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« Prelim Samsung Q4 number is 63.5M via the major analyst houses | Main | New Twitter Contest - to Guess What Date Elop Will Be Fired (or otherwise removed from office as Nokia CEO) »

January 28, 2013

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Winter

Tomi, you have erred again 2012 -> 2011

But now to your disadvantage.

Jilles Van Gurp

Only one part of this article I disagree with: I think you are painting too much of a rosy picture of the whole Symbian situation around late 2010. I'm ex Nokia by now and it was pretty bad. I've suffered several of the models that subsequently failed in the market (and predictably so IMHO). The collapse of the Symbian market share was only partly caused by Elop's surprise announcements in early 2011. The real reason was that it was simply that bad and it couldn't be fixed cheaply. Nokia wasted billions trying to do that even before he joined.

Elop couldn't fix the Symbian problem; nobody could. It was just unfixable; beyond repair and something needed to be done. Nokia at the time was burning billions on keeping this platform alive and quarter after quarter Iphone and Android grabbed more market share. Worse the corporate infighting prevented Meego from getting the internal backing it needed to succeed. The launch of the N900 and N9 as developer only devices was illustrative of this. The gap was widening, not closing. With rising cost, collapsing market shares & margins, close to ten thousand people full time employed on Symbian related R&D, and no product in sight that could actually make a difference, something had to be done. Elop was hired to do this. None of the old guard had the stomach for making the tough choices ahead.

The problem is with how he did it: 1) he killed the Symbian business over night, thus cutting off what was still good revenue. 2) He projected unrealistic Symbian sales of 150 million devices. 3) he killed Meego just when world + dog was basically starting to use Linux as the basis for its platform. A lot of competing Linux platforms are launching this year (Mozilla, Ubuntu, Tizen, Jolla) that utilize hundreds of millions of dollars worth Nokia R&D from the Meego days. 4) He bet on what now seems to be proving to be a platform that had no meaningful traction: windows phone and indeed so far has not managed to gain traction either. 5) He let go of QT/QML, which now seems to be a popular platform with the before mentioned new platforms. 6) He got rid of thousands of R&D staff, many of whom ended up in one of Nokia's competitors.

His real mistake is failing to acknowledge that Meego may have been in bad shape but nevertheless mobile linux was the right thing to invest in. Giving up Nokia's strong position in the mobile linux world is quite possibly the dumbest thing he could have done. Mind you he killed two linux platforms: Meego and Meltemi. Now that windows phone is obviously not delivering the goods as fast as Elop hoped in 2011, I wouldn't be surprised to see a Nokia 180 degree turn on the topic of mobile Linux.

Vinicius

Jilles Van Gurp *slow claps*

almost perfectly mirrored my sentiments.

chithanh

@Jilles Van Gurp
Nokia has long recognized that Symbian was in trouble, else they would not have invested in developing Maemo/MeeGo/Meltemi. The plan was to move users gradually off Symbian, the high end to MeeGo (possibly on Intel platform), and the low end to Meltemi. And I don't think that Tomi ever disputed that.

vladkr

What I will say is a Bromide, but it seems that people who are in the middle of a business (Tomi, E.Murtazin and his colleagues, others..) understand it way better than big "general" analysts, then make better predictions.

bjarneh

Jilles Van Gurp> Giving up Nokia's strong position in the mobile linux world is quite possibly the dumbest thing he could have done.

+1

is there any analysis on how many of Nokia's 4.4 million Windows Phones sold in Q4 that was running Windows 8 (Lumia 920 etc). Nokia's first batch of Lumia devices (800/900) are being dumped, i.e. if the old models constitute a large part of the 4.4 million, these numbers are even worse than they sound..

Sander van der Wal

@Jilles van Gurp

Interesting point you are making about Elop being hired because the board was not brave enough to do the dirty work themselves. This explains completely why the Nokia board keeps supporting Elop, even though a lot of his decisions were detrimental to Nokia.

And there are clearly a lot of Linux based platforms coming to market, but why would these platforms stand a change of breaking the Android-iOS duopoly?

Regarding Nokia making a turn back to MeeGo/Jolla, possible, but why would a developer believe them now?

Winter

@bjarneh
About 2 million WP8 phones were sold by Nokia in Q4.

http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/2238927/nokias-windows-phone-licence-costs-set-to-soar-as-quarterly-sales-disappoint/page/1?WT.rss_a=nokia%27s+windows+phone+licence+costs+set+to+soar+as+quarterly+sales+disappoint&WT.rss_f=

See discussion on this blog:

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2013/01/nokia-final-q4-smartphones-as-expected-66m-total-means-market-share-now-3-from-29-exactly-2-years-ag.html?cid=6a00e0097e337c8833017d40816b45970c#comment-6a00e0097e337c8833017d40816b45970c

ejvictor

Third quarter 2013 interim report: October 17, 2013 chopping block date. What do we see from Nokia 2013? A Pureview Lumia- big deal. No noise about a tablet (No one wants a Windows RT tablet.)On the other hand Sammy has a new line of Galaxy's coming out. Apple more of the iSheep 5s/6/ipda release. RIM sucking the windows life out of the enterprise mobile (Sammy and Apple will still hold onto BYOD market). By Q3 we see the fruits of the Open OS revolution and those brilliant devices from China eating Nokia's nordic design crown (sadly).

EyesOpen

I just don't understand why Nokia didn't leverage Android better, either by partnering directly or by developing some sort of application compatibility layer, which would have allowed Nokia devices to run or easily port Android apps. If the problem was Nokia's software, why not partner with a top software company like Google? It would have been a sure way to stay on top--look at Samsung's success. If Nokia had too much pride for that, at least figure a way to get those Android apps working with Nokia devices, so as to avoid mass defections.

A.A

Hei Tomi!
This a little offtopic but text written below in finnish have some ideas for Yours coming blog dated 11.2.2013. I wrote in finnish becouse of my weak ablity write in english

Nokia johdon tavoitteena oli helmikuussa 2011 pikainen siirtymä Symbianista käyttöjärjestelmästä Windows phoneen kahden vuoden sisällä. Kuluttajille ja operattoreille tämä oli selkeä viesti, että symbianian-puhelimia ei kannata ostaa koska symbian kuopataan kahdessa vuodessa.

Lisäksi Mr Elopin öljynporauslattapuheesta valistuneet kuluttajat ja operaattoriasiakkaat tekivät johtopäätöksen, että Symbian lienee "paska käyttis" kun siitä näin kiireellä eroon pyritään. Tämä sai uskollisimmatkin Nokian asiakkaat miettimään muita vaihtoehtoja. Nokian entiset asiakkaat joutuivat käytännössä valitsemaan uuden puhelimensa käyttöjärjestelmäksi IOSIN tai Androidin, koska Nokia hylkäsi omat käyttöjärjestelmänsä eikä Windows phonea ollut puhelimiin saatavissa.
Myyntilastoista voidaan päätellä että Nokian markkinaosuus älypuhelimissa on siirtynyt kahden vuoden aikana Samsungin älypuhelimille, jotka käyttävät androidia.

Nokia tavoitteli ”vain Windows Phonen" strategiallaan taivasta mutta kruunasi sen typerällä toteutuksella Samsungin älypuhelinkuninkaaksi ja Androidin johtavaksi ekosysteemiksi.

Nokialla oli erittäin järkevä strategia syksyllä 2010: Symbian halpoihin ja keskihintaisiin älypuhelimiin ja Meegon kalliimpiin älypuhelimiin ja lisäksi oli kehitteillä Meltemi (light Meego käyttöjärjestelmä peruspuhelimille sekä halvemmille älypuhelimille.

Meegon hylkääminen sillä verukkeella ettei ekosysteemiä muka ollut on suoranaista itsepetosta/valehtelua. Meegossa olisi saatu pyörimään andoird-sovellukset pienellä viilauksella. Jolla tulee näyttämään pian kuinka tämä tehdään.

Kesällä 2012 Nokia tappoi Meltemin kehityksen ja tämä päätös saattaa koitua Nokian lopulliseksi kohtaloksi jos peruspuhelimien s40-alustan suorituskykyä ei saada nostettua samalle tasolle kuin halvemmat android älypuhelimet nyt ovat.

Tapasin kesällä 2012 serkkuni ja hän löi ensimmäiseksi käytettynä ostamansa Nokian N8-puhelimen kouraani ja ihmetteli ”mitä vikaan tässä oikein on” . Vastasin,” ettei ole mitään vikaan” . Olihan Symbian S3 käyttis alussa buginen ja kosketusnäyttö epäherkkä mutta puolessatoista vuodessa päivityksillä asiat on saatu pääosin korjattua. Ja sen surkean Nokian selaimen voi vaihtaa Operaan.

Symbian käyttöjärjestemä on työläs ja heikon ohjelmiston moduulaarisuuden takia muutostyöt ovat kalliita. Nokia olisi pärjännyt kohtuullisesti Symbianialla muutaman vuoden halvemmissa ja keskihintaisissa älypuhelimissa. Symbianin hyvä moniajo, akunkesto ja erilliset puhelimen käyttöpainikkeet olisivat olleet peruskäyttäjille mieluisia ominaisuuksia. Symbianin jatkokehitys olisi ollut kallista ja työlästä mutta aivan PERKELEEN kalliiksi tuli lopulta Nokian osakkeenomistajille siirtyminen pika-aikataululla Microsoftin torppariksi.

Nokian ongelma oli helmikuussa 2011 oli heikko ohjelmistokehityksen johtaminen. Tämä käy hyvin ilmi taskumuro verkkosivun artikkelista http://taskumuro.com/artikkelit/the-story-of-nokia-meego. ’tähän ongelmaan Elopin ja Nokian hallituksen olisii pitänyt puuttua ensin ja vasta sen jälkeen miettiä muita vaihtoehtoja.
Ps. Kirjoitat analyyttisiä blogeja mutta usein pääaihe hukkuu pitkään tekstiin.

N9

@Jilles Van Gurp:

I don't really see where you are in disagreement with Tomi.
You basically say the same thing: Killing Symbian too early was a serious mistake and Meego was the right strategy. And maybe you are right that Nokia needed somebody from the outside to stop the fighting and fix execution (again, you seem to agree with Tomi that the execution was the problem), but how does it help if this person makes changes the good strategy to a failing one?
The one thing I disagree with you is your implied assumption that the Windows Phone strategy was a reasonable choice at that point ("what now seems to be proving to be a platform that had no meaningful traction"). Instead, it was very obvious that Windows Phone already had no traction at all at the point Nokia announced the switch. It was very clear to many of us that this was a really dump decision (by Elop or the board).

ejvictor

@Eyesopen
it did and does exist, the N9 could have been shipped with AlienDalvik and run Android apps... If Elop had done that it would have crush all hopes for the Lumia range. That is why we all chuckle at the Jolla/Sailfish developments - That could have been Nokia -12 months ago - if the management was not driven by eternal forces.

N9

@Winter

I don't know where http://www.computing.co.uk got the 2 million number from, though. I have seen claims that percentage of WP8 Lumias could not have been too high because the ASP did not increase by much. Maybe Tomi can comment on this?

N9


Comments which seem to come from Nokia insiders often state that a drastic change in strategy was necessary, because Meego was simply not ready. On the other hand, because a device such as the N9 can not suddenly appear out of nowhere, it is clear that Meego must have been almost ready (also see [1]). I wonder if many people inside of Nokia somehow had a false impression about the state of Meego?

[1] http://felipec.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/my-disagreement-with-elop-on-meego/

Sander van der Wal

@N9

Or that the N9 really wasn't a MeeGo device. But a Maemo one.

N9

@Sander van der Wal

The N9 might still be based partially on Maemo but it supports the Meego API, so from an "ecosystem" point-of-view was Meego. But I don't see how this matters here. The point is: It was a finished product in September 2011.

So my question is: Some influential people inside Nokia seemed to believe (falsely!) in early 2011 that Meego would not be able to deliver. What is the reason for this? Some kind of mis-communication/power struggle/conman trick?

ejvictor

@N9
Elop had to kill entire program or Lumias would be still-born. Would love to see the PowerPoint used to present N9's death to upper management. Maemo, Moblin, Meego... consumer only cared about UX, which to this day is why PEOPLE DON'T WANT A WINDOWS PHONE.

FooBar

Elop never really seriously cared about state of Meego and all that was irrelevant. He shot straight towards Windows Phone since he was already familiar with the platform. Meego and Nokias slightly chaotic way of working (things seem massively buggy two weeks before the release) were completely alien to him. Given this, even if he had wanted to make a study about its real state it would have been hard.

Tomi T Ahonen

About MeeGo..

The story is pretty well out there. Elop came in with clear intention to torpedo all chances for MeeGo. His second action as CEO was to cancel the already committed launch of the first MeeGo smartphone at the big Nokia event, pushing it to January. (one MeeGo boss resigned in protest). Then that smartphone was ready to be revealed at world's largest mobile industry event, February at Mobile World Congress, Elop killed the ready-to-sell phone (the N9-00) only days before it was to be shown - this phone was ready to be sold by April. Another MeeGo boss resigned in protest. Elop then decided Nokia could not do more than 2 devices in the year 2012 (where Nokia had 4 devices, 3 smartphones and 1 tablet ready to go) and another MeeGo boss resigned. Finally, when the N9 was unveilled to the public, and the Nokia share price took its first strong climb after the catastrophic fall after the Elop Effect, Elop came to the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and said, no matter how well the N9 will sell, there won't be another MeeGo device. Elop has wanted to kill MeeGo from day 1, as it was obviously far ahead of Windows Phone and if shown side-by-side, MeeGo would wipe the floor with the Lumia series. And we now know, that Verizon had signed up to take the second MeeGo device, the 'Searay' which was then rapidly altered by Elop to sell as the Lumia 800 - a phone so much the compromise and disaster, that Verizon wouldn't accept it in Windows Phone form.

MeeGo was ready to launch in 2010, and to start selling in the Spring of 2011, and inspite of what Elop has tried to feed the press, Nokia had at least 3 smartphones ready to sell on MeeGo in 2011 - imagine the Lumia 800 at its price points, without the Windows Phone faults, but with MeeGo. And imagine the three - N9 and N950 and Searay - sold globally, in Nokia's best markets. Nokia would be selling 100 million smartphones today - profitably. The N9 was the only smartphone ever that was regularly said to be better than the iPhone !!!!!

BTW just news today - MeeGo's successor, Sailfish powering Jolla, has today announced its second handset partner, Chinese/Indian smartphone marker Zopo. Don't think for one moment that MeeGo died in the hands of Elop.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Sander van der Wal

That Business Week article said that the decision to not go with MeeGo was made because MeeGo was not ready, and that it would not be ready for a year-and-a-half.

Whether Elop lied to Business Week in particular or not is impossible to tell just from that story alone.

But I do not buy the idea that Elop came to Nokia with the idea to kill MeeGo. He might very well have been brought in by the board with the explicit task to kill off both Symbian and MeeGo. Elop not being the evil genius, but the executioner. A hypothesis that makes much more sense than the board being completely clueless, although, looking at HP...

No, the board was very well aware of what it was doing. Witness the Form.

vladkr

@Sander van der Wal :

Then my question is : why did the board choose someone with such a calamitous pedigree as Stephen Elop ? Wherever has he been, it was a disaster :

- Boston Chicken (failing to sell chicken to people whose main food is... chicken is quite a performance)

- Macromedia (remember Flash ? That was Macromedia's baby)

- Accenture

- Even at Microsoft, he's said to not have been very brilliant

All this was known before he was hired by Nokia...

John Waclawsky

@ vladkr, the real question is why did they choose Microsoft. Even Dilbert knows ugly truth:

http://www.geekwire.com/2012/dilbert-takes-swing-microsoft/screen-shot-2012-11-06-at-10-53-18-am/

and of course this has resulted in the fact that NO ONE WANTS A WINDOWS PHONE OR TABLET and Nokia's eventual demise

bjarneh

thanks @Winter
since Windows Phone 7 and 8 are incompatible a developer that chooses Windows Phone 8 now as his/her platform has around 3-4 million customers at most then i guess?

@Tomi
thanks for the Meego summary, sad story though

khim

@N9: Some influential people inside Nokia seemed to believe (falsely!) in early 2011 that Meego would not be able to deliver. What is the reason for this? Some kind of mis-communication/power struggle/conman trick?

Nope. Good old iceberg effect - just in reverse.

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000356.html

Think Android. Have you seen Android in 2007? It was awful. Well and truly awful. Viewed even from 2008 (Android 1.0) or 2009 (Android 2.0) it was barely functional - yet it was result of four years of development. It literally grew features "by a day" when before that it was hard to distinguish versions created six months apart (they all were hopelessly broken). Was it because they suddenly hired gazillion new clever guys? Nope: it's because they needed to build robust yet invisible foundation before they'll be able to create usable OS.

That's the problem: software guys know just how much is hidden under water in any given piece of software, normal guys (including hardware guys) don't. They both have seen the same pictures and N9 software team knew they are on track to the in-time delivery and influential people "knew" they look on the failure.

Microsoft engineers know this principle all too well: Windows Phone 7 was a turd from the start. And it's IMPOSSIBLE to convert it to the good OS. EVER. That's why it's replaced with Windows Phone 8 which has radically different insides now.

BUT! Windows Phone 7 had "pretty pictures" when these discussions happened and of course influential people "knew" it'll fly.

That's what happens when non-software guys are given the task to pick "promising" software: they fail 9 times out of 10. Doubly so if one team knows about iceberg effect and other team does not even think about it.

And that's why Microsoft needed Nokia: they needed to keep public interests one way or another till replacement will be ready. Nokia was knowingly thrown under bus with the explicit goal to slow it down.

As someone said: Nokia have successfully migrated almost all of their Symbian customers to Android. That would not be a problem except that they don't sell Android.

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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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