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« The Ten Million Dollar Man - Stephen Elop Costs Nokia 10 Million Dollars More of Lost Profit - Every Day He Remains as CEO of Nokia | Main | LG Q2 Results: Smartphone sales 5.4M edges past SonyEricsson for 6th biggest »

July 27, 2011

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Antoine RJ Wright

One correction: Moblin wasn't a smartphone platform but was a netbook approach from Intel.

Where in your discussion of Nokia's transition is their refreshed reliance on MeeGo to drive the use of Qt to make their S40 platform the new transition point since Symbian has been effectively killed?

gzost

So many points to make here, but I'll restrict myself to just some regarding the ecosystem:
- Even if the 400k developers were true: As a user, I don't care about the number of developers a platform has. There's no counter there that keeps me up to date on this. What I do notice and do care about is the number of applications that fill my needs. Symbian has been losing in this respect for quite a while. Be it newer (or older) cloud service clients, branded apps, or even pretty old-school tools, the choice on other platforms is better.
- You need to be able to actually buy and install the apps. Carrier billing in the Ovi Store is a wonderful thing, but the store application on my phone needs to start, the search needs to find what I'm entering, the payment needs to go through, the download needs to work, and the install has to complete. A simple process on iOS and Android, but with the Ovi Store, each and every one of these steps fails often enough to make purchases there a lottery. After being triple-billed for the same purchase, and with no reinstallation or upgrade download attempts left due to Ovi Store client problems, how many people will actually attempt to buy another application?

peter

@gzost, since you don't care whole picture, you just focus your apps. tell us what's your apps already owned, wanted but not owned.

let's compare them side by side to check n8, iphone4,wm6,wp7,andriod 2,n9


Matt

Apple is like Porsche, if only Porsche somehow managed to sell 4% of all the cars, rather than the 0.2% it actually does. Porsche's price points are such that they will never sell 4% of all cars, and probably not even close to Apple's equivalent market share in luxury car (i.e. smartphone) sales. To do that they'd have to sell 911s for $40k, and they'd take a bath. Apple has managed to create a phone as desirable as the 911, but make it for, and sell it at, BMW prices. So the more accurate analogy is BMW or Mercedez-Benz (and even they only have a market share of 2.1%, at least in America). And yes Toyota wouldn't get anywhere if it only tried to sell the equivalent of a Porsche 911, but it certainly does want to compete against BMW and Mercedes, and it does, with Lexus. And how would Toyota fare if it put the same mediocre stuff under the hood in the Lexus LS as it does in the Toyota Yaris? That's what they did for too long, by putting Symbian in premium phones. They just couldn't compare, and their share tumbled. Of course, the WP7 move (especially to announce in February) was utterly stupid, and particularly so if Meego is as ready-for-prime-time as you claim. We'll see: if Meego is so awesome, so ready, and so open, it ought to be adopted more and more handset makers in the coming months, more than just ZTE, LG, Huawei and Panasonic that you mention. Ultimately, that is what will judge the Elop decision, and in turn, Tomi, virtually all your credibility as an analyst rests on the success of Meego in these other devices.

Bob Shaw

At a minimum, the adoption of WP7 by Nokia is a defensive strategy for atleast two reasons:

1. It allows Nokia to provide more focus on the feature phone/low end smart phone business where it has a strong presence and it is facing increasing challenges.

2. It allows Nokia to work on MeeGo devices/ecosystem without the market and media pressure it experienced in 2009 -2010 trying to come up with an alternative to iPhone.

I would have still liked Nokia not to give up on Symbian but I guess something had to give to shore up the feature phone business of Nokia and build the MeeGo platform.

I hope Nokia can utilize the advantages of Symbian which are very compelling, as Tomi outlined, for the mid and low tier of the markets in emerging economies of China, India, Indonesia etc.

peter

211 is a disaster to nokia as 911 to usa.

Terrorists of 911 got killed now, how about terrorists of 211 ?

Finnish government, you has to shoulder your responsibliby, go ahead arrest terroist head of 211, Steven Elop, no matter what masks he might be wearing, no matter what excuse he might be using. Numbers and fact have spoken loudly.

yes, go ahead arrest terroist head Steven Elop now !!!

peter

World Financail Terrorists:
#1 Steven Elop
$22B loss of nokia share price
$10B brand value damage
$2.9B inventory written off
4000 nokians lost their permanent jobs
3000 nokians shorten their career to 3 years
$50B unrrealized profit for coming 3 years completely lost due to the abandon of Meego and Symbian
10% GDP of Finland cut off
----------------------------------------
all this is implemented not by bombing via airliners or human bodies but just a single statement.

