France Telecom CEO on Apple (“less arrogant”) and Nokia (“no wow effect”)

Stéphane Richard, the CEO of France Télécom who recently publicly lectured French publishers on how to deal with Google, has proven himself refreshingly open to reporters once again. Speaking to a group of reporters at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday, he talked about the situation of the European telecoms, and about Apple and Nokia: 

Nokia: no ‘wow’ effect

As far as Nokia is concerned, it’s clear that he doesn’t see it as a major threat to the iOS/Android duopoly. Windows Phone is nice, he says, but not different enough. There is simply no “wow” factor, he said.

“The Nokia family in my opinion is nice, but there is no ‘wow’ effect,” Richard said. “When you have a market with very steady players like Apple and Samsung, you need to have a ‘wow’ effect.”

He added that although the telecoms are praying for someone to break the duopoly of Android and iOS, the market is becoming very crowded. Apart from Windows Phone there’s also Mozilla,  Blackberry and Sailfish that are trying to become major players in the market. Not all of them will survive, he said: “There will probably not be room for everyone.”

Apple: ‘Less  arrogant than they used to be’

Apple’s stock price has been sliding for six months now, and Richard seems to like that just fine. He said:

“Apple has [become] more flexible, paying more attention to everyone else, probably a little less arrogant than they used to be. I think they are probably a little more under pressure, and it is quite nice.”

Telecom in Europe: ‘Spare us’

He also said that the European telecom market is too crowded, with almost 100 telecoms vying for market share. That’s a familiar song, by the way: the European telecoms have been saying that for some time.

Speaking of Google, Facebook and other US giants, he said:

“We are living through incredible competition; they are not living through competition. That’s it,” he said. He implored regulators to prevent further companies from entering the crowded market.


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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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