Mike Manos is Nokia’s New VP of Service Operations, competes against GOOG, AAPL, RIMM, and MSFT

I wrote a post asking “is Mike Manos Crazy?”, knowing full well he has a plan.

Is Mike Manos Crazy? Makes a job change in less than 9 months leaving Digital Realty Trust for where?

Mike Manos just announced he was leaving Digital Realty Trust.

A Digital Adieu

January 29, 2010 by mmanos

Those who follow the news from Digital Realty Trust closely may have recently read that I have decided to leave the company to focus a bit more on some personal work/life balance issues.  With this move comes a new role that I will talk more of in the coming days and weeks.

Mike Manos just announced his new job at Nokia as VP of Operation Services worldwide.

Rolling Clouds - My Move into the Mobile Cloud
As many of you saw in my last note, I have officially left Digital Realty Trust to address some personal things.   While I get those things in order I am not sitting idling by.   I am extremely happy to announce that I have taken a role at Nokia as their VP of Service Operations.  In this role I will have global responsibility for the strategy, operation and run of infrastructure aspects for Nokia’s new cloud and mobile service platforms.

I have a friend who is an ex-Nokia employee working in Finland and London. He talks highly of the company culture which got me thinking about Nokia’s latest move to ship free navigation SW.  Going back there is a point made by Nokia’s CEO

Nokia Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo aims to build the world’s biggest mobile Internet services platform to protect market share and create new revenue streams. The company is trying different payment models including bundling with consumer handsets and pay-per-download. Google also has a diversified services business model, with most of its revenue coming from advertising.

So, why would Mike Manos make the move to Nokia?  Because he gets to be the man who builds the future of Nokia's mobile cloud services.  Would Google, Apple, RIM, or Microsoft offered him that job?  And, were they organized to include the data center, applications, and operations for mobile under one VP?  Most likely not.  My bet is on Mike transforming what we think of mobile data centers. We'll see if these companies regret not being able to throw their names out there to recruit Mike to change mobile data center services. 

I am very excited by the fact that there are some fierce competitors in this space as well. Once again I will be donning my armor and doing battle with my friends at Google. Their Droid platform is definitely interesting and it will be interesting to see how that develops. I have a great amount of respect for Urs Hoelze and their cloud platform is something I am fairly familiar with . I will also be doing battle with the folks from Apple (and interestingly my good friend Olivier Sanche). Apple definitely has the high end market here in the US, but its experience in Cloud platforms and operations is not very sophisticated just yet. On some levels I guess I am even competing against the infrastructure and facilities I built out at Microsoft at least as it relates to the mobile world. Those are some meaty competitors and as you have seen before, I love a good fight.

So, Mike isn’t so crazy after all.  But sees something most of us don’t as most of us have discounted Nokia as mobile competitor as Google, Apple and RIM slug it out in the US. 

Personally, some of my best stock market investments have been in the emerging market category.  So, I get Mike’s statement of growth and penetration.

In my opinion, Nokia has some very interesting characteristics that position it extremely well if not atop the fray in this space. First there is no arguing about Nokia penetration of hand-held devices across the world. Especially in markets like India, China, South America, and other emerging Internet using populations. Additionally these emerging economies are skipping past ground-based wired technologies to wireless connectivity. As a result of that Nokia has an incredible presence already in those markets.

Taking the leap thinking about mobile data centers reminds me of a fun discussion with ARM and what could be done with small low power data centers colocated with cell towers to change the delivery of mobile data.

Isn’t the highest growing market mobile devices and the services for those devices?

Ahh, so Mike switched from building colocation data centers for others who are living in the present to a future scenario where data centers look different to support a worldwide market for mobile device data services.  Who wouldn’t make the switch?

Now I can see the reasoning behind the change and maybe it isn’t so crazy after all.  But a leap to be innovative in a company who knows they have to innovate to be successful.

GigaOM made this point comparing Google’s map services vs. Nokia.

In comparison, Google Maps Navigation has to download maps constantly over a network connection.  It doesn’t matter if your don’t have a 3G connection or have lost data connectivity, the basic functionality of Ovi Maps will work, Nokia claims. This low data consumption model is something carriers are going to love, Ojanperä said. Why? Because it will save them money on network costs, as explained by this image.

Another reason why carriers are going to love Ovi Maps: It will help them sell data upgrades to voice-centric customers, even in emerging markets such as India and China where standalone GPS devices have yet to become commonplace, unlike in the U.S. and Europe. To me, this is Nokia’s big opportunity.

Watching Nokia, Apple, Google, RIM, and Microsoft compete in the mobile data center space should be an interesting competition that is the future for each of these companies.  Losing the mobile battle is expensive.