[This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times Sept. 6, 2012.]
Lumia 920 (Photo from Nokia)
When Nokia unveiled its colorful new Windows Phone 8 devices Wednesday — the Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820 — it generated immediate positive buzz from tech press and blogs.
But investors? They weren’t impressed, sending Nokia stock plummeting 16 percent. (Microsoft stock was flat.)
After all, Nokia and Microsoft execs spent Wednesday morning’s launch event in New York City talking up the many features of the new phones, especially highlighting the Lumia 920, seen as the flagship Windows Phone 8 device.
From advanced camera features to wireless charging and near field communications (NFC) capabilities, Nokia and Microsoft clearly sought to differentiate the Lumias from other smartphones on the market.
“This is a very important milestone,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said during the event.
Investors, however, either weren’t taken in by what they saw or, maybe more likely, what they didn’t see and hear: anything specific on pricing, date of availability and which operators will carry the devices.
“Nokia did not do itself any favors” by not disclosing that information, said John Jackson, an analyst with Boston-based market research firm CCS Insight. “That was a tactical mistake.”
Nokia — and Microsoft — can’t afford to make many of those.
Both companies need the newest Windows Phones to sell well — Nokia because it’s deeply in the red and Microsoft because, even after a couple of years offering the Windows Phone platform, still holds only a tiny fraction of the smartphone market.
Nokia “is playing a game of chicken with investor patience,” Jackson said. “And, as of today, it’s losing.”
In the company’s defense, though, Jackson added: “I think investors seemed to be expecting something more revolutionary and I think that’s an unreasonable expectation.”
[Continue reading the story here.]