Microsoft announced its Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL earlier this week, and details are starting to pour in regarding the phones’ availability. From what we’ve learned this week, Microsoft intends to sell the Lumia 950 as an AT&T exclusive carrier in the US. Here’s what Microsoft said about Lumia 950 availability in the US:
We’re refocusing our channel strategy, narrowing it in the short-term and planning for broader operator availability long-term. While there was interest across the board from U.S. operators, currently we’ve made the decision to hav AT&T carry the Lumia 950, and then sell both the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL unlocked through our own channel in Microsoft stores.
In other words, you’ll have to pick up a Lumia 950 from either AT&T or the Microsoft website if you hope to buy one soon. Microsoft is interested in other carriers, but the company is trying to budget effectively and ensure that its product launch is more successful than others have been in the past. While Microsoft may suffer with the somewhat-exclusive Lumia 950 launch through AT&T, it’s not a surprise to anyone who’s been staying afloat of tech news. The Nokia Lumia Icon, launched on Verizon exclusively, didn’t fare all that well with the Big Red carrier. The Lumia brand has had some small success with AT&T, probably more with it than the other carriers, but if Microsoft’s newest smartphone has what it takes, a larger audience and wider distribution can’t do anything but help the situation rather than hurt it.
Keep in mind, too, that the Lumia 950 is the only device being sold through AT&T. Microsoft’s response about availability only mentions the Lumia 950 XL with regard to its own website as an unlocked device, rather than a carrier-exclusive device. This seems somewhat odd, considering that the Lumia 950 XL is the best of the two devices. At the same time, however, it’s also the case that CEO Satya Nadella is hoping to turn a profit with the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL – even if that means making the phone available to a smaller market. Before a company can mass-market a product, there has to be a chance of success. Microsoft wants to chase some measure of success before launching widely again. It’s the baby steps that count, but at some point, the baby steps have to convert into leaps. Let’s hope the Lumia 950 and 950 XL make those “leaps” before some new phone in days to come steals all the thunder.
For those who want to know more about the Lumia 950, check out our coverage of Microsoft’s Lumia 950 announcement.