Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Last week I attended a presentation by Nokia about how to do business with them. I was planning to write a blog about how to develop for their phones and how to publish applications to the Ovi Store.
I concluded that if one has many C++ developers, the Nokia phone is quite accessible. Most of their presentation was focused around how Qt can now be used to develop for all of their platforms (Symbian, Maemo, MeeGo). This is great for us, because we did a couple of projects with Qt in the past six months. They followed with a walk-through of publishing apps to the Ovi Store. Bottom line, the review process takes 7 to 9 business days and it is rejecting slightly over 30% of the submissions on the fist pass.
Today, a Nokia internal memo was leaked,the contents of which indicated that things could all change on Friday. The memo revealed that the N9 should be the first Nokia device to ship with MeeGo. "at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market". In their presentation, Nokia had hinted that their CEO would make an announcement at MWC, which most of us assumed to be their anticipated MeeGo Tablet. But given the contents of the memo and the fact that the CEO only expects one MeeGo device to ship this year, it now seems unlikely.
The memo will fuel the rumour that Nokia would move to WP7 for its phone platform. In insight, we learned how the Nokia Ovi Store could be a great asset to get WP7 off the ground.
Possibly the biggest asset that Nokia has is the global reach of its platform. Nokia covers 170+ counties with credit card payment and 99 countries with carrier billing. Their store is translated into 30 languages and their application approval process includes a moderation process that takes into account the regional and culture differences of each country published to.
The most surprising statistic which they've released is that carrier billing has increased app sales by up to 13x in some markets. In comparison, Android has carrier billing in two countries and the other competitors have none. These agreements take time to negotiate, and most carriers want to take 50% of the app price. If Nokia brings that to another ecosystem, it would increase the app sales drastically.
Instead of WP7 it would be easier for Nokia to go with Android and have their own application market for their phones. But will developers really want to submit their apps on all these application market clones? WP7 seems like the most accessible choice.
On the other hand, WP7 is struggling. It did not even surpass Windows Mobile in Q4. Although Microsoft shipped 2 million phones, it took almost two months for our biggest WP7 fan to find the one he wanted. What if Nokia moved to WP7 and started distributing massive amounts of WP7 world-wide? It would be a huge gain for Microsoft, having the potential to give them 30% of the World’s smartphone market shares. These potential gains could justify an exclusive deal with Nokia.
According to their memo, Nokia is "standing on a burning platform", which they plan to evacuate on Friday. Will they save the value they have, partner up with Microsoft, and create an ecosystem that can compete with iPhone and Android?