A missed opportunity

by Volker Weber

Photo Volker Weber

Sometimes things don't work out the way you thought they would. My trip to Berlin was one of those occasions. What I wanted to do was a short interview with Stephen Elop on all things Nokia. I had prepared about 20 questions and wanted short concise answers. I have done this before and know how that works. You need a 30 minute window and you end up with 20 minutes of footage.

What I got instead was an hour of "fireside chat" with four people where 20 minutes were lost on process (did not show up until 20 minutes into the hour) then 20 minutes of prepared remarks (all of which I had heard before) and 20 minutes of very, very long answers with a CEO demoing a photo app (which of course I had also seen before).

That was a waste of time. For all parties involved. We have all figured this out now.

Here is a little bit I got out of those 20 minutes:

  1. No, Microsoft is not too slow innovating (says Stephen). Nokia influences Microsoft by prioritizing changes they need. This lets Nokia get ahead in areas they want to innovate in. Think camera and maps.
  2. Drive+/Drive. Lumia 920, 820, 620 have Drive+ (free car navigation everywhere). Lumia 720 and 520 only include Drive (free car nav in your home country). The idea is to bring the price down for entry level devices by paying less money from right pocket to left pocket. HERE is Nokia's map business and they get revenue from providing Drive. 620 is cheaper than 720, but it was announced earlier. Anyway, this whole thing is messy and will get fixed. Drive+ needs to get out of beta for this to happen.
  3. Nokia has conflicting objectives with HERE. On one hand they want something for Lumia as an exclusive. On the other hand they need as many users on HERE as possible in order to get good telemetry. When Apple stumbled with maps, Nokia quickly offered HERE on iPhone. What they had at that time was not good enough. Nokia understands and will improve.
  4. Nokia will make other things than smartphones. When asked about tablets, watches, wearable computing, quantified self, Stephen would answer to the affirmative. However he would not preannounce anything (as was to be expected) or be specific. We will see other products with a Nokia badge, this far Stephen acknowledged. And yes, they will be in this space.
  5. Nokia started out with 920 and 820, added 620 then 520 and 720, now variants of the 920. Those variants are incremental changes which lets Nokia have hero devices in the US (920 on AT&T and 928 on Verizon) as well as have a refresh on the 920 theme with the 925. But there are bigger things in the pipeline for the rest of the year. We are only 5 months in.

That's it, Charlie Brown. I had a lot more on my plate. I wanted this to be a big interview with a lot of exposure. And I wanted it on video. I ended up with a nice conversation with a very sharp man.


Hmm. Disapointing...

Bodo Menke, 2013-05-30

...daily business of a Chief Executive Officer. Today Q&A with selected press at a one-hour-meeting. Man, I wouldn’t want to swap business with Mr. Elop! ;-)

Stefan Dziallas, 2013-05-30

Schade. Trotzdem vielen Dank, Volker! Insbesondere der letzte Satz macht mir Freude.

Hubert Stettner, 2013-05-30

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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