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December 15, 2011

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guest

Considering Elop's past, do we have any evidence that

a) He screwed up in a previous company (which would indicate that he is inherently incompetent).

b) He only worked in one clearly delimited domain and never switched from one technology area to another (which would indicate that he is out of his depth at Nokia).

If neither (a) nor (b) applies, then would it not indicate that he is doing things on purpose?

michael

As much as you are claiming that you are self-proclaimed guru of mobile industry, you are not doing yourself any favour.

Like or not Symbian was broke, and there was no way to fix it. We don't know where Nokia will end 5 years from now.

All your comparisons, charts, blogs and clever thoughts don't have any weight as you are starting from biased starting point. Blog by blog you are becoming more and more like some religious zealot turning blind eye at anybody who disagrees with you. Your thoughts are becoming more and more dogmatic.

andrew

Everything Elop does makes perfect sense. Not because he's an idiot, mind you. Go read the book "Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to Work". I read it. Elop is described perfectly in it. Everything he does is self-serving and nothing more. He does things for doing's sake, to get cheap thrills, money and power and if anyone ever gets in his way, he gets rid of them. In his mind he's never wrong about anything and everything bad is always someone else's fault. That's just how psychopaths operate.

Robert

HTC, Samsung, LG - all introduced new Win7 phones w. Mango way before Nokia. When 4Q figures are final, we'll know what to expect from Lumia series. But Nokia will not have killer hardware, nor much to differentiate it from the others. Supposedly, it looks and feels nice, but customers who want Mango won't wait for Nokia, they will buy something that is available now.
All Nokia will do is cut into overall market for Mango; not add to it.

quen

@Michael
Tomi didn't say that Symbian was not broke, if you read the article, he said that Symbian "was" broke or rather obsolete, duh, that's why MeeGo/Maemo/Harmattan was developed to replace it....
The point of the article was, even though with a broken OS and not so good ecosystem, Nokia Carrier-relations and sales people were still able to save Nokia's ass... But Nokia is not too blind to realize that they need a new strategy, that's why "MeeGo/Maemo/Harmattan + Qt" strategy was developed to provide a smooth transition, from old Symbian to new MeeGo, making the two platforms compatible, thereby successfully migrating customers without any major disruption...
Essentially, the switch from "Symbian to MeeGo" could be as destructive as the current switch from "Symbian to Windows Phone", but with the help of Qt, it would have made the transition much smoother, without making a disastrous drop in Nokia sales, especially in major markets like China...
There was no need to "announce" the death of Symbian publicly, as it was already known that it would be replaced in the future, by what would have been MeeGo/Harmattan... Symbian would have been able to relinquish it's throne to MeeGo/Harmattan without giving any major problems to Nokia's salespeople and its carrier relations...
But Elop's blabbermouth and outright firing and letting go of talented people caused more harm...

KPOM

You write a thorough analysis, but I have some quibbles. For instance, you keep on asserting that Apple delayed the iPhone 4S for 4 months and "hastily" redesigned it with no real evidence. Perhaps they intended to push the cycle back a bit, or perhaps the real reasons for the delay were the unreadiness of iOS 5 and the iPhone 4's continued decent sales. The patent application for the virtual SIM doesn't mean that they intended for it to make it into the 4S.

I think your point that the carriers still dominate is valid (particularly in the US but also to a lesser extent in Europe and Asia), but in Apple's case, their major concession was the exclusive deal with AT&T for 4 years (and initial exclusive deals in some other countries). That perhaps hampered its adoption on its home turf, but what it allowed Apple to do was build up momentum so that it can largely dictate its terms. Apple sets the pricing, for instance (demanding $100 larger subsidies than the major Android carriers in the US, for instance). Apple is perhaps the only manufacturer that has largely dictated its terms to the carriers (not the other way around). There is no carrier branding on the iPhone at all (not even carrier-specific apps preinstalled), for instance.

I think this is what Nokia was hoping for with Windows Phone. I.e. they knew they were stuck in a carrier-dominated rut with no real answer to Android or iOS. They had three choices. They could go with Android and attempt to do what Samsung has now done, they could continue along with MeeGo and hope that it would be ready on time and that it could continue to build its ecosystem with that, or they could go with Windows Phone in an attempt to differentiate themselves. All 3 had risks.

karlim

Let's look at Nokia sales in 2010, when iPhone and Android really took off and Nokia smartphone troubles really started.

In 2010 - Nokia Symbian^1 handsets became simply not competitive to similarly priced Android models and/or iPhones. Whenever quality Android handset or iPhone became available at a certain price level, Nokia was forced to abandon it, more or less without a fight and move below it. In early 2010 this happened with Nokia N97 and then N97 Mini, at the top of the price range. Carriers replaced high end Nokias with iPhone 4s, Motorola Melestones, HTC Desires and Samsung Galaxy S' Then, as models like HTC Wildfire, Motorola Defy,LG Optimus S, HTC Legend, etc; became available - they started replacing mid range Symbian smartphones in carrier shops too.

The only way Nokia was able to keep market share in the first half or 2010 - you yourself said so in your NOkia Q3/Q4 2010 analysis (Sherlock Holmes post)- was a price dumping. They were selling their smartphones to carriers at feature phone prices, where there was no real competition from Android yet. How heroic a sales force has to be to keep the unit sales volumes by price dumping, in high volume market tiers where there is basically no competition?

And even that stopped working for Nokia Symbian^1 phones in the second half of 2010. First their market share started collapsing in Q3, then S^1 smartphone unit volumes started crashing in Q4 2010. During Christmas quarter of 2010 Nokia Symbian^1 slaes declined by 3.2 million units. The decline was masked by the introductory sales N8 and other Symbian^3 phones. But is way bigger then can be explained by S61/S^3 displacement. Especially when you look at prices S^1 and S^3 phones were selling.

About Nokia Q4 2010 Symbian^3 sales. You insist that Q4 shows a major turnaround for Nokia. But those are just a single quarter numbers. And, given a pent-up demand from Symbian^3 delays, huge preorders and the fact that 5 million units of reported sales are just shipments to carriers and retail partners - it is a very shaky basis for such claim. Given Nokia sales force and their previous relations with carriers,the year end bonus incentives for sales people - the possibility that Nokia was just able to stuff their sales channel for the quarter, and many of those reportedly sold S^3 phones remained on carrier shelves, with much lower end consumer interest, is just as likely. There was not a single report from credible source that indicated that Nokia N8 and other S^3 handset sales to end users where at the level Nokia reported for Q4. Garner didn't say it, IDC didn't say it, Strategy Analytics didn't say and Canalys didn't say it. If I am wrong, and anyone can provide a link to credible source that says Nokia sold anything approaching 5 million units of Symbian^3 smartphones to end users - I will readily admit it. But I doubt anyone will.

Nokia U.S. sales Superman. Not sure who the person who did Nokia/AT&T X7 deal was and how long he has been on Nokia U.S. sales team. But if we are talking about Mark Louison - head of sales Nokia USA - there are two ways to look at this accomplishment. One is just as you described. Another one is - that he has been the head of Nokia USA sales since July 2007. 3 and a half years. And was only able to get 1 flagship level Nokia device on a major U.S. network. During most of OPK's tenure (who's goal was to do anything it takes to get back to U.S.), with iconic flagships like Nokia N95 and N95 8GB to offer. Or the smartphone like N97, before anyone had any idea what a crappy device it is. And half of his tenure before Android had a single competitive device ready to ship. Hardly a stellar performance for a sales guy,and a lot of grounds to be fired, IMHO.

Now lets look at the X7 itself. The deal for AT&T to sell it was most likely made sometime in early 2010 or even earlier. Here's a good description of how the whole process of getting the phone on AT&T network works: http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/15/how-an-atandt-smartphone-comes-to-life-behind-the-scenes-part-on/

Back then, when the deal was struck, Nokia was still feeling strong about Symbian and was planing to have Symbian Belle like version of OS running on its 2011 flagships. Which could have been competitive with Android Gingerbread handsets in spring 2011. By the time X7 was ready to ship - February/March 2011 - Nokia had already lost their confidence in Symbian, and made a decision to phase it out. Most likely, the decision about Feb.11th was already made by then. And it was clear that the best Nokia X7 can ship with, will be Symbian Anna. An OS that didn't have a chance in U.S. against similarly priced Android Gingerbread phones like Motorola Atrix, HTC Inspire and the rest. And the iPhone 4, of course. Did Nokia really need the X7 vs Android Gingerbread vs iPhone 4 comparisons in already hostile U.S. press? And the ridicule of the first Nokia flagship device in U.S after years of absence? When the decision for the strategy shift was already made? I'd say the cancellation of X7 was a smart decision. And probably done with full support from AT&T, which understood the competitive position of X7 very well too.

As for disparaging current Nokia U.S. sales team/efforts, and dismissing them as clueless Microsoft muppets, let's wait and see what happens at CES, MWC and CTIA Spring. We already know the former, pre-Elop Nokia U.S. sales team's achievements under Mark Louison. 1 flagship level device on 1 major U.S. network in 3.5 years. Let's see how that compares with the results current Nokia USA sales team will report after 1 year on the job.

Regarding China sales team. It was fired not because of the channel stuffing, internal numbers misrepresentation and inventory tricks that occurred during Q1 over there.

Michael Demetriou

I've got an N9. The phone is impressive. Massively impressive. So impressive, iPhone fans are willing to switch. Lumia phones are not available in Greece so cannibalization is not relevant. The N9 was here before the iPhone 4S. However all the shops either online or brick&mortar have huge banners of the iPhone, not the N9. This is a great lost opportunity.
In addition to that, the great price cuts never made it to consumers. They are gobbled up by carriers and tech shops. All major stores including the carrier branded ones offer the E7 for 599 euros, while small ones (mostly online) have it priced at 299(!). So Nokia seems to have inferior hardware because consumers compare the year old E7 to the brand new Razr, Galaxy S2 etc. Not only Nokia is failing, but other parties eat from it's leftovers. Shame...

baran

@tomi, I had read the full post. What I aggree with you is, Elop made so many wrong things. And what I believe is I guess Gartner is not wrong about WP sales by 2015. Cause if Elop continue to lead Nokia for 1 year more, MS will buy Nokia for a very little money which will not hurt their capex budget so much :) And MS has started to learn the basics of Smartphone market, and by far seeing what Elop had done, if they only do the opposite of him :) MS as a manufacturer (with bought Nokia) may be the 3rd king in smartphone market.

What I am a little bit confused about the blog post is ecosystems' importance. Altough Nokia was doing well last year without Elop, as Apple and Google gets their own ecosytem being well designed and rising quickly it would have an impact to Nokia for sure. What had been strong decrease about Nokia's fallen is : Elop's mistakes and Nokia's in-sufficent eco system.

PERUS

Oh yeah.. another "Elop bad, MS devil, MS-Nokia disaster, fire Elop" blog story. I though Tomi is concentrating more on some sales and statistic numbers after his vacation was over but seem hate is still in his mind.

Earendil Star

Tomi, I totally agree that one of Nokia's real strengths has been its salesforce, carrier relationships and global reach.
However, THT Elop is not primarily incompetent (that's a secondary issue), he is just pursuing a different agenda, as dictated by Redmond.
Gilles nailed it on this, and it's funny to see that others are pretending not to understand, because of some vested interested or simple fanboism.
The fact that some "heroes" were sidelined is just because MS is slowly permeating Nokia with its own people, guys they can trust in pursuing their strategy.
Too bad they are getting rid of "heroes" in the process. It's what they consider a small price to be paid to get actual and reliable control of the toy.
The move by MS was really clever: gobble the best performer in mobile sales for free, and force it to concentrate only on selling WP phones.
Knowing that the likelihood of being sued for its doings is minimal. As I said in a previous comment:

THE REAL BURNING PLATFORM WAS WP, not Symbian.

Symbian, like it or not, was still successful (note: I am NOT saying it was the best mobile OS, just that it sold), and had a natural future transition already in place with Maemo/Meego.
In February it was the still the FIRST mobile OS worldwide, and in Q3 2011 -despite all its limitations- it is what is still keeping Nokia afloat.
But all this was zapped and now Nokia is a MS *EXCLUSIVE* OEM... actually a division of MS. Can anyone honestly say that this is a good idea (mind, for Nokia, not for MS)?
No-one in its own mind could ever claim that Nokia's future as OEM can be any better than before, when it controlled its own world and profits entirely.
But some people just like to spread FUD and bs.
And the issue of this having happened is absolutely relevant, and not just moot, because -as ds correctly stated- this usual unfair and anticompetitive MS strategy has taken the FIRST mobile ecosystem off the table.
It means that consumers have been deprived of a strong alternative, thus freedom of choice.

