Web's Future Could Be Determined By The Fight Between Google And Nokia - InformationWeek

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10/12/2007
07:31 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Web's Future Could Be Determined By The Fight Between Google And Nokia

As I have stated on Over The Air before, Google is committed to mobile as its future and the future of the global Internet. This is interesting, since Google is still focused on Microsoft as its main rival when Microsoft isn't the biggest player in the wireless market. If Google is so serious about mobile, how does it plan to fight Nokia?

As I have stated on Over The Air before, Google is committed to mobile as its future and the future of the global Internet. This is interesting, since Google is still focused on Microsoft as its main rival when Microsoft isn't the biggest player in the wireless market. If Google is so serious about mobile, how does it plan to fight Nokia?I can hear you typing your e-mails already. Nokia is not Google's rival. Google's biggest competitors are Microsoft and Yahoo.

Well, if Google's future were on the desktop, I might agree. And while Microsoft and Yahoo have competitive mobile offerings, the global king of the mobile and wireless market is Nokia.

Nokia dominates the global handset market with a whopping 36.9% market share. OK, that's hardware. What about the guts of the Web, software?

Nokia is a mobile software powerhouse, too. Nokia is the largest single shareholder of Symbian, the software consortium that continues to lead the global OS market. This gives Nokia global reach not only on its own smartphones, the majority of which use the Symbian OS, but smartphones made by other companies, including Samsung and Sony Ericsson.

On top of that, Nokia wields influence through a massive global mobile developer community with its Forum Nokia.

OK, I can still hear some of you groaning. Google is an advertising company, not a handset maker (despite the gPhone rumors) or a maker of mobile phone OS (well, it may have a mobile OS soon).

Nokia, on the other hand, doesn't own an online or mobile ad business, right? Wrong. Nokia just acquired mobile ad firm Enpocket. What do you think Nokia plans to do with Enpocket?

Nokia now has the devices, the dominant smartphone OS, and a mobile ad platform. And thanks to its acquisition of Navteq this month, Nokia is now one of the biggest players in location-based services. Navteq even supplies location data to Google Maps.

If you add all this up, you can see that Nokia has a tremendous influence on the mobile Web -- arguably more so than any other company at this point. And while I can hear some of you chiming in with examples of how Nokia and Google have worked together in the past -- Google Maps, for one -- I think you can see my point.

Right now no other company poses a bigger potential challenge to Google in the mobile Web than Nokia. I think Nokia realizes this and is being coy. Do the Googlers in Mountain View see this threat? What do you think?

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