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« Smartphone Market Shares at Q2 and Report Card for Half-Year Performance | Main | Another Death in the Bloodbath: Google Buys Motorola Mobility »

August 11, 2011


Tomi T Ahonen

Quick comment to all

Thank you for the comments. Wow. 81 already. I am on my summer vacation so I will be quite slow in responding, but I will return to respond to you all, please keep the discussions going.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


If you don't find it a "mystery" that a CEO is not interested in selling a high-profit hit product, at a time when his company is bleeding money, then it's simply because you chose not to follow that fact to its logical conclusion, the same conclusion that you completely avoided in your previous reply: i.e. Nokia's CEO is not, by choice or by [contractual] force, acting in the best interest of the company.

Now whether that is because Elop is obliged by contract to sacrifice the N9 despite the rave reviews it has received, or if he is doing it simply by choice, is a moot point if the end result is the same: Nokia, under Elop, is currently not allowed to maximize its profits.

And THAT is a reason itself to question his postition as a CEO.

But even giving Elop the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he signed such a contract in good faith (i.e. he did not expect that the N9 would have that great reception by reviewers and the public), in hindsight it is increasingly looking like an enormous mistake, otherwise there would be no need for him to actively kill the N9 - the market, or rather the lack thereof and the lack of buzz, would do it for him.

And such a misjudgement cannot be accepted at that level of management, period. Hence all the demands that Elop be fired, even though you seem to make a deliberate effort to avoid mentioning that consequence.

Thus I will ask you two direct questions, that only require yes or no for an answer.

1. Do you think that a CEO should need to actively shoot down his own product that is creating hype and excitement everywhere, regardless of whether that "shooting down" is by contract or by choice?

2. Do you think that Elop should let the N9 go head to head against Nokia's own and upcoming WP7 phones, and simply let the market decide which they like better?

Two straight and simple questions, and your personal opinion - yes or no?

Please humor me.


Prior to joining Nokia in 1985 Jorma Ollila worked eight years in corporate banking at Citibank's London and Helsinki offices, and when he joined Nokia his tasks involved international investment deals. (From Wiki)

The iPhone is a line of Internet- and multimedia-enabled smartphones designed and marketed by Apple. The first iPhone was unveiled by Apple CEO Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007. (From Wiki)

In October 2007, pending shareholder and regulatory approval, Nokia bought Navteq, a U.S.-based supplier of digital mapping data, for a price of $8.1 billion. Nokia finalized the acquisition on July 10, 2008. (From Wiki) [October 2007 was the high point for Nokia share price. By July 2008, shares were selling at less than 75% of the high. Now they sell for 13% of the high.]

On January 28, 2008, Nokia announced that they had entered into an agreement that Nokia would make a public voluntary tender offer to acquire Trolltech. The total cost for Nokia is approximately € 104 million. Trolltech has since accepted this offer. (From Wiki)

Maemo Version history:

OS2005 Desktop. Shipped with the 770 in November 2005, this is the original Internet Tablet OS. It came bundled with the Opera web browser, Flash 6, basic Email and RSS clients, audio and video players, PDF and image viewers, a graphical APT front-end (dubbed simply "Application manager"), and a variety of simple games and utilities. Maemo is mostly based on open source code, and has been developed by Maemo Devices within Nokia in collaboration with many open source projects such as the Linux kernel, Debian, and GNOME. Maemo is based on Debian GNU/Linux and draws much of its GUI, frameworks, and libraries from the GNOME project. (From Wiki)

MeeGo is a Linux-based open source mobile operating system project. Primarily targeted at mobile devices and information appliances in the consumer electronics market, MeeGo is designed to act as an operating system for hardware platforms such as netbooks, entry-level desktops, nettops, tablet computers, mobile computing and communications devices, in-vehicle infotainment devices, SmartTV / ConnectedTV, IPTV-boxes, smart phones, and other embedded systems. MeeGo is today hosted by the Linux Foundation. (From Wiki)

The Navteq purchase hurt Nokia worse than even Elop. Navteq is worth $2-3B today, max, and took time and resources to integrate into Nokia's symbian OS. Symbian development suffered. Maemo development suffered from this misallocation of resources. All this paved the way for Elop, who will try to drive the stake through the heart of Linux at Nokia.

