My Photo

Ordering Information

Tomi on Twitter is @tomiahonen

  • Follow Tomi on Twitter as @tomiahonen
    Follow Tomi's Twitterfloods on all matters mobile, tech and media. Tomi has over 8,000 followers and was rated by Forbes as the most influential writer on mobile related topics

Book Tomi T Ahonen to Speak at Your Event

  • Contact Tomi T Ahonen for Speaking and Consulting Events
    Please write email to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com and indicate "Speaking Event" or "Consulting Work" or "Expert Witness" or whatever type of work you would like to offer. Tomi works regularly on all continents

Tomi on Video including his TED Talk

  • Tomi on Video including his TED Talk
    See Tomi on video from several recent keynote presentations and interviews, including his TED Talk in Hong Kong about Augmented Reality as the 8th Mass Media

Subscribe


Blog powered by Typepad

« And What Do We Do With Our Mobiles? Some New Survey Data Tells More | Main | The Summarize Ahonen Contest Entrants - Taking 30,000 Word Elop is Worst CEO Ever Monsterblog into one Tweet of 140 Characters »

July 06, 2012

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e0097e337c8833017616309a65970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Sun Tzu of Nokisoftian Microkia - Mirror mirror on the wall, who'se the baddest of them all - Waterloo, I was defeated you won the war - a long trek blog in search of the worst CEO ever (spoiler alert: Elop):

Comments

vladkr

Hi Tommy,

Wow, this one was quite hard to swallow.

You compared Elop to Duhanov, and somewhere further, that Elop is not Hitler...

Well, I'll take the responsibility to compare Elop with Stalin.

- Stalin was a former hooligan who miraculously reached the head of the biggest country in the world.
- Elop, who has several companies in his hunt bag (Boston Chicken, Macromedia, Juniper...) and miraculously reached the head of the biggest cellphone manufacturer

- Stalin deported, executed many people, including heroes, including people who were very productive for the country just because he was paranoid...
- Elop fired most Nokia's workforce, including factory workers, and its best engineers, keeping the least productive ones (marketing) because these talents risked to shadow Windows Phone

- Stalin created a horrid atmosphere in the country... people used to be suspicious each of others
- Same thing at Nokia

- Stalin, like many communist dictators used to lie a lot
- So does Elop (and Risto Siilasmaa to mention those two only)

- Elop ruined Nokia
- Stalin didn't manage to ruin Soviet Union, despite his tries

There is also something shocking to me:
When a cashier at a supermarket makes a mistake - giving back 2 euros instead of one for instance - (s)he has to pay for the mistake, the difference being withdrawn from the salary. After several mistakes, cashier would be fired.

Elop cost billions of Euros to Nokia (and to Finland, to Romania, Germany... in taxes), but still is paid millions a year (I remind you that Steve Jobs used to have a $1/year salary, his revenue being mainly made of stock performances)

Isn't there a problem of ethics as well?

Jack

A stingingly harsh criticism, and one I completely agree with. I would make one point. Regardless of any one of the (valid) grievances listed, Nokia's market share, and share price have fallen off a cliff under elop. Simply for those 2 reasons he needs to be fired. The board is likewise to be let go for allowing this to happen. As you point out. They have both failed in their duties as company managers.

Jack

Apologies for a second post so quickly, but I forgot to thank you for discussing the active campaign by MS to rid the world of a valid linux alternative (meego). I fully believe this was elops real role at Nokia. His actions as CEO prove it. Either that or as you point out, he's the dumbest CEO in history. Neither one qualify him to be still employed.

Nokia-älskare

Thank you. That was a very interesting article. Actually, the best thing I ever have read regarding the fall of Nokia.

One thing that also could be noted: I work for a company with 40 000 employees. For years Nokia has been the number one supplier of business phones to us. Providing real quality phones - second to none. Loved by users. Loved by IT department. Loved by finance (because of 24 months replacement cycle). Loved by everyone.

