Nokia’s future may well hinge on a strategy and financial briefing to be held in London tonight [AEST], but despite the company’s recent fortunes, it’s not too late, according to an IDC analyst.
The briefing comes on the back of an email sent to Nokia staff by its new CEO, Stephen Elop. In it, Elop states “The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things."
"Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.”
Though the memo paints a dire picture for the current corporate climate, IDC market analyst, telecoms, Mark Novosel, said it was “upfront, honest, and a breath of fresh air".
“I don’t think it’s too late for Nokia,” he said. “They’re going to have a hard time and make some bold strategic moves, and they should have done it some time ago, but they still have the brand, and a strong following in the low to mid end range of the market.”
One possible outcome from the briefing is an announcement that Nokia will drop Symbian and MeeGo production on high-end devices, and instead manufacture Android or Windows Phone 7 devices.
This would relieve the company from the problematic Symbian platform, which tracks badly in high end devices, but would also remove Nokia’s point of differentiation from the likes of HTC, LG and Samsung. It would essentially become ‘just’ another Android manufacturer.
“It’s not going to be easy either way,” Novosel said. “But they have to do something.”
Nokia remains a brand solely dedicated to mobile phone production, and has established itself as being innovative and quality in that place.
Novosel said the company shouldn’t necessarily worry that it will be competing against organisations that can offer whole suites (such as Apple of Dell), but bringing itself up to speed with the modern smartphone environment – and quickly – will be vital.
“The length of time between this announcement and when the product is released will be critical,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what happens at the Mobile World Congress in a few days.”