Monday, March 02, 2009

Has Nokia lost its way?

It never used to be this way. They were unassailable. The undisputed grand fromage of mobile handsets.

So news today that Nokia has had to pull its new flagship device, the Nokia 5800 with touchscreen that was touted as the response to the iPhone, really is a sign that the times are a changing. The problem, it seems, is with connection to US 3G networks. While Nokia has never really had quite the same penetration in the US as in Europe, this is clearly a blow to a company suddenly playing catch-up in a market it had always led.

As if that isn't enough, operators are also losing faith in Nokia. Orange and O2 are, apparently, both "furious" at Nokia's plans to preload Skype on the upcoming N97. While some commentators venture that this may just be posturing by O2 which is obviously an iPhone house, just the fact that the operators are publicly lambasting Nokia is a sign of the times. Personally, I still struggle to see Skype on the handset as being a major threat to operator revenues, but it is definitely a sign of the wolves at the door for the operators.

So where now for Nokia? Well, the move into the music services play (again looking to play Apple at its own game) seems to be where they're heading. It has always been a battle of the brands between Nokia and the operators, but the battle for the subscribers' cash is also hotting up.

No comments: