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Round table with Nokia Vice-President – Anssi Vanjoki

January 18, 2009

Round table with Nokia Vice-President – Anssi Vanjoki

Eldar Murtazin of Mobile-Review.com had an exclusive interview with the Mr. Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia Vice-President. This interview evoked lots of thoughts for all readers while providing great insight.

One particular question that Eldar Murtazin posed to Nokia Vice-President – Anssi Vanjoki was VERY interesting and enlightening.

Speaking of the financial crisis – will it force Nokia to revise some of your plans regarding new products or market strategy?

A.V. Actually the economic downturn means that we have to speed things up, and instead of freezing some of our projects we need to do exactly the opposite. We have to make sure that all these new services and products launch on schedule, so we are focusing on getting everything done rather than postponing some of our solutions. Another thing about economic downturns is that it’s exactly the time when new winners are built and we really want to be among them.

Nokia has not only the expertise, the programmer coder base, but also the finances to deliver low, mid, and top-tier devices and perfect or deliver new services that enable these Web2.0 (Internet & collaboration) devices. Yes Nokia isn’t the largest & most powerful phone manufacturer in the world for no reason. Nokia is about Connecting People.

Over the past few years Nokia have been really pushing some of their new products on the US market. Will we see any changes in your US policy down the line, with the financial crisis raging out there?

A.V. I think that we will just continue with our strategy, although a bit faster than before, now that we have invested into a product development center based in San Diego that makes phones for the US alone (we have just started developing two products for Verizon, and more are to come for AT&T), so we are making great progress there, step-by-step.

This is an amazing BRIGHT star in the North American solar system. This brings great news to the delight of the North American marketplace as well as to S60 Ambassadors based here. With more presence of Nokia products – especially on AT&T and Verizon – it give us the ability to better highlight devices to potential users; especially with a subsidized pricing model that presents more value to end users. E71x just being released by AT&T; roughly 2 months after Rogers Wireless shows their efforts in earnest is working to Symbian & Nokia’s favor. The Nokia 6555 flip is a great low range offering on AT&T as well.

However, why was there no mention of Rogers Wireless in the North American initiative? Why is it only the US market ever concerned or conceived as a potential marketplace? Does Eldar know that Nokia & Rogers have a strong relationship? Previously Nokia 6620 & 6682 being released here 3yrs ago, and recently Nokia N95-4 with 9 months of GREAT sales success and 3 months with Nokia NGage & Nokia Maps being a collaborative effort of features released to end users on Rogers?? Surely this NGage announcement is a milestone enough for Nokia not to forget.

There is one small segment of Eldar’s interview that had me completely in disagreement. It was more of a question that I’m sure needed to be fielded to evoke the correct answer. Today’s internet is NO LONGER about Search! This is so 4 years ago and to think that the worlds largest search engine and service provider’s core business is around this is ludicrous. Here is a few recent events to back up my claim before I post the article question from Eldar. All the following quotes can be found from Google Finance.

Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc May Walk Away From Search Deal-Reuter
Thursday, 30 Oct 2008 10:00pm EDT
Reuters reported that Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc could announce a decision to walk away from their search deal by the middle of next week. The two Internet companies have so far failed to reach an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on implementing their search advertising partnership. The deal, which allows Google to sell advertising for some of Yahoo’s online advertising space, has drawn fierce criticism from advertisers, who fear higher prices.

Yahoo! Inc. Announces Termination Of Services Agreement By Google Inc.
Wednesday, 5 Nov 2008 10:32am EST
Yahoo! Inc. announced that Google Inc. has terminated the advertising services agreement the companies announced in June. Yahoo! continues to believe in the benefits of the agreement and is disappointed that Google has elected to withdraw from the agreement rather than defend it in court. Google notified Yahoo! of its refusal to move forward with implementation of the agreement following indication from the Department of Justice that it would seek to block it, despite Yahoo!’s proposed revisions to address the DOJ’s concerns.

