Verizon Wireless looks set to offer consumers the option to buy a Nokia smartphones running Windows Phone 8 later this year, according to a report by Bloomberg. If true, the move would mark the first time the US carrier has offered Windows-based handsets in over a year, after the HTC Trophy to failed to gain much traction back in May 2011
According to Bloomberg's source, who asked not to be named as the plans are private, Microsoft and Nokia are holding a press conference on September 5 in New York to discuss the Finnish firm's Lumia range of smartphones. While Verizon is not expected to be a part of this event, the carrier intends to roll out a Nokia phone later on.
“Nokia has had a difficult time breaking in to the U.S. market,” said Charlie Wolf, a Needham & Co. analyst in New York. “Landing on the Verizon network is a positive development. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it is a big step in the right direction.”
Both Microsoft and Nokia will benefit from an agreement with the US’ single largest carrier. Alongside their longstanding relationship with AT&T, the move will help increase market share further. For Verizon, it offers the chance to diversify its product portfolio by offering consumers new products running Microsoft’s mobile ecosystem, and should lessen its dependence on Apple’s iPhone and the army of handsets running Android.
This is a view shared by Katie Lewis, an analyst for Yankee Group, who posted on her blog earlier this year that, “mobile operators are sick of taking orders from Apple” because “iPhones are occupying an increasingly dangerous share of mobile operators' smartphone sales.” She believes that the success of Windows Phone would give the carriers back their control of the US smartphone market. She added, “backing Windows Phone is AT&T and Verizon’s chosen method of self-preservation.”
The timing is also interesting, as Apple is rumored to have its own event planned a week later, during which the new iPhone is widely tipped to be unveiled, possibly alongside the iPad Mini. With Microsoft set to release Windows 8 on October 26 and Nokia presumably launching a new Lumia range around the same time, both platforms will be going head to head vying for consumer attention during the lucrative Christmas period.