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Monday, December 10, 2007

Nokia Takes Apple (and Google) Seriously

To put the exclamation point on the idea that Apple is shaking up the cell phone industry, check out this story about Nokia’s response to the disruptive influences of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android.

Apple, with its innovative iPhone, is changing the business relationship between the handset maker and the carrier. “Apple has managed to get operators to pay a bounty for new customers signed up — that is a sea change,” said John Tysoe, an analyst with the Mobile World, a research firm in London.

Google plans to create software that will turn cellphones into the principal portal to a mobile Web. Android, Google’s open-source platform for software, aims to transform the cellphone into a pocket computer in which any number of software applications could be added to a phone just as software is added to a PC.

Nokia views Apple as the first credible entrant into its market in years, Mr. Kallasvuo said. As for Google, he said he would wait for more details before deciding whether it is a threat or an opportunity. It did not go unnoticed that Google did not ask Nokia to join its Open Handset Alliance, a 34-company group that includes Motorola, Samsung and HTC.

No matter how you feel about Apple’s product, the fact that it is encouraging a new level of competition in the industry is good for consumers. And it will be an aggressive competition: the companies already entrenched in the industry have a lot of territory to defend and the money to make it interesting.

Competition is good.

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