Nokia soft launched the Ovi Store in a couple of select countries this weekend and then opened the floodgates very early this morning to the rest of the world, including the US. There have been a ton of posts hammering Nokia for the current launch performance of the Ovi Store, but I think we need to put things into perspective to understand how monumental of a launch this is for Nokia and why it could help turn around Nokia's recent market share losses to other platforms. Ewan put together an excellent post on Mobile Industry Review that echoes my thoughts on what is happening here with the Ovi Store and why it is such a success.
Everyone seems to compare the Nokia Ovi Store to the Apple iPhone App Store because Apple really did set the bar and launch a nice on-device application store front. Looking back at when Apple launched the App Store last July there were only original iPhone devices available in just six countries. There were a total of approximately 5 million iPhone devices available at the time of the App Store launch with the iPhone 3G launching a day or two after the App Store availability. Also, do you remember that Apple too had some server issues when the 2.0 firmware update was made available so original iPhone owners could get the App Store? Compare this to the Ovi Store launching around the world in 109 countries (I am trying to find data on number of countries) to an estimated 50 million Nokia owners (who may have multiple supported devices) across more than 50 Nokia devices and you can easily see the scale of what Nokia has done today. There is carrier billing support and credit card support as well as mult-language support so there are a ton of issues Nokia has to deal with in such a global launch.
We can complain about some of the slowness of the servers, missing favorite applications, etc., but you have to give Nokia a hand for such an aggressive global launch. As a fan of Nokia's outstanding devices, I am quite excited about the prospects for the Ovi Store and will soon be posting a walk through for those who don't have access to the store and want to see it in action.