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Nokia Asking For Volunteers To Trim The Fat

Clearly, my current employer feels threatened by the current economic conditions as they’ve announced they are asking up to 1,000 people to leave on their own in order to lessen “the need for involuntary redundancies.” Internally, of course, there were other announcements along these lines, so seeing a public announcement about it is no shock.

What’s also not a shock is that there isn’t any new corporate direction announced that takes this tough economic climate into account. This is more of a function of Nokia’s planning cycles, which will likely finish sometime after the Security Appliance Business is sold off to Check Point Software. This means while I might see some of the beginning phases as an insider, I’ll get to hear the results of this planning at the same time as the rest of you :)

While nobody is asking my opinion, here’s some ideas I think Nokia can incorporate to improve their overall situation. I can’t claim no jobs will be lost as a result of implementing these ideas, but I think it will help financially and improve overall market share.

Less Planning, More Doing: Being deeply involved in the Security Appliance Business in Nokia for the last 10 years, I know we follow many of the same planning methods the rest of Nokia uses for getting products from concept to shipping product. While I think those processes serve a valuable function, particularly for improving mature, shipping products, in the early concept phases, the processes are too constraining. The only example I need to give here is the fact it took Nokia over two years to ship the product that was widely considered Nokia’s attempt an iPhone-like interface.

Less Phones: Internally, in the context of the various reorganizations, I’ve heard the phrase “we’re putting more word behind fewer arrows.” We clearly need to do this on the handset front, too. Instead of releasing 70+ handsets a year, let’s shoot for, say, a dozen different handsets. Put more into differentiating and perfecting this delightful dozen. Each one of these handsets should be a delight to use. Each handset should have exactly one hardware variant that works on all 2G and 3G networks available today (including T-Mobile’s 1700)!

More Modular OS: While Nokia proclaims S60 is “open to anything,” try replacing a core component like the web browser or the messaging client. You can’t short of a complete firmware upgrade. The OS needs to allow components to be updated as needed (for example, when a security vulnerability arises). This would hopefully reduce the need for variant firmware testing, though I know it can’t be eliminated.

More Retail Presence: This is primarily a North American point of view, I suppose, but if Nokia wants to improve its overall sales–which will improve the bottom line–there has to be more of a concerted effort to get product into brick-and-mortar retail in North America. This includes working with carriers to some extent, as North Americans still predominantly buy handsets from carrier stores.

Those are just a few of the ideas I have, what about you? How do you think Nokia can increase their profitability in these tough economic times?

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