and succeed with the Microsoft Windows operating system, which lags in the market."

The executive is quoted as praising Windows Phone for its "tons of cool" features, but then throws the OS under the bus, stating, "If the Lumia with the same hardware came with Android in it and not Windows, it would be much easier to sell."

The curious thing with the European carriers is that they claim to be frustrated with Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android legion and with the pricey iPhone from Apple, Inc. (AAPL) -- a device that may never turn a profit for carriers.  But when it comes to selling the Lumia's Reuters reports that the carriers are making hardly any effort.  Nokia's Windows Phones are tucked away in unseen corners and clerks peddle Apple iPhones and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) Galaxy phones on smartphone shoppers.

It's a tale of two continents.   In Europe, carriers are still eagerly ponying up the 600 to 700 euros (~$800 to $900 USD) to sell iPhones to customers, despite the fact that they may never turn a profit on the device.  Even Samsung phones are fetching an impressive 300 to 500 euros (~$400 and $650 USD) from the EU carriers.

Meanwhile, U.S. carriers appear to be adopting a different philosophy.  Encouraged by discounted handsets from Nokia and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the carriers are finally giving the platform a chance and pitching it to customers.  AT&T reports strong sales of the Lumia 900 LTE, which is prominently featured in nearly every U.S. store.  T-Mobile USA -- a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE) reported that the Lumia 710, an entry-level Nokia Windows Phone, as among its most popular handsets.

II. Some Say Lower the Price; Others Say It's Hopeless

Richard Windsor, global technology specialist at investment bank Nomura predicted Nokia Lumia phones to take in 300 Euros on average.  Their actual haul is about 220 euros on average.  Yet, carriers seem to have no interest in these bargain devices in Europe and aren't even trying to sell them to customers.

The carriers seem to contradict each other.  One executive is quoted as saying, "If they could lower the price we think they could sell more. It might be worth making it a bit of a loss leader to get it out of the door. It's not rocket science."

Nokia Lumia 900 LTE
EU carriers are giving Nokia contradictory advice about how to bump sales, while reportedly putting little effort into trying to push the Lumia line. [Image Source: Nokia]

Another suggests that price is not enough.  They state, "We can open our stores to them and train our staff to sell the phones, but that's it.  Ultimately, Nokia and Windows are challengers and they either need to come to market with a really disruptive, innovative product or a huge marketing budget to create client demand. So far they have done neither."

The perplexing situation has to be particular frustrating for Nokia who is seeing accelerating U.S. sales, but has been largely scorned in its home continent.  If there's one thing illustrated by all the European criticism surrounding the Lumias, it's that while EU carriers may complain about Apple and Samsung's profit-seeking, they really don't mind all that much or have much desire to seek out and promote alternative options.

That's bad news for Nokia and anybody who isn't named Samsung or Apple.

Source: Reuters





"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer






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