Nokia’s Windows Phone Strategy Will Win: 10 Reasons Why

I am excited for the potential success of Microsoft’s newest offering, Windows Phone as well. I don’t currently use a Windows Phone device as a daily driver, but I am ready to as soon as Nokia brings a Windows Phone to Verizon. Most of the reasons I choose Android over Windows Phone right now are dwindling as the platform gains market share. Sure, Microsoft is way behind Google and Apple in the mobile game right now, but that’s going to change in my opinion. We might not ever see Windows Phone surpass iOS or Android, but I can see Windows Phone making up ground if they continue what they are doing.

Let me get my position on Nokia and Windows Phone in the open right away, including my own personal biases. I’m a former Pocket PC/Windows Mobile fanboy who is now platform agnostic.

Don Reisinger from eWeek has quite the interesting article up regarding Nokia and Windows Phone that I couldn’t help replying to. When I first read his article that was written on January 11, 2012, it did just what I think it was written for, I grabbed my keyboard ready to comment. While I was rereading and preparing to write this rebuttal, I was informed that he wrote a contradictory article two months ago. The article two months ago was titled, “Nokia’s Windows Phones Threaten Android, iOS: 10 Reasons Why“. The article written on the 11th was titled, “Nokia’s Windows Phone Strategy Will Fail: 10 Reasons Why“. Was the most recent story written as link bait? Why the sudden change of opinion?

Let me comment on each of the 10 reasons why Don thinks Nokia’s Windows Phone Strategy will fail.

1. The product designs are subpar

Really? His article from 2 months ago says quite the opposite.

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One thing about Nokia is that it knows how to create nice-looking smartphones that people actually want. The Lumia 800 is especially appealing. 

When you look at the Lumia line of Windows Phone 7-based devices, it’s hard to find too many redeeming qualities in their designs.

Two comments, same author, two months apart. What?

The Nokia Lumia line has plenty of design appeal. From the fresh colors to the one-piece polycarbonate body, the Lumia lineup delivers. As someone who has handled all three of the Lumia models now, I am sold. They all are very solid, have beautifully bright screens, and feel so balanced in my hands.

2. Nokia’s brand loyalty is waning

Meanwhile, Nokia has done little (if anything) to repair its ailing brand. At what point will the company wake up and realize it needs to regain lost customers?

I can’t really speak to this without seeing numbers. What I do see is that many Nokia faithful that supported and loved Nokia throughout the Symbian days are warming up and even liking Windows Phone. These observations are mostly from bloggers and writers I know and/or follow on Twitter. The author mentions that countless customers are leaving Nokia for other products with better features, performance and applications. I agree, when the main phones from Nokia in the US market are feature phones, that’s understandable. Nokia really hasn’t had a smart phone presence in the US until now and as customers migrate from feature phones to smart phones, they have to go towards iPhones or Android powered phones. Now that Nokia is entering the US Smart Phone world now, I believe brand recognition and loyalty might favor Nokia. It wasn’t too long ago that regular, no geek, cell customers considered Nokia’s feature phones one of the better manufacturers.

3. Microsoft has lost mobile customer trust

 But now, with better options available elsewhere, it has fallen far behind. And like Nokia, it has done little to fix it. 

This is true, but you have to keep in mind that Microsoft’s new customer focus are not the same customer type overall that they’ve lost trust with. The crowd that Microsoft lost are the geeks like me. The folks that like an open OS that they can tweak. Those customers are mainly Android fans for the most part now. Microsoft won’t get many of those customers back. The customers that Microsoft appears to target now are those that have iPhones or have never had a Smart Phone before. This is a general observation and I have no facts to base this on, but it’s quite obvious. I am close to becoming a Windows Phone user again myself, but I can say that I have many friends and colleagues that aren’t as eager to get back to Windows Phone.

4. Windows Phone 7 can’t attract enterprise customers

I have no real complaints with this statement. Microsoft does seem to have abandoned enterprise by choosing to follow a bunch of Apple’s plans. Although Microsoft Office, Outlook, and Exchange are just part of it all, there are other aspects important to enterprise customers that Microsoft has left out.

