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Did anyone else watch the Steve Jobs keynote thinking how rubbish Nokia is at communicating?

This is a frustrated follow-up to my earlier post on the new Apple iPhone 4.

I was sat unable to move with little baby Archie in my arms this morning pondering the mobile marketplace. I’d already banged out the above-linked post and I let my mind wander.

I haven’t yet spoken to the editor of All About Symbian, Rafe Blandford. It’s always illuminating asking him what he thinks of Apple announcements. The routine works like this.

I ask Rafe what he thought of the super-cool-new-feature that Jobs just introduced.

Rafe then responds that Nokia did this 3 years ago. Or something like that.

I can’t bring myself to talk to Rafe today though. I just don’t want another reminder of how bad the company’s public relations and marketing is.

I’d like to be clear that I know many of the Nokia PR people — and I rate them as some of the most qualified and capable individuals in their profession. They’re not the issue (as the pained looks on their faces often demonstrate). The issue is senior, senior management. I’m talking super-star senior management. The bigwigs. They don’t like to really get stuck into the discussion.

One of the reasons Nokia continues to be dragged through the proverbial hedge, backwards, screaming, is because their senior management are refusing to allow their team to get stuck in.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me, last night, was … well, do you know what, I was going to say it was the ‘$1bn for developers’ message. But I’m equally frustrated to see ‘FaceTime’ introduced as an amazing new technology. Make no mistake, I’ll be lining up with the rest of them on June 24th to get my bright shiny new iPhone. But every time I watch any Apple keynotes or videos, I can’t help thinking how rubbish Nokia’s communication strategy is.

Nokia’s developer ecosystem is massive. Absolutely massive. You just don’t see it. There are tons of firms profiting from Nokia’s services. Just… I don’t know them. I can’t name them. I mean, if I sat down and thought very hard — and had a hotline to Rafe Blandford — I could probably get you a half decent list. Consider, for example, the companies who have been developing services on and around the Nokia platforms for the last 10 years. How much is that ecosystem worth? How big is it? I’m sure it’s pretty massive. I don’t have any statistics on that.

And Nokia probably don’t either. And furthermore, if asked to estimate their ecosystem size in terms of a dollar value, the company would probably decline to answer.

But when Steve Jobs tells you they’ve paid a billion dollars to developers, we all sit back and — well, you can’t help to be broadly impressed, whatever your perspective.

Does Nokia’s entire operation keep 500,000 people in work? I don’t know.

How many developers/VARS/ISVs are active in the Nokia ecosystem (everything from phone chargers to custom expense submitting apps)? 10? 100,000? Who knows?

What’s the Nokia developer ecosystem worth each year? $24.95? $200m? $5bn?

Nobody really knows. Some folk do, I’m sure. But Nokia’s not telling anyone about it.

Nokia’s not reminding anyone of their size, their capabilities, their heritage. They appear to — globally — be letting their products do the talking. A very, very dangerous strategy. Because whilst the N8 will, I’m sure, be a force to be reckoned with, the vast majority of the Western media will find it super-easy to write off.

You can’t write off a phone with those features though. It’ll just be sidelined nicely.

There are so many seriously good points with Nokia devices, chief amongst them, the fact that they work.

I have to confess that every time my wife gets cut off from a phone call courtesy of her Fisher Price iPhone (or when I can’t really hear her very well, courtesy of the iPhone’s rather mediocre voice quality), I think a little Nokia angel puffs out of existence.

Anyway it’s frustrating.

But I’ve got a new baby to play with, so whilst Nokia is a real irritation, I’m not that concerned today.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

4 replies on “Did anyone else watch the Steve Jobs keynote thinking how rubbish Nokia is at communicating?”

Therein lies the problem…Nokia top management doesn’t read this blog nor most others. The problem with living inside a Finnish bubble…it freezes and never pops.

Steve Jobs could sell sand to a Bedouin. OPK, on the other hand, couldn’t sell a charged fire hose to a fella locked inside a burning building! This is the fundamental difference between these two companies.

Check out Nokia trying to sell the C6: http://conversations.nokia.com/2010/04/15/nokia
…or the N8: http://conversations.nokia.com/2010/05/28/nokia

Wake up! That was supposed to be riveting!

Nokia, I love your vision/strategy and have found most of your products compelling (except the N97, yuk). You are one of the greatest innovators in the mobile world…WHO KNEW?!?

Nokia conversations is utter tripe, we all know extremely knowledgeable, diehard Nokia buffs who could do the job of promoting Nokia AND its products a million times better.
Real individuals, who have a knowledge and passion for the brand are ignored, whilst people i know who detest the brand are subbed and courted ad infinitum.
Management gives PR a free hand, whilst remaining invisible, Nokia management itself needs to be visible and take control, let the Captain greet the passengers AND steer the ship!

Ill be joining you come the 24th for the upgrade but alot of the “new features” including a high dpi screen and a front facing camera do hark back as far as the N80 (Q1 2006), however they were hard to use and very expensive if you did manage it (£7 a MB datarates makes ATTs recent $5 extra for 2GB on iPhone tariffs pale into insignificance). Infact the new iPhone is probably everything we wanted the Nokia N80 to be 4 years ago (open app store remember MOSH, people browsing the web via wifi on a decent screen)

However as a developer I can't help but smile with how Apple is bringing this technology to a main stream audience

You will find this amusing http://mynokiablog.com/2010/06/08/what-nokia-ne

More importantly congratulations on the baby!

Had rant about this too. http://bit.ly/d3h7Ph

I feel your frustration. For a company who is all about connecting people, they sure don't connect with them.

I hope Nokia will learn (amongst other things they need to learn) to shout about what they're awesome at. Don't assume the public will work those things out. They won't. They don't care.

Congrats on the baby! The geek in me read that as a new device, and even when looking at the post I misread it as an Archos device that seemed awfully heavy at 7 lbs

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