Nokia changes gear to address Apple threat

While the launch of Apple's iPhone might have prompted speculation that Nokia had been caught with it's trousers not fully hoisted, the Finnish company is now starting to lift its game and respond with an onslaught of new initiatives designed to reset the agenda for mobile handsets and services.

While there were many frenzied comments following Nokia's recent Capital Markets event, industry watchers have now spent time absorbing the messages and subtle comments made by the many senior Nokia executives that attended the sessions.

Of most interest, according to Mike Grant, head of broadband and media at the UK-based market research firm, Analysys, was the little time spent talking about what its handset portfolio might look like over the next 12 months. "Unlike every other annual Nokia briefing, the senior executives emphasised the overwhelming importance of the customer experience--it's now a strategic initiative for the company."

"Apple and Nokia are both addressing the ambition of consumers to share and access content across multiple screens, and are willing to pay for the services. The fact that Nokia's most senior executives have now recognised the importance of this is significant. They see this as part of Nokia's future--securing this attention and continuing to build the relationship with the consumer--it's a core part of their way forward."

Asked whether Apple could survive the determination of the world's largest handset maker to address the customer experience segment, Grant replied that Apple would continue to succeed, but forever remain a niche player.

"Apple is a very strong player in the U.S., whereas Nokia only has around a 13 percent market share. However, outside of Apple's home market, Nokia is the dominant handset provider and this will prove to be fundamental to the company's fortunes. While there will be small groups that adopt the Apple solution, the vast majority will accept the Nokia offering--albeit a less superior experience." -Paul