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Nokia's Open Platform Still No Match For The iPhone

While Nokia showed strong 2Q sales of 122 million devices, its days of being the largest mobile device maker might be coming to an end. Given its current 40% market share, it will stay on top for some time to come, but with pressure from other "open" mobile platforms, and the ever-looming iPhone making ripples around the world, it needs to step up its game, and make itself stand out from the crowd once again.
While Nokia showed strong 2Q sales of 122 million devices, its days of being the largest mobile device maker might be coming to an end. Given its current 40% market share, it will stay on top for some time to come, but with pressure from other "open" mobile platforms, and the ever-looming iPhone making ripples around the world, it needs to step up its game, and make itself stand out from the crowd once again.Read Write Web has a different take on the subject, saying in an article about Nokia's dominance on the iPhone; "Even if it hits Steve Jobs' target of 10 million iPhone sales by the end of 2008, it will still be less than 1% of the mobile device market." Athough this is true, the iPhone has only just begun its worldwide invasion into Nokia's territory, while Nokia has been enjoying dominant success for a long time now. That is, until Apple changed the game by introducing the iPhone, and again when it took the 3G device worldwide.

Nokia still has a healthy lead over almost all other competitors in every category, except for one; the Internet mobile device market. In this area, where Apple is now the largest threat, Nokia reported that its "converged mobile device" options, which are the N Series and E Series, have 41% of the market. However, at the same time last year they had 51%. Its no secret the iPhone can be contributed 100% to their situation. At this time last year, while the iPhone was still a revolutionary Internet device, it wasn't offering 3G to compete with Nokia, and wasn't being offered in key Nokia markets like Asia and Europe. This time around, Apple has fixed those two problems, and Nokia is feeling the burn.

Where Nokia is planning its revenge is in the upcoming open initiative that stemmed from its recent purchase of Symbian. By going the route of Android, it's hoping to stop the iPhone in its tracks and try to battle on the "open" front. While this is the right way to go, I still have to ask whether its up to going head-to-head with Google's Android, which will undoubtedly make huge strides in the "open" market once it's actually introduced. On the other hand, Nokia has been in the game for a long time, and knows what its doing. With the purchase of another longtime mobile player in Symbian, it has created quite the "open" powerhouse. Now, whether or not it uses that experience and know-how to build a better platform than Android is up for discussion. In my opinion, it's going to take a lot to beat what the Open Handset Alliance has been brewing for what seems like forever now.

I'm also still not convinced the "openness" of mobile devices in the future will have such a huge impact on the iPhone. The iPhone already has, and always will have, a large following where people won't care what features it doesn't have, etc. I'm not saying the open initiative in mobile is a bad thing, it's certainly not, but when compared with the iPhone, it's a totally different breed of animal. Now that the iPhone has made its way worldwide, there's really no stopping it, no matter the effort from the big boys.

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing