Nokia Taps Microsoft Vet for US Head

In addition to adopting Windows Phone 7 for its smartphone OS in future Nokia phones, the Finnish company also announced late on Friday that it was tapping a Microsoft veteran for the president of its U.S. operations. Chris Weber started his new post as president of Nokia U.S.A. immediately, replacing outgoing honcho Mark Louison.

The move suggests that the world’s largest (but shrinking) cell and smartphone maker intends to have a very close relationship with Microsoft, and the company’s announcement of the post emphasized that Mr. Weber has 16 years of experience with his former company.

Nokia U.S.A. president Chris Weber
Nokia U.S.A. president Chris Weber

Nokia appears to believe that Mr. Weber and Microsoft itself can help Nokia improve its market share and presence in the U.S., despite the fact that even a brand new OS — Windows Phone 7, which was released in the Fall of 2010 — couldn’t stop Microsoft from losing market share in the December quarter.

“Today Nokia CEO Stephen Elop outlined the new strategic direction for Nokia, including plans for a broad strategic partnership with Microsoft to build a new global mobile ecosystem, and reiterated his commitment to improving Nokia’s position in North America,” the company wrote in a statement.

Colin Giles, Executive Vice President of Sales for Nokia, added, “With the new strategy in place, I believe Chris brings to the team a great combination of well-developed leadership skills, broad sales and marketing experience and solid consumer insight. Chris’s experience will be invaluable in helping us to establish our new ecosystem strategy in the market.”

Earlier on Friday, Nokia and Microsoft announced that Nokia wold be adopting Windows Phone 7 for its primary smartphone OS, replacing Symbian OS, an operating system developed by Nokia and used widely throughout Asia and parts of Africa. Nokia is the world’s largest cell and smartphone maker, but the company has been losing share at a brisk clip, and the company’s presence in the U.S. is less than small.