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« Huawei CEO Says Could be Interested in Acquiring Nokia but that Windows Phone is 'Weak' | Main | News from the Smartphone Front: Blackberry Results, other news »

June 25, 2013

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Interested to know

Great write-up. Elop's actions have been criminal. I hope someone in Finland wakes up and starts assigning blame- there is a lot to go around.

So give me #jolla phone instead!

In this land of former great Nokia, how do you think that kind of re-assigning is going to happen. Even the Lumia market share is one of the biggest in the world in Finland. And, don't get me wrong, I'm definately against the current" strategy" and its implementation and all the cruel consquences of it; loss of market share, killing of Meego and N9, and dropping own OS-development, and the thousands of jobs lost in Finland, alone!

LeeBase

Garbage. Everything that has gone to harm Nokia makes it less desirable for Msft. A healthy, market leading Nokia is what Msft wanted...selling windows phones of course. Msft wants to sell software...to have lots of companies selling windows phone.

Nokias disaster has been an equal disaster for Mstf's mobile fortunes. Buying Nokia now is all about having at least one company putting out Msft phones. And it appears that Nokia is sooo bad, Msft can't even justify purchasing it.

Spawn

One thing related to Meltimi that puzzles me. Why would you abort your Linux based Qt platform (MeeGo) that is ready for production and shipped (N9) to start a complete new Linux based Qt platform (Meltimi) without reusing anything* while knowing there is not much time left**? And then if they finished (weeks before release) you abort. Why***?

* It was from scratch, Suse based, nothing of MeeGo got reused
** Elop himself visited the devs, gave them "freedom and full support to unleash the next billion" just to abort little less then a year later short before release.
*** Was that to silent Mary McDowell and the support she had in the Nokia BOD for a while till it was to late?

m

@LeeBase, yes everything has made Nokia less desirable for purchase, yet the disaster has been great for Microsoft. The destruction of a competitor for third place, the killing of a Linux-based platform, their utter dependence on MS for survival. Obviously, Elop imagined that things would magically go a lot better. Perhaps he thought that dashing Nokia on Microsoft's rocks would prove his eternal love, and they'd take him in as a lover, but instead MS just says "Look at you, you're pathetic, broken", even though it was Windows that did it.

Elop made the mistake of giving everything away for free to MS and destroying everything else, not realizing that the feelings of loyalty weren't mutual, and that he wouldn't be rewarded for spoiling the company for their sake.

TE

http://conversations.nokia.com/2012/01/03/theres-something-about-mary/

I always thought this post about Mary Macdowell was loaded against Elop. Could she be the next CEO?; Qwerty ot Touch? Qwerty;

JF

Bill Gates on CBS: "We didn't miss cell phones. But the way that we went about it didn't allow us to get the leadership, so it's clearly a mistake."

Winter

Playing the devils advocate. An alternative hypothesis would be that Elop should covert Nokia customers to WP. Beyond that conversion, Nokia had no value. Any sale of Nokia to MS would only be a payout for collaborating.


In this alternative, any project or product that could compete with or distract from WP had to be killed. The share price of Nokia would then also be irrelevant to these strategists.

birdy

So Elop killed most of the online services (Ovi), to not conflict with the ones from Microsoft?

Winter

@birdy
Who can read the mind of these mad master strategists? However, anything that might make existing Nokia platforms attractive could delay Lumia uptake.

The message was clear: if you want a Nokia phone, you must buy a Lumia. And the people responded that they did not want a Nokia that badly.

Btw, that was also the strategy of MS with Vista and W8: If you want a new computer, you have to use Vista/W8. And people answered that they did not need a new computer that badly and bought a tablet instead.

Sander van der Wal

Microsoft's capabilities are truly amazing.

On the one hand they are able to forecast that Nokia's own new shiny operating system MeeGo would not be ready in time (the Business Week story, reported fact). That way they would have a change to get Nokia on board with Windows Phone. For this cunning plan to work, they would need to put one of their own, Elop, in the drivers seat as Nokia's CEO. So they convinced Nokia to dump OPK and appoint Elop as the CEO.

And on the other hand they are completely unable to predict everything else happening in the mobile software business. The success of iPhone, the success of iPad. The troubles with Windows Phone itself. The rise of Samsung. The rise of Android.

yeah, right.

What happened is that both Nokia and Microsoft came to realize independent of each other, what an incredible threat iOS and later Android were to their mobile businesses. Microsoft saw what happened in the States to their own mobile business, Windows Mobile. And Nokia saw their key markets in Europe and later Asia being obliterated. We are talking 2008, 2009.

In 2010, Nokia dumped OPK and appointed Elop. They kept working very hard on MeeGo.

Early 2011, it became clear that the MeeGo strategy was not going to work because it would not be delivered in time (reported fact). A new strategy was hatched. Windows Phone and Android were investigated, Windows Phone was choosen.

I would not be surprised that close ties with Microsoft were one of the reasons Elop was choosen as the CEO. After all, there were not that many options for Nokia as plan B in 2010, the time OPK was ousted. They could keep working on MeeGo, they could reassert Symbian, they could go to Android, they could go to Microsoft, they could buy Palm, they could start another project. All the reasons for not choosing Android were as obvious in 2010 as they were in 2011.

This makes going with Microsoft a good plan B. So you pick a Microsoft manager as your new CEO. But Plan A was at that time to go with MeeGo.

timple

When Elop ended Symbian on Feb 11 there was a strange article in Newsweek or Businessweek - I can't remember exactly - which was an interview by Elop to justify the decision. There were some very strange things there - like Nokia employees being castigated because they actually chose Symbian devices as their own personal devices (like what would that say if they all toted iphones???) But the strangest was a story he recounted where he was looking at his options and reviewed the Meego products and had an "oh shit - it's not going to be ready moment". At the time the N9 was not announced so it passed without comment. Then shortly after they announce the N9 - well before the L800...

Tomi - you have an opportunity for a fabulous classic business book - because Nokias fall from the top is one heck of a story - just don't make it too personal!

Jusu

There is a movie about Facebook (Social Network). Story of Nokia would also be a great drama. Maybe Danny DeVito could play Steve Ballmer and Philip Seymour Hoffman Stephen Elop? Tomi should do screenplay and (play Mr Bond in a supporting role)...

e_lm_70

Tomi, you miss two very important points:
- Nokia - Microsoft secret agreement, has been told to be valid till 2016. Nobody will every buy Nokia for keep producing only Lumia or DumbPhone till 2016.
- Nokia account now 80% of total Windows Phone sales. Microsoft did push HTC when they presented together the new HTC WP8. Even with Microsoft push, Nokia outsell the competition on WP by 5:1. This show one clear factor: People don't want Windows Phones ... but still there are people that recognize Nokia as valuable mobile phone producer.

If Microsoft would acquire Nokia, the brand of Nokia would be diluted, sales of Microsoft Lumia will be not as good as Nokia Lumia. Microsoft with surface shown that they are no capable to sell any relevant amount to HW to the customer.

Yes ... maybe Microsoft was interested to have direct control of Nokia, but once they realize that Noka brand is what make the sales, and Nokia with Elop does exactly what Microsoft request to be done ... there is no point to waste money for get worst result.

Lumia is now making ground in many markets, the momentum is good, it has to be seen if this will go on.
The money, we have been told already, Microsoft with more then 5m Lumia sales will get most or all the profit. So money wise, Microsoft get already all the benefit from a possible success of Lumia

Tchuss

e_lm_70

Spawn

One more: When Elop aborted MeeGo the major reason given was that 'we can do only one device till end-year and thats not enough'.

