Finland's Nokia Oyj. narrowly bested analysts' pessimistic expectations, moving 4 million Windows Phone 7 smartphones in Q2 2012. But the company is still posting big losses and is in the midst of painful layoffs. Most dangerously, Nokia is unlikely to fully complete its transition to Windows Phone until fall's launch of Windows Phone 8, nearly two years after Nokia's announcement of its decision to fully switch to Microsoft smartphone operating system.
With many viewing the Windows Phone 8 launch as Nokia's last chance to stay competitive, Nokia is reportedly considering a risky approach to try to change its fortune.
According to a report in The Financial Times, Nokia is looking to adopt an approach similar to that used by its rival Apple during the 2007 launch of the iPhone. At the time Apple gambled, going with a single carrier in most regions -- for example AT&Tin the U.S.
In the past, Nokia and others typically tried to get on as many carriers as possible, thinking that would attract the most customers. But in a strange way, the exclusivity of the iPhone helped Apple build its all-inclusive ecosystem and unprecedented hype surrounding the device.
Nokia is considering using a similar model to sell and market its new Windows Phone 8 handsets. Under the plan it would pick one or two "premium" carriers in each region and sell its handsets exclusively through them.
One such carrier is France Telecom, who owns the UK-France Orange network. Orange was Apple's original exclusive partner in France.
Nokia realizes that it does not yet command the prestige that Apple does in the market brand-wise. Thus it's looking to sweeten the deal for carriers via revenue sharing schemes. Nokia is hopeful this will encourage its exclusive carrier partners to offer more aggressive promotion of its devices.
While some may question the logic of Nokia -- a struggling veteran -- emulating Apple -- a younger power -- Nokia has some evidence in support of such a plan. In the U.S., Nokia chose to launch its premium handsets exclusively with AT&T, the original iPhone carrier.
Strong sales on the AT&T network reportedly drove the stronger-than-expect global Lumia sales. That modest success came even as European sales performed worse than expected, amid carrier apathy.