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Nokia's fall from grace

Armando Rodriguez | July 16, 2013
Windows Phone is holding back one of the most promising phone makers in the industry.

"Unfortunately, this amazing camera is housed in a Lumia phone running Windows Phone 8. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that, but Windows Phone's market share compared to iOS and Android is small, and for good reason. While its apps are improving, and app selection is growing, it's still not on par with their iOS and Android counterparts. Some popular apps, like Instagram, aren't even on Windows Phone 8 yet. It's already 2013!"

In a 2011 interview with CNET UK, Elop stood firm and said that if Nokia built an Android phone, it would feel "like giving in." In more-recent interviews, Elop has stated that Nokia is focusing on its line of Windows Phone Lumias and has no interest in exploring other operating systems. Basically, Nokia is betting its entire future on the success of Windows Phone OS--a gambit that I'm almost certain will blow up in its face.

Can Nokia turn it around with Windows Phone?
Not everyone agrees with that sentiment. Ramon Llamas, an analyst from IDC, thinks Nokia is making the right choice by sticking with Windows Phone. "If your name is not Samsung or LG, you're not making money from your Android smartphones right now. For Nokia to go with Android, I just don't see it," he says. "When you're trying to champion a new platform in the face of Android and iOS, it's gonna be an uphill battle from the start."

Rather than abandon Windows Phone, Llamas suggests, Nokia should retool its marketing efforts to show people what they can do with its handsets. The big mistake Nokia made with the Lumia line was that it used marketing merely to list the phones' specs, instead of focusing on what made the phones so special. A few years back, Samsung tried going toe-to-toe with Apple using the same tactic--and failed miserably. Steve Jobs had a point when he put people before specs: You can throw only so many numbers and figures at people before their eyes glaze over, and it's much smarter to show how a device can improve a person's life than to brag about how much RAM it has.

Marketing can get you only so far, however, and ultimately Nokia is still at the mercy of Microsoft when it comes to keeping the software on its phones competitive. You can't develop your own versions of apps (Maps, Music) indefinitely without eventually starting to look pathetic. Like it or not, Elop has tied Nokia's future to that of Microsoft's mobile OS, and it remains to be seen how much longer he'll stay at the helm--or how much longer the company can go on--if things continue on their current trajectory.


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