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ovi.com versus ovi.mobi versus ovi.me

If Nokia would believe in .mobi, what would they rather promote ovi.com or ovi.mobi? It is all about ovi.com in the press, however ovi.mobi is the one you will need for your mobile. The former is a PC versions and the latter is the mobile.

ovi.me was registered by Nokia as well, although, at the moment the company has no plans regarding it whatsoever.

The Economist : Business: Nokia : Ovi go again : The world’s biggest handset-maker makes a new push into mobile services

Nokia maps out its strategy

At first glance, Nokia, the world’s biggest handset-maker, seems to be lurching about. On November 27th it announced that it would withdraw from the Japanese market because of lack of demand. Five days later the Finnish firm said it would make a big push into two other markets: maps and e-mail on mobile phones. Both moves, although not directly related, show where the firm is heading: it is no longer pursuing growth just in handsets, but also in services delivered on them.

It is easy to see why Nokia wants to move into services. The handset market is maturing. In many rich countries there are more mobile subscriptions than people. Rapid growth is limited to emerging markets. Handsets are becoming a commodity with shrinking margins. Nokia could focus on increasing its market share, which stands at nearly 40% worldwide. The more promising bet, however, is mobile services, a market that is finally taking off.

Nokia is not new to mobile services, but its earlier forays into the field were not very successful. A few years ago, when it launched Club Nokia—a mobile store for ringtones and other add-ons for its phones—mobile operators saw it as an attempt to take over the relationship with their customers. They complained, and since Nokia mainly sells its handsets to operators, rather than directly to consumers, Club Nokia was duly scaled back. In August 2007, however, Nokia launched a new services initiative in the form of Ovi, an attempt to create a global one-stop shop for mobile services, much like those Yahoo! and Google provide for the internet.

Nokia wants Ovi, which means “door” in Finnish, to be even more: a hub that integrates mobile services between handsets and personal computers (PCs). To see what it has in mind, consider two popular online services: digital maps and photo sharing. Pictures taken using a mobile phone equipped with positioning technology—such as Nokia’s new touch-screen N97, also launched this week—can be automatically stamped with co-ordinates and uploaded to the Ovi website, where they appear on a map to be shared with friends.

The industry initially greeted Ovi with scepticism. But Nokia has made steady progress in the past year. It has spent more than $10 billion buying firms with technology to support its services strategy, notably Navteq, the world’s biggest maker of digital maps. Nokia also launched new offerings, including a music store and a service that synchronises phone numbers and other data between a PC and a handset.

Surprising many industry observers, Nokia has convinced leading mobile operators such as Vodafone and T-Mobile to support Ovi on their handsets. Ovi will be offered alongside their own services, and operators will take a cut of the revenues which Nokia hopes to make from advertising, e-commerce and subscriptions to premium services. The operators are less worried about Nokia’s push into services this time around because their own efforts to build mobile portals largely failed.

With this week’s launch of two new services, called “Maps on Ovi” and “Mail on Ovi”, Nokia has all its key services up and running. Now it needs to tackle the hard part of its strategy: making it all work together seamlessly, for instance by offering a single sign-on for all its services and one-touch access. Only then, says John Delaney of IDC, a market-research firm, are consumers likely to go for Ovi, rather than picking and choosing their own set of services, as they mostly do on the internet.

Nokia also faces the task of getting the word out and convincing people to sign up, argues Ben Wood of CCS Insight, another market-research firm. Nokia has done hardly any advertising for Ovi so far: it wanted to make sure that its services worked well first. It will start to advertise Ovi in 2009, but it will not be easy to create a brand that can rival the coolness of Apple’s iPhone or Google’s new mobile-phone software, called Android.

Still, it would be wrong to underestimate Ovi, or the Finnish firm’s determination to make it a success. Nokia also has the advantage of being the world’s leading handset-maker: it will sell around 470m devices this year, and if even a small proportion of its customers sign up for Ovi next year, that is a huge market. In developing countries, where most people do not have internet access, but more and more own mobile phones, “@ovi.com” could become as widespread an e-mail address as, say, “@yahoo.com” in the rich world.

Nokia also has history on its side. Having started off in forestry and paper products in the 19th century, it later moved into rubber, cables and electronics before focusing on mobile phones in the 1980s. Ovi is a gamble, but the 143-year-old firm has a knack for reinventing itself.

[Source: The Economist]

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2 Responses to “ovi.com versus ovi.mobi versus ovi.me”

  1. 1

    With guys registering and promoting digitalsme.com, sure.ly there is a future for digital.me, don’t you think?

  2. 2

    Now, Nokia is using ovi.me for places. It took them a while.