Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What is Nokia EVP afraid of?

Last week I joined Nokia Developer Summit and had a couple of discussions there about the Nokiagate. Nothing new to tell about that case and the discussions followed the same pattern; first I was told there is no problem, then I explained the case and soon we were able to agree that the current implementation has a security problem. I’m still waiting for Nokia’s actions how this will be fixed in new devices and firmware versions.

One presentation at the Summit was about the new Nokia Email offering. We were explained the idea and customer need behind the new solution. My silent question before the presentation was “why to fix something that isn’t broken” and I guess I found the answer.

Please understand: what I write below is not what Nokia told, this is how I interpreted their message.

The problem that the new messaging solution tries to solve is not technical; the problem is in business. Now people accessing their email directly from mobile terminal are not generating enough revenue for operators and device manufacturers. On the other hand, user’s without data plan are unsure about the costs of the mobile email access. To “fix” this, new email solution is needed that allows new business possibilities. So, Nokia is trying to route consumer email via their servers so that operators can separate that traffic from other data traffic. When email traffic is identified, it can also be priced separately. Take a look what email.nokia.com says about the price:
“Nokia Messaging is currently provided on a trial basis. In the future, consumers will be able to acquire Nokia Messaging through an operator plan.”
Is this a beginning of an era of operators billing separately for different protocols? To open port 3128 (Nokia’s email service) customer must pay X euros per month, port 80 (browsing) is worth Y euros and so on.

A recent interview with Nokia’s EVP Tero Ojanper√§ reveals what is his biggest nightmare: that mobile user’s don’t want to pay for services, but instead go for free solutions, just like in the internet. If Nokia is bold enough to take the new email service to its extreme, be prepared to pay for your email access and after that pay for all the other protocols as well. A better way to get revenues from mobile services is to build so good and valuable new services that users are willing to pay for those. I’d choose the latter option if I were in Ojanper√§’s position.

//Harri

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