Remember that in February THT Elop blabbered a lot of a "third ecosystem"... just a couple of considerations:
1) "ecosystem" is typical MS speak (just go and reread MS statements from years ago), curious it came from "Nokia's" CEO...
2) back in February, THT Elop was CEO of the company with the FIRST "ecosystem", Nokia, but for some "mysterious" reason he never ever considered mentioning it
3) WP -if it ever becomes relevant- will become so JUST THANKS TO NOKIA and its salesforce. This is proven by the fact that so far WP has utterly failed with all other (otherwise very successful) OEMs.
which means that...

NOKIA IS RESCUING WP, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND

Once again MS is behind the curve (as it was with the Internet and browsers, for example), and is now desperately trying to recover its lost ground in the future of computing: mobility.
I do not know if it will succeed, but what I know is...

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE MS

They will renounce nothing to safeguard their cozy monopoly.
And those who are downplaying MS's role or strength, saying that MS is no longer relevant, are either fooling themselves or are deliberately spreading lies.
Microsoft continues as a huge tolerated monopoly, and until competition is back, its actions will continue to be detrimental to innovation and consumers.

***

Changing topic completely, what is the reason behind iPhone's success and then Android...
Risking being "simplistic", I believe the iPhone succeeded "simply" because:
1) cool design hardware, with large screen and multitouch (-> fantastic for what really counts: web surfing, taking pictures, media player building on the iPod success, communicating and social sharing)
2) cool and intuitive software design
3) top integration between the two
4) status symbol & brand perception (the real driver behind the iPhone massive success and profitability, obtained thanks to one of Apple's real strengths: MARKETING talent!)
5) Apps, ecosystems, all the rest are -in my view- much less important, although they certainly contribute to the overall offering (and constitute good marketing - 500k apps... come on, just try browsing all of them...).

Why then Android's success?
Because it was the first credible alternative to the iPhone, it was cheaper, and now is extending the concept to satisfy customers that the iPhone "one model strategy" fails reaching.
In particular I believe jumbo displays are a fundamental driver compared to anything else, combined with higher flexibility (which is a real strenght, despite what FUD arguments such as "fragmentation" etc. etc. claim).
Why has Android prevailed over the iPhone/iOS (in total sales, not profits of course...): well price, but also its continuous innovation: Android has achieved what MS had with Windows over the Mac in the 90s: providing a credible alternative with a much more open approach (OEMs), thus crowdsourcing innovation, which in the long run tends to overcome the -however dramatic- drive of the original innovator (Apple).

karlim

Damn, guys, do you even bother to read Tomi's posts (fully, from beginning to the end), before you launch into Msft/Elop/Bad/Trojan Horse/Nokia was doing great until Elop killed it/ stuff?

From what I've seen - we, who do not see it that way, with some exceptions, at least try to respond, at first, to specific arguments Tomi makes in a post we comment on.

This current post again devolved into the same old thing, when Tomi specifically asked to limit discussions here about Nokia sales (force), and not to go again about that Symbian great/Symbian, Meego is future/Meego was going nowhere/Had no chance vs Apple and Android philosophical, technical or ecosystem stuff.

Sales. Nokia. Operators. Good and bad things. That's what we were supposed to talk here. AFAIK only @Lee Sander, KPOM and me tried to keep our comments on the topic, before they devolved into the same old stuff.

Well, except for @Erendil Star, who managed to start with first 2 paragraphs just for form, before reverting to that same old TH Elop stuff.

@Erendil If you cared about specifics of what Tomi says, except the general comfort of TH Elop conspiracy theory support, you should have at least read full Tomi's post and what its about. And paid attention to contra arguments about "great Nokia sales force" and:

--How there's nothing great or heroic running down market and price points, abandoning most profitable positions as soon as worthy iOS or Android competitor shows up
--How keeping smartphone unit sales volumes in high volume, cheaper market tiers where Android and iOS devices didn't get to yet, and the only competition they faced were the dumbphones from others or even Nokia S40 is not the proof of greatness in a sales force
-- What a cool record Nokia U.S sales force superman had for 3.5 years before he got fired. With 1 flagship device on 1 first tier operator.
-- How it would be interesting to compare that U.S. sales Superman's 3.5 year efforts and results to the results of that Microsoft Muppet, amateur team the uber Muppet Elop installed after 1 year on the job. After CES, MWC and CTIA spring

Sales. This is what Tomi asked us to talk about, not Symbian, Meego, Apple or Android ecosystem or technical merits:

"In this case I will insist that the discussion be limited to the sales and marketing of Nokia and its rivals. Do not include any discussion about the iPhone vs Nokia phone models or any discussion about app store ecosystems or Symbian as an OS. There are plenty of blog articles on this site about those issues, post your comments there. This is a rare discussion about sales with handset makers and I will enforce clearly a limit of the discussion to those topics. "

And though promised enforcement from Tomi is lacking, can we at least try to stay on topic?

(I admit, I forgot, got carried away and responded to one of (IMHO clueless) comments on the same old stuff, but then I stopped. Could you guys to at least try to stay on topic - sales - too?)

kevin

Carriers are important and powerful. But Apple has shown one way for a handset provider to partially break the carriers' hold -- by creating a device that is both desired by customers, and increases ARPU and decreases churn for the carriers. Money talks.

Today, carriers have a strong desire to have a third ecosystem to gain leverage against Apple and Android. Thus, there is a real opportunity again to appeal to customers in order to get carriers to choose one such ecosystem over the others. Each ecosystem provider must strategize with its handset partner(s) to make that happen. Whatever has occurred to poison carrier relationships in the past can be changed with new management and new devices.

As for much of the other stuff in Tomi's article, I've previously commented with my disagreements (to little avail). I think Tomi is still wrong about Nokia's path to recovery because he does not really recognize how Apple and Android have succeeded in changing (disrupting) the mobile market in different ways, with both devices and ecosystems. For example, Apple is establishing direct relationships and direct payment mechanisms with its iPhone customers. Same with Amazon (if it should enter the mobile space). The implications of this are profound.

incognito

> Considering Elop's past, do we have any evidence that
> a) He screwed up in a previous company (which would indicate that he is inherently incompetent).
> ...
> Posted by: guest | December 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Check the Elop vs Macromedia case. It's pretty much the same thing all over again, just with a bit reversed roles. Macromedia was starting to steadily own the rich internet content and they had tons of good things down the pipe that had the opportunity to completely smash most of Adobe's core business. Elop steps in as a CEO and 3 months later, Macromedia is sold to Adobe. And it is not as if he didn't know what Macromedia had in store... Adobe monetized quite nicely from that deal, tho, and for the first time since the PostScript days they were earning more on web-oriented solutions and services than on their prime children - Photoshop and Illustrator. Of course, the potential competition in the form of Fireworks and Freehand from Macromedia was quickly killed off (well, Fireworks still lingers due to good integration with Flash, but it's on a backburner). To this day Adobe didn't manage to integrate their own Illustrator and Photoshop with Flash the way Fireworks and Freehand were integrated.

Incompetence, or shear lunacy, god knows... What I find the most hard to believe is how a person with a track record of Elop can become a CEO of such a large company like Nokia. It's a kin to employing a person that was 'til yesterday flipping burgers, and set a couple of kitchens on fire along the way, on a position of a university professor. Which leads me to believe that he was hired by the board to do exactly the thing he's doing - there's just no way he'd get where he is without the board condoning every destructive move he's making. What are the motives behind all that, beats me, all I can see is that on the trajectory Nokia is currently - there will be no Nokia in a couple of years. If not sooner...

@rodrigottr

I compare the carrier with the doctor and the medicine to the phone.

The medicine industry's true clients are doctors, not patients. So it is the doctors the ones who are the target of sales people.

Knowing this, is suicide to anything carriers don't like.

J Gibbons

Being a software (sometimes hardware) engineer I could also add to the OS war discussion, but I will try to stick to the sales topic that Tomi asked for. Having used Qt on Linux, Windows and OSX I clearly know that when it comes to technology, Windows is the bloated slow one even if it has won the sales numbers. I also know the importance of a good salesman to the health of a company. I also know you shouldn't let one like Balmer run the company if you want it to be innovative. While Balmer might continue the monopoly by not rocking the boat too much, he sure won't lead it into new areas like mobile or the cloud very well.

