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Nokia making "quantum leaps" to catch iPhone

updated 12:10 pm EDT, Fri April 3, 2009

Nokia Leap to Catch iPhone

Nokia's new markets executive VP Anssi Vankoji in an interview at the Web 2.0 Expo provided a surprise statement that his company's phones are lagging behind Apple's iPhone in software. He tells VentureBeat that while Nokia currently has technically superior hardware, the accessibility of its features and the overall ease of the use of the devices still have to take "quantum leaps" to reach Apple's current level, which relies on simple gestures and icons for control. Interface changes, along with a better app catalog with the launch of the Ovi Store in June, are considered key by Vankoji to matching Apple's expertise in mobile OS design.

The executive also notes that, while Apple may have a good core hardware design, the company's insistence on a particular form factor means it won't catch the entire market simply due to certain users preferring specific features, like hardware keyboards or clamshell designs.

"We [at Nokia] don't think the world is so simple that you just make one device for everybody," Vankoji says. "We know more about the consumers in the world than any other consumer goods company in the world because we have so many customers. We know they have different tastes and uses and so you have to offer a whole line."

Apple's insistence on controlling both the operating system and the hardware is also said to likely limit the company's long-term prospects. Although Vankoji doesn't see Apple failing, he sees a parallel to the competition between Macs and Windows PCs where the ability to use an operating system at multiple companies and on multiple devices had ultimately led to Apple claiming a minority portion of a larger market. He doesn't presume Nokia will lead but expects open platforms like Symbian to predominate.

"I don't think the world will unite on one platform," he explains. "There are several that will succeed. Our platform, Symbian, is an open platform and will make a major impact in the industry."

Nokia is commonly believed to be suffering from the impact of the iPhone, as well as newer BlackBerries. The company's smartphone market share has been steadily dropping since the iPhone's 2007 release and has seen Nokia ship fewer phones even as the smartphone business gets larger. Among the factors contributing to the drop have been a general absence of touchscreen phones and relatively weak messaging features.

by MacNN Staff



  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    of course he's going to say that they're going to catch up to (and beat, presumably) iPhone.

    He's now admitting that iPhone is a strong competitor, after it's obvious to everyone else not on the Nokia payroll.

    The problem with trying to catch up with Apple, is that they don't stand still. By the time the copycats catch up with today's iPhone or iPod, Apple has lapped them again.

    I laugh whenever an anal-yst is down on Apple, because within 3 to 5 years iPods will be obsolete and everyone will have instant access to their music over WiMax or some other kind of near net-everywhere technology or via subscription to a music service. As if Apple (or any other competent high-tech company) is going to stand pat and assume that technology or consumer tastes won't change.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    He tells VentureBeat that while Nokia currently has technically superior hardware, the accessibility of its features and the overall ease of the use of the devices still have to take "quantum leaps" to reach Apple's current level

    OK, that is completely contrary to the headline for this story. The headline says Nokia is making quantum leaps, while this paraphrase seems to say that Nokia still needs to make quantum leaps.

    There is a difference between planning to do something or saying one needs to do something, and actually doing it.

  1. cptklutz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    His name is Vanjoki

    Nokia's VP is Anssi Vanjoki not Vankoji

    Anyway competition is good and neither Apple nor Nokia will staty still.

  1. sinebubble

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'm not sure "quantum" is the appropriate adjective to suggest Nokia is making "large" or "significant" leaps, but...

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'm still amazed about how Apple managed to turn an entire industry upside down just by releasing ONE PRODUCT. I mean, listen to the guy, he has "desperate" written all over his forehead.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    One more thing

    "Our platform, Symbian, is an open platform and will make a major impact in the industry"

    It WILL make a major impact? Dude, Symbian is... how old now? I had a Symbian device back in 2002, so it must be older than that. And it shows. If it hasn't managed to make a "major impact" in the industry in the past 7 years, it won't make one anytime soon.

  1. dthree

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What "weak" messaging features is the article talking about? Also, even though symbian has been around longer, smartphones were a niche market back in 2002. With the market growing so quickly, symbian has the opportunity to make a "major" impact, if they continue to improve their OS.

  1. shawnde

    Joined: Dec 1969


    open platform

    exactly. He makes it sound like as if they're gonna license Nokia's version of Symbian (Series 60) to other vendors; of course not. They're doing exactly the same thing as Apple; their hardware and OS tied together. They just have a lot of handsets. The Mac/PC argument doesn't at all apply here.

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