As discussions and opinions continue at Forxum Oxford on the topic of mobile leadership and Nokia and so forth, the following statement was made by Tomi Ahonen, for which I responded as follows.

Why I am writing about this? Because it is important to understand some of the reasons why some are leaders or are perceived as leaders, or are laggards or are in between….

Tomi Ahonen said:

… that its Japan which is the leader, USA is the laggard – still today – and that Nokia is in between, and in many cases Nokia has led, but Apple does not…”

For which my response was:

Amazing how perception can change everything and even bring a whole global company to the brink of death…

While Japan has indeed been a mobile tech leader, they have remained, in my opinion, very localized geographically. As a consequence, Japan’s global impact has been minute when compared to what Apple, Google and Nokia have all accomplished.

I really don’t get how Apple cannot be seen as a leader in mobile. Apple has definitely led, by taking all the pieces (yes, they learned from others) and creating a new, unique mobile design package like NO other before it. Apple raised the bar for mobile OSes. Gave new meaning to (mobile) web. It gave new meaning to mobile apps. It removed the operator controlled deck. It gave new meaning to developers and ecosystems. It created a new economy for mobile and developers like no other before it. Apple not only brought to market a mobile HW-and-SW package like no other before it, but also changed the playground and the playing rules; the operator is no longer at the center, the ecosystem is. Software (and developers) drive this new mobile economy. And Apple (even if by accident) was the one who figured it out first. If you ask me, Apple was the liberator for mobile developers and the ecosystem. The beneficiaries? The regular user/subscriber.

And there is no turning back. Google, Nokia, Samsung, Palm/HP, Dell, others all understand that it is about the software and the developer ecosystem. Even Ballmer got this right when going Developers, developers, developers, developers crazy:

(for a second I thought he was going into cardiac arrest)

But I digress…

I continued:

Apple introduced its iPhone around 2007. Android ~2008. That is 2-3 years ago! And yet today Nokia has not been able to produce a true match.

The Nokia machine has all the needed parts, but its leadership failed. Today Nokia is struggling for its survival. But Nokia is not dead and will (should) not die; a major reality check this whole experience has been.

Mobile is still a young industry, and anything can happen.


Don’t miss the track by Smixx titled Developers (feat. Steve Ballmer):

Smixx – Developers (feat. Steve Ballmer) by Smixx