updated 02:00 pm EST, Wed January 4, 2012
MS hopes to force WP7 adoption, spend 200m in sale
Plans between AT&T, Microsoft, and Nokia, to heavily market the Nokia Ace are just the start, Windows-focused writer Paul Thurrott claimed after tapping sources. Key to the strategy would be to pay store staff to recommend Windows Phones, giving them between $10 to $15 per phone depending on the quantity they move. Store workers have so far preferred Android and iPhones and usually turn to Windows Phone only if the customer insists on it.
While the earlier leak isn't necessarily inaccurate, as Thurrott argues, he does suggest from internal Microsoft data that the total Windows Phone spending will be closer to $200 million. This would involve Samsung and other Windows Phone suppliers, according to the tip. Nokia would be one of the most aggressive spenders and outlay twice as much on marketing as Microsoft itself.
Nokia is widely known to be unveiling the Ace, known outside of the country as the Lumia 900, at its January 9 event ahead of CES. The hardware may be a larger version of the Lumia 800 with a 4.3-inch screen and possible LTE-based 4G, but without fundamental changes to the processor or camera.
For Microsoft, the need to pay staff to recommend Windows Phone at all is an acknowledgment that the platform has so far failed to get traction and that neither the Microsoft nor Windows names are guarantees of success. While Nokia's first batch of phones has been critically well-received, it's unclear if they have created any tangible boost for Microsoft or Nokia alike.
The position at retail is once again considered ironic for Microsoft, which in the 1990s took advantage of retail staff often ignoring Macs. It now faces that same neglect for Windows-based phones and tablets. Among the problem has been hardware that has usually lagged behind what Google partners and Apple can manage, a software feature deficit, and hardware partners that themselves would prefer to sell Android.