(By Anupam Saxena and Nikhil Pahwa)
Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop, during his India visit, last week, seemed happy with the market performance of its dual-SIM handset range in the country. He also talked about the transition to Windows Phone and the smartphone market in India. Here’s what he said:
1. Plans to reduce fragmentation: Elop said that the company is shifting to “fewer distinct designs and form factors”, which will allow for innovation within those designs and form factors without “having to flood the market with a lot of different products”. More at: LiveMint
2. Dual SIM is helping single SIM phone sales take off: Elop said that sales of Nokia’s Dual SIM phone launches are “rocketing”, and these have had a ‘halo effect’ on its single SIM phones. More at: The Economic Times
3. Broader price points for smart phones needed: Elop said that the challenge would be to cover broader price points and offering low-cost smartphones. More at: The Mobile Indian.
4. Changing The Way Nokia Works: Elop said that while making a transition to Windows Phone 7, Nokia is changing the way it works – higher sense of urgency, moving decision making more aggressively, holding itself accountable to the highest levels of quality, was necessary. More at: LiveMint
5. No tablet plans: Have not announced plans for an entry into the tablets market but does see it as an opportunity in consumer demand. More at: LiveMint
Apart from this, Elop largely spoke in generics, and apparently did not share any specific plans for India. Five things we wish Elop had spoken about or was asked about (instead of pointless questions on whether he regrets tying up with Microsoft):
1. Status of Nokia’s JV with HCL: It’s been two and a half years, but what has happened to Nokia’s Joint Venture with HCL “to sell mobile value added services and entertainment content directly to consumers in India.”
2. What should developers do? There has been all this talk from Nokia about creating the third eco-system, but it appears that Elop did not address the concerns of Indian developers about how they should work with Nokia over the next few years – given that the largest handset maker in India is itself switching from Symbian to Windows Mobile by 2015. Some guidance on strategy for developers would have helped on the phasing out of Symbian, and the launch of Windows Mobile. Nokia cannot underestimate the rising popularity of Android and iOS amongst Indian developers.
3. Extending Operator Billing for Ovi/Nokia Store: This visit to India would have been a great opportunity for Nokia to try and ink relationships with telecom operators – the largest payment processing businesses when it comes to purchasing content and applications on the mobile in India. The least we would have expected is some sense of direction for developers on how the company plans to move beyond credit cards and debit cards.
4. How will Nokia compete with Indian handset makers? Elop did not talk about the impact that the emergence of Indian handset companies have had on Nokia’s marketshare in India, and how the company intends to counter them. He just highlighted the company’s retail network as an advantage, compared to other handset companies, but surely that can’t be the only competitive advantage.
5. Nokia’s plan for content and services in India: How does Nokia plan go beyond Nokia Mail and Nokia Life Tools. The company experimented with a number of services, including a classifieds product, an Ovi browser, and India is one of the few markets where Ovi Music continues.
What else do you think Elop should have addressed on his India trip?