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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




I blame the Nokia Board who lost confidence in OPK and then, inexplicably, selected for his replacement his exact opposite, a hack, software middle manager with a bachelors degree, too many times promoted, whose best quality is his ability to sit on top of cash cow software divisions and hand them over for sale if called upon to do so. But I don't entirely blame the Board, because Nokia was bloated and riven with infighting managers and divisions who fought among themselves from too much easy success despite the challenge from Android and the iPhone. The Board was at wits end and was vulnerable to receiving bad advice on an OPK replacement. They certainly picked an idiot in Elop, though, a big mouth, small brain gambler used to having a cash cow underneath him to pay for his follies.

Finns shouldn't have too much success. It is bad for them, haha. Nokia needed to be shaken up and to recover a sense of how easily good things can be taken away. Elop is killing the Symbian phone sales which would have paid for more infighting and indecision as well as more design work for the Meego superphone and more improvements to Symbian. Well Elop has made one mistake. Elop has stated that he is betting Nokia's future on WP and that there is no plan B. Of course there is a plan B, there is always a plan B, and Plan B involves getting rid of Elop and demoting WP to a self-supporting line of Windows phones, when the WP lineup of phones goes nowhere in the market place by the end of 2012, preserving the Bing search engine as the default search engine of Nokia phones, if that's in the contract, and returning R&D emphasis to the Symbian and Meego lines, finding excuses not to incorporate Internet Explorer and any other Microsoft dreck, and returning to profitability by making really good phones like Nokia once knew how to do.

Maemo/Meego was ten years in the making and now has a consumer ready prototype coming to market, the N9. Maemo/Meego is designed to have an operational life as an OS of decades, Linux shrunk to a smartphone. When Elop's WP plan flops, as it will (there is no magic sauce that can remove the stench of Microsoft in consumers minds, and there is no Microsoft products which are not mercenary, cynical thefts of other people's ideas and work, clumsily clumped together, as consumers inevitably find out to their discomfort), the Nokia Board will remember that OPK's Symbian to Meego plan is still working its way forward within those parts of Nokia that Elop hasn't turned into Accenture playpens. So Elop will be sent home to his wife and kids and a newly chastened group of Nokians will be left to salvage what is left of their company, by first selling Navtec, which is not a core competency of a smartphone maker any more than owning a search engine or a social networking site is a core competency of a smartphone manufacturer, and returning to the Symbian to Meego transition.

The purchase of Navtec was imperial overreach and marked the beginning of Nokia's profligate years when it frittered away its profits on non-essentials, both in materiel and in personnel. Like the division of smartphones into N, E, and X lines, which then fought among themselves for resources and phone specs, proliferating incomplete, half-sorted solutions to imaginary niche requirements, which frustrated and annoyed users whose phones often froze up for lack of memory, like a design crazy athletic shoe manufacturer whose shoe laces were too short or broke off with use. What a mess those last few pre-Elop years were, we have to admit.

Don't get me too started on the b.s. of my country, I will get myself into trouble. Let me only say there is not much truth anymore in the public life of my country, unfortunately. We are an empire now and no longer a functioning republic. Our laws and publicly recognized truths mean nothing in the face of power, which is now the supreme value. It's a disease which occurs in all societies which become empires. Sad, because our empire is far less useful to the world than we seem to think, while our republic was far more fine a thing than we seem to remember in our power drunk expansion of the favored class of people, those who can afford health insurance, iPhones and iPads, cellular plans and cable tv subscriptions each costing hundreds of dollars a month, those who edit and produce our media and support other pillars of the empire. The lives of %80 percent of Americans have become meaner and more difficult since Nixon resigned. Serve Mammon and be rewarded, that is the message, or serve Uncle Sam.

All the more reason to hope that a European counterweight can remain standing in the smartphone space and especially one dedicated to Linux open operating systems. This will preserve one's ability to choose and install the web browser of ones choice and one's ability to interact with the web with the means of one's choice. Elop will flop I am confident, in less than 14 months this will be clear, and Nokia is too big to be brought down just by one deluded middle manager of software cash cows turned into a turnaround chieftain. Only one thing do I like about Elop, he cancelled the N950 and let the N9 come to light. The N9 is the first legitimate iPhone contender on the planet worth paying more for than an iPhone, and it comes from Nokia. N950 type sliders will come later, but for now it is enough that the N9 is so brilliant and wanted that people will put up with any flaws and any price to have one, because they know that next one will be better, and I think to use the N9 is to know that there will have to be a next one, it's just too good an idea, an idea that was many years in the making.

