Execs provide (more) excuses for why users aren’t interested in video-calling

May 29, 2008
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Continuing in my recent theme regarding the dead end that is talking-heads video-calls, we find the VP of Nokia’s Nseries speaking in Barcelona attempting to explain why customer’s haven’t embraced the feature even though it has been available since 2005. According to techdigest.tv in Customers didn’t embrace video-calling as they’re vain Nokia’s exec said:

Users “aren’t interested” in video-calling, mainly because they find the angle a handset must be held at for the best quality video-call “isn’t very flattering”.

UPDATE: in short, he was saying people don’t use videoconferencing because it makes them look fat. How funny to read this today, since this is exactly what I said just a couple of weeks ago as my top two reasons why talking-heads video-calling will never take off:

  1. real people are not attractive – we are not movie stars or models. people on TV are not normal. we are not used to seeing normal people on “TV” (in the form of real-time video).
  2. we are not directors. we do not know how to properly produce video content, how to light it, frame it etc

Other excuses given by Nokia for why video-calling hasn’t been embraced included:

“[The technology] hit the market too early”

“There wasn’t enough support from carriers”

“The marketing push wasn’t big enough”

We have seen this all before. Video-calling has repeatedly failed to meet expectations. And each time we see the experts grasping at straws as to why. Comments like “maybe it will still be a success” from Nokia’s Sari Ståhlberg suggest that we’re sure to see it repeat again. Instead of learning, they believe their own spin and use the excuses like the above to throw more good money after bad on this fundamentally broken idea – video-calling is a classic case of a “solution in search of a problem”. It’s irresistibly cool – unfortunately, it’s a money sink without a market

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