Four years ago, in what was widely seen as a ill-conceived move, Finnish mobile giant, Nokia, announced the launch of Ovi. Finally, after sticking with the venture for what many feel has been way longer than necessary, Nokia has decided to move on… well sort of…
Ovi was seen as Nokia’s answer to Apple’s wildly popular iTunes and as such was the brand under which Nokia sold music, games and apps for its mobile phones. Although initially Ovi was slated, by 2011 it has grown substantially to the point of having its user base downloading an average of 5 million products a month.
Though nothing to bat an eyelid at, this still pales in comparison to iTunes, who’s users were making one and a quarter million downloads per day — of songs alone — back in 2005.
Recognising this slow, but not shameful, growth, Nokia is taking pains to point out that they are not getting rid of the Ovi service. Rather, as Pino Bonetti noted on the Ovi blog when making the announcement, “Today Nokia made the decision to change our service branding from Ovi to Nokia. The main reason for this change is so we can leverage the high-value of the Nokia master brand to better support the future plans to deliver disruptive and compelling mobile experiences globally.” Emphasis Bonetti’s own.
Essentially what Nokia has done is to rebrand Ovi, as Nokia.
As many noted from the moment Ovi was conceptualised, there never was any necessity for it to be branded differently. Editor of UK gadget news and reviews site pocket-lint.com, Stuart Miles said in reacting to this move, “The problem was they created a brand out of something that did not need to be branded.”
However, it must be remembered, this move cannot be seen in a vacuum. It comes amid Nokia’s a “fightback” campaign, as the company attempts to gain a leading position in the smartphone market. The move was also facilitated by the company’s decision to form a partnership with Microsoft. As Miles went on to say, “With the move to Windows Phone 7 they [were] not going to be able to keep the Ovi store. That was going to get very confusing.”
Miles’ point is based on the fact that phones which would run Microsoft software — which in future all Nokia smartphones will do — will be able to download applications from Windows’ Marketplace store.
Now instead of there being three brands — Windows, Ovi and Nokia — all connected to one phone, there are still two separate app stores running at the moment, which does raise a further questions: Why not just forget the Ovi Store entirely?