I think this advice for Nokia is way too U.S. focused, do you agree?

We all have feelings and opinions on what Nokia should do to be successful, but many of our thoughts and opinions are based on what we want or see from the outside looking in. A buddy sent me an article, now posted on the Mobiletrax website, written by an analyst with a PhD. I think this author is probably a very intelligent person, but some of his recommendations appear to be way too focused on the US market. Actually, just about everything he recommends ends up turning Nokia into an American focused market and even though we have some enthusiastic smartphone buyers, I still believe the US market is small, young, and behind the times in many respects which is in large part due to our wireless carrier system.

Nokia obviously has to take steps to generate excitement for the company in the high end smartphone market and it would be wonderful for Nokia to be a household name in the US again, but that is going to take years and they will not be taking the radical steps that this author recommends.

The author offers recommendations for the industrial design, operating system, applications, services, analyst relations, and corporate headquarters. While the statement about allowing people to use a special SIM card to change operating systems may sound interesting, it makes no sense at all for Nokia if they want to offer a Nokia experience and not just turn into a hardware shell maker.

I think Nokia is taking major steps to help developers, they seem to be focusing their services and they are improving the Ovi Store..

The recommendation to move Nokia from Finland to the U.S. is the most far reaching recommendation he made and it actually seemed so ridiculous that the author almost made me overlook the rest of the article. He actually recommended Atlanta and that had me rolling on the floor laughing like crazy. Can you imagine a bunch of Finnish engineers and managers moving to the hot, humid, and heavily populated city of Atlanta? Come on now, just because they have a major airline hub does not make them a desirable city to live in. Nokia’s identity is Finland and the people of Finland would not be happy with a move to the US. In that same recommendation, the author states that Nokia needs to adopt more of the US-centric culture. So by this does he mean the culture of materialism, the “I need it now” mentality, the government and people owe me something belief, and the show as much sex on TV as we can culture? I LOVE the USA, have served in the US military, and think there are amazing people in the U.S. Then again, I also believe our culture has moved to be a very selfish culture that only sees outside ourselves to help others in time of emergencies.

An aspect that I love about Nokia is their work to improve the lives of those around the world through technology. They don’t just talk about this, they actually do something about this and I have yet to see that from any other mobile phone company.

He also stated, “Europe originally was the center of wireless advances, but now the US is the leader.” Really? I don’t think that is the case as just about every new device I see, except for the iPhone, launches first in Europe and outside the U.S. months before we see it here with our wireless carrier network.

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13 Comments to I think this advice for Nokia is way too U.S. focused, do you agree?

Nonso O
September 29, 2010

I don’t know which is funnier…the article, or that the guy has a phd.

Antoine RJ Wright
September 29, 2010

It really isn’t a well spoken article in rrspect to speaking based on any analytics of the comapany, it’s culture, or even Nokia’s specalities in mobile. Calling it US foxpcused is overly friendly IMO,

Omagus
September 29, 2010

His suggestions are WAY too US-centric. Aside from the blasphemous nature of moving Nokia’s corporate to the US, it would cripple the Finnish economy. Although I have mentioned in the past that there will soon by six major mobile operating systems…and the only ones not based in North America will be the two headed up by Nokia.

I do think that Nokia needs to come up with some type of innovative strategy for the US though. If I knew what would work, I’d a lot wealthier than I am but something needs to be done. It may very well require Nokia to set up an entirely new division strictly for handling all operations for the US.

rf
September 29, 2010

A PhD doesn’t necessarily make you a business savvy leader… I like and respect the fact that Nokia does things their OWN way(not iOS or Android), and I would like to see them succeed here in the U.S. I bet if they flip-flopped the marketing and R&D budgets we’d have Nokia iPhones and Apple N-Series…

APS
September 29, 2010

Matt, I totally agree with you. Nokia is doing just fine perusing its own strategy. Of course it has recently released underwhelming devices like the N97 which even they admit were mistakes and their lack of carrier support in the US needs to be addressed but apart from that I for one am really happy with the possibilities lying ahead for Nokia. The Symbian and QT strategies seem to be unfolding nicely and we’ve still got the announcement of N9 possibly at the Meego conference to look forward to this year.