Steve Jobs was also a salesman of sorts, but he also had visions of what needed to be done to make products so good that people would worship them. Neither Balmer or Elop appears to have these visions in my opinion. Before he died, Jobs had a vision of connecting the PC, tablet and phone using the cloud. I really don't think Balmer or Google has fully grocked this concept yet as they are mostly still thinking of the cloud as a compute platform rather than a hub for the user's benefit. Jobs also saw the power of open source and made it the foundation of OSX and iOS. Webkit powers both Safari and Qt. Both will be on the leading edge of HTML5 development because of it.

That is why you don't let normal salesmen run companies. They usually don't have the vision to take the company where it needs to go. Neither do bean counters (MBAs) unless they are willing to look at new markets and ideas. Even Jobs seems to have known this. When someone pitched the idea of the iPod to him several years ago, he ran with it. Balmer would have had his engineers look at it, tried to copy it, been sued by the inventor and generally screwed it up like the Zune.

Salesmen (and women) are an interesting bunch, and my experiences as a consultant trying to be both an engineer and salesman has increased my respect for people I once didn't have very good opinions of. There are still sales staff who will promise the moon to their customers and then deliver the junk yard. I work with my sales staff to counter the lies and provide convincing facts that non-technical customers can easily understand to avoid these tactics. I can only guess with the complexity of mobile phones and carrier networks that the BS fed to customers could get very deep. This honesty factor is also a reason you don't let a salesman run the company.

The major restructuring of sales within Nokia tells me one of two things: either (1) the sales staff is out of touch with the products being sold and need to be replaced or (2) the sales staff is pushing back because the new products can't be sold in volume at profit and management is ignoring them to the point of getting rid of them. It is also possible that Elop is simply a madman and trying to destroy the company for some yet unknown reason (look at what happened at HP with similar results – at least the board appears to have acted in time to right the ship) but most people don't want to go there even if it is a real possibility. Stranger things have happened!

aguest

Regarding the move of the Nokia sales HQ to a location close to Microsoft HQ: This would make some sense if the ultimate objective was to address the corporate market and a close coordination with the PC/server offerings of Microsoft were necessary. After all, the previous forays of Microsoft with Windows Mobile PDA and smartphones were squarely targeted at corporate / professional customers.

However, WP7/WP7.5 devices are definitely mass-market / consumer orientated devices with an emphasis on smooth UI, integrated messaging, social networks -- i.e. not at all for firms. Then, relocating away from telecom operators does not make much sense.

So either there is some kind of medium-term master plan behind those inscrutable moves which will surprise us, or everything is done on impulse and will come crashing down in a stupendous finale.

Baron95

It is a MYTH. Let me repeat that - a MYTH - that Nokia had good relationship with Operators.

They had, for years, awful relationships with the North American operators. Worldwide, they were tolerated, which is quite different than having good relationship. Nokia sales force, and everyone will tell you, acted like bullies and often forced Operators to carry buy a bunch of older less competitive models to get access to the new ones.

Operators went along, because only Nokia had the needed volumes. But every time there was ANY disruption, Nokia stumbled.

They stumbled when Moto came up with thin phones (RAZR), when the Koreas came up with the clam-shells, and in all markets where CDMA was prevalent. Nokia failed to compete and come up with answers in ALL these little disruptions.

Smartphones after Apple is NOT Nokia's first failure. It is only the last.

Operators were very, very happy to be able to get deals on top smartphones from Samsung, HTC, Moto, without having to carry all the crap that Nokia tried to force on them.

I'm surprised that Tomi, who should know better, is actually trying to perpetuate the Myth.

Nokia can't sell in North America (largest market by value). Nokia can't sell in Japan (second largest market by value). Nokia was tolerated as a bully in the other markets, but has ABSOLUTELY NO LOYALTY or good will.

KPOM

Getting back to your original question, Tomi, the rules of the carrier relationship have changed. No longer do carriers make or break a phone. Instead, the carriers seek out the best phones to serve as flagships, and compete for the right to carry the most popular devices.

Just ask Sprint. Why else would they commit to purchasing 30 million iPhones, essentially sight unseen, over the next 4 years? Verizon had built a rather successful line of Android phones and has added iPhone to the fold. AT&T still coasts along on the momentum of the iPhone. Once we leave the largest smartphone market in the world, this still holds true in Europe. iPhone has captured 25% of smartphone sales this quarter in the UK, with Samsung right behind with their Android line. It isn't Vodafone or Orange "deciding" that one phone or another will be the top phone.