But it is ok. WP will fail, hard. WP8 will fail and so will "Tango" -- Mango for cheap phones. Elop is trying to rescue Microsoft in the phone space by giving up Nokia's efforts in the Linux space. Symbian is a big waste of time and a distraction. Symbian can't compete above a $200 price point unlocked today so it makes no difference whether Symbian phones have turn by turn navigation downloadable for free. Meego 1.2, however, can compete at a $1,000 price point unlocked and could do so with Google Maps. Considerable amount of N9s will sell in countries where unlocked phones are a rarity. That tells you something. In 14 months when Elop's WP line of phones goes exactly nowhere in the North American market, the N9 will still be a cool phone to buy in all markets. Dispite Mr. Ollila's international dealmaking with Navteq and Elop, Nokia has a future. That future does not lie with Symbian. Symbian was a British OS and it worked for a while when there was no competition other than Symbian. Nokia's future does not lie with Microsoft, any more than any other cell phone maker's future lies with Microsoft. Nokia's future lies in Linux. And it is Trolltech's Qt which put a consumer ready UI on top of Maemo/Meego's Linux base. So that was a good deal for Nokia even if it too some more time to integrate. Nokia was slowly building a permanent and durable platform in Linux with a Qt built UI, now called Harmatten. It's too late to kill Linux Nokia, Mr. Elop. It already exists and sells itself. You have to first show that WP can be a success and that's impossible. No one needs and no one wants a Windows phone. Ha ha to you and yours Mr. Elop. Lots of people want and think they need a Linux phone with a consumer ready UI. Nokia makes that now. A few bug fixes and some faster hardware and the N10 is ready to go in a few months time at the end of 2012. The same body can be reused, just as the iPhone reused its first iconic form. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Mr. Elop. Be sure to take your leadership team with you. By by.


Let's hope that Nokia WP device will be public soon, this war will become more interesting and harder esp. since Google bought Motorola Mobility.


And please stop the whole elop story, will you? Don't you all get bored with that stuff since Feb 11? Just talking non sense and do nothing? Isn't better e.g. to share your mind regarding the future technology and next strategy?


I think Elop and Nokia board knew more or less that this Google-Motorola acquisition might happened. In fact that Nokia didn't sue any Android hardware manufactures in case of IPs so far (they could if they want to) and sue only Apple instead.

In other side this is a good news for Nokia and Microsoft since the others hardware manufactures will probably commit themselves more into WP.

If Nokia didn't sell WP devices pretty well, then Microsoft might buy either RIM, HTC or even Nokia as next step.


Clearly after google to buy motorola, apple is pressed to buy nokia at 70% premium as I predicted moths before. In this way, apple can destroy the circus game of microsoft on nokia and the so called the third ecosystem dream of mango,
plus royalties paying to nokia
plus free built-in maps with various ad services besides turn-by-turn gps guidance.

Yes, as nokia investers and consumers, I welcome the move of google and apple in the short future. anyone who are tired of these clowns: Steven Elop, Weber, Jorma Ollila should support apple's action now.


There is a little more to the Osborne story than just announcing a new and improved version of their product while still trying to sell the old and lesser one. Osborne went bankrupt because they kept building more of the original Osbornes. That is, it was not the announcement that killed them but that they burned through all their much money before they could deliver the new product. If they had deeper pockets and stayed a float until the new version was ready, the story would have been much different. I am willing to bet Elop et al knew all of this and assumed they had the reserves to make it until their first WP7 phones were ready.

That is not to say I think they handled all of this well. They have made a number of moves, most of which were unnecessary, which have alienated both their existing customers and the carriers (including the Ratner effect comments). These are what are going to hurt, if not kill Nokia.


I appreciate the rather long explanation but note that you did not really answer my two simple questions, instead you gave a blurry answer one might expect from a politician.

Whether *you* are impressed or not by the N9 does not matter: the web and many potential consumers *are*, yet Elop is killing all the hype. *That's* what's relevant here.

You instead tried to give the reasons for him doing so, when I asked about your *personal* opinion, in the form of two simple yes/no questions.

Obviously your opinion is in itself irrelevant for this discussion, but I am trying to understand where you are coming from.


here is a chinese proverb:
a beggar who holding a gold bowl asks for food

is it for nokia and its management ?

you donot need microsoft crap money in the first place, period. get rid of the illegal exclusive agreement with microsoft. or investors will get rid of you: Elop,Weber, Jorma soon.


I remember when I heard about the speech for the first time. I was thinking what the hell is Elop saying there! It was completely stupid and self-destructive.

I just could not understand why he didn't understand that image is everything (almost), that means trustworthiness and credibility. Every good brand have a trusted brand but also good products.