Elop intentionally or not drove Nokia to produce its best effort given where Maemo/Meego was at the time Elop came on board, and that best effort will be enough to allow Nokia to survive Elop's two and a half years of mayhem. The N9 is a halo phone, something RIM, HP, Samsung and the others have not yet come up with. It will still be a halo phone at the end of 2012, its that good a solution to needs people actually have and perceive that they have. It is designed for the future and will have a future. WP! I laugh at WP. Lee and others can ultimately only say one thing: Microsoft will throw a lot of money at making WP succeed. Great, let them do so. Meanwhile, Linux will continue to nibble away at Microsoft's bread and butter and eventually Microsoft will either run out of money or return to some kind of honest roots. That's long in the future. I hope Nokia is alive and independent and making Linux products then. We'll see.


I'm waiting when Tomi can actually write even couple of posts not mentioning "burning platform memo" or "the announcement". Buddy, write something're just repeating the same phrases. I think your point is clear now, but for heaven's sake, try something new? I'm kind of scared of all this Elop hate...sounds like a religious priest agitating group of people for riots :) Ha-ha-ha.

We will see within 12 months what's going to happen for Nokia. I was also shocked after Symbian wasn't anymore a primary OS but financially I understand pretty well, that shrinking profits and a huge number of devs required to keep OS even at a near modern level wasn't an option.

Android and iOS are just so popular at the moment that no matter what Elop had said, Symbian sales would have dropped anyway dramatically. Thankfully Nokia wasn't too proud to commit a slow suicide by rejecting the reality and replacing it with its own.


Having been a part of the Nokia family, while Nokia was indeed like a second home for the workers, it's sad to see, where things are going.

For years, after the Nokia dream team broke up, there was no great leadership within Nokia. Employees were waiting for a way to go, but none really was given. It was like being on the oil platform at the middle of the sea and trying to find out the way back shore. This Elop got correct. Leadership was something what was really needed and everybody waited to get back to business. Great company and all, should have good direction to go forward.

But.. Elop did rock the boat or burning platform, as promised. At the same time he did forgot or wanted to forgot that there was something coming up from the platform, new shiny boat, which did have gps and all the nice stuff you could imagine.

If only he (ok, let's say Nokia board of directors) would have been smart and define two bladed strategy. One to go forward with 'whatever have ecosystem right now', WP7, Symbian, Android.. and keep the other blade on progress with MeeGo.

This way there would be something for, still existing?, Nokia fans to look forward.

In current situation there basically can not be any Nokia fans left anymore. Symbian and MeeGo have been killed and something which is so very much different by ideology has taken the place. Change from open to very much closed. How many, alpha users would just snap their mind from one to another? I would say very few.

If there is no hidden plan to go forward with Nokia's own Smartphone OS, or should it be Mobile OS (MOS), I would say that there is no brand called Nokia after 5 years from now.


And now MS is not even giving Nokia the chance to first w. the new 'Mango' phone. Acer, LG, Samsung and ZTE will all be releasing new Mango builds next month. Elop sacrificed Nokia to Microsoft, now they will have to play catch up even w. new wonder phone. Not that it will much matter; MS smartphones now dominate 1.6% of the market as of Q2. Nokia will just be 'yet another' Mango phone, and who cares.



Have you read this:
A prove of how incompetence elop were....

Elop is true microsofian....
when problem arrise in their software, they take money from the engineer division and put it in the marketing division (see mac. vs. windows commercial by mac).

whenever you think symbian is bad, wp7 is good.
I want to repeat what have been written here.
there were 4 phone market, dumb phone, feature phone, smartphone, and supper phone.
and as tomi write in the past the THEORY OF CONVERGENCE, the specs/requirement for each segment were always changing as in Nash theory of equilibrium.

symbian MAY NOT suitable to fight in supper phone era as in the S^1, and also the current state of S^3. **BUT** it would be a great phone to have in feature phone market. If nokia entering the US$ 60 - US$ 160 with current symbian phone, it would surely make a great wave. And this is possible due to current S^3 able to run on 680MHz Arm 11 CPU easily.

