Feature Article

August 06, 2012

Nokia Finding it Hard to Nudge Back into North American Smartphone Market

Nokia simply can't seem to get a break. The troubled Finnish mobile phone maker has been attempting to remake its image (and its operating system), but the company is finding a number of hurdles in North America. Lately, it's simply to find shelf space in AT&T phone stores.

Nokia, the former king of the mobile phone industry worldwide, has been struggling to catch up with hot new competitors such as Apple and its iPhone or Google and the Android operating system it licenses to a number of phone and device makers. For all that, Nokia recently launched its Windows Phone-based Lumia 900 flagship smartphone, although its sales in North America haven't gone anywhere. Last quarter, Nokia sold only 600,000 handsets in North America, a figure that has not changed from the previous period even after introducing the Lumia to AT&T subscribers. By comparison, Apple sold 5.9 million iPhones in the U.S. during the quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.

According to Bloomberg today some AT&T stores – despite being the carrier for the Lumia – aren't even showing the device on shelves. This has been identified as Nokia's biggest challenge going forward, the company's smartphone chief, Jo Harlow told Bloomberg.

But Nokia reportedly has a plan. To boost sales of the new Lumia handsets, Nokia has gathered hundreds of U.S. Nokia employees, working as volunteers – from a variety of departments, including finance and human resources, to work alongside Nokia salesmen at carriers. That group, dubbed the Nokia Army, has allowed the company to educate consumers as well as retail sales staff, with the aim that they are willing to mention Lumia as an alternative, Harlow told Bloomberg.

Does relying on an army of volunteers to hope your newest flagship product catches on make much sense? Not really, but then again, not much Nokia has done in the last few years makes much sense.



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Edited by Brooke Neuman


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