Nokia's developer relations chief jumps ship to Amazon

Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) head of developer relations, Marco Argenti, said he is leaving the company after five years and taking a position with Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) web services team, dealing a blow to Nokia as it continues to try to gain traction with Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone and its own Asha platform.

Argenti, Nokia's senior vice president of developer experience and marketplace, announced the move in a Twitter update Tuesday, writing: "It's been an exciting ride at #Nokia, glad 2 have been part of and wishing great success 4 the future. Looking fw to a new chapter at #AWS." He confirmed the move to AllThingsD and said he is taking a position with Amazon, but declined to comment further.

It's not clear if there is an immediate replacement for Argenti. "Marco Argenti will be leaving Nokia to pursue other business interests," a Nokia spokeswoman said. "Marco has made a great contribution to Nokia, and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

Argenti was responsible for recruiting developers and getting developer support for both Nokia's Lumia line of Windows Phone devices and its Series 40 devices, including the touchscreen Asha brand aimed at emerging markets and younger consumers, according to ZDNet. He joined Nokia in 2008 as its vice president of media and games where he was in charge of Nokia's application store, games and content under the Ovi brand. In 2011, he switched gears along with Nokia's shift to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, and began evangelizing that platform.

So far, Nokia and Windows Phone have achieved mixed results. Microsoft now has 170,000 apps for the platform, but achieving momentum in the market has been difficult. Sales of Windows Phone smartphones outpaced BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) device sales for the first time ever during the second quarter of 2013, according to research firm Gartner.

Consumers across the globe purchased 7.4 million Windows Phone devices in the second quarter, up from 4 million in the year-ago period and corresponding to 3.3 percent smartphone market share, Gartner said. BlackBerry sales slipped from 8 million in the second quarter of 2012 to 6.2 million in the most recent quarter, and its market share plummeted from 5.2 percent a year ago to just 2.7 percent.

However, Microsoft still tails Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's  (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS significantly, which captured 79 percent and 14.2 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, respectively, according to Gartner.

Nokia in the second quarter shipped a record 7.4 million Lumia smartphones, but its average selling price fell. Nokia's low-end phone sales also missed analyst estimates. The company shipped 53.7 million basic phones in the period. Overall Nokia is trying to get Lumia sales to make up for falling sales of feature phones, and it is also promoting its Asha brand as part of the effort to boost overall volumes.

In the North American market, Nokia shipped 500,000 devices, and most of them were likely Lumia smartphones. That figure is down slightly from the 600,000 devices Nokia shipped in the market in the year-ago quarter but up slightly from the 400,000 the company shipped in the first quarter of this year.

The company's North American sales figures were notable considering Nokia has made a concerted push to increase sales and exposure in the U.S. market, specifically through new Lumia devices available from AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and others. However, the Lumia 928 on Verizon only launched in mid-May, halfway through the second quarter, and the Lumia 925 for T-Mobile did not launch during the second quarter. Nokia is continuing to expand its U.S. efforts. The company recently announced its Lumia 1020 with a 41-megapixel camera for AT&T.

For more:
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this ZDNet article

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Article updated Aug. 14 with a statement from Nokia.