Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nokia should buy Yahoo?

It's already known to most people that Yahoo! is in big financial trouble. Even worse, they were tried to be bought by a company (Microsoft) they didn't want to sell themselves to. They successfully fought against that attempt, however, their value was much higher at that time than what it is today. They were even "helped" to survive by a company that they normally call a competitor (Google). But this help didn't last long as Google was afraid of the consequences of a deeper relationship with Yahoo! (i.e. antitrust).

Now Yahoo! has an even bigger problem with much lower valuation. That, among others, inspired to speculate on whether it would be worth for Nokia to buy Yahoo!. Besides the fact that financially it would be a good deal for Nokia, they would even win a very popular brand (especially in the US!) for themselves. And all this along with that Yahoo! is very strong in (web) services would make their position much stronger against Google, Microsoft, Apple and the likes.

Putting aside the negligible fact that there's a world-wide financial crisis lately is this option not worth considering?


Update: El Reg reported that Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo had answered this question during MWC 2008 saying 'no' to a possible acquisition of Yahoo!.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mobile Monday in Hungary

I don't know if you've ever heard of the event, Mobile Monday, but if you visit their site you can see that it's a global community of mobile industry visionaries, developers and influentials fostering cooperation and cross-border business development through virtual and live networking events to share ideas, best practices and trends from global markets.

Now it has finally arrived to Budapest, Hungary! I attended the very first event last evening and I was surprised to see how many people are involved and interested in mobility in this small country! It wasn't a very long event and there were only two presentations, but hey, it's the first one, right?

Actually I was interested in Torsti Tenhunen's presentation (Mobile Media – connecting and consuming everywhere) and was also wondering how many people have ever heard of Ovi, for example. Not too much as I could see in the audience. There was a Q&A session at the end of the presentation and since the audience didn't dare to ask anything (including me ... sigh), some people were randomly picked up to ask questions. I was picked up, too, and managed to ask a tough question. At least, even the presenter admitted that it was tough.

What was my question? Well, relating to Ovi I always wondered what Nokia's view on entering a competition with such big names as Apple and Google who have already proven in (web) services. My question was something like "How does Nokia intend to compete with those popular services that people have already got used to (iTunes and Google's bunch of services) and in general how do they see their position in the new devices + services setup where manufacturers are rolling out their own services, too"? Well, I admit that it's not a question that's easy to answer. As I mentioned even the presenter admitted that. Of course. I like to ask tough questions. Anyone can ask easy questions, but not so many people can point out things that are behind a presentation. This was the first full presentation that I saw about Ovi (of course, I had already known a lot of things about it beforehand) and although it was a new concept to most people I wanted to know more.

To be honest, my question was only partially answered. Some marketing hype was included in the answer (we're good at services, people will buy the idea, because they're gonna be very good, we have our brand name, etc.) in addition to pointing out the fact that Nokia has nice programs for emerging markets (think of Nokia Life Tools). This argument is valid, indeed, I've even already discussed about it lately. On the other hand, my addition to this list would have been something like:
  • the coverage of offerings these companies offer (including Nokia) varies and that gives users the freedom to pick up their choice of service provider,
  • Nokia plans to set up its own MVNO in Japan (read about the consequences and how it's supposed to affect e.g. Ovi here).
Anyway, I'm happy to attend upcoming MoMo events in Budapest in the hope of stiring up the "local" water. With unpleasant questions if necessary. :)


Monday, November 24, 2008

NOKIA N96 - BRUCE LEE Edition :)

I just love this video! :)


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Random thoughts on recent news


So many things have happened in mobile world recently that I can hardly cope with their sheer volume. This time I would just add my quick thoughts to some of them, one-line comments that I would like you to comment, too.

Let's start with VirusGuard Coming to Android Market in 2009: yeah, a clear disadvantage of full openness coupled with user-controlled security policy is that such a software is necessary. Remember that famous anti-virus software vendors also tried to gain a foothold on mobile phones based on Symbian OS, too? Unfortunately, Symbian's security mechanism works so well that there is no real demand for such software on these phones. Note: since Android Market is  only for free software (yet), this commercial software can be purchased from Handango.

I've read two interesting reviews on the user experience of T-Mobile G1 and Nokia S60. In fact, these two were compared to each other. It was funny to read how two people with different needs could come up with contradictory results. Whilst Matthew from Darla Mack's blog found Contacts, Syncing, E-mail support and a "lot of other things" being superior on G1 he confirmed it too that there are many things that need improvement in upcoming Android-powered devices as well. Chris Walters from TheNokiaBlog, on the other hand, found just the opposite: he thought he could at last forget about S60 and can enjoy all the things Android can provide, but realized that S60 is still superior to Android in many aspects: build quality of device, camera, not being locked to any carriers, etc. There are two immediate conclusions I drew from these (and other) reviews:
  • Don't believe to any reviews, but make your own decision based on your own needs. For example, how would you decide based on these two reviews cited above when they both claimed that G1/S60 was superior to the other platform in Syncing?
  • Nokia had been the king of user experience on mobile phones until iPhone and G1 appeared on the horizon. The structure of menus, applications, settings, etc. were logical, consistent and compatible across a wide range of devices. It was engineering-driven so it couldn't be in any other way. Following an engineering-driven approach, however, is not enough anymore. In my opinion these companies could learn a lot from each other. It's not a sin (well, generally) to copy one's idea if that has proven whereas ours has not stood the test of time. The point is better user experience, which is better both for users and vendors.
The third thing I found worth being mentioned is Nokia Friend View. This beta software is similar to IYOUIT (for example) that I've already given a try to and liked much. I can see this kind of software being useful from another point of view (than what they advertise), too: I'm a family man and although my kids are small I know that the time will come quickly when I will let them hang around but still would like to know where they are. The wide-spread of such a software (and hardware!) will hopefully keep me relaxed in those times.

Finally, Nokia has made a very important announcement in the past week: they introduced Nokia Life Tools along with 7 new models under €100 price range. According to the press release, Nokia Life Tools is a range of innovative agriculture information and education services designed especially for rural and small town communities in emerging markets. Knowing that the opportunity at the bottom of the pyramid is huge, and handset manufacturers and network providers alike are working hard to fill it with phones (this time cited from PCWorld) it's no wonder why these new models can be purchased at never-seen prices. Nokia has finally entered the war fought for phone owners with thin wallets with the introduction of Ultra Cheap Phones.