Q&A: The Nokia renaissance

Following the release of the Lumia 800, Nokia has been reborn. We chat with the mobile giant's UK MD about how the company is turning things around.

It's really important because there's such huge expectation that this one device will change the world. It's the beginning of a journey. The impact it will have is mighty - even up to this point it's [been] fantastic - but we're only beginning and next year the idea is to bring scale to Windows Phone, to bring the price down and bring different form factors in.

A lot of people in the UK have had a Nokia mobile experience; in most cases maybe their first phone. And I think that latent love, if I can call it that, runs deep within their DNA. So there were Windows Phone focus groups we had, and [people were asking], unprompted, "when can Nokia make this?" We're feeding that. The consumer interest in the Nokia brand - it's quality, it's trust and now it's really cool. I think this device will bring the coolness back into it.

The marketing you're doing is very different from what we've seen for Windows Phone already - you're putting real phones in the stores

Phones sell phones. We talk about the pub conversation, the dinner party conversation - people get the phone out and say look at this. We decided to do something really brave: we diverted a considerable sum of cash away from traditional advertising and we invested it in Project Propagate which is about seeding devices.

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The idea is to bring scale to Windows Phone, to bring the price down and bring different form factors in.

We're ensuring that every store of every partner of ours has a live device. We're getting to a growing number of consumers, in the thousands and saying let us know what you think.' In the UK I don't believe there has been a seeding program of this scale by any manufacturer.

One of the things we're doing with Facebook is hearing back from all the consumers that we're sending devices to and saying tell me what you think, tell me what your friends are saying when you're talking about it and are you enjoying it?' We're just listening all the time to what people are loving - or not loving - so we can improve it. The great result already is that people are talking about it, en masse.

What reaction are you getting from the operators? Do they care about Windows Phone?

All eyes are on the Lumia range we'll have next year and I'm confident in that. And we also have unprecedented support from our operator partners and from our retailers.

It was inspiring to go in and show the device three or four months ago and them just fall in love with it. They love it. They love the device but what's also important is that they love the idea of having balance in the ecosystem. They really need Windows Phone to be strong because they see value there.

Our challenge is not just trying to bring value [to them], it's also trying to bring differentiation to Nokia within the ecosystem and in the longer term make sure that this third ecosystem actually generates long-term value to the operator as opposed to just being seen as a balancing factor. That's a big strategic thing for us - we call ourselves the friendly ecosystem, the operator-friendly ecosystem. We need to bring value to them.

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