But not anymore. This whole windows phone 7 situation has now finally booted Nokia out. Totally gone from our company. Replaced by: Samsung and Motorola (the water-resistant DEFY-model are bought for our field technicians).

Leading Analyst

Saying Maemo 6 (no, Nokia never released a Meego based device) is fast and WP is sluggish is just bullshit. WP runs quite smooth even on the Lumia 610 hardware that has very low specs.

elm70

Excellent article, as always, as expected by the most listen voice in the net.

One little mistake, Apple does not pay 12$ to Nokia per iPhone, but less then the half of it.

Nokia stated that they expect to get half billion a year in IPR
Looking carefully Nokia balances, you will not find much more then 150m euro per quarter under the messed up IPR voice

Tchuss

E_lm_70

Ben Daglish

FINALLY NOKIA IS BELOW $2

I LAUGH SO HARD, SO UNBELIEVABLY HARD THAT IT CANNOT BE DESCRIBED!!

NOKIA PEOPLE, H.O.W. I.T. F.E.E.L.S. N.O.W., A.R.E. Y.O.U. H.A.P.P.Y., HAHAHA !!!

ROFLMAO !!!!!! x 1000 000 000 000 !!!

Christian Surlykke

This interview: http://yle.fi/uutiset/nokias_siilasmaa_goal_to_regain_competitiveness/6199219 was widely quoted because Nokia's new chairman for the first time spoke of a plan B.

What caught my attention though, was the lukewarm praise Siilasmaa had for Elop:

'He came in at a tough time,” Siilasmaa said, adding that Elop’s management style had been "good and transparent."'

Considering that the board chairman *has* to back the ceo right up to the point where he fires him, Siilasmaa could hardly praise Elop less than this.

Maybe a small sign that Elop won't be hanging around too long.

Ninvestor

@Tomi

Long blog - may be biased, but it is comprehensive. A lot is rehash, and I'm not disagreeing with the fact that Elop's tenure has been disastrous. I'm, though, in disagreement as to the reasons and the fix.

Lets address one item - Tomi: "But just lets all be very clear. Apart from the iPhone, what other American smartphone maker is producing hit smartphones now? Hmmmm.. Did you remember Motorola? Yeah, they went bankrupt."

First, Apple (iPhone), Google (Nexus), Motorola (Razr Android Family) are all producing hit phones.

Second, Apple, Android, Microsoft have the #1, #2, #3 mobile OS ecosystems measured by number of apps and number of developers and number of new apps/month.

Third, Motorola never went bankrupt, they were acquired with an 80% price per share premium and continue to operate as an independent Google business unit. Just like YouTube. Did YouTube go bankrupt too? VW is acquiring Porsche with virtually no share premium. Are you going to claim that Porsche went bankrupt next month when the acquisition closes?

Fourth, the Japanese handset makers are faring horribly in the smartphone battle. NEC, Fujitsu, Panasonic, Sony are having horrible losses. NFC and Pico Projectors and all that are nice curiosities, but can't make them internationally competitive.

But all of the above is not important. What is important is that mobile phones became mobile computers. And mobile computers need SW and Internet/Cloud Serviecs and developer ecosystems to succeed. And like it or not, SW and developer ecosystems and internet/cloud services have a very clear and distinct culture and epicenter. And it is the US West Coast.

The fact that there are 1,000 Nokian's now working in Silicon Valley may be Elop's best contribution to Nokia.

I can guarantee you, that if Symbian was being developed in Silicon Valley instead of Finland, it would have never been allowed to fall that far behind iOS and Android. And if Maemo/Meego was being developed by Apple or Google it would not have lingered for years before hitting the market.