5. Consumers would rather go with Android

The numbers support this argument, but it’s presented with a very broad brush. Yes, Android is doing quite well, but it’s not as user-friendly as Windows Phone. Motorola and Verizon did some great marketing to make Android a cool alternative to AT&T’s iPhone a few years back. Nokia and Microsoft are doing the same now with its marketing efforts. Will it be as successful as Verizon’s “Droid” marketing? Only time will tell. Right now, an average consumer (not a geek or power user) might prefer Android or “Droids” because that’s what they know, but Microsoft and Nokia just got started here. Give it time before we say that consumers would rather go to Android over Windows Phone.

6. The price is cheap (but that’s not a good thing)

At first glance, that might seem like an offer too good to refuse. But further inspection reveals that the phones don’t have the features and performance to seriously challenge models priced around the $200 mark, like Apple’s iPhone.

When is cheap not a good thing? When you are talking about build quality. That’s not the case with the Lumia line. If you’ve ever picked up a Nokia Smart Phone from the Lumia line or from later offerings before the Windows Phone move, you’d know that the build quality is consistent and solid. Even the light weight Nokia N95 was solid even though it was made with a lot of plastics. Cheap price for Nokia quality will never be a bad thing. The $50 Lumia 710 is much more solid in terms of build quality than most $50 Android devices I’ve encountered.

7. The marketing is off

When viewing television, listening to the radio, or reading online or print publications, try to find a single, high-quality ad from Nokia or Microsoft promoting the Lumia line of devices. 

Huh? The marketing just started. Do I need to remind everyone that the Nokia Lumia 710 just became available in the US on T-Mobile this week? Do I need to remind everyone that the Nokia Lumia 900 was just announced this week at CES? Microsoft has been marketing Windows Phone Mango with a  huge budget this past fall with a ton of parties and events.

Just this week, I commented on how much marketing Nokia is throwing out there for the Lumia lineup at CES. They have ads everywhere, they are giving coffee and donuts to CES attendees at Monorail stops, they have dancers at Monrails, and they gave free shuttle rides from McCarran International Airport to hotels this week at CES. I think that’s great marketing for Nokia and Windows Phone. Kudos Nokia!

8. The first device should have been the winner

The issue with that is the device is one of the lower-end handsets the company sells. Nokia plans to offer the high-end Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 eventually, but by then, consumers might be left with a bad taste in their mouths.

A high quality, well-built Smart Phone that could easily sell for $100-$150 with contract priced at $50 sounds like a better entry into the US Smart Phone market that a $200-$299 entry in my opinion. I am not much of an economist, but selling something of great quality for a low price seems like a win/win to me.

9. There’s no fanfare

Unfortunately for Nokia, it has no hype to rely on, which can only mean one thing: failure.

In all fairness, this article was written a couple of days before Nokia pulled in all the “Best of CES” awards.

Perhaps he didn’t see the line to get into Nokia’s Press Conference on Tuesday at CES. Maybe he didn’t see how many journalists didn’t even get inside to see the Lumia 900 announcement with Stephen Elop, Steve Ballmer, and Ralph de la Vega or maybe he was one left in that long hallway. There was plenty of fanfare at that CES.

10. There’s a general lack of market understanding

Wouldn’t it make sense to wait a week, so it can get more headlines? Nokia’s management seems to misunderstand the technology industry. By doing so, it’s hurting its chances of succeeding.

When all eyes are on CES, why would you wait a week later when all those eyes are sleeping off their CES trips? Why put off announcing such an awesome device? The fact that Nokia received so much attention and stole the show at CES shows they did a great job and understand marketing quite well.

Summary

The Microsoft and Nokia partnership seemed as weird as Microsoft and Palm with the Treo a few years ago, but it worked out for Palm and I feel as if  it will work out for Nokia. When I first learned of this marriage, I was very skeptical, but I am sold now. With Nokia’s solid rep and Microsoft’s promising mobile OS, there should be success moving forward. Right now, Nokia has very little smart phone presence in the US and Windows Phone is well behind Android and iOS, meaning that any progress is good. Give this a year and let’s talk then.

If this article is exactly what the author wanted to get as a result, good job Don! It worked.

 

 

 

  

Comments

  1. gary says

    nokia lost me for good after the n900. I bought nokia phones *exclusively* for 10 years, but after they dropped support for the n900 like a brick, about 4 months after I bought it (£500) and NEVER fixed the bugs they promised they would…that was it for me. I actively dissuade people from buying Nokia. (I work in the IT biz and get quizzed all the time on “whats the best smartphone to buy”)

    I did own ONE Windows Mobile device (6.5) a XDA Exec, slow as molasses and constantly crashed, at that point I said never again to Microsoft.

