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Nokia and Microsoft’s sharp-looking new phone, the Lumia 900, is coming out today, and while there are no visible signs of panic, both companies desperately need a winner.
Nokia has been struggling for years now to compete in the rapidly changing mobile market, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS has achieved only 2% penetration. Both companies are in danger of being locked out entirely, and need a smash hit.
So far, the results of their labors look pretty good. But will that be good enough? Nokia lost $1.4b in 2011, which includes a fourth quarter cash payment of $250m made by Microsoft. If the Lumia isn’t a breakout, is Microsoft willing to keep Nokia afloat?
Microsoft operates one of the richest software businesses in the world, but that doesn't mean the company always finds it easy to get its way.
In the mobile space, the Redmond giant has arguably developed a respectable mobile OS, but by in large, iOS and Android are getting most of the love from developers.
Today, Apple thoroughly dominates the tablet space, and a couple of other pseudo-competitors (Amazon and Barnes & Noble) arguably are successfully extending the tablet market by targeting individuals who aren't as likely to buy an iPad.
Put another way: despite the efforts of companies like RIM and Samsung, only one non-content-oriented device maker sells a ton of tablets.
In an effort to compete in the mobile space, Microsoft teamed up with Nokia last year. In a deal reportedly worth billions of dollars, Nokia agreed to "adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy" and "help drive the future of Windows Phone."
From Microsoft's perspective, the arrangement was ideal. Without such a partnership, the software giant likely would have had to make an acquisition a la Google.
So is Microsoft's strategy working?
Nokia's Craig Hepburn is a Glaswegian force of nature. Upon meeting him you can understand why he's leading the charge to integrate social media into everything Nokia does.
Recently, Hepburn launched Agora, Nokia's version of Dell's social media dashboard.
But how did he get there in the first place? What steps did he have to take to get social media at the core of Nokia's working practise?
Social Media Week kicked off yesterday with a global schedule of events looking at how different regions and economies are making use of social and mobile media.
To help people keep on top of the various talks and workshops SMW has launched an official mobile app in partnership with Nokia that runs on Windows Phone, Symbian, Android and iOS.
Due to the nature of the event you would expect the app to set the bar high in terms of usability and social media integration. But is it?
Taking its lead from Gatorade’s ‘mission control’, Nokia is rolling out a similar set-up internally that will “bring together conversation, insight and consumer device activity about the Nokia brand in a real-time and easily digestible format”.
This is to be named Agora, after the Greek meeting place where people came together to discuss things and learn from each other, according to Tom Libretto, VP consumer engagement for Nokia.
Apple’s smartphone shipments increased by 128% year-on-year in Q4, meaning that it has now jumped to third overall in worldwide mobile phone shipments.
The report from the International Data Corporation shows that Nokia and Samsung maintained their positions as one and two in the table, with 113.5m and 97.6m units shipped respectively. For now, Apple is still some way behind with 37m units shipped.
Statistics from Debenhams provide further evidence of the value of mobile commerce to retailers, with its iPhone app bringing in £1m in sales in five months.
Following the early success of the iPhone app, Debenhams is now releasing apps for Android and Nokia devices.
Mark Squires is director of social media at Nokia, and is responsible for the Nokia Conversations blog, internal blogs, blogger outreach, and more.
We interviewed Mark about Nokia's approach to social media, internal and external, as well as its recent 'marathon PR failure'...
Last week I wrote about how to engage bloggers, based on my experience as a (pro) blogger. I explained how I receive hundreds of emails every day, and how it can be difficult to make a message stand out amid that noise.
I also explained that campaigns – all campaigns – have budgets, and that it is highly lame for brands to expect bloggers to keep doing favours for them, for free.
Today I spotted a tweet by Malcolm Coles that makes for a fantastic case study in what not to do. He flagged up a real shocker between one of the world's biggest mobile companies and a humble blogger.
So on one side we have Muireann Carey-Campbell, who writes the Bangs And A Bun blog. On the other is Nokia. And in the middle is one of Nokia’s presumably expensive PR firms, Mission.
Apple's press conference last Friday was a notable event for the company. Not simply because Steve Jobs took the stage, but because the purpose of the press conference was to address problems being reported with an existing product, the iPhone 4.
It was unfamiliar territory for Apple and Steve Jobs. Jobs, of course, is used to introducing new products, not dealing with an existing one that is the subject of customer complaints, class action lawsuits and a media firestorm.