If you’ve been paying attention you should have noticed by now that in the U.S. market Samsung and Apple are decimating the competition. Both their market share and mindshare keeps their devices selling faster than their competition almost without even trying. Nokia has seen their Lumia smartphone lineup received well in the U.S. but in 2013 it is hard to see a rapid uptick in share increase. Nokia has recognized this and devised a plan to reclaim much of their former glory. I call it Operation Verge.

Emerging Markets Are Key Battleground

Nokia has clearly recognized the need to not lose the emerging market war and there are two parts to that mission. First is delivering affordable devices. Launching the Lumia 520 at $180 certainly makes this device appealing to a lot of people looking to ditch their feature phone for a smartphone. We know Nokia goes to great lengths to optimize their lower-end Lumia devices to run smoothly. To create differentiating value Nokia seems to be focusing on the services end of the deal. They are bringing some of their valuable creative apps and technology introduced in their flagship products to the lower-end where you typically only find lackluster devices. The inclusion of Cinemagraph, Panorama shot & SmartShoot features will be welcomed and can be marketed heavily. Combine that with what should be a decent 5MP camera and the newly rebranded HERE Suite users will be able to enjoy their Nokia Lumia 520 right out of the box.

Branding Is Important

The Second differentiating thing Nokia is bringing is a consistent design approach complete with the colorful choices we’ve seen introduced lately. The Lumia 720 is for non-LTE markets, includes NFC and Wireless charging capabilities (via optional wireless charging covers), a nice 2000mAh battery that is the same that can be found on the Lumia 920 and it is the first unibody device from Nokia that includes support for MicroSD support. The inclusion of NFC, colorful choices and additional wireless charging support is meant to keep devices at lower price points in line with the flagship device. It helps Nokia simplify their marketing approach because each device is capable of running the best software they produce.


Marketing Down Stream

Nokia clearly gets that they won’t own the U.S. market or Europe for that matter anytime soon. Though they will continue to release high-end models and push the boundaries of innovation Nokia has not allowed the importance of shipping in volume. They now have a full suite of devices that not only are affordable but capable that they can craft a marketing message around. Elope hammered home the point of highlighting locally important apps, he also wanted to make sure he announced the 130,000+ apps in the Windows Phone store. Those are some key things to build on when crafting a marketing strategy. A great device with locally relevant apps. The MicroSD card support is huge for both the 520 and 720.

Final Thoughts

I expect Nokia to grow their global market share by at least 5% by the end of this year. They have launched a preemptive strike on their competition and until Apple launches a budget iPhone the only real competition should come from Samsung in the emerging markets. They are continuing to strengthen their relationship with China Mobile and that should only lead to more units being sold. Nokia isn’t going anywhere. In fact this morning’s device announcements make me even more positive about Nokia’s future.


  1. “Nokia isn’t going anywhere.”

    Why so pessimistic? Their operating margin is about to rocket through 0%!!

    Operation Verge, huh.. What is it of which they’re on the verge? Used to be bankruptcy but they’re doing a bit better now, though I suppose they are on the verge of driving all OEMs away from WP but that’s probably not what you mean. So, they focused their WP efforts on the US. Now if you believe statcounter is within 5% of the truth, Windows Phone has a 1.15% US penetration, I heard the majority of those (what, 80% maybe?) are Nokia, so, Nokia Windows Phones is on the verge of hitting one percent in the US. Operation Verge.

    Hey Murani, why did Nokia release their Nokia Drive thing to all Windows Phones of other OEMs? I realize that’s good for the the hundreds of millions of should-be WP consumers but it strikes me as the thing Nokia would only do if coerced or otherwise motivated. Microsoft’s good at that as you may know..

    • I’ve never been pessimistic about Nokia. That was more in response to previous naysayers.

      I’m sure you’ve noticed that my tone in recent discussions and articles have been a lot less fan boy and a lot more realistic.

      Nokia sharing their apps was part of their partnership agreement. As a fan of Windows Phone i’m happy users who own the HTC phones will be able to enjoy Nokia’s products. Nokia is keeping the next set of innovations to themselves for the time being.

      According to the latest Kantar figures ending Jan ’13 Windows Phone accounts for 3.2% of smartphone sales in the U.S. That is without any viable devices being sold on Sprint. I haven’t given up on Nokia at all. I think their emerging markets play is the right one at the right time. They aren’t throwing all of their resources against the wall that is Apple and Samsung in the U.S. Android domination is a byproduct of Samsung dominating because clearly all other Android OEMs are tanking as well in the U.S.

      I’m trying to not focus so much only on the U.S. market. The laws of marketing are clearly being adhered to and it is clear that Samsung and Apple will lead the pack in dominating fashion for the foreseeable future. Only a major misstep from Apple or Samsung will cause anything to change any time soon.

  2. First-you look like some child isheep follower.
    Second- If you actually look at the data given out today, WP has above 3% market share and rising. Nokia is actually innovating any giving the customers what they want unlike the fruit company and the Samturd.

  3. Oh snap he busted out isheep your flabby Apple-loving ass, shellin’ your mellon with real stats, it’s THREE PERCENT according to someone else you yuppie Prius-driving Bluetooth-syncing punk. Oh man I lol’d at “isheep.” Nice, JoshCub.

    Cool browser, bro. Where can I download that?

  4. Just regarding Windows Phone market share, one does not simply quote rubbish stats as true. Doug your wrong the market share is about 3% in the US and higher in other markets. Windows Phone is the fastest growing OS at the moment with sales increasing by 200% year on year as of november 2012. That being said no one is saying they have destroyed apple and samsung in the market, they have quite along track ahead but they are continuing to innovate and provide brilliant software and hardware, so in time we should begin to see the market shift from two companies dominating to having a more dynamic industry with three companies competing against each other. Also I yield that the term iSheep may be in order here.

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