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10/1/2008
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Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo Details Services, Symbian

Despite its worldwide leadership in the handset market, the company's chief executive describes how Nokia is building its U.S. business beyond cell phones.


Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo

Nokia CEO
Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo

Source: Nokia

Nokia is the world's largest cell phone and smartphone manufacturer by far, but the company will not be resting on its laurels, CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo told InformationWeek.

The company is in the midst of branching out to offer additional services and applications like multimedia, navigation, gaming, and location-based services. Nokia's CEO said he sees this as a way to not only draw more customers to Nokia handsets, but as an additional revenue generator.

"The industry as whole is in the middle of a transformation, and it's a very exciting time," said Kallasvuo. "It's moving from a device industry to an experience industry, and we're making a conscious long-term effort to capitalize on that."

Using music as an example, Kallasvuo said some Nokia handsets have long been capable of playing music. But the process for getting tunes on the handset could be frustrating, or mobile music services weren't living up to expectations. With this in mind, Nokia has recently launched its "Comes With Music" program, which offers certain Nokia users free, unlimited music downloads for a year.

The company will use its Ovi platform as a main door for its increased offerings of services and applications. But as handsets become convergence devices, Nokia knows this means industries will collide. For example, in the United States, Nokia's music service could be seen as a competitor with Verizon's and Sprint's own over-the-air music services.

Additionally, companies like Apple and Google are putting a strong emphasis on mobile applications with the Apple App Store and the Android Market. Nokia said it's in a unique position to implement these services because of its broad base of consumers and large portfolio of handsets.

"In our case, we've got 1 billion people using Nokia devices as we speak," Kallasvuo said. "This is clearly a strong foundation to extend these services, and no one else has this kind of foundation."

Additionally, Nokia's size means it will be able to make large investments -- like the $8.1 billion acquisition of Navteq -- that some of its competitors won't or can't do. In the last year, Nokia has purchased Twango, Plazes, and OZ to beef up its social networking, messaging, and location-based services.

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