Nokia not worried by LG pulling back on Windows Phone

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NEW ORLEANS--Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is not concerned by LG Electronics' decision to focus more on smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform and less on Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone, a senior Nokia executive said.  

In an interview with FierceWireless here, Chris Weber, Nokia's president for the Americas, said he did not think LG was a major Windows Phone player and that the company's decision to pull back will not have a significant negative impact on the Windows Phone market. (LG has said it is not "giving up" on Windows Phone but instead focusing on Android.) Nokia has staked its smartphone future to the success of Microsoft's operating system.

"I see significant commitment from HTC, Samsung," Weber said. "I actually see increased momentum and commitment form a various set of OEMs on the platform." He added that another way to measure the momentum of the platform is in the number of third-party applications it has. Microsoft currently has 80,000 apps compared to around 7,000 a year ago.

While Weber declined to discuss specific sales figures for the LTE-capable Lumia 900, the company's flagship device from AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), he said Nokia is pleased with the momentum it is seeing for the product at A&T. He said AT&T's retail sales reps have been educated and  trained to evangelize for the Lumia 900 based, in part, on the unique set of experiences and applications Nokia has brought to Windows Phone, including the Nokia Drive navigation app and a unique ESPN app. Weber also noted Nokia is continuing this with a slew of new, exclusive Windows Phone apps for its Lumia line.

The Nokia executive also said he is encouraged by AT&T's decision to launch the Samsung Focus 2, an LTE Windows Phone, for $49.99 with a two-year contract. He said that even though AT&T sells the Lumia 900 for $99.99, customers can get it on Amazon.com for $50 and that more Windows Phone devices benefit the entire ecosystem.

And what of Nokia's attempts to woo other U.S. carriers? Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) has said it will give Windows Phone a major push when Windows Phone 8 is released later this year. "Obviously, we're very aware of the importance of having Verizon in the fold and we're working on that," Weber said.

Weber added that he did not think the impending launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III in the U.S. market will shorten the window in which the Lumia 900 or the Lumia line, in general, can make an impression with consumers. "We feel like we have a very strong value proposition on the Lumia 900 regardless of whatever else comes in," he said, noting the Galaxy S II and HTC One X as two competing devices. "These are strong companies and good products. We think that we will hold up regardless of what competition is there," he said, noting that Galaxy s II is likely to be more expensive than the Lumia 900.

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