By Jordan Crook
Nokia (NOK) hasn't had the best year. Of course, the launch of the Lumia line has been refreshing, as Nokia's much-anticipated Windows Powered offerings are finally out in the world, trying to woo owners like neon-colored puppies in a pet shop window.
The only problem is that four of the major wireless operators in Europe have deemed Nokia's WP phones "not good enough to compete with Apple's iPhone or Samsung's Galaxy phones," according to Reuters.
The Lumia 710 and 800 have been on sale in Europe since before Christmas, and Europe has long been an easy market for Nokia. But times are a'changin'. One executive interviewed by Reuters said that "no one comes into the store and asks for a Windows Phone." Which precisely pinpoints Nokia's biggest issue. If the company was throwing Windows Phone onto its hardware 12-15 months ago, this wouldn't have been such a big deal - Nokia still had enough market share.
Now, however, Nokia is coming off the slump of all slumps. About a year ago (in May), Nokia saw its lowest market share in 14 years: 25 percent. Windows Phone also hasn't penetrated the market as strongly as expected, so the partnership is much like two beaten, bruised gazelles teaming up to take on a pack of lions. Not super successful.
But there's also something to be said about the way the retailers are selling Nokia's Lumia phones. It wouldn't be the first time we'd heard about sales reps ignoring Windows Phones, and pushing Android devices or iPhones into the faces of consumers. WPTattleTale.com was started by Windows Phone enthusiast Robert McLaws, who believes that Windows Phone hasn't been given a chance in stores.
And Reuters reports that a similar situation is occurring in Europe, saying that a store clerk was quick to offer up an iPhone, followed by Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and HTC's Android models to incoming consumers. Lumia models, on the other hand, were not prominently displayed.
So is it the fault of the stores or is it the fault of the device? Probably a hint of both. Specs on the Lumia line can't compete with those of Android or the iPhone, and those are just the cold hard facts. But in the same vein, Nokia's WP phones are basically perfect for the new smartphone buyer or anyone looking for a refresh from an old phone.
Time, and the release of Windows Phone Apollo, should tell us if this is a growing pain or a sign of things to come.