New Nokia CEO Steven Elop, who formerly ran Microsoft's most successful business unit, has written one of the most brutally candid and forthright state-of-the-enterprise memos the mobile industry has ever seen, including an assessment of their position post-iPhone. Their "platform is burning":
In 2008, Apple's market share in the $300+ price range was 25 percent; by 2010 it escalated to 61 percent. They are enjoying a tremendous growth trajectory with a 78 percent earnings growth year over year in Q4 2010. Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.
The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.
He mentions Android's assault and lower priced Shenzhen units as challenges as well. Nokia makes brilliant hardware, arguably the best in the business, but they've been slow to adapt to the capacitive multitouch, app-centric, ecosystem-driven new smartphone world. And their software strategy has been fractured and frustrating. Elop clearly recognizes the issues and plans to start addressing them. Our own resident Nokia Expert, Matt Miller says:
Nokia will be holding their Capital Markets Day on Friday where Mr. Elop will reveal his future strategy. There are rumors that he might partner with Microsoft and release Windows Phone 7 devices or go with Android in an HTC-like multiple platform approach. As a fan of both Nokia and Windows Phone 7 you know what I would prefer. If Windows Phone 7 is brought to Nokia hardware then get ready to see a LOT more writing here on Nokia Experts as WP7 is my personal preferred platform at this time.
Will Nokia go with Windows Phone 7 or Android, try to relaunch MeeGo or Symbian at a faster pace with better user experience, or do something else entirely? And how, if at all, will it effect competition with iPhone? We'll find out Friday.