updated 11:55 am EST, Mon December 10, 2007
Nokia on Apple, Google
Nokia describes Apple as the first credible newcomer to the cellular market in years, a new interview reveals. "It’s very clear that Apple, Google and other players are bringing in a lot of new directions," says company CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Among these is an increasing union of device functions; while Nokia has long made smartphones that perform most of the tasks of the iPhone, such as the N95, Apple's product is a unique combination of this with the easy media playback of an iPod.
More important to Nokia may be the changes Apple and Google are bringing to the cellular market. Whereas US carriers have traditionally reaped most of the revenue from cellphones, and dictated how devices are used, Apple has managed to coerce better data plans out of AT&T, as well as implement a revenue-sharing agreement that has inspired other companies to challenge old monopolies. In Europe for instance, Nokia has used revenue splitting to get its Ovi download service hosted through Vodafone.
Google's contribution comes in the form of the Open Handset Alliance, which aims to create a universal platform across phones and carriers that may turn the latter into entities more closely resembling Internet service providers. American carriers involved already include Sprint and T-Mobile, while phone makers include the likes of LG and Motorola -- notably however, Nokia has not been invited by Google, despite the fact that the former is the largest handset maker in the world.