Nokia vice-president: There's no ‘silver bullet' for Windows Phone success

Windows Phone has recently reached or exceeded 10% share in many markets, while its position as the ‘third mobile ecosystem’ has been firmly established as BlackBerry continues to crumble. But there’s still a long way to go, not only to match iPhone’s share of the market (which now stands at over 14% worldwide compared with Windows Phone’s 3.3%), but also to narrow the gap with the current leader, Google’s Android, which dominates 79% of the market.

After arriving late to the smartphone party, Nokia has struggled for growth in that segment. While it has come to represent 90% of Windows Phone device shipments, it’s still the biggest fish in a very small pond, but it carries much of the responsibility for the platform’s future success. Nokia’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, Chris Weber, told Engadget that the company understands that there is still much to be done.

When asked what he thought would be the key to the platform’s growth, he replied: “I don’t think there’s a silver bullet. It’s the portfolio, it’s great marketing to make sure people are aware of the capabilities, and it’s making sure that the apps are there.”

Apps have remained a constant thorn in Windows Phone’s side, with the lack of top-tier titles and long waits for availability remaining factors in consumer decisions to choose other platforms. But at its Nokia World event this week, the company revealed that the long wait for Instagram to join the platform would soon be over. Nokia also announced at the launch of the 41-megapixel Lumia 1020 that Flipboard, Path and Vine are coming to Windows Phone too.

Weber says that this changing state of play on the apps front, along with strengthening the existing portfolio of software, will be important for Windows Phone’s future: “The apps that we have, we have to make sure that they’re as good as – and in many cases better than – what you get on the competitive platform.”

Source and image: Engadget

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Got off on the wrong foot by calling it 'Windows' Phone to start with.

That just conjures up negative reaction to the average person in the street.

Apps and Notifications are the biggest hurdles it faces. Also the out of the box experience needs to be much better. The first time you log into a Windows Phone the start screen is an ugly mess. Unlike Android and IOS that look best with very little content, Windows Phone looks unfinished. Especially the Live Tiles for the Carriers are ugly and the stock photos are also not very good.

I agreee with him, what makes people chose a smartphone is hardware + apps

I got a Lumia 920 (wanted a Lumia 1020), the reason i chose it was:

- Office
- Nokia Here Drive+ (no need internet to have a map/gps)
- "good" camera (hardware) and camera apps

I hope that good quality of apps comes to the Windows Phone store, this will meke a difference.

True, but you also need lots, and lots, and lots of hype. So far Nokia is good at generating hype- but they fail hard in the long period between announcing their products and actually getting them into customers hands. In the weeks it takes for a new Nokia device to hit the market, any hype around it has already died down and has been overshadowed by an Apple or Samsung/android product.

The other thing they need to succeed is a positive image in the techpress by gaining mindshare, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Right now the fashionable thing in the majority of the techpress is to always write any articles concerning Nokia/MS with a negative tone, since they know that will generate clicks and ad revenue. The only way they can fix that image is to keep releasing great products and pushing innovation, but in the current anti-anything MS environment, it'll take years to repair its image and gain mindshare similar to Apple, samsung, or google.

I have to agree, hype is a much needed. People buy iphones and some androids but don't care what it does or not, a few people checks out what they realy need before the buying.

You gotta commend microsoft/nokia. No other company in the industry takes as much criticism and hostility from the the tech press or the internet, yet they keep moving their business forward with positive growth each year.

Anaron said,
Even the haters can't deny the hardware Nokia puts out. The camera in the Lumia 1020 is amazing.

If they made an Android phone, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Someone else said it above, but it needs to be said again -- Nokia had a chance to save themselves had they went with Android.

runningnak3d said,
If they made an Android phone, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Someone else said it above, but it needs to be said again -- Nokia had a chance to save themselves had they went with Android.

I haven't ever bought a Nokia smartphone, although they were my first choice before smartphones.

I will never buy a Nokia that runs WP8. If they put android on it, I'll be first in the queue to buy one!

Android wouldn't have saved them. Barely any android OEM is making money off of Android due to Samsung's dominance worldwide. This talking point has gotten tiresome. Nokia needed to set itself apart in the changing smartphone market, and needed a partner who was devoted and willing to drop serious cash to help them develop a new ecosystem and get a foothold in the market by setting themselves apart. If nokia went with android it would be just another also ran android device OEM, struggling and in decline now just like HTC and Motorola- despite their superior build quality on their flagship models. Nokia needed to be able to attack the low end of the market with low spec hardware (android runs like crap on low specs. Try running 4.3 on 512mb of ram and honestly say its a good experience), and be able to launch it's flagship models with enough backing in higher value markets.

The average consumer actually doesn't give a poop about an sd card or a removable battery- that can't be used to blame on the decline of the other android OEMs. If that was the case then the iPhone wouldn't be selling as well as it does today even with its limited storage space. The problem is that Samsung's huge product line, mindshare, and MASSIVE advertising budget is just to much to compete against for any other Android OEM.

Wapoz said,
Android wouldn't have saved them. <SNIP>

I see that WP has them *rolling* in money. Oh wait, no it doesn't. They have really good hardware, tis a shame that I can't buy that hardware with a decent OS.

runningnak3d said,

I see that WP has them *rolling* in money. Oh wait, no it doesn't. They have really good hardware, tis a shame that I can't buy that hardware with a decent OS.

Yeah, just completely ignore everything else I said so you can keep on trolling. Just how many Android OEMs posted an actual profit this year besides Samsung? Oh, that's right, LG, HTC, and Motorola all reported a loss.

