What's Wrong With Nokia, Part 1

Nokia_N97_mini_3_lowres.jpgI was swapping tweets yesterday with Michael Gartenberg, a respected gadget analyst who attended Nokia World, the Nokia-sponsored lovefest held this week in Stuttgart, Germany, and it was clear he was feeling underwhelmed. Understandably so. I didn’t have to fly to Germany to figure out that Nokia is on a slippery, muddy slope with the rain coming down hard overhead, but I’m waiting for Gartenberg to pen his thoughts all the same. In the interim, let’s chew on the sheer number of OS platforms Nokia says it’s going to support.

  • Symbian for its cell phones.
  • Windows 7 for its netbooks. (It calls them “booklets.”)
  • Maemo Linux for mobile computing devices such as the N900.

Jonas Geust, vice president of the Nokia N-series division, told the Taiwanese publication Digitimes that “Nokia has enough platform diversity in its products and there is no need for Nokia to adopt any more operating systems.” For heaven’s sake, the company shouldn’t even be thinking about more operating systems — not unless it gets its house in order.

Maemo-based Internet tablets have sold fewer units than the U.S. has scored runs in international cricket. And when it comes to the high-end, aka the most profitable, segment of the phone business, Nokia is under attack. Yet in response, all the company did was come out with a mini version of its high-end phone, the N97, which wasn’t selling terribly well to begin with. As for those booklets, well, they’re going to be competing with the Asian computer makers in a market where margins are less than 5 percent. Good luck selling a booklet for $810 a pop.

My only question is, how are the developers that are Nokia loyalists going to deal with all those platforms? Thoughts?