Nokia's lost half its American market share in 2 years. Why? Because the phone companies here won't sell its smartphones, which are designed for consumers, not carriers.
Nokia also refused to cater to American phone companies' whims. In Europe and Asia, consumers usually buy phones and telephone service separately, so Nokia needs to please only the end user. In the U.S., where phones and service are sold together, carriers want control over the way the phones look and perform.
It's a sad illustration of why cellphones are mostly dull. The carriers know that consumers are happy with long contracts that more than cover the cost of handset discounts. As a result, these subsidies determine which phones consumers are prepared to buy.
For manufacturers, you do what the carrier tells you to do, or you become $800 geek chic.
Nokia's North America problem [Fortune]