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US snubs Nokia again

Nokia cancels X7

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Nokia's new Canadian CEO Stephen Elop hasn't been able to work his magic just yet. A deal to market a smartphone exclusively via the largest US network AT&T has been scrapped at the 11th hour, according to reports.

Reports circulating before Christmas touted the X7 as a Symbian^3 smartphone with quad speakers and an 8MP camera. The Wall Street Journal suggests that Nokia withdrew from the deal, concerned about AT&T's lack of marketing support for the device.

It leaves Nokia several months away from throwing a competitive device into the world's biggest smartphone market. It's a myth that Nokia has never "cracked" the US market: the Finnish giant enjoyed a 35 market share in 2002, roughly comparable to its global market share of around 40 per cent at the time. But the increasing confidence of the four giant US carriers, and Nokia's inflexibility regarding product design and branding, has seen it suffer.

Fifteen years of litigation with Qualcomm also took their toll, with Nokia abandoning the development of its own CDMA chips in 2006, and only reaching a settlement two years later. Nokia has yet to launch a device based on Qualcomm's 1GHz Snapdragon chip, which is now the smartphone market standard, despite confirmation of a deal from San Diego a year ago.

Nokia's market share had fallen to seven per cent by 2009. Since the launch of Apple's iPhone, Nokia has been declining in all developed markets. It can only get better. Can't it? ®

Bootnote

Former Symbian CTO Charles Davies explained why the market eluded Nokia in an interview for Part Three of our Symbian history feature.

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