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MS, Nokia Launch Windows-based Handset In India

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Microsoft and Nokia joined hands recently to launch two Windows-based handsets. The first of that series was unveiled in India on Monday. Nokia Lumia 710 and 800 will be available by mid-December. The company plans to offer this product in 5,000 retail outlets with specialized sales team. The handset maker hopes to regain some of the market share it had lost to new handset companies like Micromax.

Nokia had been under pressure to innovate keeping in the demand of consumers. "It did well, but others did better," says Gautam Balakrishnan, Mumbai-based telecom analyst. However, the dual Sim-based phones for the entry level segment at less than Rs 2,000, and the smart phones for less than Rs 5,000 have given the company some hope, at least in India.

"We are the leaders in India and will continue to be leader," says D Shivakumar, Managing Director Nokia India. His confidence is backed by number that the company wants to keep it under wraps. The only give away is "India contributes to 15 per cent of the global revenues of Nokia," says a senior company executive. Shivakumar refuses to dent or accept this per cent.

But the company's strategy to offer both Symbian and Windows-based phones should deliver the desired results in India in the next two quarters, according to a senior company executive. Nokia's calculation that operators would launch 3G services early failed, as most of the operators are struggling with their 3G services.

The handset maker is now betting on new products supported by service, both online and offline. Its recent moves to attract back the consumers who had moved to smart phones is yielding results, claims the company. Despite that, Nokia's market share is pegged by various independent research and studies at about 38-40 per cent.

Nokia has not yet lost hope, but the challenge of being a leader despite a lower market share is not a comfortable zone.