Nokia ( NOK) is setting its sights on services like email in an effort to best rivals like Research in Motion ( RIMM) and Apple ( AAPL).
"I'm paying a lot of attention here to Apple and RIMM," Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo told analysts on a conference call Thursday. He added that it was Nokia's intention to "match and beat that competition." We are a "hardware company with software and services," Kallasvuo said. "We believe the link created between our mobile devices and mobile services will lead to stickiness with the consumer." The comment highlights a major shift in Nokia's strategy away from being a pure mobile phone maker toward more of a service provider role. Selling email to business users and consumers, opening an Internet music sales site, even providing wireless navigation and traffic report services (as the deal for Navteq indicates) is part of Nokia's big plan. It's a bold plan that pits Nokia's services against the new revenue aspirations of its phone company partners. But as both Apple and BlackBerry maker Rimm have shown, sleek devices with attractive applications can win customers. And phone companies have been willing to play along by paying these two phone makers a portion of their take. The shift in strategy can't come fast enough. Motorola ( MOT), for example, has opted to avoid offending carriers and stick with its mobile phone focus. The approach has led to some scorching highs with the Razr phone followed by some painful lows in the post-Razr years that followed.