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Smart devices

'There is no plan B... Lumia will succeed'


Vipul Mehrotra, director at Nokia, is responsible for its smart devices in India. He spent four years working out the strategy for Nokia's future in Helsinki. He talks to TOI-Crest about the company's strategy.

Nokia was considered infallible. What went wrong?

I don't think there was anything wrong. We were doing great with Symbian. But then the industry changed (after 2007, when iPhone was launched). The operating software became more of an enabler instead of being a differentiating factor. And then even as the industry was changing, we had a leadership change. These are two, let's say, discontinuities, that affected us.

Even Nokia loyalists now doubt its ability to come up with great products.

The focus is on the future now. The buzz is back. The Asha series is a success. We are coming back, step by step. The earlier Lumia phones were one step. Asha phones another. Pure-View 808 was received well. We are happy with the response to Lumia 920 and Lumi 820.

Why did Nokia select Windows Phone over Android, which is more popular, and Meego, which you were developing in-house ?

In 2010 we embarked on a study to weigh the best solution. We liked Microsoft because they are good with software and have a vision for smartphones, tablets and computers that is compelling. Meego required huge investment in terms of resources and time. Going with Microsoft was the better option. As far as Android is concerned, we decided against it because Nokia has been a leader and we want to lead. We cannot be one of the many companies making Android phones.

The first Lumia phones didn't set the market on fire. What is Plan B if new Lumia phones fail?

We are very sure of the success of new Lumia phones. As for Plan B, there is none. But what I can tell you at the moment is that we are committed to Windows Phone and we have many more exciting devices in pipeline. These two are just the beginning.

How do you plan to compete with cheap Android phones that sell for less than Rs 10, 000?

I won't call many cheap Android phones smartphones. They are half-baked smartphones. We believe Asha phones can compete with low-end Android devices.

How will you compete with Samsung Windows phones?

We welcome Samsung and hope that they get serious about it. It is good for the Windows Phone ecosystem. That said, we are number one in the ecosystem and we are going to keep it like this.

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