Nokia and Research In Motion are not among the mobile companies that most people respect and envy today. Both companies have watched their market share plummet at the hands of Apple and Android, and their profits have evaporated with it. Meanwhile, both companies have suffered from a declining stock price as investor after investor decides that the best days of these companies are behind them.
Of course, it wasnt always like this. There was a time when RIM and Nokia were on top of the mobile marketone firm dominating the enterprise space and the other shipping more devices than any other in the world. RIM and Nokia were so far ahead of the competition that many believed they would never give up their top spots.
But in just a few short years that is just what has happened. Now both companies are on the death watch. Although both Nokia and RIM are likely to fail, oneNokiahas a better chance of surviving than the other.
Heres why Nokia may be able to survive and perhaps even recover in todays fiercely competitive mobile market.
1. Microsofts backing
One of the most important things playing into Nokias favor is its partnership with Microsoft. The software giant needs Nokia and its Lumia devices to succeed, so Windows Phone 7 can come closer to matching Android. That alone makes Nokia extremely important to Microsoft. The software giant just might dole out serious cash to prop it up if the worst happens.
2. Its willing to drastically change
Its important to point out that Nokia has expressed its willingness to make drastic changes to fix its business. The company has ditched Symbian, it has brought on new executive leadership, and it has inked serious deals with one-time competitors. RIM, meanwhile, has stayed the course. Thats a mistake.
3. The installed base is huge
Although Nokia isnt as popular as it once was, the company is still shipping more than 300 million handsets a year. RIM hasnt come close to matching that and never will. Until Nokias shipments drop significantlyby a couple hundred millionthe company will have a much greater chance of satisfying customers than RIM.
4. Remember emerging markets
One of the key reasons Nokia has been so successfuland will remain so in the coming yearsis its penetration in emerging markets. As nice as the iPhone might be, its expensive for people looking for new devices in emerging markets. Nokias products, however, are not. RIM has little-to-no presence in those emerging markets. Thats an issue for RIMand a real virtue for Nokia.
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5. Product innovation
Looking at RIMs products, its easy to see why so few people are impressed. The company has clung to the same basic designs as those it delivered years ago. Although it has faith in the physical keyboard, that really is a thing of the past. Nokia, on the other hand, has tried to deliver new ideas in its Lumia line. That willingness to innovate will go a long way over time.
6. Software development is tough
Although it was controversial, Nokias decision last year to use Windows Phone as its principal operating system was a smart one. The company can now let Microsoft worry about software development, and get its hands on the platform whenever its ready. RIM tries to deliver both the hardware and software. And unless the companys BlackBerry 10 will be able to match iOSa long-shot for sureits hard to see why it would invest so much in something that could pay off so little.
7. Consumers first
As much as RIM doesnt want to admit it, the mobile marketplace is now dominated by consumers. From the BYOD craze to the iPhones popularity, the writing is on the wall wherever the company turns. Nokia cares about consumers first. RIM is still enterprise-focused. Thats a major problem in todays mobile space where consumer mobile handset sales are spilling over into the enterprise market.
8. Think of the other software
Both Nokia and RIM deliver software solutions. However, Nokia tends to get the most out of those efforts. For example, the company is currently delivering software in the vast majority of in-dash mapping solutions in the automobile industry. In addition, its mapping services power a host of platforms, including Yahoo Maps. RIM has BlackBerry Enterprise Server and Mobile Fusion, but thats not enough. RIM software offerings are too focused for the companys own good.
9. Delays are an issue
When Nokia announced a partnership with Microsoft for Windows Phone 7 integration, the company promised devices by the end of the year and delivered. RIM promised BlackBerry 10 last year, and was forced to delay it until later this year. Delays are killers in the mobile space. So far, RIM doesnt seem to have gotten that memo.
10. Theres acquisition value
If the worst happens and either company needs to dump their business before it goes under, who really thinks a firm would choose RIM over Nokia? As noted, RIM has lost its way in the consumer space; the enterprise is starting to turn its back on the company; and management seems unwilling to admit defeat. Nokia, meanwhile, has a major production apparatus, its mapping services are wildly popular and it can still ship boatloads of devices worldwide at a profit. Simply put, Nokia has a greater acquisition value over RIM.