This is so weird, so illogical, so bizarre. I am 100% sure Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa is not aware - and would not approve. That Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is not aware, and would not approve. That Nokia Exec VP of Markets, Niklas Savander does not know, and definitely would not approve. That Nokia Chief Marketing Officer Jerri DeVard is not aware - and would absolutely disapprove. Disapprove of what? Of this ridiculous war that Nokia Director of Communications John S Pope (who Twitters as @JohnAtNokia and calls himself the 'social media strategist for Nokia' - so even his TW handle is a semi-official Nokia presence) is waging against me now.
Can it be in Nokia's interest for John S Pope, Nokia Director of Communications to keep the damaging Nokia, Skype and Microsoft story of their axis of evil - alive in the press? Why why why would John S Pope, Nokia Director of Communications decide to draw their own blood now, by raising the noise level about this issue, when every single article will now draw attention to the fact, that Nokia CEO admitted to the Nokia shareholders meeting that Nokia Lumia sales are suffering because carriers hate Skype, and therefore they hate Microsoft. Can this story be in Nokia's best interest? I had no interest today, when I arrived to my home here in Hong Kong, to spend this afternoon on a blog about the Electronic Echoes about the Nokia Skype Microsoft fiasco. I had asked John S Pope simply to apologize on Twitter, and this matter would have been nicely passed. I have tons of other stories I want to write about. But if John is not man enough to apologize for accusing me of fabricating quotations attributed to Elop, then so be it. John S Pope Nokia Director of Communications and Social Media Strategist for Nokia stated on a public social network, Twitter, that I fabricated material about Elop, that to me sounds like slander, doesn't it? I had been putting up with the little kerfuffle John S Pope started on Twitter, but I expected him to be man enough to apologize by now. Now I can of course start to put some real attention to this matter.
So lets look at the story, shall we. Before May 2, when you search Google News for the terms Nokia and Skype, there were 364 stories from the start of the year. They were mostly relating to the speculation of whether Skype will be part of Windows Phone and expectations of Windows 8. There was, as far as I could see, not one news story reporting on Nokia business troubles relating to Skype.
The first news outlet to discuss the matter was Helsingin Sanomat, when they reported (briefly) four Skype related short sentences that Elop told the Nokia Shareholders' Meeting last week. That news story was in Finnish of course. I spread the story here, by translating the same 4 sentences from Finnish into English, in a longer blog discussing Nokia developments.
From the Nokia Shareholders' Meeting to the end of last week, up to Sunday, there were now 376 new news stories about Nokia and Skype. Almost all of them, as far as I can see were about Nokia troubles with Skype and Microsoft, with headlines like "Nokia CEO Says Carriers Hate Skype" and "Skype Killing Windows" and "Here's More Bad News for Nokia." I can't take full credit for that, no doubt the Helsingin Sanomat story also found independently stories and there were many bloggers who covered the story, some of the news sources would refer to those bloggers, although, it seems that some of the bloggers were initially reacting to my blog here.
The story lived its 'news cycle' and was clearly slowing down towards the end of the week. Now bizarrely, John S Pope has come to accuse me of 'fabricating' words that Elop has said. I was stunned, I asked immediately for John S Pope, Nokia's Director of Communications, to show me where on this blog have I fabricated anything attributed to Elop. John S Pope, after accusing me in public of inventing words and attributing them to a CEO of a Fortune 500 sized company, then refuses to give me any instance where this has happened, but he did say ín response 'your entire blog is wrong'. As I quote verbatim the text as provided by Nokia via My Nokia Blog and I include a direct link to the video of Elop as provided by Nokia itself - Mr John S Pope's statement is factually untrue. Everything on my blog is not wrong. And I keep asking him to point to just one statement of Elop that he thinks I have 'fabricated', John S Pope, Nokia's Director of Communications rather than show even one such supposed fabrication, he responds: "Not productive to argue with distortionists but worth calling them out. Mission accomplished. #factsvsfiction."
I publically now call Nokia Marketing Communciations and Mr Pope's superiors to retract that statement, that Tomi Ahonen and the Communities Dominate blog have fabricated quotations about Stephen Elop Nokia CEO. I want my reputation cleared officially by Nokia. And of course, I want a public apology from John S Pope, Nokia Director of Communications, apologizing for calling me a fabricator.
Meanwhile can this issue be in Nokia's interest to continue in the public domain? What happened now this week, after John S Pope, Nokia Director of Communications, started his war with me? This week so far there have already been 290 new news stories with Nokia and Skype. What kind of headlines? "Skype Killing Windows" and "Skype May Be Windows Worst Enemy" and "Skype Stunting Microsoft, Nokia Turnaround".
