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Nokia's Smartphone Strategist Leaves Company

Reuters reports that Ilari Nurmi, former vice president of product marketing at Nokia, has left the company. He departs after Nokia revealed its new Windows Phone 8 smartphones at a launch event last month which failed to impress investors. Nurmi was responsible for the company's smartphone strategy prior to his departure.

Investors sent stock plummeting 16-percent last month after complaining that the struggling Finnish smartphone maker didn't disclose pricing, the date of availability, and what operators would carry the devices. John Jackson, an analyst with Boston-based market research firm CCS Insight, said Nokia's failure to disclose the information was a "tactical mistake."

"[Nokia] is playing a game of chicken with investor patience, and, as of today, it's losing" Jackson told The Seattle Times last month. "I think investors seemed to be expecting something more revolutionary and I think that's an unreasonable expectation."

"This is a very important milestone," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said during Nokia's Windows Phone 8 reveal last month. The success of the Lumia phones is crucial to both Nokia and Microsoft who are struggling to compete with Apple and handset makers using Google's highly-popular open-source mobile platform, Android.

Nokia has already launched a line of sleek phones based on Windows Phone 7, but Nokia is still falling behind rivals, taking in more than 3 billion euros in operating loses in the past 18 months. Like RIM and its BlackBerry 10 platform, Nokia's new Windows Phone 8 devices are seen as a make-it-or-break-it scenario.

The success of these two new phones may depend on the Windows 8 platform itself. To Nokia's defense, Microsoft is keeping the new mobile OS details under wraps until the official launch on October 29, just days after Windows 8 hits the streets. Only then will consumers, critics and investors fully realize how these new phones will interact with Windows 8, the Xbox consoles, and Windows RT.

AT&T announced on Thursday that it will offer both Lumia phones this November – the Lumia 920 will be an exclusive. So far pricing hasn't been announced here in the States, but over in Italy the Lumia 920 will sell for 599 euros ($770), or 5,700 Swedish crowns ($860), both of which excludes subsidies.

As for Nurmi's departure, Reuters reports that it was "unclear whether he left on his own accord." Nokia also declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding his departure.

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