Nokia has responded to a recent ZDNet Mobile News article that pointed out the partnership with Microsoft, the owner of Skype, is causing trouble with the carriers affecting sales of the Lumia phones. In that article Nokia watcher Tomi Ahonen used comments by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop to gather he was claiming sales were lost due to the Skype deal.
“Nonetheless, Elop clearly admits that there is a reseller problem relating explicitly to Skype. He furthermore admits, the Skype issue has resulted in some carriers actually refusing to carry Lumia. I was on this blog immediately when news broke that Microsoft had bought Skype, that this would kill all Microsoft ambitions in mobile.”
Doug Dawson, head of PR at Nokia, has responded to me, pointing to a transcript (and video) of Elop's actual statement regarding Skype. The video is below followed by the transcript to allow readers to see what was actually said.
Rather than state that the Microsoft partnership (and owner of Skype) is causing carriers to pass on the Lumia, Elop is admitting it's causing problems that require additional negotiation with carriers. In his recorded comments it seems Nokia is telling carriers that perhaps they can use Skype to get additional revenue from Lumia buyers.
Stephen Elop: So, thank you for your question about Skype. Indeed, Microsoft did buy the Skype company as part of the ecosystem that comes with Windows Phone and Windows and so forth, so that’s quite correct. The feedback from operators is they don’t like Skype, of course, because for those operators who have a traditional wire-line business, traditional telephone business, it could take away from revenues.
And, so what MSFT has done – and we’ve been part of these conversations as well with operators – is as you correctly say, if operator doesn’t want Skype installed on a Windows Phone from Nokia or any other company, then the operator can make that decision.
Now, you’re right: it can be circumvented. But of course it’s on all Android devices, it’s on iPhone devices, it’s on iPad, it’s on all of those devices. So in fact what we’re doing with the operators is turning it around into an advantage. Instead of them just complaining about Skype on Android or Skype on iPhone, with Microsoft and Nokia, we can have a conversation that says “ok there, is this Skype thing, is there a different type of partnership we can do that recognizes that voice over IP like Skype is coming no matter what, but maybe we can do something creative that generates incremental revenue for you.” Some operators are looking at bundling Lumia, Skype and their own services with higher-bandwidth allotments to actually charge the consumer more and generate more revenue for them. So by actually controlling the Skype asset, we can begin a conversation about how we can have a better Skype-based relationship, which was impossible for operators to do before. So it’s actually quite a bit more advanced than whether operators like or don’t like Skype; they actually want to engage in a conversation about what does this mean and how could we do something that we couldn’t do before. Thank you.