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We’ve known this was coming for a while since Nokia jumped ship to Windows Phone 7, but today the company confirmed that it will be out of the Symbian phone business in North America once its new flagship Windows Phone devices launch this fall, All Things Digital reports.
But really, that’s like saying Nokia has decided to stop stabbing itself in the eye.
The whole point of jumping to Microsoft’s platform was that Nokia would no longer need to worry about its aging Symbian OS, which has failed to make much of a dent in North America in a post-iPhone world.
Nokia’s North America president Chris Weber told ATD that the company would (wisely) focus on sales through wireless carriers for its new devices. Previously, Nokia offered its phones to US consumers at full price because carriers refused to subsidize its devices. (Weber admits that the Nokia Astound on T-Mobile, pretty much its only subsidized device in the US, hasn’t sold well.)
The company will also focus on North America first with its new devices. Previously, Nokia phones were first targeted at Europe. “We’ll develop for North America and make the phones globally available and applicable,” Weber told ATD’s Ina Fried. “In fact, evidence of that is that the first Windows Phones that will ship are being done by our group in San Diego.”
Weber also confirmed that Nokia is ramping up its biggest-ever marketing push for the Windows Phone devices. “It is significantly larger than anything we have done in the past and the most we will invest in any market worldwide,” he said.
Another (not so surprising) casualty for North America is the company’s N9 MeeGo phone, Engadget reports. In a statement, Nokia said that the N9 would be coming to a few countries around the world, but it doesn’t currently have any plans to release the N9 on our shores. That makes sense, since just like Symbian, releasing the N9 in America would only serve to distract Nokia from its Windows Phone devices.
The company recently launched a Swedish site counting down to the N9’s (inevitably doomed) release.
Nokia is also in the process of paring down its businesses. The company sold its email and instant messaging services to Synchronica in June for $25 million, and it also sold off parts of its Qt development business in March.