hy
September 30, 2010

Matt, you need to look up some smartphone sales numbers. US is the largest smartphone number in unit sales. China is a close second. The Q1 2010 number I recall shows total volume of 54m with US around 10m and China at around 7m. At the same time, Symbian is 24m. I don’t have the number for EU, but I would venture to guess that it is probably larger than US by a small amount. So to say US market is small is really ignoring the facts. Keep in mind also that Symbian shipment has been decreasing over time as well. I have yet to seem a report that shows they have halted the decline in market share. This is why the board kicked out the current CEO and replaced it with an outsider (not within Nokia.)

Nokia has problem and has promises. The article you pointed out seem extreme, but your response is nearly equally extreme.

hy
September 30, 2010

Correction, Nokia market share has been declining. Unit shipment has been increasing.

Matthew Miller
September 30, 2010

Hy, you may be right when it comes to raw numbers since the US population is quite large compared to European countries, but I cannot find any of these sales or subscriber numbers broken down by country. Check out this article that discusses smartphone penetration (number of phones compared to population) .http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2010/07/att-cto-claims-us-leads-in-mobile-paging-truth-police.html

The author states that over 50 countries have a higher penetration rate than the US, which indicates to me that we are not as leading as we might think.

Also, check this BBC article, http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/07/mobile_leader.html

stoli89
September 30, 2010

This fella, whose article you referenced, has a PhD in what area? Seriously, the recommendations are STRANGE for someone with any degree of international business understanding. This must’ve been either a joke or the guy is on the Atlanta economic development team.

stoli89
September 30, 2010

Nokia’s strategy is risky…but IF it can execute well going forward, things in the smartphone/tablet market will get quite interesting. I doubt Nokia will regain its dominant market share position from 2006. However, the overall market for smartphones has grown considerably over the last 3 years…and Nokia has ample opportunity to participate as a major player…IF it can execute well and deliver on its strategy. I do think the Meego/Sybmian/Qt approach with a more robust OVI services makes for a compelling ecosystem. If the new leadership can build more cohesive software products while continuously improving on its strong hardware and supply chain strengths…Nokia will return lofty profits (IMHO). The most recent changes are positive news for me.

Stromson
September 30, 2010

Wow, that was a seriously Americentric article. There are two significant steps Nokia needs to take to start regaining traction in the US market:

1) Advertise. Seriously, commercials during football games or on prime time, radio, newspaper, etc. Get the name out there again.

2) Get a high end Nokia smartphone subsidized (and unmolested cough E71x) on an American carrier. I hate contracts and all, but 95% (number pulled out of my ass) of Americans probably still buy their phones that way, and it’ll be crucial for early market penetration.

jonno
October 3, 2010

I am a tad surprised that someone would actually think that Nokia should move to the USA. I think where they are located in the world has helped them to be a very forward-thinking company when it comes to technology and cell phones. After all, I have seen that a good number of their devices have had things like forward-facing cameras long before Apple’s “revolutionary” face-time. Most, if not nearly all, of their devices are Skype-capable, something any phone other than Verizon smartphones and the iphone still lacks.

In fact, if a decent high-end Nokia becomes available on TELUS in Canada (something along the lines of the N9 maybe as I am not as big a fan of the E-series personally) I just might jump ship from Android…. I can’t give up the blackberry but Android I can jump from. 😛

JTHC
October 5, 2010

Some of the advice may be too US-centric, but it’s hard to dispute that Nokia must find a way to break into the US market. It’s just too big to ignore: it’s got too many consumers willing to shell out big bucks for good phones. Grabbing a small share in the US is more profitable than dominating Africa, for instance.

The other issue is that the US has become the proving ground for modern smartphones. Yeah, weird, after languishing for almost a decade as a technological backwater for mobile tech, the US is now the place where competitors go head to head with their best tech. If Nokia can’t do well in the US, not only is that a bad sign to the markets, but it’ll eventually lose out elsewhere as tech migrates out.


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