Nokia closing Ovi Files service on October 1st 2010

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Nokia Experts reports that Ovi Files, Nokia's remote file access and cloud-based file mirroring/storage solution, will be discontinued on October 1st. The announcement is a set back to Nokia's Ovi service ambitions, but with relatively few users and low awareness, the long-term impact is likely to be small. A number of third party services, such as SugarSync and DropBox, provide a similar service for those who need to move from Ovi Files.

Nokia has starting sending out the following email to Ovi Files users and has also posted a copy of the notice on the Ovi Files website:

Dear Ovi Files user,

Nokia is discontinuing the Ovi Files service, effective October 1, 2010.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Please make sure to uninstall the Ovi Files Connector installed on your personal computer. To do this, execute the standard Windows or Macintosh uninstall procedure that came with your computer. You will not lose any files as a result of this service discontinuation. Ovi Files simply creates an 'online mirror' of the files saved on your Windows PC or Mac, so your original files will remain intact. The files on your computer are always treated as the master version, even if some are selected as 'Anytime Files.'

You will still be able to share content between your phone and PC using another Nokia product, Nokia Ovi Suite. With Nokia Ovi Suite installed on your PC, you can do the following: sync your contacts and messages; transfer videos, photos, and music; back up your Nokia; and update your device software. Please note that this is not a direct substitute for Ovi Files as Nokia Ovi Suite requires a wired connection between your PC and mobile device. For more information visit

Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience and hope that you will continue to enjoy our most popular services.

Ovi Files and the Ovi strategy

Ovi Files, which was previously named Files on Ovi, opened in beta in July 2008. A year later it changed from being a paid for service, to being an entirely free service. Nokia also provided a widget-based client for mobile access to Ovi Files (effectively a shortcut to the mobile web version) and this was shipped pre-installed on a number of Nokia Eseries devices. However the browser-based client had limited functionality and the service failed to gain much traction amongst users.

Ovi Files was the result of Nokia's acquisition of Avvenu, one of Nokia's early, and, in hindsight, perhaps misjudged, service acquisitions. In its early days, Ovi Files was an early trend setter in the remote file access space, notably with the development of its PC Connector software. However, Ovi Files was always something of a peripheral part of the Ovi service offering and little functionality was added after the Nokia acquisition, which meant it struggled to compete with third party services.

Given the lack of consumer uptake and poor competitiveness with third party offerings, Nokia's decision to discontinue the service is therefore, perhaps, not surprising. However, it is also emblematic of a tightening of Nokia's service strategy in general, which has seen a shift away from being a complete service provider model towards a content delivery provider model. Nokia is continuing to focus on improving and delivering its core service offerings: Maps, Music and Store.

Ovi Store, Ovi Music and, less obviously, Ovi Maps are, essentially, delivery platforms for third party content and services. Going along with this, in the last 12 months, Nokia have been more actively engaging with third party service and content providers, in order to persuade them to make their products available on Nokia devices, through the Ovi platforms. Good early examples of this are the recent addition of TripAdvisor to Ovi Maps and the Tecso application in the Ovi Store. This initiative is part of a wider developer push, is an on-going process and will take time to bear fruit. The full impact is unlikely to be felt before the second half of 2011.

Rafe Blandford, AAS, 2 Sept 2010