Nokia: Adopting Android Like Peeing In Your Pants

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Android -- OoosAdopting Android is like Finnish boys, “who pee in their pants for warmth,” according to Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s outgoing head of its Mobile Solutions unit. It might make you feel warm for a bit, but you’ll then find yourself in an even worse predicament.

Above and beyond the issue of all these Finnish boys who may be peeing in their pants in the depths of the harsh Finnish winter, Mr. Vanjoki was addressing the question of why Nokia doesn’t adopt Google’s Android OS to replace its own Symbian OS in an interview with The Financial Times.

Nokia, which is still the world’s leading smartphone producer by volume, has been losing market share to Apple’s iOS and the Android platform at a brisk clip, and some analysts and pundits have suggested the company take the Android plunge, too.

Mr. Vanjoki believes that moving to Android makes it hard for handset makers to differentiate their products, though he didn’t offer a clear vision for how his company could reverse, or even stem, the market share losses it is dealing with in the current market.

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

For Nokia, offering Android (not wholesale switching), will be more like peeing on their boots to put out a fire (market share losses). If that’s what they have to do, they’ll do it. Hopefully, they won’t burn the hose.

Nokia still has real advantages in build quailty and phone performance. But Symbian isn’t going to be the Windows of ultra-portable devices. That’s why they need to tread in Android waters and see how it goes.


The idea isn’t simply to gain market share but to gain profitable market share.  The point of Mr. Vanjoki’s comments is that an OEM can’t make long-term profits by building Android devices, because by building Android, you build nothing more than a fungible device that leaves you without pricing power.  The unprofitable short-term gain in market share is the pissing down one’s leg part of the simile; the freezing, after short-term warmth of increased market share, is when your CFO tells you that you have even less profit than you would have had, if you had stayed with Symbian, and that the Board has scheduled a meeting to discuss your future.


Nice graphic, Bryan.

It’s hard to appreciate Nokia’s hold on market share until you come to Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa, and that is about the only handset manufacturer you can find. However, this is still low-end, non-smart phone market share, thus not the profitable share, but market forces dictate that this hold is not about to change any time soon. Nokia enjoy brand loyalty in Europe and near monopoly status in many low and middle income countries (very large populations). They may be counting on this to buy them time to experiment with a home-grown option before taking the Android plunge.

Bryan Chaffin

Nice graphic, Bryan.

Thanks! My idea, but Jeff Gamet was the one did the real work of making it. One has to have a little fun with one’s job now and then. smile

Also, your points about Nokia are very important when thinking about the global market. Here in the U.S. it’s easy for us to think that RIM, Apple, and a few Android phones are all anyone buys.


but Jeff Gamet was the one did the real work of making it.

Why am I not surprised…Evil genius meets twisted genius. See you guys back on the AWR (or whatever it’s now called)!

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