Nokia VP Blames Microsoft for Slow Windows Phone Growth
July 29, 2013 9:44 AM
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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. (
) has captured most of those sales, spurring the Finnish phonemaker to a minor recovery, at least one executive at Nokia is taking Microsoft Corp. (
) to task for not doing more to make the platform a success.
I. "You Can't Sell a Phone Without the Apps"
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
, acknowledging that Windows Phone is "not even Microsoft's second, third or fourth priority."
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
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. (
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. (
sold 31.2m iPhones in the quarter
) is outselling Nokia roughly 4-to-1, while Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
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 (
) 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'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.
International Business Times
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RE: WP8 user here
7/29/2013 10:54:39 AM
See OS X - doesn't matter if your OS is better, getting people to switch is hard.
Thing is, I have my android phone - most people bought an android phone first because it was cheap. I have a bunch of apps I like, spent time learning to use and perhaps even paid for. I use google docs/drive/play/etc. I upgrade my android phone and can just install all those apps I had on my old phone for free. All my email/docs/etc just work. Then I have all the stuff I like and had spent time learning to use on my new phone. I'm sure the same is true for iPhone users too.
... or I could buy a new phone on a new OS where everything works differently, many of my apps don't exist and even if they do I have to pay for them all over again. Doesn't matter if windows the better OS once people are locked into an OS they know they are unlikely to change.
RE: WP8 user here
7/30/2013 10:10:26 AM
That's the tough part. Making a great phone isn't enough to sway people away from their investment in an ecosystem.
Windows Phone has a chance because MS is a stalwart with a massive user base that's been looking for a better multi-device experience. Blackberry on the other hand...
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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