Mention Nokia and the discussion turns to courtroom battles and two-way animosity between the Finnish cell phone giant and Apple. However, in a bit of refreshing candor, a French Nokia executive recently told an audience: “Apple is a must-have in US and EU.”
Nokia’s Cedric Thomas told the gathering of media content developers at MIPCOM that while Nokia is still a key player in Asia and Europe, Apple dominates the app landscape in the United States and the EU. Indeed, a recent survey found the share of iOS-based devices in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain grew 5.3 percent compared to a year ago, while Nokia’s Symbian platform dropped 14.4 percent over the same period. While Thomas, who heads Nokia’s Ovi marketplace in France, touted news that the company’s store now has 2.5 million downloads per day, the number pales in comparison to the 16.6 million apps downloaded each day from Apple’s App Store.
The admission, albeit in a slide during a presentation on how to address the App Stores, also surprised observers for recent comments by another Nokia executive slamming the troubles Apple experienced with the iPhone 4. Speaking at the annual Nokia World gathering, Vice-President of Markets Niklas Savander said his company’s smartphones “perform day-in, day-out, no matter how you hold them.” Nokia’s N8 touchscreen smartphone has received mixed reviews.
In light of Apple’s growing presence in areas Nokia once thought secure, the company recently opted to remake its image, accepting the resignations of a number of high-level executives. The handset maker’s long-time CEO was replaced with a former Microsoft executive as part of what Nokia’s chairman described as a move to “accelerate the company’s renewal.”
Possibly understanding it has an upper hand, Apple also has brought its legal fight to Europe, filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Nokia in the UK.