I agree that symbian is not La crème de la crème as in iOS and android
but nokia have one of the best OS in the world that have great user based, and can be pushed to fill the next billion easily.

Buying a phone is also like buying a clothes, car, jewelry.
People not only see at the OS, but other wow effect.
Right now, WP7 is NOT_BAD*, but BORING!!!!
* NOT_BAD in OS level, but if I would chose evil empire to control my wall garden, i'm not gonna choose microsoft over apple.
* In desktop, MS have manage in the past to go beyond monopoly. but in phone MS is not monopoly, thus, MS can't use any FUD at all. So, don't expect Microsoft make a miracle in WP7.
* Microsoft have learn from apple to add visual effect on their desktop OS, because it make the user feels good, and WP7 just feel like Microsoft Bob, good idea, but market will not accept it easily.

I don't think it would be too late for nokia to go back to Symbian, right now what they need is to fill the US$100+ market with S^3 device and fire elop before he really bring down Nokia.


Well Said,
I also hate politics :)
and don't really care about politics, but as I'm becoming older, politics always crosses my path. Let me elaborate:
1. First, I must said I'm a linux user, and do most of my daily chores on linux.
I firstly use linux over windows because I like the stability and better virus protection :)
but i hate when real distro can't put DVD and even MP3 encoding in burner because of DMCA.... and user must download it by them selves. this leaves many non-teachy user won't touch linux at all........ politics....
2. openoffice vs. MS office on the open format ?????.... MS trying to lock the MS office format.
3. Netscape vs. IE... I would never use IE even though I'm using Windows. and always recommend firefox to other because I don't like what MS did in this part.
4. did you know that MS try to kill other office suite, like IBM office suite and others by making a bundling deal through OEM. If the OEM buy windows + Office = better price?
5. and now symbian things made me hate Microsoft even more.......

(sorry for even more off topic).....
and to make it worse (in politic) and also american image, things like china vs. taiwan (american congress vow to protect taiwan), lybia, iran, iraq, african investment (where america angry to china because china give money to help african country, that ruin american plan), etc..... so, for non-american, we would choose over non-american product if we can. because we feel american were bully. (PS: I'm english educated after high school, so i'm living in both world, as much as I like american culture (eat steak, burger, watch mostly american sitcom and american movies), and have lots of GOOD american friend, i hate american politic view).

and that's why I post a couple of time in this blog, that i won't be surprised to see if this whole things against Nokia symbian/meego is just another plot to destroy open source because it's not aligned with microsoft strategy thus would make american weak in political and monetary in the future.



You have tried to provide many alternative theories/explanations regarding Nokia's and Elop's decisions, seemingly almost always trying to justify them, but I don't think you have written anything about why Elop is so absolutely set on making sure the N9 fails, by (among other things):

1. Elop publicly saying that the N9 is a dead end as soon as it was launched, regardless of whether it sells well or not (when was the last time you heard a CEO trash his own flagship product like that, despite the rave reviews it has received?). Any other CEO would have not only gone with the hype when the N9 was released but also boosted it. But instead Elop did his best to shoot the N9 down.

2. Not releasing the N9 (through carriers at least) in the countries where Nokia will release their WP7 phones, instead of letting the N9 go head to head with WP7 and let the *consumers*, not Elop, decide what they want: such direct and real feedback should be invaluable to Nokia, if Elop really does not have an agenda to support MS rather than Nokia; if WP7 really is so superior and more attractive than the N9/MeeGo as Elop claims then he should have no fears whatsoever - on the contrary he could then use that direct consumer feedback to prove that WP7 is in fact better/more desirable than MeeGo. Don't you agree?

3. Same as 2. but adding to that that Nokia is also losing money right now, so releasing the N9 world wide could provide an important revenue boost, while keeping Nokia on consumer's radar.

Yet Elop obviously won't have ANY of that.

I look forward to reading your explanations/theories regarding each of the points above.



There's really a two side of coins :)
For me, reading that article make me BELIEVE that elop was an IDIOT.
he, who was thought to be the savior, turn out not good at all in finding out what's wrong at nokia software team, and take a STUPID short cut instead.