Finnish Authorities, go ahead to arrest world #1 Finanacial Terrorist: Crap Steven Elop !!!


peter

Good news, Meego N9 will be available for pre-order in August in China, Brazil and Australia.

Best news will be the resignation of Elop, it is in the pipeline.

james

"Best news will be the resignation of Elop, it is in the pipeline."

we cross our fingers.

John Phamlore

Tomi,
Consider what has happened to some of the partners who tried the push WiMAX, which was initially marketed as a possible existential threat to the US carriers.

Cisco: terminating all consumer products divisions

Samsung: (I think WiMAX had some roots in Korean technology WiBRO) being sued in Microsoft for per Android phone patent licenses

Intel: mid books never even developed as a product. Microsoft announces Windows 8 will run on ARM not just x86. HP shipping an AMD Zacate notebook with Verizon LTE connectivity

Some who offended had to lose a finger. Nokia is losing an arm, or worse. Why? I speculate Nokia offended the worst because it offered to cross-license with Intel the wireless patents necessary for WiMAX.

For Nokia, a company that prides itself on carrier relations, to offend the US carriers for the sake of an alliance with a company Intel that offered Nokia nothing will go down as one of the worst technology alliances in history. For this I speculate Nokia will not be forgiven until it is dismembered as it is being now.

By the way Tomi, check out some of the recent history of mobile television in the US. Consider that the US carriers want to become the intermediaries for that too. Note that Qualcomm sold to AT&T the former Flo TV wireless spectrum. Of course Nokia tried a previous alliance with Intel for mobile TV as well.

Ask yourself why Nokia kept on allying itself with Intel and angering the US carriers. That was one of the real problem with accepting the Linux religion, because the Linux advocates just don't care about what is destroyed as long as Linux is promoted.

Paul

I suggest that consumers see smart phones as belonging to a different product category from dumb phones. Maybe Nokia needs to keep selling dumb phones to maintain carrier relationships, but viewing the two product categories as being on the same perceptual continuum should not be allowed to constrain development of smart phone platforms.

Except in cases where regulations may favor a domestic solution, while native apps dominate smart phone app markets there is probably not room for more than 2 mobile operating systems. Network effects and first mover advantage are to iOS and Android. Windows Phone is gone for this reason alone, and the rest of them will exist mainly as internal projects and press releases.

Also, Nokia's market may have dived only after the introduction of competitive Android phones, but when the Android phones came Apple started broadening iPhone distribution and selling earlier iPhone versions at much lower prices, so it is reasonable to assert that iPhone may also have been a factor in Nokia's near-demise.

peter


@John Phamlore, google also once promoted wimax for each metropolitan area, why not being punished by your logic ? it is not nokia's withdraw from intel meego alliance, it is intel who played nokia by not deliveing any practical hardware platform for nokia which costed nokia a deal. You've now seen Meego N9 is powered by a one years old hardware from TI instead of intel.
actually, nokia should do Maemo alone instead of meego.

Google Nexus S 4G with WiMAX justed launched with sprint in Q1

John Phamlore

Peter,

Google is being investigated for antitrust violations in its core search business, including possibly by the Obama administration's FTC. Someone is pulling some political strings, someone with much heavier influence than even Microsoft. Wonder who that could be.

Google is being charged a finger. Nokia committed the unforgivable sin of cross-licensing wireless patents for an existential threat, and for that it must lose an arm, a leg ...

SWAP

Tomi, you said N90 was the only Maemo device and I guess you got confused because of Maemo namming system See this page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maemo there are total 4 devices including N900.

Asko

@SWAP only N900 is a smartphone. Others are Internet tablets without cell radio.

Nuppi

Nokia tabler, or RIM....Nokia

8.15.2011 = who is tabco?

TabCo

khim

Nokia ran out of time. It's a simple as that. THIS IS STANDARD RESULT OF DISRUPTION - there are nothing wrong with Nokia's engineers or Nokia's developers.

You say Nokia has the biggest ecosystem? Right, but how loyal is it? This piece was written long before Elop, you know:
http://www.symbian-guru.com/welcome/2010/07/symbian-guru-com-is-over.html

Seriously, if you want to talk about what happened with Nokia and what happens with RIM you must read "Innovator's Dilemma" first.

Last year single "huge, robust, powerful Nokia ecosystem" was already history. They had legacy ecosystem tied to Symbian and they had new fledgling one tied to Maemo^H^H^H^H^HMeeGo. They are loosely related, heck, they are about different products altogether!

Here is good article on subject:
http://www.unwiredview.com/2010/09/13/nokias-doing-ok-in-smartphones-its-superphones-where-apple-and-google-android-is-winning/
It's old, but it's describes the situation perfectly (in fact it's good that it's old: it means it was not riddled after-the-fact).