    I have owned a 3gs and an iPhone 4 since leaving Nokia, my next phone will be an Android, Im hoping the galaxy S3 will be worth the wait.

    And that is my point, next month we will see a slew of *cutting edge* android handsets and Mobile World expo, possibly with Quad Core, Super HD screens, 64Gb etc etc, while windows mobile still runs on 2008 hardware…………………. andthey still haven’t even got skype………………………….

    So far the public haven’t got excited about WP7, and imho the 900 is just an oversized 800 (which btw was a meego phone for verizon that nokia pulled out of the bin and stuck WP7 on), and *unless* microsoft/nokia produce something special, then I cant see their market share breaking out of 5%.

    Games like shadowgun etc showcase the latest hardware and attract younger buyers to apple and android, Microsoft is quite frankly dull imho and all its baggage puts people off tbh.

    • Anonymous says

      The Lumia 800 is just a N9. Gadget folks lust for specs and the Lumia devices just arent that sexy in comparison to latest devices. WP7 needs a superphone that gets people to stand in line to get a device worth breaking a contract to get. They need a device that sets the internet on fire.

    • Michael Prince says

      It’s hard to say ‘that was the old Nokia’ without assuming all the good stuff is gone too. I agree they made too many disparate phones, but much to the chagrin of some Nokia fans, they are slowly trimming their portfolio e.g N9.

      I am also an IT guy and understand that Android is second-rate garbage because of the way it was designed. It’s gotten us where we need to because of cutting-edge hardware and great app devs, but its fundamentally not the best OS out there.

      I’ll be picking up the Lumia 900 for sure.

    • Marc Miller says

      People need to stop comparing Windows Phone to Windows Mobile.  They have NOTHING in common.  That’s like refusing to buy XP because ME sucked.   Or refusing to use Windows 7 because Vista was a turd.  Yes, MS isn’t perfect, but when they get it right, they get it really right.   WP7 is REALLY right.   Your loss for not giving it a try.

      • admin 1 says

        Just about every successful mobile OEM has tried hard to sell Windows Phone 7 phones, but customers won’t touch it. I think the fact that customers won’t touch Windows Phone 7 indicates Windows Phone 7 is the turd you are talking about. Windows Mobile sold much better.

        • Chris Leckness says

          There are many reasons why Windows Phone 7 wasn’t selling early on, but the newer WP7.5 devices are actually selling. The Titan and Samsung Focus S is selling well. No, not iPhone sales, but they are selling.

          I truely believe the biggest reason why people are hesitant to buy a Windows Phone is the black eye Windows Mobile got in the late days of it’s life. Windows Mobile sold really well prior to iOS and Android being launched, but Microsoft failed to compete with them with an outdated framework and slow to market updates. That’s why they scrapped Windows Mobile and started over.

      • Philip Gould says

        The problem is the “great unwashed” need something to get their teeth in as they actually do not know anything about Windows Phone 7 other than it’s a threat to their personal ecosystems (which it isn’t) so they come out to troll.

  2. Jeff says

    Don Reisinger is an Apple fan-boy and a pretty poor reporter, if you look at his articles he loves these 10 reason articles, and if you look at his ratings they are sub-par. If it from Apple it is good, Google could go either way and if Microsoft made its bad and a failure. He is everything that is wrong in Tech Journalism….

  3. Kellen Masuda says

    And I can’t decide between the Titan II or the Lumia 900. I love the camera and huge screen, but I also dig AMOLED and its seeeeexy body. Either way though im getting laid.

  4. Anonymous says

    Good rebuttal Chris. The majority of people who write these articles do not want WP to succeed or the still think it is like Windows Mobile. As an iPad owner and a WP user I like iOS on the iPad but for a phone Windows Phone is better integrated for the way I use it. Yes it is missing some apps that people want but there are some things it does better than iOS and android (I have used both).

  5. jlscott says

    I believe in the end a tight integration with Windows 8, solid Nokia build quality, and good marketing will win.  Most cell phone users do not read these tech blogs unless they happen to be checking on a product they want to buy at that moment and are more interested in ease of use then dual or quad cores.

