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July 17, 2009



Bravo Rodrigo. A very good point.

@Marketing Intern an Yannick: I'm sorry, but the Forbes was right on target. Nokia DOES have the Motorola moment. I was a user of Motorola phones, primarily because of design. But, I had to admit their software was inferior comparing to Nokia's so I switched. Now Nokia is rapidly losing market share (especially in spmartphone segment) and there's a reason for that. Just like in Motorola's case.

Also, Yannick - I did say that Nokia is leader in cheap and simple phones segment. That was exactly my point. But that doesn't make them innovative. We are talking here about smatphones primarily because that what is innovation all about these days.

Me Apple fanboy?!? Well, in a way - yes. But I am actually quality fanboy. I used Mac OS 9 and was sort of happy. But I was one of the first who realized that they would have to abandon it and write new system all over again. And that's what happened. Unfortunately, I have to use Windows now and I'm very unhappy. We all know Microsoft copies Mac OS all the time, not the other way around.

Rodrigo was right in his post: the way you implement your solutions is what makes innovation great; and it's success among the users. There must be a good reason why Mac OS X was accepted that well among the customers. Don't tell me it's because of the looks of iPhone?!? The philosophy of Mac (Jobs) has always been: think ahead of time; using UI should be natural (since invention of desktop UI).

Implementation, implementation, implementation!
That's what makes Apple No. 1 in innovation.

No, Apple nor Jobs didn't invent GUI, or mouse or touchscreen. But, their products are better than anyone elses. They THINK! Think about what is the best way to use a certain product.

Nokia fell asleep.

We'll see what happens. I'd hate to see Microsoft/PC scenario again.

On CCD chips: yes, iPhone's (3GS) chips is good enough for making pics and video. I prefer taking good pics with my digital camera. The only thing I liked about N73 was a pretty good camera. (Video was worthless, sorry.)

Making UI so user freindly, easy to understand, LOGICAL and natural is always teh greatest INVENTION of all. Nokia is nowhere to be seen when we talk about that.

But: if Nokia surprise me and make BETTER OS and phone - I'll switch again. I don't care about logo on my gadget.


I do agree on one point with Mr. Ahonen: Apple should make more phone models if they want to play a sigificant role in cell phone business. And yes, I also think they will have to make a model with slide out keyboard, for those who can't live without it. Although, this is against their philosophy: do you really want to type Mr. Ahonen's article on any phone?


Well i'm glad Mr. Ahonen took the time to write his article. It really needed to be written.

Ever since the iPhone came out there has been a self-feeding circle of opinions on the US based mobile blogs, tech sites and user forums. Except now it seems it really was a spiral instead of a circle. With every round of the spiral, reasoning and common sense were lost. So that it all lead to a conclusion that Nokia cannot ever innovate and is nothing more than a corpse waiting for funeral.

Everyone knows that terms like 'customer' and 'market share' in american media always refer to the US market. If they mean the whole world they will say so, usually in parentheses after the main sentence. So when Forbes says Nokia has no innovation, I assume they really only meant the US. Rest of the world is a different story.


Ok, I had to come back. So, plain and simple. Stop confusing the Symbian OS with S60 (a UI layer on top of the core OS).

You can say that S60 is old and dated and all that (yet I have still to see ONE actual, factual reason for why it would be, except that you think it "looks old"), but stop there.

Symbian OS is, as we speak, the most advanced (smart)phone OS. Period. It has the most support for features, programming languages, APIs, and I could go on. The only issue it has is a little code bloat, but that is inherent in such a circumstance. And it's not, in any way, something that influences UI or UX.

Argue all you want on prettiness or usability. But never forget that both these are prone to excessive subjectivity. So say "I hate S60" all you want, say "Symbian is doomed" when you actually understand what Symbian is.

Thank you.

And my apologies, Tomi, but this had to be said.

Tomi T Ahonen

I'm back.

Thank you for many good comments. I will reply to everyone individually by name, in two parts. First to those who posted before my flight, then the second set up to this comment.

Let me make one overall comment. The Forbes article was not about whose smartphone is easier to use. There is not question - and I made that point in the original blog - that Apple iPhone is easiest to use.

The Forbes article was claiming that Nokia is not innovative. Innovation is who does it first, not who does it most easy to use. Ease-of-use can be innovation - and it was with the original iPhone (and I say so in the blog) but that would be ONE innovation by Apple. The article was not whether Apple is innovative - it is, the article claimed Nokia was not innovative, and then suggested many others, in particular Apple, were more innovative.

The first deployment of any new invention or technology is usually clumsy. But that is the innovation. For those who commented here about anything that Nokia's way of doing its innovation is not user-friendly, is not talking to the point of the Forbes article, nor to my blog. It is like me saying its raining, and your reply is that the sea is blue. Both may be true (or not), they have nothing to do with each other.

So, Boro, Chad, Rodrigo - I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU. Apple's OS/X, Apple's iPhone (any year) is BETTER TO USE. You guys WIN your point. That is not relevant to this blog, and is not relevant to the errors in the Forbes article.

If Forbes had written an article claiming Nokia is more easy to use than Apple iPhone, I would have written as heated a response saying that is not true. But the article was not about whose phones are easier to use, it claimed that Nokia was not innovative and thus about to lose its market lead.

I will now address each of the replies individually.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Yannick, Rafe, Boro, Mike, Chad, Harri, Rodrigo and Marketing Man

I will respond to each invididually here by name

Yannick - thanks for both comments. Thank you for calling the blog story beautiful. I do agree some points also apply to SonyEricsson, but SE has its own set of problems. For a while (up to about the launch of the iPhone) they seemed to be on a hot streak but recently they have hit a very bad patch - now four consequtive quarters of making losses and losing market share very dramatically. I don't quite know what to make of SE, why this is, they make great phones, have lots of loyal fans, the youth seem to prefer SE to Nokia (at least in my informal surveys of youth that hang around my relatives etc) and powerful brands such as Walkman and Cybershot.

Thank you also for returning here to reply to Boro and other Apple fanboys, ha-ha, very good points. By the way, I take it you knew, that I was the unwitting source for the term "Jesus Phone" (for the iPhone) which I never said, but which was mistakenly attributed to me in a blog of a blog of a blog, about my big iPhone preview blog, Entering the iPhone Era from May 2007 a month before the iPhone.. So its funny to see now a spontaneous mention of the "Jesus Phone" (and to be very very clear - I never said so, and never will..)

Rafe - Very good points. Yes, there is US isolation and myopic views. We all suffer from that in some ways, say Nokia HQ for example, in a country where phones are not subsidised (or were not, ha-ha) and where there is essentially no pre-paid market. Its difficult then to fully understand how differently a subsidised market behaves, where the carrier has essentially all control of which phone brand and specifically which phone model succeeds..

I agree Nokia is suffering in its transitions to a more software and services oriented company. Its also the biggest of the telecoms technology providers (handset makers, OS makers, network providers, SIM card makers etc) so it has the most to do in re-educating its staff and coordinating efforts across the globe. But they are, as you say, in the same boat as Motorola, SonyEricsson, Samsung, LG etc - all have to experience this shift, and while Apple, Microsoft, Google etc come at it from the IT/software side (or closer to it), the engineers always say, that the mobile telecoms part is by far the most difficult competence to acquire.. So Nokia is not necessarily behind in the growth pains, and we may well see rivals suffer (perhaps even more) in upcoming quarters and years, going through the same transitions.

Boro - really, worst article, and worse than the original Forbes article? Where was there one error of fact in my article? But is it not honestly a sign of a bad press story, if the journalist makes statements that are diametrically opposed to what the same periodical has said in the past?

I mentioned that my blog had nothing to do with usability. You WIN the argument, Boro, yes you WIN, Apple iPhone is by far more user-friendly that any other phones, including Nokia and any other Symbian devices. That was not the point. The Forbes article was not about whose phones were easier to use, it was trying to claim that Nokia is not innovative in the mobile space.

You say the future of the smartphone "is the OS, stupid". Maybe that is so. We can debate that at another time. Clearly Nokia has made huge steps in trying to innovate in the OS (yes, eleven YEARS ago, so obviously Symbian will show its age). This was not about who is better, but who innovates. Then Nokia has also developed Symbian to what is now an Open Source Software platform like Android, and run on a foundation for no profits. Yes, this is innovation and something Apple's OS does not offer. Now, you may well be right, that Apple's superior OS will win - but wasn't there a superior OS on the Macintosh, for 25 years? Where is the Mac's market share? Its never grown higher than the low teens. The Mac is a niche product. The BEST at its OS, but a niche. If Nokia "succeeded" by your terms, and developed such a powerful OS like the Mac then or iPhone OSX today, and then its market share was 10%, that would be a true "Motorola Moment". Apple can AFFORD to be a luxury premium brand with superior investment in its OS. There is not enough of a mass market to appreciate it, else we'd all own Sony Betamax VCRs, the airlines would fly the Concorde and we'd all use Mac PCs..

Mike - yeah, preaching to the choir ha-ha, to some extent, especially when I posted the blog. It was widely referenced already, from anything from All About Symbian to the Apple forums and obviously Forum Oxford and Twitter. It did get much more attention than I thought, and hopefully helped open some eyes.

You talked about your wife and 6 year old, and I totally agree, I hear anecdotal evidence of this trend all the time. The iPhone users are often very willing to shift from PC based internet use to iPhone based. And its easy to use. About the US, yes its totally controlled by the carriers, like say Japan; and thus Nokia needs to sell on two levels - one to convince carriers to take their next phone model(s) into their lineup (and try to get them to "trade up" to more expensive Nokia phones) and at the same time promote to the mass markets to get the customers to ask for Nokia phones. It is a slow process and Nokia has had many issues with the US market.

Chad - about the 6,000 words. I do short blogs, long blogs, write books (I am the most prolific author in mobile with 9 books already) and for those who don't want much to read, I have my Twitter feed. Perhaps you should consider next time taking the Twitter option?

You say I rant against one publication and journalist while there is a legitimate debate going on about smartphones. Yes, you probably don't know it (and thats totally ok) but I actually am one of those people who not only support and advocate open and rigorous debate - I am one of the co-moderators of Forum Oxford (they most influential of the mobile telecoms related expert forums) where just a couple of weeks ago I specifically launched this type of debate discussion. Legitimate discussion and debate is healthy. But reporting falsehoods is not beneficial to any debate, it only confuses the issue. The Forbes story is full of errors. I point them out, many here and at the Forbes website itself have pointed out many of those same errors. Nobody has pointed to a single item in my blog, where I claimed Forbes to be wrong, and they actually were right. The falsehoods do not add to the value of good debate about smartphones.

You also ask me to excersize some journalistic control to edit my story. This is a hobby for me, this blog. There is no advertising here, I make no money out of it. Professionally I sell my consulting competence and my books, and many have argued that it is against my best interests to offer so much free advice and facts on this blog (Alan Moore and I have posted more than half a million words here, thats 5 hardcover books of 400 pages of solid text).

I do this as a hobby. I spent 5 hours of my Friday-Saturday night to compose (and edit and re-edit) that original blog posting. