Quick thoughts on Yahoo deal. Nokia gives-up on OVI Mail and Chat development. Great news!

Sometime in 2007, watching the explosion of Web 2.0 services, and looking into how to respond to the changes iPhone started to bring about, Nokia  decided that they don’t want to be only a mobile device company anymore. They  are gonna become an Internet services company from now on, you’ll just happen to access their  services through Nokia handsets.

A slew of acquisitions to boost OVI offering followed, new OVI services launched, relaunched, were tweeked and closed. Last year, we even got a single login to most of OVI working!

The problem is, Nokia was and still remains a hardware company at heart. They are still figuring out how to make good enough software, to run high end devices. Online services? To take on Google and the rest of the pack, who live and breath this thing? Good luck with that.

Nokia   might have acquired a lot software and net service talent along  the way, but most of it seems to get bogged down inside Nokia corporate structure. And, trying to get all the hodgepodge parts, that were once an independent companies, just to talk to each other, was a royal pain in the behind. Merging them into a seamlessly working OVI package? Well, if Nokia had another 5 years to dick around…

But they don’t have another 5 years. In fact, Nokia is already falling behind every day. And OVI services must have been eating up a lot of extremely valuable developer/programmer/management time, while getting nowhere. In the meantime,  things that really  matter – UX on Symbian, next generation Maemo/Meego  OS – were developed at a leisurely pace, and getting delayed into irrelevance.

The only part of OVI service suite, that worked really well, almost from the start, were OVI Maps. About the only thing I miss, when I decide to go about with Android handset today, is the access to them. And, just like any proper web service should do, Ovi Maps are evolving pretty fast, and keep getting better with each iteration.

The rest of the OVI? Contacts – I use them only to have aother back-up, just in case. Ovi mail? Never needed one. Chat? If I could find any friends on it… Files, share, calendar – have much better ways to do these.

So, today’s news that Nokia and Yahoo are combining their forces on Maps, Mail and Chat, is a great thing. Nokia must take a hard look at their OVI service offerings, pick what really works, is important, at least has a chance of succeeding, and ditch the rest. Replacing dud services, with third party offerings that already work.

Which is exactly what Nokia did, by letting Yahoo run OVI Mail and Chat. Yahoo Mail&Chat  might not be as sexy, as Gmail/Gtalk, but they have a huge installed user base, and, if implemented right, will help OVI adoption much more, then Nokia’s  own efforts in this area could. Upcoming possibility to login to Yahoo with OVI Id, is another major boon.

And, Nokia also gets a huge potential boost to the distribution for it’s  Maps service. While, a very good offering on Nokia mobile handsets, OVI Maps are virtually unknown on the Web. Again, much will depend on the execution, and how well OVI Maps team understands the Web, but becoming a default mapping provider on Yahoo, opens up great possibilities for the platform.

All in all, this deal is really good news. Of course, if Yahoo and Nokia do not screw it up during the implementation. Both companies are known have done that, once or twice 🙂

And, I hope, we are starting to see the first signs that Nokia is starting to focus where it really matters (great devices, with great user experience).  Recent reorganization, folding of OVI services and smartphones into one unit, outsourcing of non-performing service parts to an experienced partner, looks promising.

Now, if only we could get some results soon.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • andref1989

    Good article and summary, I've been feeling for a long time that some of the services they offer are truly brilliant like Ovi files which is free, ovi maps etc.
    Its the execution that seems to let them down, time and time and time again and by allocating resources to this they let their hardware stagnate to an extent. 2011 is going to be the the do or die year for them I feel, make a solid impression this summer with the N8 and symbian^3 release and they could well have the following, the investment and the fanbase to have a shocker of a 2011.

    Would hate to see the pioneer of GSM technology and mobile phones fall into the realm of insignificance.

  • moja

    yeah great news!!!