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« Ballmer Aftermath Part 1 - Future of Microsoft, especially in mobile | Main | Ballmer Aftermath Part 3 - Ballmer replacement and specifically Elop? (Spoiler alert: Elop won't become MS CEO) »

August 26, 2013

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Tester

@tk:

Sorry, but no. That train has passed 2 years ago. Nobody, not Microsoft, not Blackberry and not Nokia will be able to establish a new smartphone OS these days.

If Microsoft really folds that game is over. Android and Apple will have won.

Every new OS will face the same problem: lack of apps and lack of developer support.

@Hansu:

You are still trying to scratch the surface to find out what happens at the core of the whole mess. You won't get any results with that.

>> The break up value of Nokia in 2012 was almost double the share price it would have been a textbook take over of a company that was dirt cheap but had alot of good assets to sell patents factories NSN etc it was like a brand new Ferrari with a scratch on it left in the middle of nowhere with the door open and keys in the ignition along with a spare key and complete service history book with a full tank of gas.

No, it would have NOT! The precondition here would be that they could buy all those shares for dirt cheap. But as it happens, the market will notice that someone is buying all the stock and prices will increase. If purchases exceed a certain volume, there need to be official reports and once it becomes clear that there's a takeover attempt it will be a lot harder to get the rest for 'dirt cheap'.


>> So they had a competent guy inside Nokia who would have gotten things done Anssi Vanjoki why not him and Elop as I recall had pretty cushy job at Microsoft he had no particular reason to cheat his way in.

Who knows what kinds of fairy tales they were told. I think it had a lot to do with scepticism that the Nokia management was too crusty and they preferred the outside guy to shake things up. I repeat myself: Common sense doesn't factor in here. Wishful thinking on the other hand does.

>> As for support yes but then again WP7 apps work on WP8 as for contracts there's allways a loophole and yes it is a neccesitie but then again how is that a bad thing and Google go to wikipedia or somewhere else and see how many products and see how many discontinued products and services there are.

It's irrelevant for support if WP8 supports WP7 apps. That's not what this is about. This is about devices. The WP7 devices do not support WP8 so any improvement to WP8 won't mean anything for WP7.

>> And if they wanted Ballmer gone they could have searched for a new CEO behind the scenes or even do so that they would have had Bill Gates take back the position until a new CEO was found altough the latter would have been more unlikely.

Ugh... Sorry, but that's not how perception is being played. We simply do not know what's really going on behind the scenes. If I was Bill Gates, after the February statements, I'd go looking for someone to take over as CEO, then push Ballmer out with some grace period to avoid making it look bad while at the same time the new guy gets worked in. For all we know, Ballmer's replacement may already have been chosen.

>> If Nokia had gone the Android their market share should and would have been alot bigger but who knows or the MeeGo route.

MeeGo would have been seen as a continuation of their previous strategy, not a disruption. Remember, Nokia still had decent market share in 2010 and there was a clear upgrade path for developers from Symbian to MeeGo. In other words: They gave the developers the clear message that if they start developing apps for Symbian using Qt, they'd be able to migrate their work to MeeGo with relatively little effort. So the transition to MeeGo would not have disrupted their sales.

Let's be honest about one thing: Android is far from a good OS, especially when it comes to software development. I don't know many people who enjoy making Android apps. Qt, on the other hand would have been a developer's dream and with Nokia and their huge market share fully backing it it would have stood a good chance hurting Android seriously in the app department.

MikaA

Actually, I don't believe that Microsoft would be acquiring Nokia any more. Buying Nokia smartphone division doesn't sound like a good idea for them, as all would depend on how well Microsoft itself would be able to sell things to markets - and do mobile phone hardware. This specifically doesn't work out if there is a threat of Skype looming in the background, and recent Microsoft hardware projects haven't really impressed either.

As somebody before put it, the irony of all this is that Elop did his job TOO well to support Microsoft in all occasions. But I'm starting to wonder if Microsoft even wants him back - losing this much wasn't part of the plan. Elop can easily end up in a situation where he has nowhere to go, the only possibility at the moment is Microsoft, other companies will probably give him a wide berth.

