Nokia is quite close to becoming a synonym of a mobile phone. Whenever I tell someone that I work for Nokia, reaction is almost always the same – “oh, so you make phones”. It is very difficult to explain that myself and a lot of other people in Nokia R&D don’t make only phones, but also software products.
Now internet services and software are becoming central to Nokia’s growth strategy.
This change sparkled a lot of discussions about what Nokia actually is and whether this change is for better or for worse.
It is interesting how sometimes one can see more from outside than from inside.
I’m sure that in depth analysis “Nokia, the computer company?” that Michael Mace posted soon after the original Nokia announcement about new strategy was eye-opening for many people in Nokia: “Ten years from now, Nokia’s going to be the subject of an interesting business case study. It’ll either be the stirring story of a company at the height of its power that had the courage to challenge its deepest beliefs. Or it’ll be the cautionary tale of a company that had it all and blew it.”
And then came Ovi and blogosphere started writing about the next page in Nokia’s history,
and investors were happy – Nokia stock rose on the news. Well, there were quite sceptical remarks too about the whole idea and some reasonable concerns about Nokia’s attempt to compete with its own customers – operators.
When it comes to operators – nobody likes competition. Except for the end customer who benefits from it the most. Personally I believe that operator’s dominance in mobile services is evil and I really hope that Nokia will move even closer to its real customers – end users.
And as Guy Kawasaki wrote in “The Art of Innovation” “Don’t be afraid to polarize people. […] The worst case is to incite no passionate reactions at all, and that happens when companies try to make everyone happy.”
Reflecting on Nokia’s strategy change Hutong wrote “In other words, Nokia wants to be Apple. Nokia hardware, Nokia software, Nokia back-end, Nokia services, all on Nokia’s terms”. Michael Mace blogged about Nokia and Apple being now at war.
I have to disagree with these statements. I don’t think Nokia wants to become another Apple or is at war with it. I would say that Nokia is moving more towards Google direction. Opennes and innovation are the keywords. Maemo is just a perfect example of that approach in Nokia’s strategy. Ari Jaaksi wrote about this in his blog post “Open source works well for new stuff” .
But I believe in Nokia’s ability to change (otherwise I wouldn’t be here 😉
Why? Because there are people like Stephen Johnston working for Nokia.
Read his excellent post “Enterprise2.0 – what does it mean for mobile?” where he explores what implications does Enterprise 2.0 has on mobility and Nokia.
Stephen writes about the need to improve Nokia’s transparency, collaboration and speed and I can sign under every word in this statement.
My top 5 list of improvents in R&D would be:
1. open platforms, open APIs and good developer support for them
2. talk to the consumers directly – via blogs and forums
3. embrace and adopt new technologies in communication and in development
4. care for own engineers and give them more freedom
5. cultivate beta culture