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If Microsoft has been looking to its new partner Nokia to save its bacon in the Windows Phone market -- such as it is -- this holiday season, it's increasingly looking like the software giant may be let down.
Nokia is scheduled to debut its first Windows Phone Wednesday in London at the company's Nokia World 2011 conference, according to multiple published reports.
However, Advertising Age reported that the phone maker has yet to sign up an American ad agency to handle promotions of the phones in the U.S.
That, the magazine said, is a strong indication that the Finnish company is not going to put much, if any, marketing push behind its Windows smartphones this holiday shopping season in U.S. markets. If it were going to do that, signs would already be visible of campaigns scaling up is the theory.
"As a last-ditch attempt to become relevant in the new world of smartphones and platforms increasingly dominated by Apple and Google, Nokia has a lot riding on the upcoming Windows Phone. As in the past, focusing on Europe first appears to be the strategy," AdAge said.
Such an eventuality must be hugely disappointing to Microsoft, which signed a deal in February whereby Nokia's smartphones will exclusively ship with Windows Phone installed.
If they're unhappy, though, the software maker is not saying so. A company spokesperson told InternetNews.com in an email that Microsoft declined to comment on the rumors.
Meanwhile, a Nokia spokesperson was not immediately available to respond to questions.
In late May, though, a senior Nokia executive said the company was on track to ship its first Windows Phone-based smartphone "this year," and that it planned to release new phones every two or three months after that.
However, Nokia will not have the Windows Phone market all to itself. Besides Windows Phones that have been on the market since last year, Samsung and HTC in September debuted new smartphones based on Microsoft's latest updated software known as Windows Phone 7.5, or "Mango," the same version that Nokia's smartphones will run.