Nokia vs Apple, the Build Up Begins

Though not quite on a par with the buzz build that typically precedes an Apple launch, there’s a quite palpable sense of anticipation around Nokia’s announcements due next week. Central to them is likely to be Nokia’s re-defined music strategy, aimed squarely at taking on Apple. Indeed today there are reports that not only will Nokia be launching its own music download store, but that it will also be opening a flagship retail store on London’s Regent Street…which just happens to be where Apple has its flagship store.

Though the specifics of Nokia’s anticipated music strategy remain limited to conjecture in the public arena, Nokia and Apple’s swords are of course already well and truly crossed. The battle these two companies will continue to play out is part of a broader industry struggle for who will own the portable media player market. Put crudely, the endgame is to determine whether consumers will carry two devices (i.e. phone and MP3 player) or just one (i.e. a phone that is also an MP3 player). Nokia is betting on the latter. Apple’s heritage is in the former, though it has clearly staked some claim for the latter. Yet the iPhone isn’t just a fallback option, because it is likely that the final outcome will not be black and white. Some consumers will want big dedicated devices, others will be happy with a smaller capacity multifunction device, still others will rotate between both in different scenarios. So Apple is building for a mixed future.

But launching the iPhone was also a strategic counter thrust to Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola etc. It opened up another flank on the ‘away’ territory of the mobile world, pre-empting Nokia’s own ‘away’ flank of buying the predominately PC based OD2 music platform.

Myself and a number of my colleagues will be posting plenty more about this topic over the coming weeks, so watch this space.

Also, if you are a journalist and would like to talk with a Jupiter analyst on any aspect of this story now or in the coming weeks then please email PRESSEUROPE AT JUPITERRESEARCH DOT COM.