Nokia culpa: Phony Lumia 920 video prompts ethics probe

A Nokia "ethics and compliance officer" is conducting an internal investigation to find out why the company published a misleading promotional video for its new 920 phone.

One of Nokia's first Lumia ads showed a couple shooting video with a Lumia 920, comparing it to video shot without Nokia's optical image stabilization.
One of Nokia's first Lumia ads showed a couple shooting video with a Lumia 920, comparing it to video shot without Nokia's optical image stabilization. Nokia

Nokia committed a major gaffe in promoting its Lumia 920, and now the company says it's trying to figure out why.

Last week, the company unveiled its new Windows 8 Phone handsets , with the Lumia 920 starring as its flagship device. Touting the phone's optical image stabilization (OIS), Nokia released a promotional clip supposedly comparing video shot by the 920 using OIS with video shot by a phone without OIS.

But after The Verge noticed an odd reflection in the clip, Nokia fessed up that the OIS-flavored video was actually shot by a normal video camera and not the 920. The company also admitted to using still images taken from that same faked video and apologized for all the "confusion."

An ethics and compliance officer for the company is now investigating the matter "to understand what happened," a Nokia spokeswoman told Bloomberg.

In a mea culpa blog posted last Thurday, the company said that the video was produced to simulate what can be done with OIS. But it acknowledged that a disclaimer should have been included. Nokia also quickly posted a legitimate video comparing the 920's OIS with a phone without OIS.

A Nokia spokesman sent CNET the following statement:

Nokia recently apologized when it became clear that a video, which had been produced to demonstrate the benefits of optical image stabilization, failed to make clear that it was a simulation only and not shot using the new PureView camera on the Nokia Lumia 920. This video was produced while the Nokia Lumia 920 was in early prototype and still not ready to show the full benefits of the amazing innovation it contains. While there was no intention to mislead, the failure to add a disclaimer to the video was obviously a mistake, and we apologize for the misunderstanding it did cause.

The bad publicity is likely to be short-lived. But it does send a warning to Nokia, especially at a time when the company is struggling to make a dent in the competitive smartphone market.

The spokeswoman told Bloomberg that Nokia is dealing with the issue "quickly, fairly, and privately." That sounds like someone at Nokia is going to have to take the rap for the snafu, if only to ensure that the company's products speak for themselves from now on.

Updated story 12:00 p.m. PTwith statement from Nokia.

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