If I ran Nokia, I would probably do two things:
- I would set upon transforming the company into a retail financial services powerhouse, focusing in particular on developing markets like India and Brazil; and
- I would buy Skype.
I don’t have time to articulate the whole thesis here (and besides, if they want the whole thesis they can hire me!) There are some hints in my Platforms, markets and bytes presentation.
The Economist has a good summary of the fix they find themselves in. I think they are at risk of becoming the new Microsoft, in that they buy all sorts of neat, smart start-ups (including a minority investment in Obopay), only to then kill them. According to the Economist, they are trying to adapt and having some success especially in markets like India:
All this will no doubt help Nokia come up with better, if not magic, products. The firm may even reach its goal of 300m users by the end of 2011 because its efforts are not aimed just at rich countries, but at fast-growing emerging economies where Nokia is still king of the hill, such as India. There, services such as Nokia Money, a mobile-payment system, and Life Tools, which supplies farmers with prices and other information, fulfil real needs, says John Delaney of IDC, another market-research firm.
Which only strengthens my view that their path to salvation lies in (yet another) complete re-invention, this time to a 21st century, sixth paradigm, retail financial services platform (built on a mobile substrate.) They might even want to keep (at least some of) their handset engineering know-how: it might come in handy for building handsets that are particularly well adapted to mobile financial services.
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- CES 2010: Nokia issues $1 million challenge to developers (v3.co.uk)
- Nokia unveils new mobile financial service (news.cnet.com)
- Nokia Launches Life Tools, Commodity Prices From 291 Local Markets To Be Made Available (contentsutra.com)
- NovaBanca. (parkparadigm.com)