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.
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.
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.
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