So, Risto Siilasmaa? Is this intelligent use of the time of your Director of Communications to pick a fight with some blogger who is widely referenced in this industry? So, Stephen Elop, is this a wise strategy to re-litigate the worst news you've been involved in since the disasterous Q1 results? So, Niklas Savander, is this helping Nokia markets or hurting it, the more this story spreads, especially beyond the Finnish and English languages? And Jerri DeVard, is this professional behavior by your Director of Communications to accuse a 12x published author, lecturer at Oxford University and highly respected industry analyst of 'fabrications' and then, like what Americans would call a 'Chicken Shit' John S Pope refuses to show where I supposedly have fabricated quotations about Stephen Elop. I put it to you, that perhaps its time for some calmer heads to have a private chat with John S Pope, Nokia Director of Communication and Social Media Strategist for Nokia. And perhaps, if this is his idea of Social Media Strategy, it might even make sense to hire a more competent social media person who knows not to go pick fights in social media.
THE WORLD IS LEARNING ABOUT AXIS OF EVIL
So. Now the story is spreading. Who is writing about Nokia Skype and Microsoft troubles, relating to Lumia, referencing Stephen Elop's statements at the AGM? Lets take a little poll:
We start with the first report, this is one more time the heroic Helsingin Sanomat, Finland's largest newspaper, who did publish the first story about the question by Nokia shareholder Mika Hasanen about Nokia problems with distrubution due to Skype. (I am truly stunned, still now, thinking how bizarre, that for all the Finnish press who covered the story, how could all others miss this obvious biggest bombshell from the AGM). Let me quote the actual Finnish (HS translation of Elop reply in English) reported reply by Elop, for the record. HS reported that Elop said thus: "Jos operaattori ei halua meitä, niin se ei halua. Vetoamme kuitenkin operaattoreihin toisin argumentein. Meillä on tarjota heille muuta. Skype-keskustelusta on hyvä lähteä liikkeelle."
I provided my translation of that as "If the operator doesn't want us, it doesn't want us. We will appeal to them with other arguments. We have more to offer to them. It is a good point to start the discussion from Skype.""
Note, that Google Translate version comes out as this: "If the operator does not want us, so it does not want to. We appeal to operators, however, contrary arguments. We have to offer them more. Skype conversation is a good starting point."
If Nokia's John Pope Director of Communications has a problem with the original text, don't accuse me, accuse Helsingin Sanomat. But HS Finnish translation is very close accurate version of what Elop did say, as we can see from the video. If you think my translation was 'fabrication' I think my translation is better English, while holding the same meaning, as Google Translate.
So then lets see how it spread. First English news source to cover the story on 4 May, and referring to my blog here, was Business Insider. They entitled their story "Nokia's CEO Talks About How Skype Affects Carrier Relations". They quoted from this blog in length (thanks!)
And then the dam kind of broke. Now just selected news sources and their articles. In Finland, now the other media also woke up. Kauppalehti, Finland's largest business paper featured the story as a front page news, entitling it "Uusi Vaite Nokian Vaikeuksista: Skype"
Network World looked at it from Microsoft's point of view, in an article entilted "Skype May Be Windows Worst Enemy" where they wrote "It was always a mystery how Microsoft would juggle Skype, the VoIP audio and video conferencing software it purchased for $8.5 billion in October 2011, with its mobile phone product. Now that problem appears to be affecting Nokia" The article quotes from here as well as having a link to the original HS story, and then says that in the USA the sentiment seems to be more anti-Apple in the carrier community, and it sounds like Windows Phone has more positive acceptance. The article ends with: "If foreign carriers are rejecting the Lumia specifically because of Skype, Microsoft has an $8.5 billion problem on its hands."
There is a story at Wall Street Cheat Sheet which runs a short version, entitled "Here's More Bad News for Nokia" The reporting picks up on the Nokia spin and says "No matter how the company tries to spin it, it seems Nokia’s comeback has backfired." And the article ends with "Microsoft will be pre-installing Skype in Windows Phone 8, which could create even more issues with carriers. According to mobile carriers, Microsoft can’t be operator friendly while simultaneously pushing Skype."
Channelnomics covers the story with the headline "Skype Stunting Microsoft, Nokia Turnaround". The article is long and only briefly mentions my blog, then goes on to interview other technology experts and explain more of the market dynamics. The article ends with this: "As for Nokia and Skype, the conflict is likely true. The unfortunate consequence is fewer Microsoft phones making it to market, which will hurt both Microsoft’s consumer and business efforts to revitalize its mobility fortunes."
The story of course is also spreading internationally. For example it is covered in Italy at Mobile Blog.It with title "Nokia conferma: Microsoft in trattative con gli operatori per trasformare Skype in uno strumento di guadagno" In the Netherlands, the Elsevier covered the story as "Nokia: 'Providers niet tevreden met Skype'". In China the Sina.Com site covers the story and Google Translate converts the Chinese title as "Analysts say Skype Affect the Nokia the Lumia Phone Sales." And many many more news stories in German, French, Swedish, Hungarian, etc.
So thats the early Electronic Echoes to this story. Meanwhile, I wrote a blog to explain the OTT provider threat to operators, ie Apple's iMessage and Blackberry Messenger and Whatsapp and Skype etc. It may be of interest. Meanwhile, I monitor the Electronic Echoes to the story and will keep my readers appraised. And I await the apology from John S Pope, recanting his claim that I, and this blog, have fabricated quotes about Stephen Elop.