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Did Nokia Even Need The Ovi Branding?

Nokia has decided to carry out a reverse re-branding exercise, renaming its Ovi suite of services as Nokia Services. On its blog, Nokia informs that the re-branding will commence with some new Nokia devices from July/August 2011, in selected markets and will be expanded to all devices and markets by 2012. The company also says that all Ovi services will continue to run uninterrupted, and there will be no change in existing services or future service road maps. We did notice that in a note that Nokia India sent us four days ago, they referred to what was previously Ovi Life Tools, as Nokia Life Tools. So the change is already under-way.

Jerri DeVard, Nokia’s EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, says in a statement that “since the service experience is tightly integrated with devices, there is no longer need for differentiation”.

Really? If that’s the rationale, then there was no reason to create the Ovi brand in the first place, and Nokia has always kept its Ovi services linked to its handsets, in any case. What was the differentiation when Ovi was first created? The move shows that the company’s decision of putting all services including maps, instant messaging, music services and even its PC-Phone software suit under the Ovi brand name, was part of a flawed strategy. The company spent millions to popularize this service brand and when consumers were finally beginning to connect to it, Nokia back tracked and decided to chuck the brand.

What Happens To The Services?

So, what happens to the services once Nokia transitions to the Windows platform? Remember that Nokia had build Ovi around numerous acquisitions that it had made, and created the Ovi Store as a separate marketplace for the services. Now that the Ovi Store will become the Nokia Store, and eventually amalgamate into the Windows Marketplace, what happens to what was once Twango, or Ovi Mail, Ovi Music Store – essentially Nokia services. Will they be transitioned to the Windows Mobile platform? Probably.

(by Anupam Saxena and Nikhil Pahwa)

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