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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nokia’s Elop: Lumia price cuts will help us take on Android in retail war

Consumers do actually like Nokia’s Windows Phone Lumia device, but retailers are proving harder nut to crack, according to Nokia chief exec Steven Elop - as he set the scene for a price war with Android.
For the relatively small number of consumers the Lumia has reached in its short existence, the phone has been “well received”,  Elop told analysts on a conference call Thursday.
The troubled Finnish mobile device maker today announced it will lay off 10,000 workers worldwide and acquired elements of Swedish mobile imaging software company, Scalado, as part of a longer term effort to focus on the Lumia.
With “specific support from Microsoft” Nokia will aim to increase its appeal by pushing the price of the Lumia line below the entry level Lumia 610 as part of its “low end price point war” with Android.
The real challenge, Elop said, is convincing retailers to bring the device out of the shadows.
“How do you get a preferred position on a shelf, how do you make sure the lights on your device are brighter than the ones from down the road?” asked Elop.
While the aim is to get more Lumia devices into the hands of consumers, Nokia will in fact narrow its direct sales and marketing efforts to select markets, palming off less significant ones to distributors to be managed through a central hub.
The US, UK, China and “certain” Asian and European nations would remain in focus with more effort placed on carrier partnerships, said Elop.
“We’re deliberately going through a cycle of concentrating on some markets at the expense of others.”
Nokia’s chief financial officer Timo Ihamuotila would not give a timeline for the Lumia to exceed its current market share of roughly 1.5 percent, but said Nokia hoped in the longer term to increase that to 10 percent.
While mapping and navigation have become commoditised, Elop said,  Nokia’s location-based services would give it an edge over rivals, pointing to Nokia City Lens, its augmented reality application, and its public transport mapping system.
Elop blamed Nokia’s inability to differentiate the Nokia experience on Windows Phone to date on its late entry on the platform but added that Windows Phone 8 (Apollo) and Windows 8, both expected to be released by the end of summer or thereabouts, will be “key milestones” for Nokia.


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