As for Nokia and AT&T, note that while AT&T didn't carry the N95 or N97, they did carry the E71. Nokia even built some phones specifically for AT&T (including a very odd looking Symbian phone that appeared to be competing with the T-Mobile Sidekick). None of them sold particularly well. Nor did the T-Mobile Nuron. I don't think the issue was so much the lack of carrier support, but instead it was the uninspired design and poor ecosystem of the phones themselves. There was really nothing that Symbian phones had to offer in the US market. Almost without a doubt, the C7 would have met the same fate on AT&T. Most Americans have never heard of Symbian. While that isn't true outside the US, it still didn't carry much prestige. Most of its sales in recent years were from Nokia moving the platform downmarket (further and further into S40 territory) before its strategy shift.

Michael Prince

My opinion is that the Author is too personally invested in the topics presented here to be objective. This has been exacerbated by Tomi being so vocal in his opinions. Now, the success of Elop would mean that Tomi would be proven very very wrong.

Tomi, you may have the credentials, but objective .. you are not.

I thought the iPad was the device that no one asked for, didn't 'fit' into a market and would be too limited to be successful. Your arguments show the same lack of vision that my arguments about the iPad did. This lack of vision is what was killing Nokia. I am glad that you are not at Nokia anymore.

Obviously, I am an Elop supporter. Time will tell whether Tomi is right, or whether Elop's strategy works. I can tell you, there are scary and painful times in even the best strategies ... that's where Nokia is right now ... Elop needs to continue execution of his strategy, which I am confident he will.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi everybody who left comments on this thread

If your comment is still here, congratulations. i will get to you soon with replies.

If your comment has been removed - I WARNED you. This thread is a rare opportunity to talk about the Nokia SALES channel and the Nokia sales force (and if so inclined, sales related issues). it is NOT the thread to talk about iPhones or ecosystems or what Meego is or was. I read through several VERY insightful comments but they were by regular readers of this blog who should know better. Don't do this! I enforce my rules here and you know it. We talk about those issues that are in the blog at hand and also - I of course delete any comment which would require my response to include the phrase 'as I wrote in the original blog article'.

So, my apologies, long discussions have been removed. I warned you, don't waste the time of my readers by bringing in debates that belong on OTHER topic threads. I am sorry as I know some of you posted several lenghty replies. But its my blog and I need to be aware of the waste of the time of my readers. Many come to this blog to read the comments...

With that, those who remain - thanks and congratulations for staying on topic (more-or-less haha). I will be responding shortly

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Ok, now will start with replies (in small batches)

Hi guest, michael, andrew, Robert, quen, and KPOM

guest - yeah good point. I think the more rational view is that Elop cannot be this incompetent, he is doing this all deliberately and then obviously his motivation is to act 'in the best interests of Microsoft' at every junction, no matter how much that might hurt Nokia short term or long term. Thats a cynical view but I definitely find it has a lot of merit to it. If so, the NY and Helsinki Stock Exchanges and the Nokia Board should be investigated for SEVERE breach of fiduciary duty by Elop. The language says if I remember correctly the rules from my MBA classes (graduated with honors with international finance MBA from St Johns the second largest private university of the USA, conveniently situated in New York City haha, a factory of wall street drones) the language is something like 'must avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest'. Elop is in total breach if that is the case haha (and he should be investigated).

michael - I really should have deleted your comment. You wrote 'like or not, Symbian was broke' - and I wrote CLEARLY in this article - that IF it is true that Symbian was broke - then the SALES heroics are ALL THE MORE impressive. This thread is NOT about software or handsets or apps or OSs or ecosystems. But because you made the point that I am damaging my brand as a guru (self-proclaimed guru seems a bit rude - I take it you know I AM referenced in over 100 BOOKS by my peers - which I believe is the most of anyone in this young industry - how many books reference you Michael? And that would suggest that others think of me as guru, not myself haha)

But yes, you make a good point that my blogs have a dogmatic zeal (about Elop). I am not PRETENDING to being neutral about Elop. I wrote very openly that I welcomed him to this industry and as CEO of Nokia. I supported him for 5 months - critical of occasional errors but generally supported him in public here even as he was firing people etc. I was very vocal also to say we had to give him time to learn about mobile etc.

