Tag Archives: developers

The Un-local Nokia

I’ve been pretty easy on my favorite former employer lately, even to the point of gushing over Nokia World 2011 and pouring out pure fanboy praise over a fantastic phone that will only see limited release.  But I don’t think I’d be performing my duty as a recently-renewed Developer Champion if I didn’t provide some much-needed critical feedback.  Lovingly, of course.

Nokia’s physical withdrawal from certain locales is not a new subject for me, but it’s reached a point where I’m more concerned than ever.  Of course most of my focus is on the United States, and more specifically, my home near Dallas, Texas.  In just a few years Nokia as a brand has become a complete non-factor here and just about the entire country.  I’m keenly observant of devices used by others and, outside of a small circle of open source enthusiasts, I’m seeing everything but Nokia phones in the hands of the general public.

None of that is news to most people.  And Nokia has made it very clear that it expects its fairly new Windows Phone strategy, coupled with impeccable and compelling industrial design, to get its high-end products back into regions (like the US) where product sales margins matter.

The continued problem as I see it, though, is that Nokia seems to expect that they can concentrate all efforts on a few key cities.  Its shrinking supply chain system has led to greater consolidation of localization activities at sites far removed from the end customers.  Now, for core needs this consolidation need not be an issue; a phone engine is a phone engine is a phone engine.  But as many companies are becoming increasingly aware, last-mile localization is an absolute must for finished goods.

This translates to customer Care activities as well.  Contract employees at remote call centers just cannot identify with many of the diverse clientele they are called upon to support.  It’s not just language barriers; cultural differences can be a real hindrance (not to mention cybersecurity risks).  But more than that, trade customers (i.e., AT&T, Telcel, Orange, et al) will not tolerate delays in problem resolution.  They will require local presence in key markets.  Continue reading

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Meeting up at MIX11

source: blogs.msdn.com

This is going to seem odd coming on the heels of an article covering the 2011 Texas Linux Fest… but bear with me.

When Forum Nokia informed its Champions that we would be granted free access to Microsoft’s 2011 MIX event, I greeted the email with a smile. I understood the motivation: the new partnership between Nokia and Microsoft. But I didn’t know how I would personally fit into the event. Yes, the bulk of my professional experience has been with Microsoft development tools, but more recently I’ve been supporting the open source Maemo and MeeGo communities. Not only that, but there was no way I could come up with the funds for the trip to Las Vegas.   Continue reading

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.

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Apples and applets

Just as Nokia does some perplexing housecleaning by shuttering Flagship stores (more on that later perhaps), Apple engages in a bit of store flushing of its own.

Turns out a Chinese software publisher was gaming the iTunes App Store with a little insider trading of sorts.  “Give me 5 stars for my app, I give you promotional codes”.

The payoff of course was a meteoric rise in rankings for what turned out to be crudely-constructed code fluffed up by equally low-grade user reviews.

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