Nokia says now smartphone war is all about OS [DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India)]
(DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) After half its market share was eroded by competitors like Samsung and Apple, Finnish handset maker Nokia has managed to regain some of its brand value following the buzz around its Lumia range. V Ramnath, director-sales for Nokia India spoke to Beryl Menezes about how Windows 8 operating system is going great guns for the company. Excerpts from the interview:
Recently, there was an income-tax raid at Nokia's Chennai facility. Can you comment on it
It wasn't a raid, it was just a routine statutory survey that the I-T department conducts periodically. All our books are in order.
Has Lumia helped Nokia win back market share after erosion caused by Samsung
Today, it is more a war of consoles and ecosystems, rather than devices and handset vendors. We believe the Windows 8 platform has what it takes to compete with the Androids and iOSs of the world. In 2011, we announced that our core platform for smartphones would be Windows. This is a part of the new Nokia three-pronged strategy, which comprises focusing on Windows ecosystem, future disruption and connecting the next 1 billion to the internet.
So how has Windows 8 helped your smartphone sales
In February 2011, there were 7,000 apps in the Windows app store. Within a year-and-a-half, that number has risen to 120,000. Of these, the Nokia Ovi store sees 80 million downloads in a month. While we cannot disclose exact sales figures of our smartphones, we are very happy with our progress in the last 18 months since the launch of the Windows 8 platform. With three new Lumia smartphones launched last week, we now have eight devices on this platform. All the Lumia handsets are doing very well in India and abroad, and, in fact, the latest Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 handsets were sold out in China, where 2.5 million orders were placed, within days of the launch there.
In recent months, Nokia has spent a portly sum on marketing campaigns and handset promotions. Has that revived customer interest
Marketing campaigns have definitely increased sales. Other initiatives like 'Your wish, my app', which allows customers to aid app creation, have also helped a lot.
But lower price points are what drive smartphone sales in the highly price-sensitive Indian market....
As smartphone proliferation happens, prices are bound to come down - which is happening today. Our Nokia Asha handsets fit into this low-cost smartphone market, and have been seeing a lot of sales since their launch in India a few months ago. We have even brought down prices of the earlier Lumia phones to the Rs10,000-10,500 bracket, making them more affordable for a greater number of people.
The government has a Rs7,000 crore plan to give out free handsets to six million poor households. Would Nokia be a partner for such a scheme
Yes, why not We already have a lot of schemes for rural areas, as well as special apps for farmers, etc.
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