how nokia lost their cool

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Today, phone giant Nokia announced a new partnership with Windows Mobile. Will it stop their demise? No. Make no mistake about it, Nokia are in trouble and this is a desperate attempt to claw back market share from Apple & Google…

Too slow to react

In 2007, i bought a Nokia N95 and a few months later the iPhone came out. Back in those days, the app store didn’t exist and the iPhone was an expensive touchscreen phone. The N95 smashed it on paper.

Then we had a few new iPhones, Android came along and before we knew it, everything was ‘app this’ and ‘app that’. Nokia’s had become rather uncool. A phone without apps was like a car without power steering, air conditioning, padded seats, stereo etc… it’s fine for a while but once more and more people upgrade and you become familiar with what you *could* have, you start to want it.

So since then, Nokia has been in decline. I’m not talking about revenue or users, i don’t know what those figures are, they may actually have increased over the last few years, it wouldn’t surprise me… but just like in social networking with Myspace and Bebo, Nokia is becoming uncool and i believe it’s future is in the balance. This latest move is another example of that.

Reality Check

These days, hardware doesn’t mean as much as it used to. Better hardware doesn’t equal better phone. In the past, it did. The reason i bought nokia’s was because (a) they had the best features (b) the UI / software was familiar and better then the rest.

Now, the tables have turned. Nokia do not have the best UI and software and haven’t done for quite some time. iOS and Android have changed that. ‘Features’ to me now means ‘Apps’ and again Nokia are pretty much useless in this department which means they’re going to become a hardware manufacturer and nothing more.

And for those reasons, Nokia has turned to Microsoft which is an acknowledgement that they know they’re in trouble. What i’d be more concerned about though is that just a few months ago Nokia heads were very defensive and optimistic about Symbian (their OS).

Quite clearly, reality has kicked in (about time too) but rather than partnering with Android, which i feel would have been the smarter choice, they’ve gone with windows mobile who themselves were late on to the mobile scene and are playing catch up.

Big Time Charlies

So this is a case of two old technology giants joining together and crossing their fingers things will work out. It reminds me of two ‘past it’ footballers with big reputations joining a lower league club. It’s temporarily a shot in the arm but eventually it’s forgotten about and the hype dies down.

I think Microsoft will be very happy with this move and so will Nokia. Will customers be happy? It doesn’t matter because the most influential customers have already moved on from Nokia and aren’t looking back. This is why Nokia will continue to tumble downhill. Nokia and Windows will prop each other up in the short term but that’s all it is… short term.

When i think Phones today, i don’t think Nokia or Windows Mobile. It’s Android & iOS. Apple & Google. This move won’t change that. It looks sound on paper but both Nokia & Microsoft are desperate to try and catch the ‘mobile’ train. Nokia needed a hand from someone who was already on the train i.e. Android. They’ve just teamed up with another chaser which shows they’re either desperate or lacking vision.

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