Nokia had actually still both until Elop gave his speech! It was just that competition became harder and obviously changes needed to be made to product strategy.

But why this speech? We perfectly well know that in consumer goods business, brand value is really big share of the stock price (70-90%). So, Elop's speech actually took the trust and credibility away, increased risk of failing and therefore we lost all the value in the company too. It is really hard to get that trust back because it is difficult to change people's beliefs and attitudes when it is once lost.

It is such a shame because products are good and there so much innovation them that most do not even understand it. Now, for instance, I have to explain on a daily basis what happened to Nokia! Like that everything would have already be gone...I also try to explain why the products are good but I am really tired of doing it. Now I only say that you just choose the product you feel most comfortable with.

We very well know that choise is often based only on word-of-mouth and brand perceptions than facts. Consumer cannot process all the product information and therefore marketing has an quite easy task to manipulate our perceptions. Apple did this very well. They also simplified the message that it is easy to choose the product among other alternatives. We need something nice to talk about because mobile phone is such an important personal status object that we want to be SURE we can be proud of it (especially in the category of lead users). When your phone is on the table, everyone sees it. It reflects parts of your personality, I don't want to look fool among my friends!

I have a PhD. in product branding. Product branding is a complex matter but you can be smart when talking about products that face challenges in the market and Elop -way was not the way...Now there is a damage control and I am sure they will fix this but it will take years...Who wants to sell a "good product" if it consumers cannot trust its brand image?

Anyways, I am not going to leave Nokia products because they made mistakes. It is like being a fan of a sports club. Will you immediately abandon your favourite sports club if they don't do well? Well, the sad fact (in a wider perspective, statistically) is that actually people prefer to follow the winning club than losers.

jus wondering

N9, best ever and company itself is doing all possible to destroy it !!!!! what a clever plan ha ha haa


"Products are good"

No, even a blind can see they are not. They are not competetive on price nor features

"Anyways, I am not going to leave Nokia products because they made mistakes. It is like being a fan of a sports club. Will you immediately abandon your favourite sports club if they don't do well? Well, the sad fact (in a wider perspective, statistically) is that actually people prefer to follow the winning club than losers."

Hahah.. you are definition of fanboy. PhD, give me a break.

Former owner

Fortunately I sold all Nokia stocks immediately after Elop's strategy speech. There were no doubt what's ahead.


Thank´s Tomi.
Intersting perspective. Only one question: Where and how they find those guys?


Stop arguing about the N9. It´s not going to do anything ANYWHERE.

It´s just one handset that could have been good two YEARS ago because this business is not about handsets anymore.


well, what should NOKIA do now with Elop? It is like choosing between cholera and plague....


if NOKIA fires now Elop, then they admit bad judgement when they recruited him, if they don't fire him, they admit also bad judgement and they have to sit and wait for the next screw up.

Maybe they have no alternative? Maybe no decent manager wants to have that CEO position?


Cut the bullshit, Elop has just bursted the biggest pimple we'we seen so far. Nokia has been rottening from inside for more than 10 years now. Thanks to it's engineers who have been running the show.


How low one can go?! X:s are the most bitter ones no matter if in business or in other partnerships. In the business the nastyness can be even just the demand of publicity!

Mr Elop has done a crazy amount of good things in Nokia. Latest, in the beg of new year Nokia is back in the full strength!


sounds that someone has either NOKIA stakes or is on the payroll





@Hewbass loads of people use Xbox as an informed choice.


Errors has done in Nokia long ago, as in any company.
Big thing was: shut down Symbian Series 80-90 lines, and go back to series 60.
Even larger fault, was: shut down Nokia's first touch phone, years before iPhone.
Worst error is (not only hire Elop, but) to concentrate one platform.
WP 9 or 10 might be OK or even good, after some years - but iOS, Android AND Meego will be better. Meenwhile, RIP - Nokia.

Windows OS is good business for Microsoft, Office* is not only excellent business - but together this makes base for many other business. When we do have IMAP and POP mail, I don't understand, why many companys as HTC and Samsung is forced to pay around 5$ from each sold Android phone: from Active sync licence. Yes, they also do pay some other licences/royalties, but Active sync. Are we (all companys) really so deep in Windows world -> they have to pay.
* I like OpenOffice and Libre Office. Product is excellent and cost-effectivity is infinite. There is no alternative to Microsoft active sync?


Perhaps, we should get Anssi Vanjoki back on board.

He'll create a new hype which is positive for Nokia.

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