The world's largest handset vendor has revealed it plans to transform itself into a services company, and has set the target of multiplying the users of its services nearly six-fold, to 300 million by 2012, up from its current 54 million.
This latest announcement from Nokia--which brings with it that slight smell of ‘do something, quick'--would appear to herald a significant switch after 22 years as a vendor of handsets. The new focus will see the company promoting its email and instant messaging, games, maps and music services ahead of handsets.
Many of these services will be rebranded with the Ovi label, with its Ovi Store consolidating a number of its existing app and media-sharing platforms into one consumer-facing app store. However, Ovi Store continues to attract criticism for its poor performance and antiquated style when compared with similar platforms from Apple and RIM.
Nokia's CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, has confirmed the planned changes will mean a ‘profound' cultural readjustment within the company, but would not require any major restructuring--"a case of fine-tuning" was how Kallasvuo tried to position this huge shift in company strategy.
While the company has been losing market share within many of its core business sectors, has suffered from calamitous product launches (such as its comes-with-music phone) and unveiled devices that seem one-generation behind the competition (see its first netbook product), Nokia has the technical resources to rebuild itself. But many observers are increasingly doubting whether there is the available time for such a large company to make such a momentous transition.
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