You note all the time that iPhone (especially original iPhone) was not all that good a PHONE: it lacked a lot of features, it was not even proper smartphone at first! But it played different game. It was not a traditional smartphone. It was "always connected pocket PC" (what the article above calls "a superphone"). It was used to browse the web and want videos on YouTube. Later it added Apps and the set of features it supported exploded. But the one thing remained constant: it was not-all-that-good of a phone. AND ANDROID IS DESIGNED THE SAME WAY!

Now, Nokia seen the writings on the wall (as incumbents often do). As usual in such cases it decided to create a replacement - Maemo, then MeeGo. And as usual said replacement was kept in "experimental" state till it's "ready": till it'll be not just good "always connected pocket PC", but till it'll be good phone, too (it was quite usable "always connected pocket PC" 5-6 years ago). Well, guess what: this classic response leads to classic result (usually fire-sale, sometimes outright closure).

Why? It's simple: by the time you've developed a replacement which covers the needs of BOTH old customers AND new customers your "competitors from new angle" usually designed similar models (their engineers are also not crazy, right?) - but they are in rapid growth mode while you are faced with complex transition period. At this time you lose market share rapidly (because your new platform is just coming out of "experimental" mode), you still have a lot of quirks to work out (because you "great" model is not field-tested), basically you are screwed. But if your new platform is good you have chance. If it's not yet even ready... I don't know what to say.

So yes, Nokia had perfect strategy. For incumbent in disruptive change. It worked like it should have worked. Replacement is ready by the time old platform is starting to collapse, there are "blood in the water", etc. You are finally ready to participate in fight when the war is nearing it's end.

This is why when you say "its not a fair comparison" you are WRONG. DEAD WRONG. It IS fair comparison - if we are talking about "superphones". And THIS is the battle Nokia was losing without Elop and loses with Elop.

Yet, of course, Elop is a criminal. Nokia was losing in "superphones" battle, it had no strategy, it's platform was not competitive, etc. BUT IT HAD SOLID LEAD IN THE ADJACENT SMARTPHONES BATTLE. It was clear that smartphones are going to be replaced with "superphones", but this process was SLOW (because most combatants went to "superphones" battle and Nokia owned "classic smartphones" field almost by default - with only RIM as serious competitor) and Nokia was PROFITABLE.

Now the market is spooked. Perhaps Elop did that, perhaps it was just time for it to shrink, I'm not 100% sure. People no longer buy smartphones - both Nokia and RIM are affected. But the fact that RIM is shrinking while Nokia is in free-fall shows that what Elop did indeed was important.

I seriously doubt anything will seriously change even if Elop will be fired: he copiously sprinkled it's platform with gasoline and then blown it up for good measure so by now even it's old platform (which only staggered last year) is burning - and new one DOES NOT EVEN EXIST.

MeeGo development is in disarray (not a hard to thing to do really: just fire few key people - and voila: half-year to year delay is guaranteed) so WP7 may be the best choice... and it looks like everything Elop did till now was to sabotage all other choices till WP7 is the only [barely] viable alternative.

Baron95

Wow - there so many faults with the analysis and analogies, I don't even know where to begin.

Calling Apple a bit player in the smartphone market got me laughing though.

You think Apple competes with Google/Android? No. Apple competes with Samsung, Nokia, RIM, Moto, LG, etc. And it is the 8,000 lbs Gorilla in the smartphone room. Saying that Apple competes with Android is like saying it competes with Linux or Meego or Bada or WP. It doesn't. If Apple loses a sale to Samsung, id doesn't care if it was lost to a Bada phone or a WP phone or an Android phone.

You also incorrectly think that the Mac competes with Windows. It doesn't the Mac line competes with HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer. It is the top seller in many markets, the most profitable and has been taking market share from all those vendors.

You also incorrectly assume that a premium brand can not have the largest market share. That is proven completely false. Just look at the iPod. The most premium of premium music players. It has held 50%+ market share for a decade. It is also very likely that the iPad, like the iPod will hold 50%+ tablet market share for the foreseeable future. Even against competition from $200 tablets.

Nothing in your analysis explains why Samsung, Motorola, LG, SE abandoned Symbian (and didn't join Nokia on Meego), choosing instead to go emerging American OSes (WP and Android). Could the CEOs of all those companies be so wrong? Was the CEO of Samsung as stupid as you call Elop to ditch Symbian and move to Android? Of course not. All those CEOs knew (in their bones) that after 2007 the world changed. That phones were becoming pocket computers running extremely sophisticated SW. And very few companies can do consumer SW and great UIs - Apple, Microsoft, Google and a few others. In fact it is much more likely that a user interface/user experience company like Facebook, eBay or Amazon can make a successful smartphone OS than ANY of the phone manufactures Nokia, Moto, etc.