For me,
it's one of the other reason to FIRE ELOP!!!


hi everyone.

long live Elop
long live Nokia board
long live WP
long live Microsoft
long live burning platform memo

/happy Nokian


Elop killing Meego N9 makes perfect sense in point of view of his strategy. Why would he not kill Meego/N9?

His strategy is to eliminate Nokia platforms - including proven technologies such as Symbian, and replace it with unwanted, proprietary, expensive MS crap.

The OS wars are on again and MS is losing.

Nokia has more than proven its mettle in terms of mobile operating systems, and was a forerunner in the race for the embedded/mobile OS.

MSs solution, then, is to simply kill the Nokia heritage and software engineering teams. Which has been done. Then devalue to the company, take it over, and control Nokia's patents.


@Jay, well said, but don't forget Jorma Ollila who betrayed nokia by hiring Elop to destroy nokia from inside at a time when Nokia got n8 ready to ship.

keep in mind, Jorma Ollila knew the status of Symbian ^3 N8/E7/C7/C6 and Meego N950 were coming out to fight back ipohne and andiod.

Do not know how to say Fins, but Jorma is absoultely traitor and criminal in the first place.


tomi, how can a long term ceo and board chairman of nokia holds only 720,000 nokia shares ? thats wht he can easily betray nokia by hiring Elop to destroy nokia from inside.


@Baron95: Sorry, but this is bullshit. Compare.

Steve Jobs:
"The most important reasons are that as we look ahead, though we may have great products right now, and we've got some great PowerPC products still yet to come, as we look ahead we can envision some amazing products we want to build for you and we don't know how to build them with the future PowerPC road map."

Stephen Elop:
"At the midrange, we have Symbian. It has proven to be non-competitive in leading markets like North America. Additionally, Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements, leading to slowness in product development and also creating a disadvantage when we seek to take advantage of new hardware platforms.


How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved?"

This is not the question of WHAT Elop actually did, but HOW he did that. You may say that Steve said it on WWDC 2005 (very public event) and Elop said it in internal memo (which was "unexpectedly" leacked), but this is bullshit too. Take a look on the Steve's talk:
Note "Secret Double Life"? Very few engeeners knew about said "Secret Double Life" AND they always knew it's "Just in Case" (so leaks were not as important) - but Elop sent Memo to thousands of employees in a company which is known for leaks. Either he's incompetent or this document was actually intended to be leaked.

Note how many times Steve explains that it's all about some nebulous "future Intel products" (it was about Intel Core which was not even available even for the demo) and that "we still are at the top NOW". This is because ANY such transition is inherently risky - but when you can explain it as "not your fault" (IBM just can not create good CPUs) but your are in charge (look, what we've seen is atually MacOS on Intel system) - it's one thing, when you say "WE are lost, WE did a crappy job, WE will go to 'big daddy'" - you get an Elop effect.


Hopefully Intel does see Meego's potential and makes good OS (&busines) out of it. Meego is real Linux, compared to Android. Meego could be that famous factor, Nokia would stand out in relief.
It's stupidity for Nokia head to one platform. Samsung an LG, they are open in all directions - and later on can make desision, where to put more efforts.
If you look new Nokia N9 expedition of World conquest, Nokia does not even try. With full invest, it could be a Hit (which is not acceptable - just before first Windows phone). Pity.


@khim Totally agree with your Jobs vs Elop analysis. Apple was building MacOS on both Power PC and Intel before the announcement. They were ready to go the moment the hardware was ready. While Apple had no room for Power PC once Intel was running, the mobile business is quite different with other phone makers being able to support multiple OSes. The only reason Elop is killing Symbian/MeeGo/N9 is possibly because the billion from MS had strings attached.

And concerning the popularity of WP7/8, consumers don't really care about the OS. Some who use computers may have a clue, but average Joe Sixpack doesn't. This decision is usually made based on their friends phones and what the store salesperson steers them toward or some fancy UI feature. Considering that MS has/is suing Samsung and HTC for Linux royalties on their Android phones ($5 to $15 per phone), I expect there is much heartburn among phone builders and the cell companies about MS trying to destroy the hot Android phones. With Nokia's patents, Apple and MS would not be able to do this but it appears MS went in through Trojan Horse Elop to get the same result.

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.

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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