I was critical of him - very critical - when I learned the Burning memo was indeed written by him - and I was very loudly critical of his ANNOUNCEMENT (not his selection of) Microsoft on February 11. Even then I said that it is possible his strategy might work out and we would not know until 2012 at the earliest.

I did not turn on him until the Microsoft strategy died (when Microsoft bought Skype) and the early reseller boycott of Nokia extended to a global reseller boycott of Microsoft as well. Since then I have been convinced that the Microsoft strategy is a dead end, it will destroy Nokia and the sooner the Microsoft strategy is abandoned, the more of what we know as Nokia can be salvaged. Also Elop's credibility in the industry had been so destroyed that I started to call for his resignation or firing.

Nothing Elop has done has changed that view. But on a regular basis Elop does more to cause further damage to Nokia. That is why I have to comment on his latest disasters. If Elop stopped messing things up, I could stop writing about him regularly. And I have very publically stated he must be fired, of course I repeat that call and I am not hiding it. I was very vocal for example about Sprint's CEO who destroyed his company value until he was fired. Etc. Obviously if you do not find value on this blog, please don't come back.

But michael, I ask you this in all honesty, please do respond. Can you think of one other company ever, in any industry, that led its market globally, that destroyed half of its market in one year? Can you name one company that did that, ever? If not, it seems that I am correct, that this is indeed the world record for corporate self-destruction. If so, is it NOT the responsibility of the most published author of that industry - who wrote literally THE book about this industry's profits - to argue loudly that this is indeed a disgrace to all who work in mobile telecoms? Would I not be a fraud if I ignored this? Especially as I have previously been very vocal about management errors by Sprint or Motorola or Vodafone etc?

andrew - yes. Unfortunately yes, that also makes perfect sense. Elop's personality and behavior fits perfectly the type identified in Snakes in Suits. I recognized also one of my boss's bosses from my past career in that book haha. I think its safe to say that several of Elop's mistakes stem from that type of severe Type A personality disorder haha..

Robert - good point and you may be true. I disagree though, I think Nokia in any case will add to overall WP7 sales, because of Nokia's large sales force and reseller footprint, and because Elop makes WP7 the priority over Symbian. With Samsung, HTC etc the companies will prioritize Android ahead of WP7.

quen - thank you for stepping in and responding. But please lets keep away from the OS debates here, ok. You are totally correct that there was no need to announce the death of Symbian. And the point I don't stress enough is how much the exodus of long-term Nokia management is damaging Nokia viability. If I was named the CEO of Nokia, I would put the HR department to go contact every Nokia employee who departed (fired or resigned) since Elop came in and make a very public effort to invite every one of them back. That would bring in some of the deadwood too, obviously, but Nokia has lost very much VERY expensive and VERY hard-to-replace competence in the past year.

KPOM - about iPhone 5 delayed. Not relevant to this blog, you know this KPOM, lets stay on topic. But obviously I CANNOT have the degree of 'proof' you would want, Apple is that secretive and you know it. But without such evidence, the available clues are VERY compelling. You can believe what you want. I know what I heard from my sources haha.

We both agree carriers dominate but also I fully agree with you that Apple has most clout of any handset maker and thus Apple can demand better deals or concessions than anyone else.

And I agree all 3 paths had risks. But lets not turn this thread into discussion about which OS strategy is or was best for Nokia, lets stick to the sales topics here.

Thank you all for commenting, I'll return soon with more replies

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Peter

tomi, forget Elop, you should run nokia.

Mobile

Nice thinking of Nokia and I am a big fan of it.

Patrick

I probably live in another world than Tomi.
I remember the days that Nokia stood for quality and coolness.
People went to a shop to buy a Nokia phone, not only because the sales people advised those, but because of word of mouth advertisement.
The day that the iPhone came on the market, it all started to change ... and whoever blames Elop for all the Nokia misery, he was not there yet.
It was the iPhone (and later on Android) that took over the quality and coolness label.
Because of the inertness of the market, it took some time before Nokia started to feel the changes, but I noticed right away that the word of mouth was changing between people.
Suddenly, it was clear that Nokia had been betting on the wrong horses for several years and it would be very difficult to regain those lost years.
Now word of mouth is again changing. Nokia is slowly but surely building up a good reputation again : quality, style and coolness.
The results are noticed in the shops, since Nokia phones are sold again in larger quantities, but of course, meanwhile the competition is a lot fiercer than before.

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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 www.tomiahonen.com 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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