Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Challenging the Iphone’s dominance: Microsoft-Nokia, Sony-Google, but what about Nintendo?

Over a week where reports of Ipad 2G have been intensifying, it is also a stark reminder of Apple’s overwhelming dominance that news of an Iphone jailbreaking breakthrough (pun intended) of the iOS 4.2.1 has probably generated more forum interest than any of Nokia’s products in the past 6 months.

(picture taken from www.gossone.com)

As I have written before on my blogpost in Dec 2010:

“Typically it seems that during their developmental process, Apple usually identifies 1 feature that would be game-changing and implement it very well, thus differentiating itself from the other industry players. For example, it was the focus on the AppStore that made the iphone such an incredible success even though Androids and Symbian phones typically have more hardware features.”

Stephen Elop, former Microsoft employee and newly minted Nokia CEO probably explained it better when in an internal memo, he apparently dissected how Apple, with its assembly plants in China, has changed the game:

“At the lower-end price range, Chinese OEMs are cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, "the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation." They are fast, they are cheap, and they are challenging us.

And the truly perplexing aspect is that we're not even fighting with the right weapons. We are still too often trying to approach each price range on a device-to-device basis.

The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.”

(extract from supposed internal memo from Nokia on Engadget.com)

We can see where all this is heading for Nokia because it has been reported that Nokia is in talks with Microsoft over a potential Nokia Windows 7 tie-up. Given that Sony has gone public with its Xperia Play (aka next-gen PSP phone) and its Android core, clearly the gaming and phone market landscape will be reshaping in a huge way over the next several months.

The Apple Appstore success has obviously fuelled a three-way industry realignment with Nokia and Microsoft potentially combining its developer base, with a strong gaming pedigree provided by Xbox combined with still-attractive Ovi store offerings like Nokia’s GPS mapping applications. While at one corner, we see Sony and its playstation gaming developer base going in with Google’s Android.

Well that will leave Apple and Nintendo free to co-operate with each other wouldn’t it? Now, that would be an awesome pair-up….

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