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.
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- Nokia Messaging launched with support for Mail on Ovi and many email and IM solutions