The fightback starts now. That’s the headline of the letter published by Nokia’s Head of Mobile Solutions, Anssi Vanjoki. I’ve interviewed the guy a few times and I really do rate him.
I was flying back from Qualcomm’s Uplinq event last week when the letter was posted to Nokia’s blog (“Conversations“). Since Friday, it’s received 355 tweets, hundreds of comments and it’s been the subject of many posts across the industry.
We’re an impatient lot in the mobile industry and as a result, I’ve read quite a few people saying ‘what do you mean, it starts now?’ wondering where the new hardware and services are to support this statement.
‘Now’ means that Anssi has begun his new role heading up the Mobile Solutions division, not that we should be seeing new devices, announcements and partnerships *today*.
Anssi’s letter indicates that he’s got the message. The big challenge at Nokia is to set about burning the old guard who refuse to admit there’s a problem with the company’s reputation, recent devices and developer ecosystem.
I’m utterly delighted to see such public discourse on the subject. I think it’s been long overdue. If anything, I’d like to see a regular series of letters from Anssi — perhaps even a video or two — where he can discuss what’s going on in the marketplace and what Nokia is doing to counter.
Nokia’s complete and utter collapse in the smartphone and premium segment is not a serious fiscal problem for the company (they’re still shipping millions of devices each day at a profit) but the reputation damage — and the chain-reaction of dissatisfaction that shoots from the West to the developing nations, is a big issue. Especially when you’ve got Android activating a couple of hundred thousand devices every single day.
I worry that we’ll this dissatisfaction when the N8 arrives. Although it’s a looking like a super-brilliant device, it’s useless in the context of an iPhone or Android. Because the platform’s been shunned by developers. All the cool stuff that the high-end smartphone users have become accustomed to isn’t quite available. I don’t think many natural Nokia smartphone customers will be parted from their Android or iPhone heaven yet. A serious, serious problem.
Anssi has game, though. I think — and I hope — he can get the division fighting fit. When I sit back and think of all the talented people and all the resources the company has, I can’t help but be positive.
Come on Team Anssi!
By the way, definitely DEFINITELY take some time to check out the Anssi Vanjoki videos we shot at Mobile World Congress. It’s important to get the make of the man as best you can — check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the interview. I think you’ll be impressed by the guy.