Much has been said about the Nokia – MSFT deal now that we know its for real
But the strategy could work if the combined entity managed to orchestrate a segment of the ecosystem
Here is a question:
If you were a Nokia user, when did you switch away from Nokia and why?
I was a Nokia user .. from 1998 until about 2006 when I switched to Blackberry and then later to a second Android phone in addition to Blackberry
There was nothing wrong with Nokia. It was simply that there was much more choice and my needs were very specific
I discussed this yesterday when I said: Nokia’s problems and INQ facebook phone on android
That probably sums up the issue for Nokia ..
Another way to put it is: What is the key differentiator for the customer?
Is it OS(symbian)
Is it the browser?
Is it content?
Is it look and feel?
Is it apps?
It could be all or none of the above
But these responses are very simplistic
You could answer this in two ways:
Either customers buy a SPECIFIC device to solve a problem(ex I use BB for business)
They buy a GENERIC device to solve many problems.
This explains my own choice in getting a Blackberry and the Android since it helps to use Skype, Chat etc etc.
Most people will subconsciously follow this argument in one way or the other.
This means, the market leader will not be the one with the largest number of devices, but rather the one who the customers choose on the above analysis
By that reckoning, Nokia basically fell somewhere in the middle and stood for nothing.
By that I mean, if you liked content you got an iPhone.
If you liked business communications, you got a Blackberry.
If you wanted an Open mobile phone, you got an Android device.
There was no real compelling reason to buy Nokia
So, how to be a market leader?
Number of devices, OS, browsers and many specific hardware features are a red herring.
To be a market leader, you would have to unify and orchestrate the ecosystem around your product
Apple unified three elements of the ecosystem:
Customers(vastly superior product),
third party developers(appstore)
Google also unified three seperate elements of the ecosystem
handset vendors(including new handset vendors like Dell) and
Operators(who did not have the iPhone)
Now, which elements of the ecosystem can the combined Nokia – MSFT offering orchestrate?
There is the next generation home (where MSFT has leverage), You could have the business ecosystem. Or even an emerging market ecosystem
The point is – it has to be SOME ecosystem which the customer values AND the Nokia/MSFT products are dominant
My bet would be the home content ecosystem but that needs more thought.
Thus, I am cautiously optimistic although I can understand the short term pain especially in the developer community
So, this was the EASY bit .. BUT it was necessary
The HARD work comes now .. in painting the vision and getting the backing of the customers, Operators and the developers
We know the vision is not based on Symbian, Qt, Meego.
In that sense, there is a golden lining for today because developers know what not to do (and this benefits Android and the iPhone ofcourse in the short term)
But the qs is: Is there space for a third ecosystem (after iPhone and Android)
I think so
How that ecosystem shapes up, and more specifically, which segment it dominates, is the real question
If you at MWC, I am speaking see below for my speaking schedule
Image source komonews