The talking point is whether the recent Microsoft-Nokia alliance is going to push up the sales of Nokia, bringing forth better products and improving customer satisfaction. While there have been persistent murmurs of Nokia facing trouble in retaining it’s own, while facing stiff competition from Apple and Blackberry, it is still the world’s largest handset manufacturer though sales have been dipping.
However, Adam Greenfield, former Nokia’s head of design direction recently made very strong comments about the way things function at Nokia in his blogpost. Greenfield’s detailed description logically outlines the reasons for Nokia’s declining popularity. He refers to operational delays due to the large size of the organization, outmoded ways of thinking, Nokia’s stress on bulk production of highly popular models at the lowest prices which often leaves little room for innovation and greater stress on engineering than design, often leading to a clumsy finish.
In order to explain himself better, Greenfield refers to a technology called NFC or “near field communication” that was developed at Nokia with great effort and money, to allow signals to pass through relatively close placed objects. However, the necessity of replying to a text message to confirm the transaction on this software made the whole thing seem quite inept to Greenfield. Nokia ought to have left engineering and interface design separate, he felt so that the final product would look sophisticated and cater to user-needs.
Greenfield said: “there’s nobody with any taste in the decision-making echelons at Nokia. And this is especially unfortunate and ironic, given that elegant, simple Finnish design has tutored generations in what taste means.”
Again, Microsoft too has been facing some of these problems. There is the flipside to working in a bureaucracy and products have to have blockbuster potential before they are developed, just as in Nokia. However, Microsoft has made waves in recent times, with products such as Kinect and Windows Phone 7. Again, though Windows Phone 7 is being touted as Nokia’s high-end smartphone, it is believed that the original success it owes has more to do with advertising and less with the phone’s OS app platform.
Nokia’s chief executive, Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft executive described how Nokia should take this leap to move from strength to strength. However, both Nokia and Microsoft stocks went down after this announcement. Meanwhile there is the feeling that no matter what Microsoft-Nokia can bring to the fore, they will never be able to match up to Apple’s standards or challenge Google’s Android platform.