Vipul Mehrotra, who heads Nokia India’s smart devices division talks about his company’s plans with the windows phone operating system
A close look at Nokia’s releases in recent months indicates that the company is focusing on launching higher-resolution cameras in its Symbian phones, and better gaming or music app in its Window Phone 7-based Lumia phones. Is that so?

I don’t subscribe to that view. Even in the Lumia range that includes Lumia 800, 710 and 610, much attention has been paid to delivering a superior imaging system. So we have got imaging, location services and entertainment bundled in the Lumia range, apart from social and gaming experiences. On the other hand, Symbian OS is not new generation and we plan to phase it out over time.

How has the response to the highly anticipated and premium product, the 41 mega pixel-carrying Nokia PureView 808 handset, been?

I can’t give you any sales numbers as of now, but what I can share is that it’s creating lot of buzz on the blogosphere and social media platforms. Many enthusiasts are buying this phone and posting pictures taken from a PureView camera which has a high-quality Carl Zeiss lens.

In recent months, on one hand while you launched a Symbian OS-based feature phone (the Asha), you also launched a Windows-powered phone. Then you created a separate category called PureView on the Symbian Belle OS. Don’t these cross-category launches cannibalise each other’s sales?

It’s not the game of one operating system harming another. Why? It’s the truly differentiated experience you give to the consumers that matter. PureView has a role to play as the flagship imaging device with a 41 MP camera, while Lumias are our smartphones. Each category has its own weight.

How has slowdown been affecting sales of Nokia India in recent times?

I think the introduction of new devices, new experiences and giving existing consumers upgrades in the form of some great software apps, have only taken us higher.

In the past, we would generally have advertisement and marketing initiatives based on new handset models. Now we see that focus of the ATL campaigns are more on OS platforms. Is that correct?

To an extent, I would again differ in opinion. At the highest level, say the premium category, the focus of marketing is still on the experience delivery. But when it comes to communicating to the market about new product launches based on a particular OS, then we get to see more talk about that OS.
And how about the future of Lumia and Symbian phones?

We announced in February last year that going forward, the Lumia platform will be our flagship smartphone range. That’s my answer still. Within 6 months of our announcement then, we had two Lumia devices in the market. We’ve expanded the portfolio to four now. Three of them are already in India, we will launch the fourth one soon too. We know that it’s a winning strategy for us. The Microsoft Marketplace app store saw a 1,000% increase in activity y-o-y during the last quarter – that shows the confidence of app community and consumers in our smartphone range.

Going forward, how will Nokia work towards building value of the brand as a handset maker?

A lot of competition is happening in apps. But, we have started to focus on the experience of our users. This differentiated app-ecosystem will build on Nokia’s brand and sales in the Indian market. So we have a more comprehensive strategy in action, based on scale, price points, distribution and marketplace with our ecosystem partners.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2013

An Initiative of IIPMMalay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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