Nokia chief wants to focus on device differences
NOKIA'S chief executive, Stephen Elop, believes the future of the troubled Finnish mobile-phone maker rests on investing in more user-friendly devices instead of wasting resources on developing its own independent operating system.
Mr Elop, who is in Australia this week, defended Nokia's controversial decision to adopt a Windows-based operating system, saying the Microsoft platform could be a third "ecosystem" in an industry dominated by Apple and Google's Android.
"The basic decision we made is that it was not the [operating system] that we would differentiate, and that is not where we will win or lose," he said.
"Where we will win or lose are on 'differentiators' that customers could see; that they could experience [something] that really set our devices apart from everybody else."
Apple and the Android-based platforms dominate the Australian market with more than 87 per cent market share. The rest is shared between operating systems such as Nokia's now discontinued Symbian, Windows and BlackBerry, according to Telsyte, an industry consultancy.
Mr Elop said Nokia's new range of phones would be targeting business users and new devices were designed to synchronise with desktop-based Microsoft office systems. "We are very aggressively going after the business market place," he said.
The company has so far signed up Sara Lee and Bridgestone as its business customers.
The Finnish mobile phone maker showed early signs of recovery in the final quarter of 2012, when it unveiled a surprise profit for its core mobile business unit for the first time in a year, driven by sales of its flagship Lumia smartphones.
However, the company warned that the razor-thin margins - 1.3 per cent - of the mobile division could turn to red again in the first quarter of 2013.
Nokia was once the largest maker of mobile handsets in the world with about 80 per cent market share in 2003.
Since then, it has been overtaken by Apple and South Korean giant Samsung.
Apple sold more iPhone 5s in the first weekend of its release last year than Nokia sold in the final quarter of 2012.
Nokia has also been losing ground in China, one of the most hotly contested mobile handset markets. Sales fell 80 per cent year-on-year in the last quarter.
The Nokia boss said his company had signed an important distribution agreement with China Mobile - the world's largest mobile carrier - to boost its presence in that country. Apple has yet to clutch a coveted deal with China Mobile.