Timo M

This blog was certainly more speculative than usual... What I like about Tomi is how easily he can be verified, because his opinions are based on solid facts. He is a forecaster, never an easy job, but unlike most of those tech blogs written on "ur mum's basement", which occasionally get it right, Tomi delivers on target like a B-52.

I am afraid here as well much will turn out to be true. Personally I have refused to believe that Elop is a MS mole, because that would suggest that he was actually doing something right and I don't understand how this guy could do anything that is not retarded.

Winter

If I remember well, the majority of the Nokia had financial stakes in MSft. At least some had bigger financial stakes in MSft than in Nokia. They would all have gained if MSft would increase, even if Nokia bankrupted.

I believe there is no example of an ex-MS CEO that did not work to the benefit of MS against his new employer. So, if the board hired an ex-MS officer, it was to sell out to MS.

I also believe there was no actual official take-over of Nokia planned.

For $1B a year, MS got to dispense all of Nokia's assets to the benefit of MS. MS got free, unrestricted access to ALL of Nokia's patents. And they were allowed to wield ALL of Nokia's patents against MS competitors.

As the board of Nokia was more heavily invested in MS than in Nokia, they were able to wield tens of billions in Nokia assets to boost the value of their MS shares.

I do not see any reason for them to fire Elop while there is still money left in Nokia. That money can still be used to crank up MSft share value.

Winter

If I remember well, the majority of the Nokia *board* had financial stakes in MSft.

Tester

I think the majority of shareholders have no clue what the company does anyway. I even doubt that the majority of the board has. Just tell these people some fairy tales about great business prospects, give them some numbers that look credible on the surface (even better if you believe in them yourself) and you are done. The fact that almost all analysts in 2011 misjudged the market themselves is a clear indicator of how things were seen back then. It wasn't hard to convince non-tech people with a good projection.

But I consider this 'destroy Nokia for the benefit of Microsoft' pure and utter nonsense. It's nothing more than a stupid conspiracy theory and the nice thing about conspiracy theories is that there's no proof required to keep them alive.

On the other hand I can't remember a single real conspiracy that wasn't made public eventually. Someone who knows will always talk. And here enough people got seriously pissed off that they may have talked. But we got - absolutely nothing so far.

This conspiracy suffers from one critical error in thinking: Microsoft didn't gain from Nokia's demise. It quite badly tarnished their brand and may have destroyed any chance for Microsoft in the Mobile business. Remember: If you want to succeed you need some *success*! There is not a single shred of success to be found here, only comprehensive failure on each and every level. And that failure will stick with Microsoft for a long time.

So yes, Microsoft may have gotten access to some patents. But what are these patents really worth? Nokia never was a software company so it's nearly everything hardware related and therefore relatively worthless to sue a competitor (which competitor, btw? The big ones all do WP as a secondary system!) out of business, especially since lots of these patents have already been licensed to competitors. Nokia never was like Apple who hoarded the patents for solely their own use.

Winter

@Tester
The point is not that there was a plan to destroy Nokia. There was a plan the *use* Nokia to boost MSft. The risk was on Nokia's side, not MS' side. And it was Nokia's assets that were spend.

If all had gone according to plan, Nokia might have benefited on the short term. Just like Dell has benefited for some time from MS. But in the end, it is MS where the money goes.

And it was not "some patents", it was all of them, and the map division.

Jack

Agree with the analysis but I think now that ballmer is gone its a question of who blinks first. MS needs Nokia, not the other way around though. So I think elop will be shown the door and the new CEO will work to rid the company of the MS agreement, then take sailfish as the main OS while maintaining wp8 in the transition. Don't see android but maybe. Mainly I see the company going back to the business strategy they know best, and that's the Finnish model that made Nokia Nokia.

chithanh

@Tomi:
I think it is the reverse, Bill Gates let Steve Ballmer go precisely because that was the only way to save Windows Phone, Bing, Surface, and the other money sinks.

Computerworld claims that Steve Ballmer was forced out by the board of directors following the $900M Surface RT inventory writeoff. If true, Bill Gates possibly saw it become increasingly difficult to assist both Steve Ballmer and Ballmer's loss making pet projects against the BoD. So he had to decide between defending Ballmer, or defending Windows Phone etc.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9241867/Ballmer_forced_out_after_900M_Surface_RT_debacle

Tester

@Jack: If they go that route I predict complete and utter failure. That'd be the second time in 3 years where they replace their main platform with an unproven one that has no market traction. It failed once for Nokia, it's failing for Blackberry right now, so what makes you think it'd miraculously work for Nokia the second time around?

We are not in 2010 anymore when the market was still wide open. Sorry to destroy your hopes but right now it's either using Android or dumping phones at the lowest possible price. The geeks who might buy Sailfish have long been taken by other options in the market (read: iPhone and high end Android.)

@Winter: I still think you overestimate the value of the patents as a pressure tool.

Tester

@‼chithanh:

If that's true be prepared anyway for some of them to die. Since these projects are all money sinks as you so aptly put it, it's clear that they will be carefully evaluated - and if that evaluation results in a negative outlook, will be axed. I wouldn't expect all of them to die but some will for sure. My first bet would be RT because that's a system without any real value, once Intel manages to create better mobile chips.

togga

@leebase No. WP is not the third ecosystem. You have to look at installed Base for that. Nokia could easily be on the Android "disruption" in a good way.Look how dominating they have been in every ecosystem they've entered into. Their only problem is that they ditched all profitable ecosystems and jumped on a very weak one. I have to agree with Tomi that Elop is a fool.

Mikko

I have a hard time imagining that MS would just drop Windows Phone. Smartphones are not going to disappear and MS will want a presence in that space. MS has always had lackluster performance on phones, even at their peak, but they've always stuck to it. That said, I've been reading about all the internal problems at MS (buraucracy, a highly toxic version of stack ranking etc.) in the aftermath of Ballmer getting the boot. Reading all that stuff makes you wonder if they can be competitive any time soon. They're going to revamp their culture, and do it fast.

zlutor

@tk: "Nokia has a future; and a very bright one; it just needs to turn it on - it's called Harmattan v2.0 on quadcore snapdragons."

Telling the truth I would preorder that phone - what I never did before for anything!
I would preorder it even if it would run exactly the same sw currently running on my N9.
Just to give a little bit more CPU power - but dual core would be enough for that...

If they could improve camera capabilities a little bit further that would be my device for the next coming years. But unfortunately it is nothing more but sweet dreams... :-(

So, Harmattan UI + Quad Core Snapdragon 800 + camera from 1020 +( full HD Amoled screen) = instant buy from me...

Paul Ionescu

Microsoft should abandon its current strategy of using Nokia for its Windows Phone strategy. Microsoft really does not need Nokia anymore and Nokia should get away as far as possible from Microsoft and Windows Phone. The current Microsoft's strategy regarding Windows Phone is clearly a mistake (according to Gates). Having 3%-4% of market for Windows Phone (as it is today and with no chance to have it increased more in the near future) is not a profitable strategy on long term for Microsoft.

Microsoft should start from scratch with its "Windows Phone" strategy. If Microsoft has the balls it should do exactly the same like Apple with its Windows Phone (that is build its own phone from scratch) and not involve any other mobile phone manufacturer (like Nokia, Samsung, Huawei, HTC, Sony, LG, etc.) because it didn't work out in the past! If Microsoft does not have the balls to do this then they should stay out of mobile area, forget about it and focus on what they are good at making money (that is Windows for PC, Office, etc.)!

zlutor

@Tester: "Every new OS will face the same problem: lack of apps and lack of developer support." - do not underestimate Qt/QML...

As of today, I as a developer can develop Qt apps for
- Symbian (still)
- MeeGo
- BB10
- Sailfish
- iOS
- Android

OK, the source code could require some minuscule tweaks here or there but in general it could be the same. And it is a powerful option...

Not to mention V-Play SDK that offers 'write once-deploy many times' for Meego, BB10, iOS and Android. The source code IS the same for all platforms, build servers take care of the rest!

So, what I try to say if a new OS supports Qt app issues and dev. support might be not so critical any more...
of course I do not want to say there are no issues but there is solution for majority of them...

Paul Ionescu

Microsoft should sell businesses like Skype (if Microsoft wants to start from scratch with its Windows Phone strategy), XBox, and Bing!

zlutor

@Paul Ionescu: what would the marketing message from Microsoft side then for this 'reboot'?

