Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Is Nokia the new SEGA?



In the late 80s/early90s, SEGA was one of the biggest players in technology. In a pre-Playstation age, the Japanese company dominated the video gamesmarket along with Nintendo, producing both outstanding consoles likethe Mega Drive and video games like Sonic The Hedgehog. SEGA vsNintendo was basically the Android vs iOS debate of its time.

Fast forward a fewyears and the company is not only a shadow of its glorious past butbarely visible in the gaming world it once dominated. Profits arerapidly declining, the console making arm has been closed andgenerally, SEGA is all but out of the games development andpublishing business except for a few titles it is still pushing out.

The reason behindSEGA's decline has been discussed extensively by gaming enthusiastsand having followed that discussion with keen interest, I can't helpnoticing the similarities with Nokia's current situation.

At the dawn of themobile phone revolution in the late 90s and early noughties, Nokiawas standard bearer and pace setter when it came to mobile phones.The mobile phone market was basically 'Nokia and the rest' but fastforward a few years to the smartphone era and Nokia is struggling forany significant share of voice.

Despite various attempts at a phone that competes with the iPhones and Samsung Galaxys, including its flagship Lumia range, business hasn't been going too well for Nokia. The Finnish company recently announced losses of $1.27 billion, mainly due to a sharp decline in sales of itsmartphones. There has also been reports of unit closures and joblosses as it continues to struggle.

Perhaps the mostinteresting recent development from Nokia is that it now has its mapping app, Here available in Apple's App Store. This has caused some morediscussions about the future of the company and whether it will endup as an app and component maker for other phone manufacturers, in the same waySEGA only exists as a games developer and publisher, or if it hashatched a very clever plot to use Apple's iOS6 mapping issues torebuild faith in its product.

No one knows how the story will end but it is clear to see that Nokia will not go quietly.There are a few phones lined up to be released and the company continues to work on new ideas that will allow it to compete against other smartphones available on the market. The only questionthat is left to be answered is whether these new phones will driveNokia back into reckoning or whether it will just be the equivalentof the SEGA Saturn and DreamCast, which ultimately proved to be thelast great effort from a dying brand.

2 comments:

  1. Firstly, well written. Complacency is what put Nokia in the situation where they find themselves today. To add to your point about Nokia's past glory days, the same happened to Microsoft. Microsoft allowed Google and Yahoo to go big on web search engines before stepping in. That's a big mistake in technology, and that's why Nokia is struggling. While at the top of any industry, be it application, software, hardware development, it is always important to cultivate the mindset of a trendsetter like Apple. Don't wait for others to come up with the next best thing, be the first or make sure your company is the second to do it then you set a higher and more efficient standard on that product.

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