Michael Mace smells that Nokia is possibily onto something big!
Nokia says it’s planning for what comes after the mobile phone.
Iannucci pointed out that Nokia started as a paper mill and has a history of completely changing its industry from time to time — from rubber boots to monitors to mobile phones. He said it is once again “a company in transition to the next phase.” That next phase is mobile computing.
Not smartphones, not converged devices, but full-on mobile computers intended to replace both PCs and mobile phones. Nokia says it expects these devices to eventually sell in the billions of units, and to become the world’s dominant means of accessing the Internet.
He said Nokia’s research labs, formerly fairly closed, have re-oriented themselves to work collaboratively with universities and other parties in the industry. The collaboration part is essential because “we can no longer fuel…internally” the amount of technology the company has to develop now that it wants to be a computing company.
He gives a lovely anecdote 🙂
One amusing example was when a Nokia speaker solicited feedback from the audience on what barriers to success they see in the mobile marketplace.
A VC shot up his hand: “Operators.”
Dead silence for a second. Then the Nokia speaker asked uncomfortably, “what in particular about operators?”
And you had to laugh a bit, because the question didn’t really need to be explained. What the questioner meant was: “we want the operators dead; are you going to help make that happen?” Everyone in the room knew that. Nokia knew that. The question was a test of Nokia’s seriousness.
And he finally finishes with some suggestions:
- Get real about the role of mobile computing. As far as I can tell, Nokia’s hoping that the mobile computer will literally replace PCs. I think that’s both naive and unnecessarily limiting to Nokia’s prospects. Mobile usage is a different paradigm from personal computing … If Nokia tries to just make mini-PCs, it’s probably going to end up with products that don’t deliver on the great new stuff that mobile computing can really do. To give a rough analogy, if the mobile phone companies had focused only on making land lines mobile, would they have ever invented SMS?
- Nurture developer communities.
- Manage Adobe vs. Microsoft vs. Sun
- Learn to design solutions, not gadgets.