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Microsoft May Struggle in the U.S. Smartphone Industry with Limited Carrier Distribution

Microsoft May Struggle in the U.S. Smartphone Industry with Limited Carrier Distribution

AT&T is the only wireless carrier that plans to offer Microsoft’s Lumia 950 in the United States

October 8, 2015

Microsoft’s slow decline in the U.S. smartphone industry seems to be continuing, even with its latest device offerings: the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL.

These phones are Microsoft’s first Windows 10-powered smartphones since 2013, when Microsoft acquired Nokia and its devices.

However, it seems that the software giant will have to think of another way to remain relevant in the smartphone industry: Currently, AT&T is the only carrier that plans to sell the Lumia 950 in the United States.

Looking at data from last year — while iOS and Android device sales were steadily increasing, Microsoft’s performance has been waning as PC sales also decreased.


A Single-Carrier Partnership

Experts say that “a launch on multiple carriers would have offered…a chance to introduce the Lumia phones to more consumers.” Despite this, Microsoft seems to be focused solely on AT&T.*

It may be part of an antiquated marketing strategy: In the past, Lumia smartphones have generally launched through a single carrier as part of exclusive deals.

Meanwhile, other smartphone brands such as Apple, Samsung, LG and HTC have found success selling its devices across multiple U.S. carriers, allowing for competition in the market as well as a wider distribution.

Yet, even though Microsoft claims that it has stated its willingness to work with other carriers, none seem interested thus far.

The software company also says that it will also offer the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL as an unlocked smartphone that will be able to run on AT&T or T-Mobile.*

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* Cheng, Roger. AT&T is only US carrier planning to sell Microsoft's latest phones, CNET. CBS Interactive, Inc.