After a challenging couple of years, Paul Withers thinks Nokia is well placed to become the number one player in the enterprise market within the next year, especially with the power of Microsoft now firmly behind it
Nokia’s plight over the past few years has been well-documented, and although it has taken nearly three years, it finally appears its partnership with Microsoft is starting to bear fruit.
The manufacturer, which was acquired by Microsoft for £3 billion last month, had signed a deal with Microsoft to use Windows Phone as its proprietary operating system on its smartphones.
There were advantages and disadvantages to this: Nokia’s Symbian platform had been classed as dated and no longer fit to compete with the likes of Android and Apple iOS. On the other hand, it was seen as a risky move, as Microsoft had thus far failed to make any significant impact in the mobile space.
Since the deal was struck in February 2011 and the first Nokia device to use the OS, the Lumia 800, was released in November that year, Nokia and Microsoft have been quietly trying to build up the brand in the UK in times of stiff competition.
You get the feeling the two companies are confident all the hard work is starting to pay off, especially in the enterprise space, and it was refreshing to hear Windows Phone UK director Leila Martine share these views with Mobile News.
Two or even three years ago, most industry experts doubted whether Nokia could ever be a major player again. In the corporate space, BlackBerry was hanging onto its title as the enterprise leader, with growing platforms Android and Apple iOS gaining fast.
The same was said about the Windows Phone OS, with many questioning whether Microsoft would be able to raise the brand awareness of the platform to the point where it could go from being a challenger to a major player.
If the recent market share figures are anything to go by, it is achieving its aims. In the consumer space, Windows Phone has gone from no market share to around 10 per cent in the UK, thus establishing itself as the third ecosystem behind iOS and Android.
In the UK enterprise space, according to the most recent data from Canalys, Nokia’s share now stands at 18 per cent. Its momentum has been helped by contract wins with household names such as Britvic and Foxtons.
Martine thinks Nokia can achieve the pinnacle and be the number one player in this space this time next year. It’s a mighty ambitious target for a manufacturer using such a new OS, but the reasoning she put across to us made a lot of sense.
Over the past two-and-a-half years, Nokia has built up a portfolio of more than a dozen smartphones spread across a number of price points. Apple in particular doesn’t have this at its disposal as it has continued to focus its attentions on the premium market with the iPhone 5s and 5c.
Price is perhaps the most important element that Nokia and Windows Phone are looking to use to its advantage over Apple.
Nokia’s cheapest smartphone,the Lumia 520, costs just £60 SIM-free. Its most expensive is the Lumia 1520 at £490. This might change with the launch of its new flagship device, the Lumia 930, which is released next month.
In comparison, Apple’s device range is limited. The iPhone 5c costs £440, while its top-end device, the iPhone 5s 16GB, cost £530. You can see why Windows Phone is trying to make a big deal of device range across a number of price brackets.
When we talk to leading B2B dealers about recent contract wins, we’re hearing more and more they are now providing them with Lumia devices as opposed to most others. That shows companies are continuing to look to reduce costs and reinvest back into their business.
The corporate space has always been Microsoft’s heritage, so it will bring its experience together and will be well primed to make strides now it has a proposition to work with. Apple never talks up the iPhone in the corporate space and its next device won’t be released for another few months. Microsoft and Nokia has plenty of time to play with.
Nokia may have to double its market share to top Apple in the corporate space but with the power of Microsoft completely behind it, it is well primed to strike.