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Did anybody at AT&T, Microsoft or Nokia check the calendar before picking a launch day for the Lumia 900 Windows Phone?

That’s the obvious question after the New York Times discovered that nearly all of the AT&T stores in the heart of New York City were closed for Easter yesterday just as the wireless giant was supposed to be kicking off the sales of the new device. Microsoft is counting on the Lumia 900 to help reverse Windows Phone’s fortunes vs. the iPhone and Android.

People calling the closed AT&T stores heard this advertisement, “Visit our store to see the exciting iPhone 4S and how only AT&T’s network lets your iPhone 4S download three times faster.”

A Nokia spokesman tells Fierce Wireless that the launch date was picked because AT&T always restocks and adjusts its stores on Sundays, and its promotional window for the spring started on Sunday. Fierce Wireless quotes the spokesman saying that having AT&T promote the phone heavily for the spring was more important than the specific launch date.

Ad Age says AT&T is planning to spend $150 million to help launch the phone. AT&T will have large signs and displays featuring the Lumia 900. Salespeople have also been trained extensively in the new phone to help customers, according to an AT&T representative.

Microsoft is also touting the launch today with a “Free-Time” Machine promotion in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

CNet News.com reports that the company will be giving away meals, personal shoppers, grocery delivery, dog walking, and other prizes. Microsoft is trying to drive home the point that the streamlined user interface of Windows Phone will help people reclaim more time from their days.

“The retail experience—from the events to the window displays to the enthusiastic sales associates—is all designed to showcase and reinforce what’s best about Windows Phone, so customers coming to the stores will have a great experience and leave with the Windows Phone that’s right for them,” writes Windows Phone chief Terry Myerson in a post this morning.

Previously: Lumia 900: Hands-on video and early impressions

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