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.