Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nokia or No-kia??

Nokia has been for mobile phones in India, what Maruti has been for cars. "Low-maintenance, High-Performance" has been the key for Indian market. Whether it was 3310 (first handset of most of us) or 1100 (Made-for-India), Nokia always delivered on the regular customer demand.

However, this trend is reversing since quite some time. Since last couple of years, the influx of chinese-turned-indian-local handset manufacturers like Lava, Micromax, Karbonn, Maxx has damaged Nokia's faithful low-end segment. While in medium-to-high end, the only entity responsible for Nokia's downfall is its ego. First their ego prevented them for long from introducing new trends like touchscreen. They trusted blindly on their own research which came down to much lower levels from those high days of 1100 when they came up with exactly what people wanted. It indeed was a "Made for India" set. As they say, 'Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow" This particular emotion was missing from their picture which lead to supposedly the biggest blunder in their tele-communication history.

That blunder is 'ignoring android'. Their OS was always good and did its bid for them until Android struck. Symbian was at par with other operating systems in the market until two years ago, and hence it was good at Nokia's part to stick with the same. It took some time for them to realize that Android was damaging their sales, their market, almost everything on which they built their empire. However, it was still fine if they had acted smartly and went for a gradual change. But the funny part was, their ego again came in the way and they extended their mobile battles to OS levels. Now, this was the biggest blunder which I was talking about.

I'm not against competing in newer spaces or against vertical/horizontal integration. Being an MBA, I actually appreciate such concepts even more. However, I'm against competing in such newer spaces, which will eventually damage (if not kill) your existing business. In this regard, I see GE or for that matter, Reliance quite highly. They have expanded their reach, but never on the cost of existing foothold. Here, Nokia faltered. They started competing in OS space knowing very well that it might seriously damage their handset business.

And then came the biggest decision of all-time, they joined hands with Microsoft. Seriously? Seriously?? Two defeated war veterans joined hands to improve their fortunes. From Microsoft's point of view, I think it's a good move after all they want to take down Google (which is definitely planning for a big entry in desktop OS space after a superhit Android stint) which is soon becoming their nemesis in each and every business they operate in. However, it is foolish for Nokia to get involved in this battle. What's there for them to gain out of it? They are still superior in a few things than their peers. Still, they enjoy better brand name than the likes of Samsung or Motorolla or HTC. Only logical way for them could have been to improve on their handset specs, particularly the way they look (Indians have i-phone, galaxy and xperia in their hands now), and let the brand name do the job for them.

I don't know what will happen in future but I strongly feel that this OS war is not going to take Nokia anywhere. Still, not everything is lost and I hope they would come out strongly from this mess and keep connecting people.

P.S. - Samsung Galaxy S2 is now my primary phone, but I still love that Nokia switch-on tune on my N-82 and 1600.


Anonymous said...

Nokia with Android OS... Deadly combination.

But as its a renowned India saying -

"Vinash kale vipreet budhee"

Anonymous said...

Nokia with Android OS... That would be a deadly combination.


"Vinash kale vipreet budhee"

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous. I believe even the agreement with Microsoft is because

"Marta kya na karta"
"Doobte to tinke ka sahara"

ITZ_ANKUR said...

Well Said .. OS War wont take Nokia anywhere and Nokia's collaboration with Microsoft is pushing Nokia into a WarZone of Opensource Vs. Proprietary Software.
Nokia bought Symbian in 2008 just few months before Android's First public release. But Symbian lost its battle when it said that the entire code will be available for opensource in coming two years and Android right from day 1 was opensource.
Google is not earning as much as it could have from its Android OS but it has made a platform which can further be used to bind the people to various Google's Services Like Google Search, Docs and hence keeping the Advertising Revenue Stream flowing like the river amazon.

Peyush said...

Quite a nice article on similar topic: