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« The Engagement Marketing Primer for 2013 - E Equals M 2 C - Engagement Equals Mobile To Community - Or how to get 30% response rates with your next campaigns | Main | Picture 4 in Nokia Saga: How Badly the Promised Migration from Symbian to Windows Phone is Failing »

January 10, 2013


Tomi T Ahonen

Dear osakkeenomistaja

That was about 'being negative' or being honest. Now about your second point, that Lumia phones are fine devices and selling well. No, please do not delude yourself, they are not. Have you read the 101 faults in Lumia list? Or the more recent analysis of what all is still missing from Windows Phone 8 at All About Symbian? The Lumia smartphones are at best mediocre devices, they have some good things, but a lot of really bad things. Like the clock. All Nokia phones recently have had the ability to display the clock while in idle mode. Nokia is in fact the world's most used clock brand, ahead of Timex, Seiko and Citizen. But a new Nokia Lumia buyer suddenly can't see the time anymore. Now you have to wake up the Lumia just to see the time. Thats regressing. Or no QWERTY keyboards, no advanced cameras, or the Bluetooth doesn't do file transfers, etc etc etc. The Nokia owners are accustomed to many things that old Symbian - and new Maemo/MeeGo devices did very well - even Nokia's basic S40 Asha phones do - but Lumia doesn't.

So that is why the survey of Lumia owners by Yankee Group found that 4 out of 10 Lumia owners hated the device so much, they rated it worst out of 5 grades. Or the new Bernstein survey of smartphone owners found that only 37% of Windows Phone owners are willing to buy another Windows Phone device, while Apple gets 95% for the iPhone and Android gets 75% loyalty. No, osakkeenomistaja, Lumia is not a fine phone, it is a disaster. Not my view - these are independent surveys of consumers. Which is why many operators/carriers refuse to sell the Lumia. Which is why Nokia's prices fall catastrophically weeks after launch. Which is why Nokia's smartphones have almost no resale value. If you, osakkeenomistaja truly do believe that Lumia is a good phone, you will be severely disappointed when results come in and repeatedly disappoint you. Please study the industry and consumer opinions.

As to Windows Phone 8 Lumia 'selling well' - no it isn't. It is selling BETTER than Lumia did in Q3, but is not doing well. Two years ago, in Q4 of 2010, when Nokia last released a flagship phone on Symbian, and last released a new OS version, Symbian S^3 before the Elop Effect, Nokia in the first quarter of its sales, did 5 million sales, 4 million of it the N8 flagship. Now Nokia has been trying to sell Lumia for 5 quarters, and STILL hasn't hit 5 million per quarter. This, while the industry has more than doubled in size. If Elop was doing only as well as OPK or Anssi Vanjoki, he'd sell 8.6 million Lumia 920 flagship phones in Q4 plus milions more other Lumias, not 4.4 million total Lumia. You can of course believe Nokia is 'improving'. I see Nokia being destroyed.

Thank you for writing. Does this make sense? Please do come back and lets talk some more.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Dear osakkeenomistaja,

A good Chess-master is the one who could see further than their enemy/competitor. Obviously, Tomi could see the 'damage'/result of what Elop did further than Elop did.

If you truly love nokia, you shouldn't hate tomi for blowing the whistle. You should thank Tomi for warning you/nokia.


Appreciated, Tomi.

Przemysławw Lib


Good work. Especially since you predict based on multiple sources, dig a bit deeper (other "casual" forecasters did not even compared Nokia growth with idusty growth, nor meantioned lack of profitability... Or even are still dreaming about "Quick Victorious War"...)

Anyway, we need new word for mass DELUSION, where FACT from one area, force us to create our own reality in other area. Even now we hear too much about WinP as platform that is doing good, or that it can not fail, or that it will rule, while after "because" there is nothing (or just "because.. because it is MS product!..").


Thank you for your comments Tomi. I will answer once more in finnish beacuse my english skills are not good enough to do it in english.

Kirjoitit niin paljon eri asioita että muistankohan niitä kaikkia. Kuitenkin en ole seurannut kommenttejasi muihin yhtiöihin kuin Nokiaan liittyen.

Olen ollut Nokian osakkeen omistajana jo ennen Elopin aikaa. Luotin siihen mitä Nokian johto kertoi strategiamuutoksen aikoihin ja minulla ei ollut käsitystä, miten paljon eri puheet ja teot tulee vaikuttamaan symbianin myyntiin. Jos olisin asian ymmärtänyt, olisin myynyt osakkeet silloin. Olen siis edelleen omistaja ja tukevasti miinuksella. Myös, kun asun Suomessa niin täällä tuo puhelinmyynnin jakautuminen, ja sen seuraaminen, hieman vääristyy koska Suomi on nokiamaa. Olen samaa mieltä että Nokian johto on tehnyt vääriä asioita samoin kun on annettu huonoja lausuntoja. Niitä emme kuitenkaan saa tekemättömäksi. Nokian pitää vain oppia niistä.

Alkuperäisen viestini tarkoitus oli että toivon Nokian ympärille muodostuvan enemmän positiivisia asioita ja puheita. Ihmettelen suomalaista talouslehdistöä miten se kirjoittaa Nokiasta lähes yksinomaan negatiivisia artikkeleita. Onko Nokia kohdellut joskus aiemmin kotimaista lehdistöä huonosti ja nyt sitten lehdistö maksaa Nokialle "potut pottuina"?

Toivonkin että Nokialla alkaa nyt puhaltamaan paremmat tuulet ja saamme lukea myös sinun ylläpitämästä blogista yhä enemmän positiivisia merkkejä. Se on kuitenkin monen suomalaisen, niin työntekijän kuin osakkeenomistajan, etu.


Dear cycnus,

I don't hate Tomi or anybody else. Everyone has right to his opinion.

I only wanted to say that I would like to see more positive atmosphere around Nokia.


Besides the improbability that WP8 and Lumia become a success, there is no way Nokia could survive a WP8 success.

Microsoft is a money making machine. They will try to monetize and extract any value from "partners". In the PC business, MS extracts the complete margin from OEMs, giving only some back in the form of their Windows marketing program. Dell's profits are mostly what crumbs MS gives them for "marketing Windows".

Whenever the Lumia becomes profitable, we can be pretty sure that MS will knock on the door for their share of the profits, which will be all of it. Only crumbs will be left for Nokia.

So there is no way Nokia can win. Either WP8 fails and Nokia loses, or WP8 is a success, and all profits go to MS and Nokia loses.



Because it isn't going to work this way and people don't accept it anymore.

Just take a look at the data posted by the Yankee Group or Bernstein Research. There _are_ in fact people who buy Nokia and Windows Phone products, but they simply return it or refuse to buy another one - irregardless of positive or negative reviews.

Or take a look at the marketing budget for the Lumias or Windows Phone. Never has been spent that much money to provide 'positives' and 'incentives' about Nokia and the products - and still literally noone is buying those products.

There problem is horrible management and a horrible product, not bad press. So even if you stop publishing bad press, you still end up with horrible management and a horrible product.

The only thing you are going to achieve with non-negative press is that you continue to kid yourself, and that decrease to chance of solving your problems by simply ignoring them.

Things don't go away just because you close your eyes and you stop seeing them.


Wow, I am on the weird part of Internet again



>> So there is no way Nokia can win. Either WP8 fails and Nokia loses, or WP8 is a success, and all profits go to MS and Nokia loses.

I agree that there's no way Nokia can win. It WP fails they lose for sure.
But if WP wins even when factoring out licensing costs it would be Samsung to take the profits because they move far more aggressively.

Of course if Microsoft tries to do their OEM squeezing game again most of the OEMs will simply say 'screw you', stop producing Windows phones and move to other platforms. That's a game only a monopolist in complete control of its business can do. MS won't ever be able to get there in mobile with the current competitors.

So, regardless of the company's attitude, if they ever try to play this game in mobile, game would be over faster than they can say 'boo'.



Do we need to play this game again?

It's called 'forecasting', not 'clairvoyance'.

Not always, if you try to extrapolate future data from what you have available, the result will be correct.

If, for example, there was a minor aberration in Kantar's Symbian numbers, of course they will affect the precision of the forecast. That's simple math - especially if it comes to low marketshare products like Nokia currently has to offer.


"That's a game only a monopolist in complete control of its business can do. MS won't ever be able to get there in mobile with the current competitors."

But Nokia does not have that option. They have welded themselves to the MS train.



That's the typical kind of Microsoft statistics-tweaking we are known for.

Of course relative growth is higher if you start with almost nothing and will make any statistic look great. What should not be ignored is absolute percentage:

WP grew from 0.62% to 3.24% in that time period. Ouch!

(Android grew by more than 7 percentage points (3 times as much as WP) in the same time period, btw, but since it started well over 20 the relative growth is only 1/10th of what Windows Phone gets here.)

Sorry, but anyone using these kinds of statistics loses all credibility in my book. It's an act of desperation to make oneself look good.



Johtamisessa on parantamisen varaa, siinä olen ehdottomasti samaa mieltä. Tuote, siis WP on mielestäni kuitenkin hyvä. Käyttöjärjestelmä on sulava ja ulkoasu miellyttävä. Ulkoasu sopivasti erilainen kuin muilla.

Lehdistöstä sen verran että Nokiassa olisi myös hyviä asioita kirjoitettavaksi. Kuitenkaan suomalainen lehdistö ei niitä halua syystä tai toisesta tuoda esille.

Niin, ja en sulje silmiäni ikäviltä asioilta. Olen tiedostanut ne jo aikoja sitten. Kuitenkin kun olen tänne asti mukana roikkunut niin tyhmää olisi nyt hypätä junasta pois.


Thanks. But do you think it will continue beyond 3% of phone owners, or will the growth in UK stall soon or even go down again when Blackberry 10 and the cheap iPhone come on the scene?



The overall impression seems to be that it'd remain at low numbers. Even the most positive outlook right now, IDC's 4 year projection, only says 11-12% for 2016. (Last year they predicted 19% for 2015 so even they had to revise down quite heavily.)

It comes to the simple factor whether people actually WANT to buy Windows phones. Currently it doesn't look like that's the case. I personally think that Windows Phone 8 already had its window of opportunity. Soon the Android makers will release their next generation with full HD displays and other boundary-pushing features. I'm sorry, but the Lumias won't have any chance against that.

So, judging from the platform's capabilities, overall market reception, user satisfaction and developments among competing manufacturers my estimate is that 5-6% is the limit - but only with discount pricing and targetting low end customers.



It is absolutely fine (and absolutely valid) that you think that the Lumia is a good product; but the problem is not what you think, the problem is what others think. And we know that 98% of the market thinks that it is not a good (enough) product, and that of this remaining 2% 2 out of 3 people will not buy another of this product; we know that carriers and retailers do not support the product (enough) as well. This is the problem. And this problem is NOT caused by the press.

Windows Phone is a niche prodcut, but Nokia is not a niche company - that's the 'horrible' in the 'horrible' product.

Yes, the media is to blame for 'There is no news like bad news', but this is not a problem specific to Nokia, and this is NOT the problem OF Nokia. There problem is the exclusive Windows Phone strategy.

And of course Nokia should switch from this strategy immediately - there is no success with it, because there is no success for Windows Phone - at least not at a rate Nokia would need.

"When you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."


Dear osakkeenomistaja,

Sorry that I can't write in Finnish, I forgot almost everything of it.

I understand you position, but you have to face that Nokia has nothing to do with Finland any more.

If few months ago, I could say that Nokia is only a postal box, it isn't any more as they even sold their HQ.

To sum up :
- Phones are designed in Sunnyvale, California (6 metres away of Apple offices)
- Phones are manufactured mainly in China, few in Brazil and India.
- Most R/D workers were fired
- Software is made by MS
- Hardware is made by Qualcomm

I would also add all Nokia workers, who were fired under Elop presidency, were in the most abominable way :
- Romanian workers were offered the cellphones they used to manufacture, and which were unsellable as they were Osborned.

- Most Finnish workers were "sold" or "offered" to third parties with work experience reset to zero, making them ineligible for compensations when their new employer fired them almost immediately.

You want to support Finland ? Buy Nokian Renkaat/Jalkineet, buy Fazer, buy Fiskars, buy Mercedes A-class, buy Valio, etc.

But buying Nokia won't support Finland any more.


Dear Lasko and vladkr,

Now I am too tired to this kind on conversation, is Nokia going to be profitable or not.

In my opinion Nokia Lumias are fully competitive with best Android and iPhone devices. Only problem is how to get customers test those devices. I think that Nokia has now great portfolio of smartphones and basic phones.

And, vladkr, yes I have Nokian winter tyres in my car, I drink Valio's milk, I eat Fazer's chocolate. Mercedes A-class is too small for us and also too expensive. I try to buy as much Finnish foodstuff as possible.

I wish all the best everyone! I am over and out now.

newbie reader

// buying Nokia won't support Finland any more.

Nokia still pays taxes in Finland, no?


@Newbie reader:

They were divided by 5 between 2008 and 2011... it should be even less for 2012

newbie reader

> They were divided by 5 between 2008 and 2011

well, smartphone sales are also down, about the same ratio



No, 'tricking' people into buying Lumias does NOT solve the problem.

As said, there ARE already people buying Lumia devices, but the surveys from Yankee and Bernstein have shown that 2 out of 3 people will either return their device immediately or will not buy another Windows Phone product.

Windows Phone is NOT a desirable product, it is NOT 'if they try it they will like it', it is NOT a marketing problem, it is a product problem.


@Tester: "The question is, what is genuine profit and what is just clearance of obsolete stock?"

What is interesting is that the earnings releases only ever use the word "ship" when referring to phone counts, but in the pre-earnings press release they only used the word "sold". So I think that the 4.4M Lumias includes much overstock that was already counted as shipped in Q3.

@Tomi, you said that some carriers report more old Lumia sales than new. So it seems likely that the actual number of Lumias shipped in Q4 was less than 4M, maybe as low as 3.5?

Tester, I agree that a lot of the "profit" is a recovery of some of the cost of the stockpile of WP7 Lumias shipped in Q3.

I agree with those predicting a shock with the actual earnings release. I would bet that Nokia will report a net loss.

But why the rosy pre-earnings press release?
- A pump-and-dump? A short squeeze? Could Microsoft interests be buying up stock at depressed prices and then squeezing the shorts at pumped up prices?
- Elop needs to get it stuck in shareholders' minds that WP8 is doing well enough to keep giving it another chance, even though it's still a loss and will continue to be a loss? Somehow, that truth seems to continually be lost in the repeated message, "Lumias are selling well."

I will bet on it, Nokia will report a net loss in Q4.



According to some articles on the internet Windows Phone is the best operating system, with the best customer satisfaction, and the best hardware and the most sold operating system.

According to reality the market share is less than 2%.

Can you spot the difference?

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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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