Again, not defending Elop's record - my only interest is calling the Nokia bottom and determining when an acquisition may take place to invest in the stock. But, it was not all negative. Having more design in Silicon Valley is critical for Nokia and RIM and Sony and Moto and Samsung and HTC. Anyone that wants to be a top player in mobile OS, mobile ecosystems, and mobile computers.

n900lover

vladkr:

I think the comparison with Stalin ultimately doesn't work, because what Stalin did at least made some sort of perverted sense and although at unimaginable human suffering he still produced some notable successes. He was able to retain power all along, the country underwent rapid industrialization, defeated germany and catapulted itself into superpower status.

With Elop it's disaster from the start to the end with no big success, even at unnecessary high cost, in sight.

cke

Ninvestor is one of the only remaining voices of reason on this site (since Baron95 has apparently left). Mobile phones are a sideshow today in much the same way as wristwatches are in timekeeping. The only players of importance in the market they once occupied are the handheld computers. Only computer companies can successfully play, all others are doomed. Nokia never was a computer company. End of story. Whatever Elop did or did not do may have mattered in the near term (24 months), but matters not a whit in Nokia's eventual outcome as an independent successful company.

vladkr

Ninvestor:

You wear a purple sleeveless shirt and a white jacket ? Come one, what you say about Silicon Valley was true in the 80s, but considering Silicon Valley as SW development's heart today is focusing on the visible part of the iceberg.

Windows would be nothing without all the Asian companies developing hardware and drivers.
Where are located major game development companies ?
Who is the leader in CAD ?
What countries lead real-time programming designs ?
What companies lead data security ?

Software is all that and more, not just Apple, Google and Microsoft.

TimoT

I just do not get it what the hell those major Nokia shareholders are thinking?! How low the share price has to go before they react?! Are they that stupid? Last three months especially could only be described as total collapse of the share price.

If one bought Nokia shares in year 2008 for about 25 euros then he has lost 95 percent of his portfolio. If one bought early last year then he has lost whopping 80 percent fast&furiously.

Louis

The gist that Elop is a Flop is correct, but Der Stern has the following to say about the N9:

"Wem Individualismus über alles geht und Apps nicht so wichtig sind, sollte sich das Gerät definitiv anschauen - zum Beispiel beim nächsten Urlaub in Österreich oder der Schweiz, wo es offiziell erhältlich ist. "

This is not a recommendation that normal people run across the border and buy it.

KDT

"Third, Motorola never went bankrupt, they were acquired with an 80% price per share premium and continue to operate as an independent Google business unit. Just like YouTube. Did YouTube go bankrupt too? VW is acquiring Porsche with virtually no share premium. Are you going to claim that Porsche went bankrupt next month when the acquisition closes?"

So you think MM was "successful"? They lost money almost every quarter for the last two years. They weren't dead but they sure smelled funny.

Local Guy

Beautiful writing Tomi-- it is true-- but more than that it is a work of art and I loved the Sun Tzu quotes, please keep it up.

My best compliments and kind regards...

Stephen Reed

This is a great post. It is sadly interesting to watch what Elop is doing to Nokia. It is as though Elop is Microsoft's evil puppet.

I am thinking more and more about the patent royalties that Apple pays to Nokia. At some point, Apple should just buy those patents, or buy whatever part of Nokia that owns those patents.

Ninvestor

@Vladkr - Fair comment. But I think I was quite specific that I was referring to mobile computing OS, ecosystem and Internet/Cloud consumer services. That is the area of the market that is "fast moving" and requires "internet speed innovation".

You can't compare that to say CAD/CAM where, yes, Dassault is a leader or Enterprise SW where SAP is a leader. That is like comparing the builder of electric powerplants with the makers of consumer electronic devices. They both involve electricity, but are rather different.

And that is what you saw. In the beginning of mobile phones, the network and signaling and radios were the key competencies. That is why the leaders in handset were the same companies building the networks. Motorola, Siemens, Ericsson, Nokia, NED, Fujitsu, Alcatel, etc. Those were the brand name handsets of the 80s and 90s. All network builders.

