Elop says exclusivity has worked well for the Lumia launches

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?

[via CNET]


  • uh . . . didnt work on me. I want the 920 but cant switch carriers. This means one less sale for nokia. Wrong choice nokia.

  • Edgar Cervantes

    Hmmm…. It kinda makes sense. It’s much like the “DROID” phenomena. That OG Motorola DROID was the first super popular Android device, and that is because Verizon made such a huge hype about it.

    It could be a good strategy while the platform is not very popular, but they will want to make it more available once the platform grows. Take the Nexus 4 as an example, no carrier advertised it but it is just flying off the shelves.

  • Edgar Cervantes

    What carrier are you on? You could go for an HTC 8X, maybe?

  • Avatar Roku

    Which is why the Lumia 920 is the 4th best selling phone on AT&T behind iPhone 5, GS3, and Note 2 (which are all available on multiple carriers)?

  • Avatar Roku

    The Nexus 4 isn’t even sold in stores. Nexus phones don’t sell that well.

  • proph

    I am on Verizon. The 8x is a nice phone but after playing with coworkers 920 they aren’t in the same ball park in many areas. Why should I have to settle? Luckily I can live with my galaxy nexus for awhile until Nokia realizes that is you want to sell high margins phones releasing only a mid range phone on the largest US carrier isn’t the best idea.

  • Sobr0801

    I switched from Verizon to ATT for the 920. Worked on me.

  • Tumultus

    Well, I happen to disagree entirely! Taking away consumer choice is never a good strategy! So far, it has worked here in the US because people simply don’t know any different, yet, a short look beyond the big pond shows how it could have been! Imagine you could walk into any cell phone store and pick any device with any carrier – that’s what I call a free market!

    Here we can get the L920 only with AT&T. If the device would be available with any other carrier, I could see lots of people jumping ship over to a provider that meets their needs rather than having to be stuck with overpriced plans that don’t cater to my needs at all.

    If you extend the above into other areas, you’ll see how stupid and how dangerous such “exclusive” strategies are! What would you say if your TV (cable or satellite) provider would only allow you to use a certain brand / size of TV? What would you say if your ISP would dictate to you the computer you have to use in order to access the internet? What would you say if you were only allowed to buy a particular car model in order to use highway 46 in Texas? :)

    In the end, here in the US it is all about control; it’s never about the best product or servicing the consumer.

  • Edgar Cervantes

    Ummm…. have you been reading reports, bro? Google can’t keep them in stock. The Nexus 4 is currently sold out (again), and that is after the backorder period went up to 10 weeks.

  • Edgar Cervantes

    I totally agree with you, I am not saying this stuff is good. Does it help advertise the product though? Totally. Us nerds will always know about these new phones, but the general consumer is not reading technology sites. Do you think Android would have boomed as hard as it did if it wasn’t for the Droid? I think it would have grown, but definitely slower. I mean people still call Android phones “Droids”.

    In a way AT&T did help advertise the Lumia devices a lot when Windows Phone started coming back.

  • Edgar Cervantes

    Yeah it does kinda suck. I just don’t want to let go of Verizon. I have tried all networks and they are not good. You really don’t realize how good Verizon is until you try something else.

  • Tumultus

    But at the same time, AT&T’s advertising didn’t really help Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile customers. Just have a look and see what was available over here before WP8 – almost nothing! And the few good devices were all “Exclusive” to one carrier (AT&T). Do you think that the average Joe was happy with a Nokia L710 on T-Mobile or an HTC Arrive? On none but 1 single carrier could you get nice WP7 devices.

    Thankfully, this has changed a little bit now where you can get the 8X on almost all providers. Still, just think about the boom for the platform if their top-line phones would be available and pushed on all carriers. :)

  • Edgar Cervantes

    True… but I just wonder how much hype carriers would have given Windows Phone if none of them really had dibs on it. I was certainly upset, and am so glad at least 1 GOOD Windows phone device is available for Verizon now. I hat the HTC Trophy and was NOT happy. lol

  • Tumultus

    Yeah, I can imagine! :)
    Luckily, I buy all of my phones off contract, mostly European imports. Compared to what you pay in a 2-year agreement, you either break even or even save some $$$s. Unfortunately, on Sprint or Verizon this is rather impossible. If I were on their networks, I guess I would be with Android now because of the very limited choices. :)