Nokia President Chris Weber announced in an interview today that the company will completely stop selling feature phones and Symbian-based smartphones in the US in order to focus on its new Windows phones. Weber gave no specific timeline for the transition, but said that the company would be "essentially out" of both market segments by the time the new Windows phones launch in late 2011 and early 2012.

Nokia announced this past February that it would be entering into a partnership with Microsoft to use the Windows Phone operating system, but had previously expected to keep Symbian around for lower-end smartphones, which is apparently no longer the case. Symbian's market share is much higher in other regions than in the United States, where it has barely been able to attain single-digit share, so don't expect Nokia to lose too many sales as a result of this decision.

Both Nokia and Microsoft have seen their market share fall off precipitously in recent years, but both companies hope that their partnership will result in well-integrated smartphone hardware and software that will stand out in a playing field increasingly dominated by Android and iOS. We'll find out soon enough whether this bet will pay off.

Source: AllThingsD

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  • nutmac - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - link

    The key point from the article: "Symbian's market share is much higher in other regions than in the United States, where it has barely been able to attain single-digit share, so don't expect Nokia to lose too many sales as a result of this decision."

    If anything, Nokia was more likely losing money as it tried to retain its single-digit share in the US. Exiting merely reduces cost and focuses its future onto something that may hopefully help them attain more meaningful marketshare. Whether Windows Phone will do just that is another question entirely.

    My guess? Nokia will be acquired by Microsoft or some other company in 2012.
  • Belard - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - link

    It wouldn't be surprising if MS buys out Nokia. They DO make good hardware.

    If MS buys Nokia, then most likely - Samsung, LG and other makers of WP7 devices will drop WP7.

    Its going to be interesting.
  • Spivonious - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    And that's why I doubt MS would buy Nokia. They need the market presense that having multiple hardware manufacturers gives if Windows Phone has any chance of surviving another year.
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - link

  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - link

    I need to remember to ask Anand to get a "Like" button for our comments. :-)
  • Hrel - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - link

    the whole comment format needs an overhaul. Why doesn't an email get sent to me when someone reply's to me? Why can't I respond back to them from that email?
  • Belard - Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - link

    So.... anyone didn't see this coming?

    Lets see... they disbanded their Symbian division about 6 months ago or so... and they just released the rather nice looking MeeGo Phones... (Hardware wise, these are going to be WP7 phones)

    When people can get Smart Phones for $0~50... why get a feature phone? Other than the $25~40 extra for crappy data plans.

    I think the market will only support about a few feature phones for another few years. Since ALL smart phones have a large screen - it means there will be less variety of models, theres only so much you can do with a single screen-faced device.

    Since I've been a SONY phone user for almost 10 years, which IMHO - has a very nice Feature Phone interface, until I went to Samsung Android.... and today, I run Launcher 7 on my Android - which makes my phone's look and feel like WP7 (other than the actual APPs).

    I just checked SONY's website. 12 months ago, they had about 1 Android phone, 20 Feature phones and 2 Sony Symbian. USA site alone, and they have many very nice looking phones, keyboard styles, colors, etc. Today, they have 8 Androids and feature phones.... that's it.

    SONY in Europe... still sells over 50 phones with 34 of them still feature phones - with new models still coming out. They are also promoting 12 Android phones, 4 Symbians over there.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    The extra cost for the dataplan is a big chunk of why many people, especially those with several kids, aren't upgrading to smart phones. The upfront cost for a low end smartphone isn't that high; but the extra $15/20/25/30/40 phone/mo for data is $360/480/600/720/960 over the course of the contract. Even ATT's crappy 200MB/mo plan gets expensive fast if you're adding it to several phones; and that's even before your kids screw up an generate a giant overage one month. Until family plans let you share data without adding a major additional fee/line (or they let you buy wifi only smartphones) kids phones are going to keep a large feature phone market alive.

    People who flatout don't see anything worth paying an extra $xx/month, or who're too poor to afford the extra are the other group that'll keep them alive. Remember that while $30 is only an hour or two at the professional jobs that most AT readers have, if you're only making minimum wage it's most of a days takehome pay.
  • Calin - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    I use a three year old feature phone, a Nokia 1100 I think. I can go one week without charging it, and at first it survived more than two weeks without charging (talk time was supposed to be 4 hours).
    I can go anywhere and not care about a lack of charger (especially as old Nokia phones used a single type of charger, and they're pretty common), I'm carrying it in the same pocket with the keys and don't care about scratches (they're very few of them anyway), and it just works (except when the SIM card needs to be reseated, maybe twice a year after phone being dropped).
    As for charging standards, the charger port on the phone works just as well as in the first day, unlike that on Ericsson/Sony Ericsson phones.

    That's a feature phone for me - for talking and SMS, it beats the hell out of any smartphone. And there are enough people that only want a phone for talking, and for those people a free feature phone might be a better choice than a free smartphone
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    Mine's 6 years old, and the battery only lasts ~10 days on idle now. VZW wants about 2x what replacing my current GPS and mp3 players would cost; and none of the cheap networks have decent coverage where I live. Had they launched a $15 (or even a $20) plan when they dumped unlimited data with a reasonable cap they'd've probably sold me a droid 3. As it is I'll probably keep my phone for at least one more year.

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