1) the second device, the N950, was ready since a while, Elop knew it.
2) there was that theird device ready.
3) hw-teams had a bunch of more prototypes.
4) Lumia had how much devices beside Lanku last 2 years? One!

Also the 808 was supposed to be fated by Elop in similar ways (eg no US) and that changed only later (on pressure?). Same N9-question applies: why would you make a product and not sell it if there is demand?

One central point: his statement and reasoning that the battle of devices became the battle of ecosystems. This marked the central strategy-shift where Nokia stopped to compete with Samsung, HTC, etc and started to compete with Android. It wasn't any longer Nokia vs competition but became anybody-WP vs anybody-not-WP. The later included Symbian, MeeGo, Meltimi but not S40, Smarterphone. Last two not have ecosystems and that's where the circle closes.

Think about it. Nokia makes devices (core business) and back then ecosystems (Symbian, MeeGo). It aborts competition on devices and its ecosystems, adapt the ecosystem ontrolled by anotger and makes fighting for that ecosystems market share its core strategy. Still today I ask myself how Nokia wins if WP wins? If eg Samsung wents all in WP, Elop welcomes them, Samsung eats 90% WP market share, how does that align to Nokia profit goals? It doesn't. Its insane, flawn by design.

Louis

@timple: You mean this?

http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/57372-stephen-elops-nokia-adventure

"At its current pace, Nokia was on track to introduce only three MeeGo-driven models before 2014—far too slow to keep the company in the game."

@Sander: "What happened is that both Nokia and Microsoft came to realize independent of each other, what an incredible threat iOS and later Android were to their mobile businesses."

Pretty much. The mistake for Nokia, in retrospect, was not to just switch to Android, since WP failed on its supposed strengths, which were agility and service stack.

Louis

@Tomi: "This is like Chamberlain and Hitler in Wordl War 2, British Prime Minister thought he had gotten a solid promise from Hitler not to grab anything more in Europe, but like Hitler in world history, Ballmer in tech history just took what he wanted, gave promises to Nokia and conveniently ignored those. Ballmer wanted Symbian dead and MeeGo dead. He got both."

This is a bit gauche. Also, wrong. Ballmer wasn't concerned with either Symbian or Meego. He was concerned about the iPhone and Android, which were finally bringing actual computing and mobile together. Elop was concerned about the same thing, and then backed the losing side.

Olavi

Probably this "news" about Microsoft wanting to buy Nokia is only a distraction from the recent spurn from Huawei. The sad truth is that Nokia is in a state where there will be no good to anyone, least of all to Microsoft. Microsoft already has control via Elop and the people he brought in. Microsoft got rid of Symbian and Linux phones leaving Nokia only with Windows. Microsoft already got most of the patents, maybe the only worthwhile ones, farmed out to patent trolls. There's simply nothing left of value. One motivation that is being overlooked is that Nokia has been crushed just for the sake of crushing it. Sure it was a fairly large company when this started to happen, but if we look at the history of Microsoft they have a habit of crushing smaller companies apparently simply because they can.

zlutor

@timple: "But the strangest was a story he recounted where he was looking at his options and reviewed the Meego products and had an "oh shit - it's not going to be ready moment". At the time the N9 was not announced so it passed without comment. Then shortly after they announce the N9 - well before the L800..."

Oh yes, the famous 'oh shit' moment...

That can either be true or not I can not judge. But whatever Nokia has releases with WP7.x could have been released with Meego, to - without any real additional effort, I guess...

Not to mention what (technical/technological) advantage WP7.x - and maybe WP8.x - could show against Meego. Otherwise the list would not be so short...

If I were in the chair of Elop I would push Meego - and maybe WP, but from WP8 only - and let Symbian die gradually with honor...

I might have some difficulties justifying introducing WP into the portfolio later on then... :-)

Z1lIjch

"One motivation that is being overlooked is that Nokia has been crushed just for the sake of crushing it."

After beating Motorola and abandoing CDMA it's not even completely unlikely that after many years they must have hated the companies' guts.

Another possibility, is that they are more interested in their mapping unit and patents than in the actual devices, since those can be gotten elsewhere.

ejvictor

Add to list...
1) De-funding and killing Symbian foundation.
2) Shuttering 'all' Nokia retail stores..
3) Killing Nokia's innovative line of accessories and outsourcing to partners.
4) Erasing dozens of Nokia consumer and developers facing web sites.
5) Slashing Nokia betalabs and killing innovative social software.
6) Buy and Trash Smarterphone OS

Hansu

@ Brian Stephens spot on but then again the as I put it earlier the sales collapse would have happened anyway even with Meego onboard and Meego shared the same app situation that was even worse WP7 had around 70000 apps to Meego's 20000 and then there would have been same problem to lure app developers to platform that didn't have the market share and in order to have the market share it needed the apps. As for Meltemi it was way over budget and almost 1,5 years late when it was finally killed off so even if they had finished Meltemi sometime in the fall of 2012 it still would have taken to q4 12 or q1 13 to get the Meltemi devices out and they are low cost phones so it would have taken considerable time to get the R&D money back if Meltemi would have been system that it was promised to be app launch in 1sec and all that. But the main problem with WP is skype and the unfortunate carrier boycott, but things are improving a bit like Verizon and T-mobile selling Lumias in the US and other big Operators like Vodafone and O2 etc. It will be intresting to see what the 8.1 update will bring to WP in terms of hardware support and OS features

vladkr

Tomi,

You forget one parameter which is interesting as well : Elop's pedigree.

You've certainly heard of some popular project named... Youtube.

This Youtube project, and some others as well make quite a big use of the FLV format, which was development was made by... Macromedia...

I think you guess where I'm leading : Stephen Elop was at the head of Macromedia just before selling it to Adobe. Nowadays, almost no one remembers about Macromedia, but everybody knows Adobe. Colossal revenues generated by Flash format use go to Adobe now.

So how can one think Elop wasn't a risk ?

He's the guy who screwed a successful fast-food brand, the guy who sold us Office 2007-2010 (and the related headaches to IT workers), the guy who ruined Macromedia, and who still is wealthy after all that.

vladkr

@Jusu :

A drama about Nokia already exists :

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-TIZf1OymQBE/T7HIpjPG8pI/AAAAAAAAABU/dWURk81KpH0/w487-h721-no/Dumb_and_Dumber_Nokia.jpg

Spawn

@zlutot

> That can either be true or not I can not judge

http://m.intomobile.com/2011/06/22/nokia-engineer-calls-out-stephen-elop-killing-meego-says-he-has-no-idea-hes-talking/

"Stephen Elop, Nokia’s CEO, that one of MeeGo’s biggest problems going forward was the small amount of devices currently in the pipeline. Felipe says that’s absolute nonsense, that no one he knows believes what Stephen Elop has to say about the matter, and that they could throw MeeGo on as many number of devices as they want to since all the complicated work required to get MeeGo to run on a Texas Instruments OMAP processor had to be done just once. If Nokia wanted to make MeeGo devices that run on other chips then yes, more effort would be required, but there’s absolutly no reason Nokia can’t just build different devices using the current software/hardware combination that currently makes up the N9. In fact, that’s how Nokia has made most of their devices up till now"

... Lumia still only run on snapdragon fyi.

Also fyi MeeGo did run not only on the N9/N950. There where devices including tablets by other companies flyi around all time. Some made it to market like the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WeTab

@Hansu

> Meego shared the same app situation that was even worse WP7

Transition-strategy. It had formed one ecosystem with Symbian using Qt.

> As for Meltemi it was way over budget and almost 1,5 years late when it was finally killed of

Meltimi was started one year before it got killed. There where no external contractors or resources or partners or... budget could not unexpected explode. It was killed when it was ready, the work done.

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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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