Where now for Nokia? Tomi has an idea

Published by Ewan Spence at 13:12 UTC, December 14th 2010

Tomi Ahonen has been an industry commentator on the smartphone for a long time (and we’ve linked to a fair number of his pieces) but his recent article about "Some Symbian Sanity" (and a fair bit about MeeGo) is not only a long and in-depth look at Nokia’s strategy, but goes over many reasons why Nokia are far from out of the smartphone game.

Ahonen hits a number of bases, but here’s three that I wanted to pick out to encourage you to read the full article.

On handset and market share:

But Nokia cannot contemplate a shift away from its mass-market strategy, into a luxury-only strategy (something Motorola and SonyEricsson have both tried and failed miserably in so doing, while abandoning hundreds of millions of customers and annual sales in the process).

On the success of the Ovi Store:

…Nokia was brave enough to launch it too. And was severely punished by the carriers/operators of the world for doing that. So Nokia withdrew its N-Gage store.

Don't say Nokia didn't see this coming. And then Ovi. Nokia waited until Apple had its App Store up, and then Nokia came back. If Apple is allowed to do this, then Nokia can also. But this time, Nokia did it with the operators. Not against the operators, like Apple.

On the matter of Android and the choice of OS:

If you subscribe to the theory that IBM, then the world's biggest PC maker, abdicated control of its own destiny, when it allowed the small outsider company called Microsoft to produce its operating system for PCs, called DOS, and allowed Microsoft to sell that to other hardware vendors - then you can see a parallel to LG, SonyEricsson, Motorola and HTC, where they do not control their own destiny anymore. They are dependent on the whims of the operating system makers (Google for Android and Microsoft for Phone 7). Nokia has taken control of its own destiny with Symbian and is in control of it with MeeGo.

It doesn’t end there, US-based tech commentator Robert Scoble has a few things to say in reply, because he still believes that Nokia are doomed:

…Nokia is a huge business that still sells the majority of phones around the world. But last week at LeWeb I met with people around the world. I saw dozens of new mobile apps. Not a single one was pitched to me on a Nokia device. This alone tells me that Nokia is doomed and has no strategy.

And now an illustration of how blogs can foster debate, because Tomi addressed this head on in a subsequent post and expands on the debating points brought forward:

So I'll grant you Robert that you hear that Nokia is doomed. I have heard that for a decade. I prefer to discuss the facts, not the parlor game of whose flagship luxury toy gadget is the sexiest this month. 95% of the people who buy a phone cannot afford your Google Nexus S by Samsung or the iPhone 4, that you mention that you own, Robert. Nokia is not only connecting rich people, Nokia is in the business of connecting people: all people.

It’s all worthwhile reading, and of course bouncing ideas back and forward in a proper discussion is exactly what bloggers should be doing. Grab a coffee, settle back and enjoy!

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