As Michael Gartenberg says, Nokia make MP3 players, they just happen to be telephones as well.
And the strategic pitcure becomes a little clearer with Nokia’s Anssi Vanjoki telling the FT
“We want to be a global leader in mobile music experiences, and if that means operating in areas where Apple is, then so be it,” (my emphasis)
1 – In short, Nokia want to [further] pursue a music eco-system for their music enabled phones (such as the N-91)
2 – This means taking Apple head on in competing for consumer’s MP3 listening.
3 – Continuing OD2’s Internet music white label business opens up another front against Apple for Nokia.
In short, the main battleground is for music enabled devices, but if winning that battle requires simultaneously fighting on previously unfamiliar territory then so be it.
Will it work? Well there are lots of other unanswered questions:
1 – Will dedicated or multifunction devices win out?
2 – Will the operators enable Nokia to aggressively pursue their mobile digital music strategy (whether it’s over the air downloads or as Card hopes side-loading, both threaten operators’ music strategies). Remember operators have the ‘broken arrow’ option of handset subsidies to play should they need to.
3 – Can the Apple iTunes / iPod model work on mobile phones? Operators play a very different role than ISPs do for the PC
4 – Will Nokia be able to turn around OD2 sufficiently to turn it back into a serious contender on the European stage?
But even with those questions looming, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s been a tough old couple of months for Apple. First they get hammered by the French legislative machinery (which we now have to wait for the first implementation by the regulators following Mr Chirac’s signature to the amended bill). Then the Nordics get narky (to which Apple have responded in pretty vociferous manner, suggesting they’ve been advised by their legal team that they have a pretty strong case). Next Microsoft say that they deploying their own ‘broken arrow’ option and planning to take on Apple head on, essentially bypassing (underperforming) existing partners. And finally along come Nokia with their two pronged attack.
In my book that is a quadruple whammy.