Then something funny happened - iPhone with a "phone" that was, as Tomi loves to point out, a lousy phone, but a great interactive Internet computer. Then something crazy happened. All the "Network" leaders laughed at it. Except that Google, didn't, and they mastered all their resources to be a fast follower. Then something crazy happened. Nokia and RIM and Palm and NEC and Fujitsu laughed at Apple and Google again. Except that Samsung, HTC, Moto jumped on it and left Nokia and RIM and NEC and Fujitsu behind.

And that brings us to 2012. Where Sharp, NEC, Sony capitulated to Google. Nokia capitulated to Microsoft and RIM is like the French, looking for anyone who will take their surrender.

The US West Coast sucks and California is nearly bankrupt. But they are really good about doing a few things well. Movies and consumer SW and Internet Services. Just like Antwerp is really good with diamonds and Milan is really good with fashion Rio is very good with bikinis and Colombia is really good with cocaine. It is just how it is.

I wouldn't buy a bikini in Antwerp for my gf and I wouldn't go to Colombia to buy mobile OS SW. Simple as that.

Ninvestor

@KDT - Yes, MMI was extremely successful for their investors (myself included), in the past 2 years, with an 80% return on investment. Right up there with Apple.

In the meantime, RIM lost 95%, Nokia 90%, Palm nearly 100%, HTC 50%, and so on.

So yes. MMI, under Sanjay Jha, was very successful indeed. They moved fast to Android and to the high end. The spin off the bad assets (including dumping the network division onto Nokia), became lean and mean to be a great acquisition target, and reward investors with a stock price increase of 80%.

By what measure do you think MMI was not successful in the past 2 years?

nnine

@Louis

My translation:

"If you hold individualism above all and don't care too much about apps, you should definitely take a look at this device, for example at the next vacation in Austria or Switzerland, where it is sold officially."

They also write:

"This is one of the best devices ever brought to market by the Finns."

And after explaining that Meego has been sidelined by Elop:

"What a pity! Meego is a lot of fun, as much attention to detail as iOS from Apple and at least as intuitively to use."

Before I bought my N9 I read a lot of reviews. Almost all have been extremely positive, but usually were
cautious about recommending to buy it, because Meego had already been abandoned by Nokia at that time.
Most reviews expressed disappointment or even disbelief about this fact.

Warren

Once again an epic, insightful, thorough and compelling blog about the fall of one mighty enterprise at the hands of an incompetent.

Rino

Tomi please look this - http://www.businessinsider.com/apples-head-of-design-jonathan-ive-just-got-knighted-2012-5

Thank You!

AA

Meanwhile, NOK is at 52 week low, $1.92 a share!

Spawn

@Leading Analyst

> Maemo 6 (no, Nokia never released a Meego based device)

MeeGo was a specification and NOT and implementation.

Intel had the MeeGo Ux, Nokia the MeeGo handset. They where both following the specification and hence compatible with each other.
There was also a 3th implementation done for "cars" (forgot how the correct term was).
So, Maemo was a MeeGo implementation what is why it got the name MeeGo Harmattan (common MeeGo brand plus implementation name which was the official Maemo6 name).

Spawn

@cke

Fact is Nokia was not only the market-leader but far ahead of its nearest competition when Ellp took over. Nokia made lots of profits.
Bit more then a year later Nokia is near bankrupt, made uge loses and are dying.
And you try to argue that would have happen anyways? Cause Nokia was no software-company while making the mobile OS #1 and being so successful that they where market-leader? Really?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Available for Consulting and Speakerships

  • Available for Consulting & Speaking
    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

Tomi's eBooks on Mobile Pearls

  • Pearls Vol 1: Mobile Advertising
    Tomi's first eBook is 171 pages with 50 case studies of real cases of mobile advertising and marketing in 19 countries on four continents. See this link for the only place where you can order the eBook for download

Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009

  • Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009
    A comprehensive statistical review of the total mobile industry, in 171 pages, has 70 tables and charts, and fits on your smartphone to carry in your pocket every day.

Alan's Third Book: No Straight Lines

Tomi's Fave Twitterati