Nokia does not have the competence to EVER develop great UI/UX smartphone SW or tablet SW. Ever. They don't have the Silicon Valley ingredients - top talent, high-risk/high-reward, winner takes all, fast iterations, etc. It can never happen. Elop and the board recognized that (after a lot of damage), and they did what all Nokia's peers (except RIM) did - teamed up with a UI/UX/developer-tools/SW/Internet expert.

Your recipe, Tomi, would have Nokia try and try and try for another decade. They can not EVER succeed in creating great UI/UX SW products. EVER. Neither can Intel for that matter.

You claim it is an execution problem that they couldn't get a great OS/Ecosystem out the door faster. It is NOT an excution problem. It is like complaining that grandma can not learn to drive a Formula 1 car as fast as Alonso. In your view it is the execution - grand ma needs to practice harder, get more comfortable seats, better glasses, better coaching. But everyone knows that is not an execution problem. The strategy of trying to put grandma in an F1 car is wrong. The right strategy is to get last years F2 or F3 winner and get him/her to drive your F1 car.

Baron95

@Lee - what does moved the cheese mean? :)

But back to your point. Apple's iPhone market share is still severely constrained by several factors.

Until this year, Apple was, for instance, available on only one (mostly despised) US carrier, and to this day it is available in only one (tiny, marginal) Japanese carrier, only one (tiny almost negligible Chinese carrier).

It has also been supply constrained.

Tomi - you are in for a nasty surprise when more production capacity (iPhone 4GS/5) comes on line and the iPhone comes to say China Mobile. Apple can easily go from 20M to 30M phones per year by those two little things alone.

The same factors play as well to Android. Nokia's 2011 market share decline are simple a result of more iPhone/Android phones becoming available in more volume on more carriers. Nothing to do with Feb 11.

Baron95

Now to the car analogies....

Tomi, are you aware that the number 1 (by volume and revenues) product that Porsche sells is a 4-door sedan? The Panamera.

Tomi, are you aware that the number 2 (by volume and revenues) product that Porsche sells is an SUV? The Cayenne.

Porsche is taking share from the core of the premium market (BMW, Mercedes, Lexus), with those products.

Similarly, when Toyota decided correctly it needed to play in the premium space, they created a totally new division, with V8 engines and a virtual S-class clone the LS400 to compete. Are you also aware that Lexus cars go all the way to the US$300,000 mark with the LF-A, which will give a 911 Turbo a run for its money?

Point? When markets change (e.g. SUVs came into favor), premium brands change. BMW launches the X5 (including an X5 ///M), Porsche launches the Cayenne. But still Porsche and BMW entered the SUV market with one of the best and most desirable faster SUVs on the planet.

When Apple iPhone came on the scene, Nokia should have launched a Vertu line that would be the Cayenne or X5M - way, way over the top. The best of the best. It has nothing to do with having to also play in the mid-tier and low end. GM has the Corvette, Nissan has the GT-R, that can go head to head with the 911. It is not true, never was, that a broad range manufacturer like Nokia can't compete at the high, mid and low end simultaneously. They have done exactly that for 10 years.

It is that when the smartphone world required pocket computers with sophisticated OS and incredible UI/UX, Nokia simply could never ever do it. A good CEO/Chairman would have spotted in 2008 that they had to go outside.

JC

Tomi... please check your figures. The 400,000 strong developer community you speak of is really 400,000 downloads of the QT SDK. While that's an impressive figure, that includes both Desktop and mobile development, and doesn't distinguish between the two. Given the number times that that Linux developers end up downloading the latest QT SDK, I wouldn't be surprised if 98% of those downloads were for desktop development purposes.

I really expect better from you.

Peter

@Baron95, you conclusion is pure ignrant:
"It is that when the smartphone world required pocket computers with sophisticated OS and incredible UI/UX, Nokia simply could never ever do it. A good CEO/Chairman would have spotted in 2008 that they had to go outside."

Both Maemo and Meego is full-fledged computer operation system Linux which has already beaten Microsoft Windows in Server sector and in Mobile phones sector. Meego has the best fluid of UI/UX than iphone4 and android2.3.

Elop is simply a criminal, no excuse.

