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Nokia says it's trying to explain to Microsoft that its current app efforts aren't good enough

Windows Phone is growing, but it is doing so very slowly.  And while Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) has captured most of those sales, spurring the Finnish phonemaker to a minor recovery, at least one executive at Nokia is taking Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to task for not doing more to make the platform a success.

I. "You Can't Sell a Phone Without the Apps"

Comments Nokia VP Bryan Biniak:

People rely on applications for their day-to-day life and if you don't have something which I use in my day-to-day life I'm not going to switch [operating systems] because I don't want to compromise the way I live my life just to switch to a phone.  It's not just about the hardware, it's about the tools that are on the hardware. You can't sell a phone without the apps, you just can't.

But the Nokia VP gives Microsoft a bit of a pass in the International Business Times interview, acknowledging that Windows Phone is "not even Microsoft's second, third or fourth priority."

Nokia Bryan Biniak
Nokia VP Bryan Biniak [Image Source: NokiaMob.me]

He compares the slow start of Windows Phone to Microsoft Xbox run.  Today the Xbox is the top selling console on the market, but when it first came out, it badly trailed its veteran rivals and many sneered at the prospect of a Microsoft gaming console.

Ultimately, the one place where Microsoft support is falling short, Mr. Biniak indicates, is with apps.  He remarks:

We are releasing new devices frequently and for every new device, if there is an app that somebody cares about that's not there that's a missed opportunity of a sale.  We are trying to evolve the cultural thinking [at Microsoft] to say 'time is of the essence.' Waiting until the end of your fiscal year when you need to close your targets, doesn't do us any good when I have phones to sell today.

To give you a reason to switch, I need to make sure the apps that you care about on your device are not only on our phones, but are better. I also need to provide you unique experiences that you can't get on your other devices.

On the hardware end Nokia has arguably held up its end of the bargain.  In the past year it has released 10 new Lumia models.  And rather than simply releasing yet another 1080p, Snadragon 600-powered big-screen smartphone, Nokia went a unique route offering a phone with more modest hardware, but with the best camera of any smartphone in the business (the Lumia 1020).  Nokia was rewarded with Lumia sales of 7.4 million units.  That's up 85 percent over last year's sales of 4 million in Q2 2012, and marks the first time Lumia sales passed sales of Blackberry, Ltd. (TSE:BB).

Nokia Lumia 1020

While Nokia lost less money then expected (€227M, versus an analyst consensus of €258.8M), it fell substantially short on revenue and narrowly missed analyst expectations of 7.8 million Lumia units for the quarter.

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) (who sold 31.2m iPhones in the quarter) is outselling Nokia roughly 4-to-1, while Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) is outselling Nokia roughly 3-to-1 with its Galaxy line, or 10-to-1 with its overall "smartphone" line (which includes non-Android, low-end models).

II. Nokia Plans to Fix App Shortage, With or Without Microsoft

As Mr. Biniak says, one major value shortcoming when it comes to Windows Phone is a lack of apps.  While Windows Phone has a number of great apps in its catalogue of 165,000 high profile apps, some high profile hits from other platforms are still missing.  Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android platform has over a million apps, while Apple's App Store has over 900,000 apps.  Windows Phone fans tend to dismiss this advantage, saying they'd rather have a better device than every app on the market, but even they must recognize that many buyers will simply refuse to make that choice and reject Windows Phone automatically as long as its app catalog remains anemic.

Windows Phone marketplace
Windows Phone's app selection still trails its rivals. [Image Source: WinSource]

Nokia isn't giving up on Microsoft and Windows Phone.  But it also isn't going to wait around for Microsoft to get serious about apps.  It's paying developers aggressively to port their most popular apps to Windows Phone.  Mr. Biniak, who helps lead developer outreach efforts, says:

[By the end of 2013] people will be hard-pressed to say '[Windows Phone] doesn't have this app' and it makes a material difference. I don't think there will be any [app developers] we don't have commercial agreements with, and so maybe it's not published by the end of the year but it will be published before the end of [March].

As a company we don't want to rely on somebody else and sit and wait for them to get it right.

 
That commitment will fix the issue of "select applications that need to be there", which aren't currently in the catalog, according to Mr. Biniak.  He just wishes his company's partner, Microsoft, was doing a bit more to help the cause, by the sound of it.

Source: International Business Times



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RE: Blames MS ?
By maven81 on 7/29/2013 10:22:15 AM , Rating: 5
Making android phones would mean competing with the likes of Samsung, which would stretch Nokia too thin. They would always be an also ran, rather then a top tier android manufacturer. Witness how well things are going for HTC which makes only android phones.
I say it's better to be a leader in their market, then a bit player in the android market.


RE: Blames MS ?
By retrospooty on 7/29/2013 10:24:51 AM , Rating: 2
And how is that working out for them?

Like I said, they could have made both, not ONLY android. Its as if they learned nothing from slowly riding Symbian from dominance into the pit of irrelevance.


RE: Blames MS ?
By maven81 on 7/29/2013 10:28:16 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I know you said they could make both, but that requires more resources. And I'm not convinced the small increase in sales would justify the effort. Sure they have a meager market share right now but at least it's growing steadily.


RE: Blames MS ?
By retrospooty on 7/29/2013 10:32:59 AM , Rating: 2
Well, good luck Nokia.

