Nokia downgraded, but exec defends company's software push

As financial analysts become increasingly nervous about Nokia's near-term performance, a company executive has declared that its future is in software not hardware.

Standard & Poor (S&P), the credit rating agency, said that it had lowered its outlook to "negative" from "stable," quoting Nokia's "rather weak competitive position in smartphones." However, while it confirmed that Nokia's long-term rating would remain at "A"--the sixth out of the 10 investment-grade ratings by the agency--the firm said it might cut the company's rating if margins do not improve. 

Seemingly unconnected with this S&P viewpoint, Will Harris, Nokia's Asia Pacific head of marketing, said the company was a business in transition. "Our future is in software not hardware," he commented, adding that the company now believes it "monetises its software with hardware."

Pointing to the forthcoming release of Symbian^3 and the likelihood of devices based upon the MeeGo operating system, Harris claimed that the company would then only have three smartphone platforms for its entire portfolio (including Series 40). All three platforms are based on the Qt software framework.

"We could effectively launch all of the devices on the same day, because they're all using the same platform," Harris said.

Separately, rumours emanating from Taiwan claim that Nokia could launch an ARM-based tablet device towards the end of the year. The Tablet, which would be powered by MeeGo, is speculated to be either a 7-inch or a 9-inch model and would be manufactured by ODM/OEM giant Foxconn.

While over 100 engineering samples are said to have been built, the use of an ARM processor is being questioned given that MeeGo was born out of a partnership between Intel and Nokia.

For more on this story:
- read Business Week, Computer World & IT Proportal

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