Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nokia looking for a new CEO?

Nokia is looking for a new CEO, according to Wall Street Journal. This is due to the facts that the stock price keeps going down and that there's no success in smartphones. This obviously fires up the discussion in Finland. It's about time, many say - even here in Finland where Nokia is considered our holy grail and not owning a Nokia is almost like a treachery. Okay, I'm joking of course but the respect for Nokia has been high, maybe a little too much. Years ago, way before iPhones, I used to joke about what's up with Nokia innovation - phones that can do SMS won't cut it.

Nokia already dominates everything else in mobile phone business than smartphones. So they still do well. Nokia just needs to polish it's image by showing they still are the leader in the mobile phone business. That's going to be done right by producing a couple of hit products in smartphones. That would easily put things back to track. But how can they do that since for so many years, they've been so incapable of doing anything consumers would love? The last time I heard somebody love a Nokia product, it was before the Symbian era. And it's a long time in tech business. Here's what Nokia should do in my opinion. I'm just a user experience guy but hey, no point for a blog without strong opinions, right? : )

1) Get a new leadership. A person with star power. They need somebody like Steve Jobs. Somebody who can make hard desicions. Somebody who can change the image of the company. Somebody who understands competition and when a great new product like iPhone comes up in the market, doesn't just foolishly ignore it and say things like "it's just one phone, who cares". People's faith in this one has gone, things won't recover if Nokia doesn't show it understands that they messed up. A new leader would be a clear sign for everybody that Nokia seriously wants to get back on the saddle.

2) Dump Symbian. Symbian is slow and it sucks life out of developers. Documentation is not there and creating great UI is close to impossible with Symbian. That's why usability sucks so bad in Nokia phones. Working with Symbian makes things so complex there's no room to really create great user experiences. And great user experiences are the only thing that sells in smartphones for consumers. Nokia tried to get people to develop apps but nobody was interested. Nokia needs something like Android.

3) Allow for innovation. People develop great new concepts at Nokia but somehow the innovative stuff never reaches market. You've gotta put great new things on the market or just give up with smartphones. Here's an example of a great, innovative Nokia product concept that hopefully some day will be available. I certainly would buy one even if it cost more than a computer.

4) Focus on user experience - this is absolutely the key point. This is what saved Apple from near death and helped it become the biggest tech firm. If you build things for consumers, the products need to work for them. No engineering skills should be needed. Make things simple, fast and easy. Example: try using a Nokia phone for web browsing. Then try an iPhone or Nexus one. See a difference? Cut down the features on cheap phones. Eliminate totally features that nobody uses. Go back to basics - what are the key features for a phone user? Do those extremely well. That's enough!

5) Trim the product line. Make it easier for customers to pick a phone. Concentrate on making fewer, better ones.

6) Don't change the things that work. Keep supporting the business sector. Others do terrible job with understanding companies' needs so that's why Nokia rules there.

I'm sounding like a broken record here linking this again but I so much love the concept! That concept is by the way already two years old. Still it looks so great that nobody would be interested in iPhones or other ancient tech anymore. And I'm pretty sure people would pay a lot for such a product. So here goes my request:

Please, Nokia. Do whatever it takes to get things like this one on the market.


  1. There are the iPhone's out there - there are all the interesting Android phones like Samsung Galaxy etc. Nokia looks very uninteresting right now as a phone vendor.

    Recreating the brand also means they should recreate their niche and strategy.

    Should they start stronlgly commiting to Android but how then differentiate in the market ?

    Should they continue having own platform plus own appstores ? Just a better one.

    Or should they have a more open platform policy like Samsung with both

    - own platform and own appstores


    - support for other platforms like Android and Microsoft.

    But they are pretty much late now ?

  2. You've made some fantastic points, I think all of them come under the importance of attention to detail, if you get that right you're certainly off to a good start, or in this case, re-start !