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Did you ever arrive at a party really late and get the feeling that you have already missed out on most of the fun. Well, I think Nokia must be feeling that right now with its unprecedented discounting of the premium Lumia 900 smartphone in the United States for just US$49.95 on a two-year contract. According to Zacks Investment Research report, the reduction, which comes only after three months of Lumia 900's launch, is considered by analysts as an indication the device is not performing well.


Nokia has been losing market share to Apple’s iPhone and an array of smartphones that run on Google’s Android operating system. In an effort to improve its smartphone market share,Nokia ditched its Symbian operating system and teamed up with Microsoft to develop Windows based smartphones. The Lumia 900 is one of Nokia’s latest phones sporting the Windows 7 mobile operating system. The difficulty for this duo is that they are both late to the same party, which started five years ago with Apple and Android.


It is not that the product is inferior in any particular way either, in fact from a functionality and usability perspective, the Lumia stacks up technically with any other premium branded smartphone. So, is this latest strategy from the Finnish giant and AT&T part of a strategic plan to recapture lost market share, or an attempt to shift stock before the next wave of technological innovation renders the Lumia obsolete?


It is difficult to tell, but if I were in Nokia’s position, I would have positioned two identical versions of the same phone, one running Windows 7 and another running on Android. This is a similar strategy adopted by both HTC and Samsung. Instead, Nokia decided to place all bets with Microsoft and hope for the best, a risky strategy given Microsoft’s hiatus from the touch screen smartphone market.

Zacks Investment reports the pressure of fierce competition led Nokia to drop its Lumia 900 prices. Although this could result in a mass market appeal for its flagship device but would eventually affect its bottom line. Nokia is also lagging behind its rival in application development count, which also needs to be improved in order to survive in this competitive market condition. Also, Microsoft has announced that Lumia 900 customers won’t be able to upgrade its software to Windows phone 8, which could be a major setback for Lumia 900’s success.     

The most frustrating part of this tale remains the saga of Symbian, which was always intended as a open source development project to become what Android is today. What prevented this was a number of third party components in the code which prevented the entire source being published freely and in its entirety.


Lack of interest of application developers and the departure of SonyEricsson from the program signalled the end of Symbian at least in the premium smartphone end of the market. Can Nokia bounce back, fight off the Korean rivals and retake its position as the biggest mobile device company in the world? I don’t think so, but becoming leaner and meaner and attracting a new niche audience could be a winning strategy.

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