Orange VP: Windows Phone future is up to Nokia

Next week, Nokia will officially show off its first smartphones that will use Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system. It's a big risk for both companies. Today a vice president for the wireless carrier Orange (based in the Middle East, Europe and Africa) believes that the response to Nokia's WP7 devices will be important for Microsoft's future in this business.

News.com reports that Yves Maitre, the senior vice president of devices and mobile multimedia at Orange, confirms that smartphones that run Windows Phone 7 are the lowest selling for the carrier at the moment, behind Android, iOS and Blackberry-based phones. He said, "Honestly, it hasn't been as successful as we expected." Nokia is expected to launch the first Windows Phone 7 devices in unnamed select markets before the end of 2011. Maitre says, "If Nokia/Microsoft is not successful in Europe, then it will be tough in other countries."

Orange will also have to decide whether or not to keep selling Windows Phone 7-based phones at some point. Maitre says, "By Barcelona [the site of February's Mobile World Congress conference], we'll know for sure if Microsoft is in the game or not." However he adds that he is optimistic that Nokia and Microsoft can come up with smartphones that consumers will like, saying, "When you have a Nokia phone. it's like you're driving a Mercedes Benz." Time will tell if people will think the Nokia WP7-based devices are like driving a Benz or a Ford Pinto.

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