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Symbian handsets will soon be pulled from US shelves, Nokia says

Symbian is set to be replaced in Canada and the US by the Windows Phone 7 OS.

By Matthew Shaer / August 9, 2011

Symbian, long Nokia's mobile operating system of choice, will soon be replaced by the Windows Phone 7 OS. Here, a user holds a phone running Symbian.

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Symbian is being nudged offstage by the US arm of Nokia, which is preparing to put its full weight behind the Windows Phone 7 OS. In an interview this week with All Things D, Nokia Inc. President Chris Weber said his company would no longer sell Symbian-based phones in the Canada and the US, making way for the arrival of the first fruits of the Nokia and Microsoft partnership. (More on that partnership here.)

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"When we launch Windows Phones we will essentially be out of the Symbian business, the S40 business, etc.," Chris Weber told Ina Fried of All Things D. "It will be Windows Phone and the accessories around that. The reality is if we are not successful with Windows Phone, it doesn’t matter what we do (elsewhere)." Nokia, of course, has always been an extremely popular brand worldwide, although it has struggled to get a foothold in the US market.

Over at GigaOM, Kevin C. Tofel says the switch to the Windows Phone 7 OS could be just the boost Nokia needs. "Although Nokia never succeeded in the US, the reasons were mainly twofold: A user interface that never caught on here and a lack of carrier subsidies to get handsets in front of potential customers at reasonable prices. With Microsoft’s mobile platform, the user interface issue goes away based on my usage," Tofel writes.

Moreover, he continues, "because the platform could appeal to consumers, carriers are more likely to pay part of the hardware costs on Nokia handsets." Which makes sense. But as we reported yesterday, there isn't yet any solid indication that Windows Phone 7 will catch on with consumers either, especially considering the strong gains made by Android and Apple's iOS.

To wit: A new analysis from ComScore, which seems to show that the Windows Phone OS – released in October of last year – has failed to find a firm foothold among consumers. From March to June of 2011, for instance, ComScore estimates that the market share owned by Windows Phone 7 dropped from 7.5 to 5.8 percent, a loss of 1.7 percent.

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