Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nokia World: OPK: Just call me Mr Internet

The two themes that dominated CEO OPK's presentation were "Internet", followed closely by "consumer benefits". In line with Keith Pardy's evocative description in the introduction of our vision to 'connect people with what matters to them', this first keynote was a fairly powerful message (to customers, partners and I suspect employees themselves) that the Internet is now a fundamental bedrock of the company's strategy going forward.

A smattering of stats shows that this game (which is still being called "mobile internet" but needs a bette name) has only just started. By end 2006 *only* 41% of people globally will own a mobile phone and *only* 13% will use them to connect to Internet. However, 1.3m new subscribers are joining a day (that's 15 per second) and most of these will be in emerging markets. Nokia now expects 3bn subscriptions to be reached by 2007 and 4bn by 2010, powered by selling almost 1bn phones (970m) this year. Conecting this idea - that the new growth is from developing markets, together with our Internet vision (OPK calls it "the third wave" of the Internet) is extremely motivating for me personally -- how much more interesting than downloading ringtones to spoilt kids?

On a less substantive level, I couldn't help being amused by the megawats of blaring music and funky video clips of leaping parkour hipsters that signalled his arrival on stage and interstitials. For all his many talents, OPK's USP is not exactly "youthful cool" - he admitted as much when talking about how David Bowie - the front man for the new Music Recommender Service - is one of his generation's heroes. So maybe his handlers are seeking to redefine his positioning, in line with that Internet thing? OPK meaning Oh Par Kour? What next, trainers, rollneck jumpers and a ponytail? I wouldn't bother. Shifting a couple of hundred million phones a year takes a fairly firm hand on the tiller and good delegation skills, so OPK's no-nonsense, not that cool approach works for me.

1 comment:

Jyri said...

Thanks for the nice, agreeable summary of a significant talk that could have received more attention. This is the first time I hear Nokia committing publicly to mobile consumer Internet as its core offering from the CEO himself.

At the same time I think it's important to recognize where the most pain currently is, and new certification requirements, costly toolkits, and a dysfunctional developer program that caters not to innovative developers but to protective operator needs are severly undermining the credibility of the S60 platform as an environment for delivering Internet services to consumers. I'd love to hear your constructive views on these issues.

The blog's a joy to read. Keep up the fantastic work.