Nokia is Toast: Mike Elgan Column in Computerworld

FEATURING the “Paradox of Choice” by Barry Schwartz

Just one more quick posting about Windows Phone 7 and Nokia, and then I will leave it alone—unless something awesome comes up.

I just read Mike Elgan's column in at the Computerworld site (here). The strong heading “Why Nokia is Toast” got me in. Mike’s view is Nokia has made a mistake in selecting Microsoft’s Phone 7 operating system and not going with Google’s Android. But he doesn’t really push that line very much. The view he does highlight is that Nokia continue to make an even bigger mistake: they have too many phone models and variations. People don’t like getting confused; and thinking about buying a Nokia mobile phone is a certain path to serious confusion.

NokiaPhonesMike’s view is that one of the reasons Apple are so successful, out of a grab bag of about 10 other really good reasons, is that they only have the one phone. Their best phone! So when you think about getting an Apple phone the choice is really easy. Basically whether to buy a used iPhone 3 off eBay, or get the current iPhone 4, and maybe, as it is getting close, should you wait for the iPhone 5 (assuming Apple calls it that) around mid-year?

If you go to the Nokia Web site, after getting to the Australian selection, there are 147 models to choose from. But then different models are supported by different carriers. Some vendors only stock some phones. Some models are only available as pre-paid; others can only be purchases outright. As Mike points out, after your normal consumer has spent about two hours on this site, and two hours checking vendor sites to see which Nokia phones they have, they just flick over to Apple’s site and buy an iPhone.

Mike refers readers to the TED talk by Barry Schwartz titled “Paradox of Choice” (here, use Ctrl+Click to open in a new Tab). I went and watched this and if you have not seen it and you figure you have an IQ of 80 or better then I recommend watching this TED talk. It is a fascinating 20 minutes with some very interesting points made about how too much choice is not always a good idea.

Anyway, back to Nokia. The bottom line is that Mike thinks that—given that the Microsoft Phone 7 decision is done and dusted and cannot now be undone—then Nokia should only make two phones. A really good, never fails, easy to use, works in the car park 8 levels underground, with a battery that lasts days if not weeks, phone (see excerpt from Mike’s column below).


And the other phone is Nokia’s iPhone competitor. Their best smartphone with the best implementation of Phone 7, a great camera, great screen, fantastic styling, and a better name than something with one letter and sequence of numbers in it.

Sure would make it a lot easier to buy a Nokia phone.