Report: Nokia’s Windows Phones Will Be Europe-Only At Launch; U.S. In 2012

For years Nokia (NYSE: NOK) ruled the smartphone market, but even then it had trouble cracking the U.S. market. Now that the company is trying to reinvent itself around Windows Phone, it sounds like it will start that era in its backyard instead of trying to compete head-on in the U.S. during the frantic holiday shopping season.

That’s according to Ad Age, which reported Monday based on an internal marketing document that Nokia will stay in Europe when it launches its first Windows Phone handsets this week at Nokia World in London. The company isn’t ruling out a U.S. launch strategy at some point, to be clear, but it sounds like it would prefer to start smaller with one of the most important launches in Nokia’s history.

Of course, it’s not like Europe is a small market. And Nokia still has a powerful brand in many countries across Europe, although Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Android have also been making gains.

But company executives know they need to do better in the U.S., where smartphone adoption is soaring and where Symbian-based Nokia phones were never on the radar of shoppers: assuming you could even find them at your local carrier store. And Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) surely wants Windows Phone to do better in the U.S. than it has, although at this point Microsoft will likely take Windows Phone market share anywhere they can get it.

According to the report, Nokia is eyeing a 2012 launch for its Windows Phones in the U.S., and is trying to find a media agency to help it market the products.