For most people, it’s not a union made in Heaven. Perhaps more like a shotgun marriage where one has got into trouble and needs help from the other in hopes of delivering a hail Mary market blockbuster.
The worlds largest mobile phone maker is hooking up with the world’s largest software maker to produce a hopefully competitive smartphone for a exploding market now dominated by Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android based phones. This is a very unusual event being driven by fast paced technological advances and changing customer demand.
The mobile phone market once ruled completely by Nokia is now a whole new game where the smartphone is quickly pushing less techie low margin phones to the sidelines. Nokia still dominates the low end mobile phone market outside of North America but it is a shrinking market and Nokia’s new CEO Stephen Elop has stated the obvious in a blistering internal memo he wrote to Nokia staff.
The memo became public last Thursday and it is very interesting reading in that Nokia’s dirty linen gets scrubbed in public. The jist of it is that Apple and Google have come out of no where and are leaving Nokia far behind with their corporate panties down in the smartphone niche.
The Nokia software platform known as Symbian just can’t cut it against the other two emerging players and something has to be done about it quickly to put the brakes on Nokia’s slide down the techie slope to nowheresville.
Elop, a former Microsoft executive hired by Nokia only a few months ago as their CEO has decided that a Nokia built phone running on the Windows 7 mobile platform is the best short term solution available to stop the downward momentum.
Will it be good enough to work? Will it serve as a stop gap measure to try and buy Nokia a bit of time for Elop to turn the corporate culture around and get a cutting edge Nokia designed software/hardware smartphone package to market?
This is a fast paced market driven by technological change. Steve Jobs has used the iLine of Apple products to turn Apple in a few short years to perhaps one of the worlds largest corporations. He changed that corporate culture from a computer company making a mobile phone to a wireless smartphone company that also still makes computers.
Last week … rumors of Steve Job’s poor health caused a $10 billion sell off flash crash in Apple stock. This is a pretty fickle market where one faux pas can make and/or break your corporate sales momentum.
Blackberry maker RIM has been another company that has lost market share to Apple and Android. They have responded by buying up a software maker that has a good history of building robust operating systems and are adopting their future playbook devices and Blackberry phones to that technology. That’s their way of trying to cope with the smartphone market elephant and to try to stay in the race for lead dog.
In the ebb and flow of fast changing technology, the next new thing may change everything about a market. The smartphone concept was a game changer. How quickly competitors adapt to the new game will determine whether they remain competitive … or just quietly slip away into irrelevance.