The recent partnership between Nokia and Microsoft has created a lot of comment, with the more upbeat view being that it combines Microsoft’s skill in software with Nokia’s expertise in hardware. That reminded me of the quote from Bernard Shaw to a beautiful actress who suggested they should have a baby so that their child would have her beauty and his brains. “But Madam,” Shaw retorted, “what if the child has my looks and your brains?” We don’t yet know what this union will bear, but there are good reasons for asking whether many phone users have already bought their last Nokia?
The marketing world has always understood that if you want to catch a consumer, catch them young. Tom Lehrer parodied it well with his song “The Old Dope Peddler” who “gave the kids free samples, because he knew full well, that today’s young innocent faces, will be tomorrow’s clientele”. The consumer electronics industry is equally aware of that principle, as I was reminded today when I went past a window exhorting parents to start their children off on a life of electronic materialism with “My First Sony”.
Nokia must wish that they could be that confident. When I upgraded my phone to a Nokia E72 this year I thought harder about that decision than I had for most of my previous upgrades. What finally won me over and stopped me jumping to Android were two features – Ovi Maps and a battery life of four or more days. But I bought it with the realisation that my next phone would probably not be Finnish. With the announcement of the new relationship between Nokia and Microsoft, I wonder whether their marketing departments need to get together and make a final push for short term market share with the slogan “My Last Nokia”?
It’s one of those questions that could enter the public consciousness, like “do you remember where you where when Kennedy was assassinated”, or “when Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon”? For today’s generation of phone users, they may look back and wonder “where was it that they bought their last Nokia”.