As far as "blaming" MS, its kind of a BS move though. There is one choice that everyone is buying and one that no-one is buying and you pick which one? Then you blame them? Whatever.


RE: Blames MS ?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/29/2013 11:20:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yes but I'm sure when Microsoft pitched the partnership to Nokia, they made certain assurances . Or gave them some kind of prediction of where they would be at today with Windows phone.

This is what I have always criticized Microsoft about. They treat their consumer devices as hobbies instead of worthwhile persuits. Windows Phone is stagnating but they don't seem to care.

Its time for an exit strategy Nokia. Why throw good money after bad and develop WP apps? That's crazy! And it still wont solve the biggest hole in the WP inventory: lack of Google apps.


RE: Blames MS ?
By retrospooty on 7/29/2013 11:23:55 AM , Rating: 2
Yup... I dunno what the issue is. Some companies just don't seem to "get" what is going on in tech today. Riding Symbian from its best selling phones on earth to extintion was a really bad move. Like RIMM, they jumped years too late. Then, when they jumped, they chose what? LOL. Oh well.


RE: Blames MS ?
By Mitch101 on 7/29/2013 2:12:23 PM , Rating: 2
Symbian had no future Nokia would be like RIM today ever decreasing.

The problem is social media the more Windows Phones they can get into users hands the more people will discover how good Windows Phones are and suggest them to their friends. Windows Phone has the highest satisfaction rate even Siri said so until they gagged her.

The second problem is getting sales people to push the Windows Phone. Instead people look at the specs of the device over the functionality of the device. Now that Windows Phone has flagship devices with the best cameras on the market they are only a few months away from matching the screen resolution and processor power despite not requiring it to have a fast robust device.

The third problem is Samsung delivered with the S3 had everyone continued to make the Android crap they were making then Windows Phone would be increasing faster. Now that Windows Phone has surpassed the S3 it still needs to solve the social media aspect of getting the device out there and into peoples hands. Once they see how rock solid the device is they will tell thier friends and so the trend upward continues.


RE: Blames MS ?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/29/13, Rating: 0
RE: Blames MS ?
By Mitch101 on 7/29/2013 2:34:50 PM , Rating: 3
Stop looking at your tiny penis.


RE: Blames MS ?
By retrospooty on 7/29/2013 6:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
WOW.

What is it like in your world? good that its passed the S2 from Q2 2012, but its now Q3 2013 and it competition is even stiffer.


RE: Blames MS ?
By retrospooty on 7/29/2013 6:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
Derp... S3 from Q2 2012


RE: Blames MS ?
By pandemonium on 7/30/2013 3:40:24 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly the way I see it. In popular media and sales, the race for hardware specs is running amok. Why? Who cares? Does having a more powerful processor actually assist your every day use on that device? Not necessarily. This is how Nokia got away with having "sub-par" hardware for so many years; because their software optimized that hardware handily.

Consumers don't know what they really want. They're sold on higher numbers in products and cheaper numbers from their wallets.

Slowly, the uninformed consumers are starting to disregard the sales pitch of numbers and are just trying it out and seeing how the actual interaction works and basing their judgements on that.


RE: Blames MS ?
By EnzoFX on 7/29/2013 6:50:04 PM , Rating: 2
and now Nokia's going to do their work for them. Getting devs to port their apps. MS fail.


RE: Blames MS ?
By Mint on 7/29/2013 7:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's not working out that badly. They're up to 7.4M smartphones in the last quarter, and the 1020 is grabbing headlines. Growth is faster than any non-Samsung Android manufacturer.

If they went with Android, they'd be starting form 0% and competing with guys in Korea and China who have cost advantages and significant market share in 2011.

If Nokia made the switch in 2009, Android would've been hands down the smart choice. But in late 2010? WP is their best chance. MS isn't going to let WP wither away. It's too important to the future of personal computing and ecommerce. Don't forget that MS is paying Nokia $250M per quarter in their deal, and they only get that money back from Nokia in license fees years in the future if WP8 succeeds. I highly doubt MS would have given Nokia that money if they went multiplatform with Android.

They pumped $4B in losses to take on the Playstation juggernaut for a presence in the living room, and they'll spend a few billion to get a place in your pocket as well.


RE: Blames MS ?
By InsGadget on 7/31/2013 2:36:24 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely agree. Nokia is doing pretty well considering where they were a couple years ago.


RE: Blames MS ?
By maven81 on 7/29/2013 10:25:09 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, that should say mostly android phones, I forgot that they make windows phones too.


RE: Blames MS ?
By jmarchel on 7/29/2013 12:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
Are you saying Nokia is unable to compete ? Then they deserve to die.


RE: Blames MS ?
By BladeVenom on 7/30/2013 10:05:16 AM , Rating: 1
When they announced the switch to Windows, Nokia was making more than four times as many smartphones as Samsung. Nokia was the number one smartphone manufacturer in the word then. They would not have had any trouble then competing against Samsung. Besides Samsung made both Android and Windows phones.


RE: Blames MS ?
By wind79 on 7/30/2013 11:23:55 AM , Rating: 1
What is wrong with being the Top Manufacturer for Android? When Nokia first decided to go with Windows, Android was still young and anyone's game. Given the polish of Nokia, the Lumia 1020 running on Android would probably dominate the Galaxy S4. Nokia made a wrong choice, and crying over spilled milk is not helping.


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