Eurofan

Tomi, Thank you for these blog postings on Nokia. I think this one was the best yet. To see the turnover in the Meego leadership and the resignation of the R&D head, all in less than a year; what a mess! I really appreciate the comments from Khim, LeeBase, Baron95 and others, too. In fact I agree with their comments for the most part. The back and forth between you and your critics is helping me get the bigger picture. Still I think you are right that Elop has been an arsonist and not a rescue worker. The main thing I agree with Baron95 et al. is that profitability is more important than market share. A profitable company does not go out of business or get taken over against its will. If Nokia could preserve its profitability by paring back its product launches and concentrating on doing things right it could bide its time and hope for opportunities.

I don't see how Elop's memo was anything more than a giant male gorilla dump deposited in the lobby of Nokia House to let all the other gorilla's know that he was the new boss. Not a great thing for customers to see when they walked into the building and not a great omen for the people working there when your boss does something like that. That's why there's something called the executive washroom. That's why there's something called internal strategy. You don't publicly ridicule and pull the plug on your most consistently profitable product line without having something ready to go that same day to replace it.

For someone who consistently uses war metaphors such as battle, war, front, etc, Elop certainly seems to have no compunction about letting the world in on the innermost weaknesses of his company's position. I'm sure he had just thrown a ton of money at Accenture to do a top to bottom strategic review of Nokia's situation and was still caught up in the consultants' war against institutional inertia when he wrote that memo. He should work for Accenture so he can skip around the world lighting fires. Nokia makes cell phones and that memo made it much harder to sell the cell phones it makes. If the next two quarters show big losses, too, it may be curtains for Nokia. I think I read that his wife and kids are still back in the States. If that's true, it also doesn't bode well.

It's so complicated when a large corporation loses its winning ways. It reminds me very much of General Motors, in the American business history. Once a goliath, supremely profitable, undermined by complacent management and consistently shoddy products which showed complete disrespect for its customers. GM prided itself on how cheaply it could turn out many, many "models". I've read quite a few other blogs about Nokia and I have to ask why has Nokia so often in the last few years produced smartphone products that were buggy and unpolished at time of introduction? If they promptly came out with updates that might be one thing. But over and over, its like General Motors in the 1980's, just punishing to your customers. One can only blame managers for such a pattern. I would like to believe that the N9 will not prove buggy and unpolished when it finally comes out. We'll see.

Does anyone have any info on Jo Harlow, EVP Smart Devices in the current management structure. Seems like she's been involved in Nokia's smart phone management since 2003. She has an American bachelor's degree in psychology from a middle rank university and was captain of their basketball team then had roles in two of the more frivolous marketing enterprises in the U.S. (Reebock sneakers and Proctor & Gamble, our biggest soap and toothpaste concern). I guess there's so little natural talent in Finland that over there she's qualified to lead Nokia's turn around efforts in smart phones. Why not put her in charge of drug discovery efforts at Pharmacia? Seems kind of like something you'd see on the American TV show Survivor. A shoe saleswoman that survives all the management shakeups that have occurred at Nokia over the past few years to be EVP Smart Devices. Does she have an cadre of sycophants who nod their heads when she nods? I feel sorry for qualified technical people whose livelihood and dreams she destroys as she builds her corporate fiefdom.

What a strange company it must be to work within. It's General Motors with European characteristics. The smartest thing the Finnish government can do is encourage people to quit or get laid off and support them and try to encourage new ventures. Maybe a niche player will develop out of Finland in the smartphone space to serve the "N9" market. If you have a good product and make profits you can grow.

What is all this Nokia talk about connecting the next billion, like it is some kind of U.N. peace project. Chinese and other asian manufacturers will be just as effective at making commodity cell phones for the third world masses as Nokia will. Yet I see videos by Nokia brass congratulating themselves for taking on this great mission. Nokia is a business based in a high cost northern european country. It should concentrate on intellectual capital and being a good place to work while remaining profitable. I would reorganize around Nokia Siemens Networks and the Smartphone division and start hiving off the rest. I'd send most of the Americans and Canadians back home.

Peter

@Baron95, of course, it is 211 that cause sales deeply collapsed.

Chinese distributors/resellers simply refused to order all nokia phones. Thats why htc/samsung/apple all have a sudden surge in Chinese market.


211 to nokia is absolutely 911 to us.

Elop is simply the terrorist that has caused nokia $100B loss and $10M loss each day as Tomi calculated.

Elop has to be tried/fired/put into jail without bail out.

Peter

Tomi,
Baron95 becomes simply a virus on your board. He is a short seller or more correctly naked short seller.

Best way to handle naked short seller is to announce exit from NY stock market which will force Baron95 and his boss to cover what they ever sold but never owned shares.

Quick fix of nokia financial status is:
1. Fire Elop
2. Exit NY stock Market

Your will see NOK share shoots to the moon immediately.

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