Nokia Chief Strategist: Apple will remain a niche player in smartphones, just like in computers

Cyber Monday Sale over 400  dealsMobile phone world unit sales leader Nokia recognizes errors in execution that have led to its eroding market share, according to a German language report by Sandra Louven for Handelsblatt. “In the past, Nokia focused too much on technical issues, instead of optimizing the design of our phones,” said Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s chief strategist. “But I am very confident that we now know what we must do, namely to build cell phones that are easy to use and that look good.”

Louven reports, “The Finns stand with a market-leading share of nearly 37 percent, but the new competition from Apple and from BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion in the retail business has the giant duly concerned; especially in the high-margin smartphone business.”

Louven reports, “‘Technically, the Nokia phones were much better than the iPhone,’ said Carolina Milanesi, the market researcher Gartner. ‘But were too complicated to use.’ In the coming years, ease of use will decide success and failure, said Vanjoki.”

Louven reports, “Still, Vanjoki expects that, in the end, Apple will amount to little importance in the market. ‘The development of mobile phones will be similar in PCs,’ predicts the chief strategist. ‘Even with the Mac, Apple has attracted much attention at first, but they have still remained a niche manufacturer. That will be in mobile phones as well.'”

The full article via Google German to English translation is here.

MacDailyNews Take: With a “Chief Strategist” like that, it’s no wonder Nokia is hemorrhaging market share, euros, and employees like there’s no tomorrow; because, for them, there likely isn’t. This quote ranks right down there with beleaguered Palm’s then-CEO Ed Colligan who said in November 2006, “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” Ed presaged his company’s fate by disappearing into obscurity earlier this year. The quote for which Vanjoki will likely be best-remembered (you might as well just start chiseling now, headstone carver) has been iCal’ed for copious and gleeful future use.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Karwa” for the heads up.]


  1. I love the arrogance of certain types who just can’t seem to understand that their “old school” thinking is keeping them blind to the currents of change, either in business, technology or social behaviors. These mindsets are the easiest to defeat, as history has shown over and over… <shaking my head at the obvious here…>

  2. LOL……. funny. Who wants to the be the market leader in unit sales at paper thin margins? Just wait for the end of that exclusive contract. They will be giving away Nokia’s sh*t for free…….. wait, they already do……. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  3. “But I am very confident that we now know what we must do, namely to build cell phones that are easy to use and that look good.” How do these guys get jobs? What kind of imbecile… oh well, if Nokia don’t go down there is no justice in the world.

    A player in the niche called ” the only part of the industry worth bothering about financially” and owning most of it. I spose ignorant shareholders vote ignorantly on their board.They’ve been carried along so far on the flow, with no competition, selling tons of crap and now people are turning away. Wether Nokia make it or not, people like these need to be recognized and got rid of. Maybe a job in marketing… oh, that’s what he is, sorry… ignore that. Just that the tone of the article implied he was important! hehe.

  4. or maybe the iPhone will end up like the iPod a niche player with the majority of the of the market ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  5. @pdxflint

    I agree. I just do not understand it. What works is right in front of them. I think it would take a miracle, maybe Steve Jobs could go to Nokia’s headquarters and actually layout the business plan for them. I guess the problem is, time isn’t on their side. Instead of dismissing the iPhone as a flop, they could have started a ground up project 2 years ago. They may have had something to compete right now. Instead, they are running in circles talking the same smack they were 2 years ago.

  6. In sports, they tell players and coaches not to say anything the other team can use as “bulletin board” material – statements that will help motivate the other team to reeeeeaaaalllly want to beat you but good.

    Apparently, Apple’s competitors haven’t quite figured this out yet…

  7. The thing is, Apple doesn’t MIND being a “niche player”, just as long as the “niche” is being the biggest player in the most expensive section of the market. They might not be quite there, quite yet, but they are certainly well on their way. Especially in the “profits” part.
    So, yeah. Nokia, you can have the bulk of the cell phone sales. Just let Apple have the largest share of the top 10% of those phones by value. Oh. Wait. They don’t need your permission for that. They just took it. Just pretend to have S.A.D., good ’til Spring.

  8. Prior to the iPhone, they obviously thought the best way to sell phones was to create phones that are “hard to use and look bad”.
    NOW the largest phone maker has it all figured out – at the end of 2009.

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