Who’s Minding the Ovi Store?

Nokia has been proudly touting some impressive statistics of its Ovi store recently, and on the surface they do seem promising.  Given their global cell phone sales numbers, that shouldn’t be surprising.  Even though Nokia has hit a rough spot, the company still manages to crank out more devices per year than any competitor.

However, looking into the details exposes some disturbing aspects.

Nokia, despite the numbers, Ovi Store still needs a lot more love.  Your slowness to embrace entreprenurial developers says that you still don’t see where you stand to differentiate yourself from your competitors.  Granted that gateways for quality assurance and security need to be in place, but that can be done and still accomodate independent developers.  You need to cultivate a large army of fiercely loyal coders to fill Ovi Store’s virtual shelves.  That will mean some creative solutions above and beyond what you’ve implemented so far.  There’s plenty of potential… so fulfill it!

I said a while back I would work on a more positive tenor here, so let’s end this on a constructive note.  My suggestion: you need to beef up your developer engagement staff in Ovi.  I recommend the following:

  • Developer Outreach Manager.  This role would focus on developer engagement at a high-level, working to clear legal and bureaucratic roadblocks within Nokia that are hampering developer acceptance of Ovi.  The role would be empowered to break down walls.
    • Developer Engagement Specialists.  A global team reporting directly to the above, with regional presence in all the important areas for Ovi Store.  Yes, I’m going to include the US in that.  These folks would act as liaison between developers and Ovi Store entity,  gathering feedback and driving improvements within the organization.
    • Application Quality Assurance.  You can’t have too many people testing applications.  This activity tends to be a bottleneck, so make the neck as wide as possible.

Maybe these roles, or something similar, are already in place… but given the lack of a formal presence at maemo.org, I have to assume they may not exist at all.  I’ve been hearing that Ovi suffers a lack of resources in general, and this is difficult to process– Nokia isn’t exactly hurting for cash, and in this downturned global economy there are plenty of candidates to expand the staff.

So no more excuses, Nokia.  You’ve said Ovi was the future of the company, and the Store is an important component of that strategy.  Let’s now see some more support for that.  And for those interested in being part of the solution, check these job listings.

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7 responses to “Who’s Minding the Ovi Store?

  1. Some good constructive points you’ve raised. Unfortunately I don’t think Nokia get it, they are running out of time before ovi store becomes a complete disaster (as opposed to a pending disaster).

    Ironically, in the U.K Nokia are now advertisting the Ovi Store during commercial breaks! Its like their non-effective marketing team thought it would be a good idea to create a t.v. advert for a service which nobody is interested in, plainly because it sucks. The user interface is so poor…only God knows what its like for developers.

  2. Ovi store is a failure (for now?) because on old school nokia phones people have no internet and order thru SMS.

  3. Let’s face it, the Ovi store is a joke. On top of the issues already cited, there are significant issues with processing credit cards, and a bad security model which allows paid content to be downloaded for free in some cases.

  4. Ovi store is indeed poor, except for the payment failure (credit card only is a pain!) the big problem is that one of the most powerfull devices out there (the n900) has 50% ovi support and almost no apps in it. when i bought the n900 i really thought i had bought a powerfull device with some awsome 3d games and apps wich use the max of the n900 hardware. but still a dozen apps and games have been released only buyable with credit card 75% of the nokia customers dont have. I dont understand why apps on the n900 cant be paiyed with phone bill like i can on the nokia X6, n96 and n95

  5. It seems to me from the comments above that you are preaching to the choir ;)

    Ovi store is just starting. I guess no one (including me) is head over heels about the way Nokia have pulled it off for now, but don’t forget that Nokia has a huge customer base. It’s enough if 10% of those “get it” for the Ovi Store to be much larger than any of the other competitors. It’s just a question of time.

    It is true that the experience has to improve a lot, but at least in some markets I can buy stuff from the Ovi Store without having to give anyone my credit card, not to mention browse the store before having an account!

    Check out the competition and let me know if you can do that? (Android is adding this in Froyo at a time when Samsung is creating their own store… Too late!)

    • Hmmm… I know those initials. ;)

      Really, all many of us are looking for here is higher and tighter engagement between Ovi Store and the external developer community. It just hasn’t been at the level it could and should be. And there has been plenty of time to make it happen.

      Many in this choir are willing to help improve things, too. You should know I’ll make myself available any way I can. I have the passion, interest and skill. Just ask. :)

  6. I am looking to dual boot with Android and possibly reflash my N900 with Android once there’s a fully working phone version.
    I do love my N900 from a hardware aspect. And maemo has many good aspects but the apps side is so badly lacking – I want all the silly games and fun apps that Android has.
    I wouldn’t never buy an iPhone but Nokia need to improve the apps for Ovi and have N900 support for all Ovi apps! Or at least some of them.

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