US Judge Gives Initial OK To Google Inc.-Publishers Pact-DJ
Monday, 17 Nov 2008 09:07pm EST
Dow Jones reported that a federal judge granted preliminary approval to a $125 million settlement between Google Inc. and authors and book publishers in lawsuits over digital copies of copyrighted books on the Internet. In an order U.S. District Judge John E. Sprizzo in Manhattan initially signed off on the settlement, in which individuals and institutions will be able to buy online access to copyrighted, out-of-print books through Google. Free access also will be provided to public and higher education libraries under the settlement. A fairness hearing, in anticipation of final approval of the settlement, is scheduled for June 11, 2008.

Here is Eldars question with Mr. Anssi Vanjoki’s response; which I might ad is so on point for the direction of Nokia services.

Today’s web environment is more about content search rather than anything else. However, Nokia offers only very basic search capabilities on this front, and it’s clear that you will need to step up your efforts here to remain competitive. What are going to do about your search engines?

A.V. While there are some old-time players out there, that have been around for a very long while (like Google), we believe that Nokia isn’t that far behind in this field, it’s just that we had to start from a totally different position. Speaking of the modern search engines, they aren’t complex at all – to put it simply, they are all about indexing the whole world, every web page and resource. But when we get to coordinates and relationships between people, the algorithms required to carry out semantically important, intelligent searches are still not here, and naturally, we are investing significant resources into this field in an effort to make our vision of the future come true, where Nokia will be coordinating the whole world. And it’s obvious there is no way we can achieve that with technologies as primitive as indexing – we need to invent a way to tie up the user’s real life relationships with his virtual life and this problem is of a completely different scale.

You see, the future of the internet is not simply about search else every mobile device now would be entirely focused around that old concept. Sure every device has it but its NOT the “killer app” nor a major focus. Nokia is going better than that. Nokia’s concept of the Web2.0 is for Creation, collaboration, and moving of data. Anything is considered data. Pictures, Videos, A monument, GPS data, eBooks, Music. Now Lets say your on a trip to visit the Taj Mahal. During your trip you take photos & videos and upload them to Ovi & your other community services – Flikr, etc. Although a picture is worth a thousand words, the GPS data embedded compiles those words into a story! Now your blog entry, or memoirs of your trip tell more, along with music tied to the Indian culture, the history of the Taj Mahal – video of the Taj Mahal with pictures tell its elevation, height, and with Notes from the tour guide tells MORE of tis history showing about its creators, reason for being created, place among nearby historical structures, and place in modern day structures of its home city & people. This is creating web2.0, and collaborating amongst users will to browse & experience your content. The goal of web services is to be what Brainiac was to Cryton in the Superman comics. Basic Internet search is what we have with Google’s search site. IF Google has moved into Maps, Google Apps, and now Google Books & Financial data; search will always be there, but its no longer the driving vision of the internet that it once was.

Lastly, I’m ecstatic over their current silence – Nothing I can talk about – regarding Video as a service and offering!

Video uploads to Ovi
Ability to share over a WLAN/HSPA connection (LTE providers awaiting the fruits of such a service). Downloading or renting movie, cartoon, and special broadcast content. HBO is PRIMED for such a business partnership. Video is PERFECT for a rental service – with specific episode, movie and TV show downloads. Not ALL video content users wish to completely own although it would be nice. I’d like to see Disney, HBO, Pixar, CNBC, Reuters, BBCNews, and other content providers around the world – ESPECIALLY in other countries and languages partner with Nokia. Nokia’s video service can be unique because with a partnership with BBCNews – users can contribute to their local content wiht their Nokia S60 N/E-Series phones. Nokia could go further and allow user created content to be uploaded to their service – or even to Youtube and similar services for a sharing fee with a percentage payable to N/E-Series users that create the content to be shared.

The biggest benefit for such a service is if Nokia begins to utilize 3D Video encoding/decoding chips in future products; especially ones that support 4:3 & 16:9 aspect ratio’s with XVGA recording (30fps) and TV Out at such a resolution to a TV or HDTV.

Those are my weekend thoughts. Please feel free to comment on them here.

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