Nokia in the U.S: ‘You say goodbye, I say hello’

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).

In an AllThingsD interview, Nokia’s President (U.S.), Chris Weber, explained that Nokia will be dropping the Symbian and S40 platforms in the U.S. and Canada once the company’s Windows Phone 7 handsets launch. Relatively few will notice as Nokia repeatedly attempted to bring a Symbian-edged knife to a gun fight against the likes of smartphones running iOS and Android over the past few years.

The company is also exiting the low-end market in the U.S. at a time when consumers have already left it: More than half of all new handsets now sold in the U.S. are smartphones. Waiting until the market abandons your product before leaving that market usually isn’t the best of business models.

Love it or hate it, however, Nokia’s decision to use Microsoft Windows Phone 7 actually does open up an entirely new market for the company. Although Nokia never succeeded in the U.S., the reasons were mainly two-fold: a user interface that never caught on here and a lack of carrier subsidies to get handsets in front of potential customers at reasonable prices. With Microsoft’s mobile platform, the user interface issue goes away based on my usage. And because the platform could appeal to consumers, carriers are more likely to pay part of the hardware costs on Nokia handsets.

That means for the first time, a Nokia phone that U.S. customers want could be in carrier stores at competitive prices.

*Headline excerpted from “Hello, Goodbye”, Performed by The Beatles, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Magical Mystery Tour, MP3, EMI, copyright 1967, Apple Music.

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