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Nokia cuts Ovi fluff

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Nokia's rationalisation of its sprawling, me-too services is gradually becoming clearer. Late last month, the world's biggest phone manufacturer said it was taking 450 staff out of its operation, "to open up deeper and greater opportunities for third parties."

Yesterday Nokia confirmed that Ovi Share would not be further developed - although the picture and movie exchange website would continue to stay online. That makes sense. Flickr has recorded over 3 billion photo uploads (albeit spread over six years), while Facebook claims over 200 million active users, most of whom have shared at least one picture - even if it's just a flattering picture of themselves taken twenty years ago.

It makes sense for Nokia to offer contacts backup for its users, as it doesn't cost much and offers some security for users. The big areas - games and music - have bags of potential. In particular, the Comes With Music idea, despite its early struggles, could develop fruitfully in a few directions. It's finally bundling a basic Maps package with many of its handsets, too. And belatedly, after Apple's store clocked up its billionth download, it's pulling its own application download offerings together under one roof next month. But what else? Chucking millions of Euros to replicate more popular sites doesn't make much sense.

Nokia acquired Twango less than two years ago, and pulled it into the Ovi brand last year. It's the second Nokia sharing site to be mothballed this year. The diabolically awful MOSH site was closed in March.

As I wrote here though, sometimes it pays not to have such a close historical relationship with the carriers, when you want to do something new and interesting. ®

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