Can Verizon Give Nokia Some Windows Phone Traction?

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Earlier this week Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) saw its smartphone bandwagon slip further into a muddy rut immediately after it unveiled its latest Windows Phone 8 phones. One industry analyst, Mike Genovese of MKM Partners, labeled the handsets "me, too" devices and faulted Nokia for failing to provide "specific details about launch timing, carrier partners and pricing."

He further said that Nokia's "tepid announcement will quickly be overshadowed by next week's highly anticipated iPhone 5 launch."

He's probably right about the iPhone. Any device that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) launches these days always brings the full monty of media attention. And those new iPhones will certainly fly off the mobile carriers' shelves as soon as they are released.

But at least one of those unknowns has been clarified... somewhat. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) said it would increase its lineup of phones running Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows Phone 8 operating system.

Nokia is seen as the leading maker of Windows Phone smartphones, and on Thursday Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney confirmed Verizon's relationship with Nokia. But Samsung recently announced it, too, would produce phones running Windows Phone 8

The Korean phone maker, with its worldwide dominance of the smartphone market, could turn out to be quite a nemesis for Nokia. Will we also be seeing patent battles, a la Samsung vs. Apple?

Meanwhile... ouch!
The immediate reaction from the marketplace to Nokia's Windows Phone 8 unveiling was a decided thumbs-down. Shares of Nokia fell almost 18% that day.

And for a kick to the ribs, Deutsche Bank let fly with this downgrade missive: "Nokia's new Windows 8 devices will unlikely alter its muted smartphone market share trajectory in an ever more competitive smartphone market."

Even the home team fans were wary of Nokia's outlook after its WP 8 launch. The brokerage at Finnish bank Pohjola said, "Such a high number of product launches in September will put pressure on Nokia's visibility."

With those depressing assessments, any help Nokia can get from Verizon -- and any other carrier -- will be sorely needed to get free of the hole in which it finds itself.

Also, don't forget the importance of Windows Phone 8 for Microsoft itself. The Redmond, Wash. company sorely needs to redefine itself for the mobile computing world we are now living in. Can it do that? Can it once again be the 900-pound gorilla of the tech world, or will it remain in Apple's shadow? This Motley Fool premium report will help you decided whether Microsoft is worthy of your investing dollars -- or not. Get it today!

Fool contributor Dan Radovsky owns shares of Nokia. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have also recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft and a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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