Not even Nokia can only do handsets

Why you're likely to see makers of mobiles knocking at your door
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor on

Why you're likely to see makers of mobiles knocking at your door

Nokia, by far the biggest and most successful provider of mobile handsets, has announced a major restructuring. Divisional appointments and speculation about the grooming of a future CEO aside, this is significant because it positions the company to focus on technology integration and smart phones separately to network equipment and more humdrum handsets. The execs back in Helsinki know that with declining margins and market saturation in many countries, handsets will only take the company so far. As one spokesman recently told silicon.com: "We're past the point where we can just introduce new hardware products." Nokia Enterprise Solutions will focus on the complete business - not just a mobile workforce but how that workforce interacts with equipment back at offices, to use directories, voicemail and email servers, just as obvious examples. Now this isn't groundbreaking thinking. silicon.com earlier this week heard an Ericsson Enterprise honcho complain about developments at its nearest and arguably greatest rival. "They even stole our name," he said. Indeed, Ericsson and others such as Alcatel, Motorola and Siemens realise there has to be a closer link between a mobile workforce and the offices where they probably still spend most of their time. Both Ericsson and Nokia are trying to set themselves up as brokers of deals between large user organisations and operators. They reckon users can get much better deals by going to an operator as, say, a customer with 20,000 end users but as a customer that demands - and gets - free or very low cost wireless calls in office locations. This is an interesting move with regards to the operators, who at the moment hold more of the cards and make good margins, and also with regards to integrators, who promise they will pull together IT departments, telephone systems, mobile workers and anything else you can identify. Ericsson, Nokia et al have a chance to move their businesses on and are likely to make some headway. Expect a different kind of sales call.
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