Nokia Had Only 10 Million Ovi Downloads In First Three Months

nokia n97 ovi store

Much of the conversation at *Nokia* World this week has focused on the handset maker’s announcement with Facebook and the unveiling of new handsets. But Nokia (NYSE: NOK) also revealed some new data about the performance of its three-month-old Ovi Store — and the numbers aren’t pretty.

Since the May 26 launch, users have downloaded 10 million pieces of content and applications from the Ovi Store, Kai Oistamo, Nokia’s EVP of Devices, said during a call with North American reporters. In addition, Nokia confirmed that the average user has done six downloads, meaning that roughly there’s 1.67 million users of the store. Given Nokia’s Goliath-like stature in the industry, the figures are less than impressive, especially in comparison to Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), which surpassed 100 million downloads in the first two months of the app store’s existence and 1.5 billion downloads after a year.

In some ways, the poor numbers aren’t terribly surprising. Niklas Savander, Nokia’s EVP of services admitted today the store had performance issues right out of the gate. In a conference call he said, “We totally underestimated demand on the first day. We had an outage on the first day which was not our plan.” While he said the service is now running reliably, it remains clunky and is not at all comparable to the sleek interface of the iPhone. Plus, users must download the store to the handset themselves since it is not yet shipping on devices.

Savander said that to truly leverage Nokia’s global footprint, it will have to deploy the store in more languages and make sure local operators have integrated billing. “When we have 100 countries, that’s when we’ll see the true potential in full swing.” Today, the Ovi Store supports 100 devices, five languages and is on 27 operators in eight countries that support carrier billing.

Ovi downloads were up 50 percent from July to August, he pointed out, which could suggest that a new fast-growth period is ahead for the app store. “It looks promising and it is meeting the aggressive plans we have.”

Another metric the company talked about this week is the number of users who tap into Nokia’s overall services, spanning from Ovi Store to maps and Comes With Music. Oistamo said the goal is to hit 80 million users by the end of the year. As a daily reminder of that goal, the company has digital displays in both its White Plains, N.Y., and Espoo, Finland, offices to provide a real-time report. On Friday, Nokia hit 55 million users. To hit the target this year, it must add 25 million more users in the next three months. “It’s something the whole organization is watching,” Oistamo said.

To support Ovi’s growth, it will launch in three additional languages by the end of the year (Portuguese, French and simplified Chinese), and it is approving 500 new content items per week, ranging from games, videos, podcasts to productivity tools and location based services. It is also working on implementing the store with additional carriers, including AT&T (NYSE: T) in the U.S.

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