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Nokia's app strategy for dummies and more

|Includes: Nokia Corporation (NOK)

 There has been a lot of near sighted discussion about Nokia recently. Admittedly, the share (NYSE:NOK) has slumped due to non-existent investor confidence. However, this has created an opportunity for those who can see the big picture. My view is that the financial media -mainly dominated by US players- is suffering a terrible home market bias thus making it difficult to find relevant information on the really big strategic shifts.

1. Brand is power - The media currently loves to hype the hardware: how many Ghz's, megapixels, etc. Yet we are probably all ready to admit that it's never really about the HW, that's easily copied and then bettered. It may take a while, but sooner or later it will happen. And when it does, you better be sure that people are willing to buy these ultimate new things with a price that's wort your effort! You can ensure this by building a strong brand. There is currently only one global mobile phone brand: Nokia. They've built their foundations well. And let me remind you that in Asia networks and connections are everything.


2. The game has only just started - Apple changed the game with the first iPhone. They made a brand extension and hit a gold mine. This wasn't so long ago, actually, for the average consumer. It might seem like a long time looking from NYC or London or Helsinki, where almost everybody owns a mobile, and many of them are actual smart phones. However, even in these areas the real smart phone revolution is just beginning. Moreover, the big picture is certainly bigger than the USA or EU. I'm talking about the fastest growing markets out there: India and China. They are obviously hugely more important than the old, more mature markets. BTW, Nokia is already the number one in India, by a wide margin.

3. Apps for all - Android has x, Apple has y, Nokia's Symbian has < x or y. However, it's really not about how many apps you have / platform now, but how many great apps will you have when the market matures from this initial phase. The really great apps are made by professionals, who do it for the money. They want to reach as many customers as possible with the least effort possible. What if you had a "translator" that would let you write the app only once and then translate it to all platforms (OSX, Android, Windows, Symbian, MeeGo..). That would be an awesome tool if you wanted to distribute the apps you've developed. Instead of reaching just Apple users or Android users, you could reach them ALL. Well, this tool is already available: Qt (qt.nokia.com/). My prediction is, Qt will become the new Java or Flash, only better. How many apps will Nokia then have?

To conclude, here's my quick SWOT on Nokia:

Strengths:

- Globally recognized brand
- Excellent technical know-how
- Excellent design processes
- Excellent production processes
- Great CEO (say what you want, he's a real strategist, not just smoke and mirrors)

Weaknesses:

- Non-existent presence in USA
- Bad rep in US media
- Near-sighted Board


Opportunities:

- MeeGo (targets platforms such as netbooks/entry-level desktops, handheld computing and communications devices, in-vehicle infotainment devices, connected TVs, and media phones.)
- Qt (and Ovi)
- NSN - Motorola deal (may be the key to US penetration)

Threats:

- Increasing competition from Mediatek (cheap Androids are on the way!)
- US protectionism


Those are just some thoughts that I wanted to share. I have others as well, but I'd really like to hear your comments on these first. So please comment and discuss, but do not start an apple/android/nokia -hater/fanboy war.

Thanks for reading! :)


Disclosure: Long NOK