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Nokia: We’ll be on par with Apple and RIM by 2011

Contending that the handset maker’s declining smartphone fortunes steadied over the second and third quarters of 2009, Nokia executive vice president and mobile phones unit head Rick Simonson says the introduction of Maemo and the stabilization of the Symbian operating system will lead the firm to smartphone segment recovery in 2010. In an interview with The Economic Times, Simonson says the worldwide perception of the Nokia brand is shaped by its struggles to secure a foothold in North America: “We shipped over 200 million smartphones last year and our strategy is volume driven,” Simonson said. “We have been stable in this segment and are trying to strengthen our position in the North American market. There is a lot of money to be made in the North American market and since we are not doing too well there, it has resulted in our stock performance–this issue has been played up and media coverage makes it appear it is the same across the world, which is not the case.”

Simonson goes on to state that Nokia’s resurgence will hinge on “redefining mobilization of all aspects of the office,” with a pronounced emphasis on context, citing its 2009 agreement with Microsoft to integrate Microsoft Office software into upcoming Symbian smartphones. “By 2011, our efforts will start producing results, as we will be at par with Apple and RIM in smartphones,” Simonson continues. “Not only we draw level with them, we will also win the war because, in addition to email, we will be adding content, chat, music, entertainment and several other features, which will soon become very critical for success of any company in this space. Another crucial factor that will play a large role in our success is that we have the power of an open operating system coupled with the open distribution model that is not restricted by geographical or technology boundaries. Look at our targets for any segment of our devices for 2010–they are all 2 to 10 times that of any of our competitors.”

Simonson adds that Nokia’s revival also will depend on its global scale and reach. “Through an open system we are encouraging innovation,” he says. “We are helping more people–I mean, developers who produce applications for our system–make money. They stand to make more money with us because, our OS is used not just by Nokia, but several other handset makers since it an open system. Next, their apps will be used across the world, as our reach is unmatched and therefore, we present them with the biggest audience to sell their products. An open system enables us to work faster at beating competition in the pockets we are not doing too well, by doing things differently.”

For more on the Simonson interview:
– read this Economic Times article

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