One of the biggest points of contention for many Windows Phone users is the fact that Nokia likes to play favorites with carriers. When consumers heard Windows Phones would finally be available on Verizon again they were ecstatic, but that quickly turned to anger when it was announced that the Lumia 920 would be an exclusive for AT&T, just like the Lumia 900 before it. In an interview with CNET, Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop says exclusivity is a good thing.
His reasoning behind carrier exclusivity is that carriers that are given exclusivity agreements will put more money and marketing into those devices than devices that are available from other carriers. This creates consumer excitement and demand, since more exposure for the handset is a result of the increased marketing.
“One of the things we had learned with the first launch was being very narrow would yield better results for us,” Elop said. “We take a product and go exclusive with a particular carrier. In a market where subsidy and marketing dollars are heavy, we encourage them to promote it as a hero product, and use the subsidy to drive down the pricing to a competitive point. It also gives you access to in-store resources.”
Of course, there’s a very big case for this with the first launch of the iPhone on AT&T, but the market in 2007 was no where near what the smartphone market is today. Elop’s reasoning may be sound, but considering Microsoft wants to penetrate the market as much as possible, getting these phones into the hands of any consumer that wants them–regardless of carrier–might be the better option here. What do you think?