Nokia Exits Symbian Altogether in US, Canada

Posted by at 3:52 pm on August 9, 2011

Nokia’s US president Chris Weber said in an interview Tuesday that his company was dropping Symbian entirely in North America. It would shed all its basic feature phones and Symbian smartphones by the time the first Windows Phone​s reach the country. The US would be a priority for design and was responsible for the first Windows Phones; the company’s success depended on it, Weber told AllThingsD.

“The reality is if we are not successful with Windows Phone, it doesn’t matter what we do,” he explained.

As part of the effort, it would have a “significantly larger” marketing push that had more investment than not just in the past but more than other markets will get with the launch. One device that won’t reach the US as a result of the strategy, though, is the N9. Officials have ruled out the MeeGo phone for an official release and will only bring it to Europe in September.

Nokia in the past few years had repeatedly promised to improve its commitment to the US but, until now, had never been clear on what that entailed. Most of the promises were made under former CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo’s tenure and never proved to be sincere, as the company continued to focus almost all its attention on Europe and developing countries while only giving a few, often low-end smartphones to US carriers. Much of Nokia’s current smartphone lineup is available in the US today but is limited to buying a full-price version unlocked from a reseller, not a carrier.

Current CEO Stephen Elop, being a long-time Microsoft veteran before joining Nokia, has been credited with giving his company a much more US-focused strategy that acknowledges the shift in the smartphone market from European pioneers to North American companies like Apple, Google, and RIM. His appearance began a race against time, with Nokia trying to get Windows Phone in stores before the end of 2011 and before most high-end cellphone owners leave Nokia completely. Nokia is already below Apple and Samsung in smartphone share.

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