Ovi: door, wall, or minefield?

Sorry to be picking on Ovi.com again, but it has been a few months and recent developments (such as announcement of Nokia’s N900 tablet phone) beg an update.

I’ve been slowly trying to move into and live in the beautifully remodeled house of Ovi, but there are so many broken appliances that the landlord deserves a complaint.  Ovi Contacts can’t be used by Ovi Mail (???!!!) for one, but then again, the Contact syncing started acting up on me last week so maybe like the Mail service it is still too immature for regular use.  Ovi Mail is so far only sending 3 out of 4 emails for me.  That’s not good enough for me to switch from Hotmail (my current internet email provider).

Then to top things off, I read that Nokia’s music service will not be coming to the United States until 2010.  This increasing delay continues to confound me, although blogger opinions on the subject make sense.  What doesn’t is Nokia’s failure to solve the purported issues (like burdensome Digital Rights Management (DRM), lack of blockbuster phones for the service and carrier demands for higher cuts of profit) that have kept a program like Comes With Music from being a success.  Music is a highly compelling usage for handheld devices so this ongoing issue only serves to fuel the cynicism of pundits claiming that Nokia’s promise of renewed US presence is hollow (see my recent post on the subject).

But I don’t want to just gripe, I want to help improve the situation.  So like a good beta-tester I have been reporting my experience to Ovi support.  One thing I can say so far is the experience has been pleasant in a social sense: contact has been friendly and well-intended.  Unfortunately, help is light on the technical side which is requiring more emails to troubleshoot my problem (Ovi quit syncing contacts on my E71x; still unresolved) than it should in my opinion.

The impending arrival of the N900 and whatever else is introduced at Nokia World 2009 will just exacerbate this.  By now people naturally expect Ovi to have become fully equipped and rolling steady, and Nokia’s proclivity to release increasing numbers of Ovi-enabled devices will just exacerbate those expectations.  The N900 alone is enjoying buzz Nokia has not seen in years, but nothing kills buzz faster than failed promises and ineffective support.

That leaves Nokia with about a month to fix Ovi in my estimation, and I daresay if it is not by done they might as well think about shutting it down.  It’s well past due time to bring on the necessary resources and just get it done.  No more showstopper bugs, no more beta.  And no more excuses either– in today’s economy, there are plenty of us available and ready to make this endeavor work.  Just hire the people.

Nokia, you’ve already lost the difficult-to-reach segment and they’re high on the Ovi Failure bandwagon.  Blog after blog is readying funeral announcements… and gleefully at that.  There may not be many more opportunities to prove them wrong before the promise becomes nonviable and you lose even the devotees and risk-seekers.

I want Ovi to succeed.  I’m ready to settle in and just use it.  So how about it, Nokia?  When do the corporate sleeves get rolled up?  Mine already are.  ;)

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12 responses to “Ovi: door, wall, or minefield?

  1. Pingback: Nokia World 2009 « Tabula Crypticum

  2. What else can I say but: “sigh”? :(

    I cannot understand why the heck they don’t simply fix this thing. There’s no visible progress. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. All these months… nothing.

    It’s not rocket science, you know. I set German as my preferred UI language. Next time I log in, it’s English again. How hard is that?
    Buttons on Share on Ovi don’t align properly when the browser window is only a little bit narrower than expected. HTML, anyone?
    Oh, and what’s the point of “Sharing” on Ovi if the people who you *share* your images with don’t receive the mail with the link every other time? Not to mention the fact that uploads sometimes work, sometimes don’t?
    I still can’t sync my contacts. I bugged everyone about it. Other users of S60v3 devices report this problem as well. Nokia support says: “It works.” – Thak you very much.

    Doesn’t anyone ever *try* these services before they release them? Even if they don’t… why don’t they at least process customer feedback then? Try to identify and solve problems? Instead, they cut back functionality…

    I’m afraid it’s a lost cause. :(

    • It really is mystifying, isn’t it? The silence from Nokia isn’t helpful, either. I sure hate to beat up on the people in the trenches if the generals are the ones actually responsible for this ongoing disaster…

  3. Well, you worked there didn’t you? Why do you thing Ovi is like this?

    • I worked in the Nokia Demand/Supply Network, not Internet Services… so all I really can do is speculate here.

      My guess is that Ovi is understaffed and disorganized. Poor response to bugs and general complaints is certainly a good indicator of the former.

      Also, Nokia is laying off in some areas and hiring in others, which can’t be helping overall morale. I’m not certain that the new and remaining employees are assured that they’ll be around for a while. This is ironically compounded when a supposedly “new star” operation is undersupported by executive management.

      Again, sheer speculation on my part. But what isn’t speculation is that customer belief in the prospects of Ovi is a generally fading sentiment. The only way to turn that around is for Nokia to fully commit to and engage in whatever it takes to FIX the root causes.

  4. Yes, I agree with you in some topics.

    Nokia has started, for the first time their history, laying off people which steps a bit the borders of their caring company culture. In the meantime they are heavily recruiting in the Services Unit. Over 2.000+ people in less than two years joined this unit (internal+external). Whatever people say I cannot say they could do it any other way.

    I do not agree Nokia Services is understaffed, I would agree is “under-managed”. Most of the middle and high management comes from Devices… which as everybody can see in their previous and current Software decisions do not excel in that area.
    It feels they are disorganized in the same manner a start-up is disorganized, everybody wants to do it but really don’t know what or how :)

    Also agree that Nokia needs to engage and do not leave Ovi to fade away. The key is to first engage Nokia staff from top down. It is crazy the disbelief from Devices and other units in Services and their flagship products: music, maps, games, media and image sharing… Monetization is the buzz-word form Devices and (build) momentum is the one for Services.
    Both want to protect their asses, Devices is afraid of being pushed to some Taiwanese hw factory and Services to run out of Devices money…

    In the end Nokia ‘still’ has big pockets and can pour a lot of money on building products wihout any solid business model. They have a big chance to score as they can still pull their software all the way up the supply chain to the consumer…but even if they are the de facto “handset” company they wont get unlimited chances to do so.

    Nokia started doing rubber boots and ended up mass producing unbreakable low-end handsets let’s see if they can upgrade themselves again :)

    • You’ve obviously dug into the personnel aspect deeper than I have. ;) Thanks for the details.

      What’s funny to me is that the Software organization would be heavy with former Devices management that would be the cause of poor execution, while many laid-off rank-and-file Device employees that I know of could have easily made the switch and supported Ovi’s success. One certainly comes to mind…

  5. Some good news: Ovi Mail is working much better now. The past few days it appears to be 100% reliable. :)

    The bad news is that Contact syncing is still broken. :(

  6. I have had issues with Ovi Chat and Ovi Sync for months now, and have repeatedly asked for someone from either of these teams to contact me. I was also unsuccessful in tracking someone from these teams down at Nokia World. It’s like they don’t exist or something. Amazing.

    Meanwhile, I’ve moved all my contact data to Google, which makes Android look even more enticing (at least somewhat).

  7. Pingback: A little Ovi update « Tabula Crypticum

  8. Pingback: Getting Over Ovi « Tabula Crypticum

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