  6. MarcMtl says

    Hi Chris,
    Point 8 – What you don’t understand is that Nokia sell as his first Windows Phone in USA the underpower model 710 and not the 800 already sold in Europe. I’m not agree with you that the customers don’t pay 150-250$ smartphones. Just check the iPhone’s success. Nokia made a lot of unusable phones since many years. I had a very bad experience for my wife’s phone, one of the first touchscreen of Nokia’s. After some months of always crash phones and 3 visits to the repair service, we put it in garbage (350$ phone) and buy a LG always in use 3 years later. (I give a LG to my wife because his carrier, not the same as mine, don’t sell the iPhone at that time and my life want to stay with this carrier. This year, I will give her an iPhone 4S.

    If Nokia want to make an amazing return, they need to put in market their better Windows Phone, not the badest one.

  7. gary says

    “Why Windows Phone Strategy will Win”

    “We might not ever see Windows Phone surpass iOS or Android”

    What is your definition of “win” exactly ?

    Windows Mobile has failed already and the 2008 hardware inside nokias phones will do little to change that imho.

  8. serdamar says

    I owned a Nokia N95. Hell of a phone it was. I was watching subtitled avi’s on it in 2007! It was awesome, top of the line. It could do anything available in 2007. Fast forward to 2011. iPhone was  one sun of a gun. But I went with Samsung Galaxy S2. Why? The dual core processor, the AMOLED screen. It was N95 all over again.

    If you want the top, the toppest phone, it is not Nokia Lumia now. It is Galaxy Nexus, or iPhone 4S. Unfortunately Lumia 900 is a catch-up gadget. Like other androids, LG’s, Motorola’s. I don’t give a rat’s a** if it is Windows or Android or iOS. Bring me the top of the line, bring me the uber-phone. Lumia 900 is a me-too product, no one can deny it. I held it, played with it. It is an N9, no doubt; slapped windows on it.

  9. Mike Reilly says

    Re: Item 4.”Windows Phone 7 can’t attract enterprise customers” This is true in Windows Phone 7, but MS can regain this segment in WP8, if they include Windows handwriting recognition, n-Trig or Wacom digitizers, and full MS Office integration, especially Outlook. If MS blows us off in WP8, Nokia (or others) can still have us (enterprise) if they put out a Windows 8 phone, with these characteristics. Just bypass the MS arrogance altogether. Phones will be powerful enough to run Windows 8.

  10. Kellenbmiller says

    I dont care what you say but the windows phone will take over when they allow multiple hub pages and colunm and rows for the app pages and include horizontal paging if the user prefers it.

  11. Kellenbmiller says

    I sorry but my eyes get blurry every time that I have scrool vertically. I love the wp7 I just need to have them tweek the thing for me a bit.

  12. doogald says

    Don Reisenger is best left ignored, period. I’ve read some of these “10 reasons…” bozo linkbait posts that have the same reason listed four of the ten times; I’ve read some that have conflicting reasons. He’s simply playing a game and not being at all serious.

    I have no idea if Nokia’s strategy will work – we can only see if it does. Anybody who pretends that they know otherwise is merely guessing. I do hope that they do; the more platforms competing, the better things will be for consumers, as all three will push each other to improve faster.

    • Chris Leckness says

      After reading more from him and some of these comments, I sincerely believe you are right sir. I didn’t waste my time though, I feel as if I was able to convey some positive things about Nokia and Microsoft in the process. :)

  13. AJ says

    I have been a Nokia fan for 10 years, but shifted to BB a few years back, and then to Android in 2010. IMO Android has got clunkier and clunkier over the past 2 years. I seriously believe that Nokia-MS have a winner on their hand – the interface is fresh and the usage is very smooth. Nokia always made good hardware and they have done a wonderful job with the Lumia 800. If only it had tethering, I would have converted by now

  14. Madmax says

    I’ve had a Lumia for several weeks and am loving it…..much better than the iphone and android in many aspects – I’ve used both before – and while its true it has certain things still lacking (front camera…as an example), I am still super happy with it and I think you’ll find that getting opinions from people that are actually using them may prove more insightful and definitely closer to the truth than taking the word of people who have never even tried it yet. When the tablets come out next summer it will be a game-changer. Was a Nokia user for many years, forced to switch to Android and IOS for a while but back full-force now. Proud to be one of the first to join the new wave.

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