Nokia went through really hard times with WP, all other vendors left the OS - and now simple restart?

Tester

@zlutor:

Yes, sure, cross platform frameworks exist. But now let's be honest and look at the astonishlingly small number of developers using them.

Most companies seem to be incapable to think along such lines and keep separate Android and iOS teams that do everything double. And you can bet that the iOS team is incapable of doing anything except Objective-C and the Android team is incapable of doing anything except Java. I have seen this organization and it's a horrendous waste of resources yet there seems nothing that can be done about it.

As long as this kind of development style is predominant any smaller OS won't stand a chance.

Besides, Qt for the two most important platforms is only at a 'preview' stage and probably missing a lot of stuff app-makers need (I'm talking about platform specific services here, mostly.) I have done cross platform work and yet, a significant amount of work still needs to be invested in platform specific stuff. And then we're back to square one. Would you double your work to get that last percent of the market or not? As long as money matters, probably not...

Paul Ionescu

@zlutor: "what would the marketing message from Microsoft side then for this 'reboot'?"

That is the job of Microsoft marketing department to figure this out!

@zlutor: "Nokia went through really hard times with WP, all other vendors left the OS - and now simple restart?"

Nokia needs to start selling smartphones which have some else on them than Windows Phone. A quick switch could be done by Nokia to Android and in the same time also acquire Jolla and see which does better in the market.
"Windows phone" is a "burning platform" for Nokia so yes Nokia needs a restart if it wants to still exist in 5 years from in mobile arena.

khim

@zlutor: do not underestimate Qt/QML

Do not overderestimate it, too. There are many ways to develop cross-platform software: Apportable, PhoneGap, Qt, etc. They all can easily be used to create MEDIOCRE software - which somehow works, but does not look and feel like a native application, is not attractive and not successful.

Solution for enterprise software where victim ^H^H^H customer has no choice.

If you want to create ATTRACTIVE software then you'll need to work hard on integration part - Qt or no Qt. And platforms with 1-2% marketshare are not attractive enough to facilitate such work.

P.S. It'll be interesting to see how this drama will play, but IMHO this change just killed all platforms except for Android and iOS: as long as Microsoft kept illusion of "third platform" alive developers thought about cross-platform development, other, smaller, platforms, etc. Now it's just Android and iOS and cross-platform story should only include these two, nothing else.

zlutor

@Tester: maybe big organization can keep separate teams but small indie dev. teams - who are numerous and create tons of (sometimes useless ) apps will go for cross platform solutions IF possible.

Of course it is not the Holly Grail but there is something, at least. Platform specific interfaces are issues for sure but e.g. V-Play helps you overcome this. They provide even cross-platform in-app purchase solutions AFAIK...

So, yes, Qt is in preview phase ATM but let's see how it goes. Digia seems to be committed to deliver so we can hope.
Developers - especially smaller teams - will go for cross platform solutions when it is widely know and is capable of providing good enough solutions...

zlutor

@ Paul Ionescu: "That is the job of Microsoft marketing department to figure this out!" - what project name do you suggest for that?

"Mission Impossible"? "Operation Bismarck"? or "Mount Taygetus" :-)

C'mon...

AndThisWillBeToo

@Tomi
Since you are the most accurate forecaster of Nokia and Microsoft, please hand us the dates! I do not mean exact dates but something in the line of:

Microsoft will definitely announce the ramp-down of Windows Phone OS by (month, year) and not later
but they could do it as soon as (month, year).

Please, can we have that?

zlutor

@khim: of course, overestimation is not goo, either...

"They all can easily be used to create MEDIOCRE software - which somehow works" - that's the point. nowadays everybody counts the apps for any platforms and it is war of quantity, war of the number of apps.

And, let's be honest, majority of those apps are below even MEDIOCRE level...

So, cross platform kits could help solving app number issues and most probably big hits requires native solutions.
Or not, who knows...

E.g. you can use Qt with Open GL - both of them being cross platform - and you can do really fancy stuffs...
See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhWS_bN-T3k

Such quality is more than enough for almost anything...

The really serious issues - how I see - are in-app purchase and in-app-advertisement APIs...
If Digia comes up with some solution for those I'll be sold... ;-)

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