I have a HTC Windows Phone and the biggest issue I see coming over from an iPhone is the lack of apps. I think its not the hardware as much as the apps. Most of the apps I had on my iPhone I could do without, but there are some that I wish they would develop for the WP.

IMO the developers that do Android and iPhone apps just don't seem to want to add WP, as they probably look at it as a fad and that it will go away and why bother as 95% of the mobile devices are either IOS or Android.

Enron said,
Soon the developers won't have a choice. Windows Phone is growing, especially outside of the US.

Will be hilarious in a year or two when all the haters will be trying to find new excuses.

"WP8 dead on arrival" then it morphed into "WP8 dying". Then "Not growing fast enough". Meanwhile they just keep putting out good devices (not just nokia) and a good OS that runs well. Apps are getting there...I don't find myself limited.

They need a two-pronged approach.

Microsoft need to step-up the rate of feature editions, which it looks like they are now doing with Update 3 containing a respectable amount of additions for a mid-release update.

They really lost time with WP7, and then rebuilding WP8 on NT and going for the same level of user-facing features.

Secondly, they really need to up the quality of the Apps. Even if they need to pay people to do it. Even the official apps they do have in the store like eBay and Flickr are of really poor quality and nowhere near a comparison to their iOS/Android counterparts.

Perhaps they should hire Rudy Huhn to develop more apps because his wikipedia and 6tag apps are great.

Oh, and also Nokia need to sort their numbering scheme out. It makes no sense, they need to rebrand their devices to make it more clear what is high, mid and low end and make those separate to the WP7 devices which can still be found for sale. E.g Lumia 900, 920 are too close to differentiate the big differences between them.

The whole thing is just a plain, straight-forward cluster-f*ck as far as Nokia is concerned really.

They picked a low volume OS when they were in the sh*t (Android was probably not the answer they wanted, but as an interim solution would have seen them still shift decent volumes of smartphone handsets if MeeGo and Symbian really had to die) took on a trojan-horse, ex MS shill to run the shop (who has now succeeded in flogging the mobile division to MS - quelle surprise), the same shill who is now tipped to replace Balmer at MS (again, what a surprise) and who yesterday stated that MS would be quite likely to drop the Nokia brand from future handsets (the Nokia brand was always weak in some western markets - the US in particular)

So basically the numpties at Nokia were so short sighted that they bent over and took a right royal shafting and have lost their mobile division (inc manufacturing and supply chain) whilst the bloody good engineers who they sent down the road have re-grouped and formed a new company (Jolla) which in it's own right is now generating considerable interest and enthusiasm among consumers with it's first handset and own OS - which is more in line with the vision and execution of the Nokia of old - the one that many people loved and were loyal to for decades, than the current shell of a once industry leading giant.

So sad, so avoidable, such a balls up!

In defence of their decision; you either go for Android and get zero assistance by Google (software, marketing etc), Meego which has to deal with creating a ecosystem from the ground up, or the third option begin Windows Phone 8 where the parent company has billions in the bank and a willingness to spend, spend and spend to get results which include providing developer support, marketing, building and maintaining the operating system etc. If you're low on cash and need a sugar daddy to keep you alive you really only have one choice - Microsoft.

Nokia was riding a train to oblivion before they made the decision to go with Windows Phone. At least you understand that Android wasn't the solution. Samsung simply dominates that area and they have a really high marketing budget. At least with Windows Phone, Nokia has something unique. And they're getting a lot of support from Microsoft. Right now, they're the Samsung of Windows Phone. There's a lot of value in their WP devices because they have exclusive system apps that set it apart from what HTC and Samsung offer. I currently have an HTC 8S and my next device will likely be a Nokia and it's mainly do to the great hardware they have as well as the additions they've made to WP. There's a lot of positive buzz surrounding their new devices and if they release a 5" 1080p device, then I think 2014 will be a great year for Nokia. It's up to Microsoft now to really iron out the issues with WP. Hopefully, we'll get a notification centre as well as separate controls for voice calls and media in WP8.1.

The release of GDR3 and the fact that Instagram, Vine, and other apps are on the way is a sign of things to come. The future isn't as gloom as you may think.

Anaron said,
Nokia was riding a train to oblivion before they made the decision to go with Windows Phone.

The end of the line is within sight now. The Nokia that non-business consumers know will cease to exist outside of a brand for MS to milk for a while.

I don't know what the right decision would have been, however WP & Elop wasn't it.

Oh just update the Lumia 925 with the latest processor, give 32Gb and 64Gb option and put the best camera you can that fits the phone. It's useless blaming the OS when people are confused what top of the line Nokia Phone to buy. I see the latest iteration of smartphones from Nokia simply as a distraction for the end user. Focus on what you have and update it to make it the best. It's that simple.

32Gb is just 4GB.

Gigabits = Gb
Gigabyte = GB

And all Nokia simply need to do is make a smaller 4.8 - 5" screen version of the new 1520. With same great specs, same 1080p res. As 6" is too big for many, although it certainly has a market as the Galaxy Note proves and will help WP.

What they're doing is working, WP share is growing, more volume market models like the 520 in the future is what they need. And having said that, the 1320, for as big as it is, is a volume play at that $360 or so price tag.

The hardware is solid, the rest is to keep updating WP. Finally with the WP team now being part of the Windows team as one group that should speed up. And I honestly think it has started to show, GDR2 was done in April, GDR3 done in September, or maybe late August from what people were saying (there has to be device testing after RTM etc). 4-6 months between them is good and with the new preview program they just started people don't have to wait for carriers if they don't want to.