updated 08:00 am EDT, Tue April 17, 2012
European carriers disappointed in Lumia line
A quartet of European carriers' executives have leaked word that Nokia's Lumia line still wasn't manifesting significant sales. Keeping the sources anonymous out of client sensitivity, Reuters understood that stores rarely if ever had customers explicitly ask for a Windows Phone, or else were being steered towards Android or iPhones like they are in the US. Carriers were urging Microsoft and Nokia to either discount the phones more heavily or put in heavy marketing, neither of which they were seeing.
The carriers themselves were partly blamed, as even with a total device price as low as 220 euros ($289) for a device like the Lumia 710, they weren't pressing for heavier subsidies.
Some of the problem, however, may stem from Microsoft's tarnished brand. Despite one carrier official complaining that it was eager to challenge the "dominance of Apple" as it pushes networks to offer steeper subsidies and guaranteed purchase volumes, another carrier executive noted that Microsoft and Nokia faced an uphill battle. The Windows brand was a liability, not a positive, and whatever advantages it had were lost to a public that was actively seeking something else.
"If the Lumia with the same hardware came with Android in it and not Windows, it would be much easier to sell," the executive said.
Nokia said it has already seen an improvement in Windows Phone sales for the winter quarter of 2012, up to two million Lumias from just over one million in the fall, but its sales are just a fraction of what current market leaders Apple and Samsung can manage, and aren't growing quickly enough to offset rapidly falling Symbian phone sales. Most of its current hope is placed on early positive US results after a heavy marketing push.
Windows Phone had initially been chosen by Nokia to stand out and offer a clear difference from Android. Some have also suggested that, despite claims of no direct influence, CEO Stephen Elop's role as a former Microsoft employee led him to support his one-time employer first. If poor sales persist, however, it would point to the Windows name having too much of a negative stigma and that Microsoft can no longer assume it will inevitably dominate in software.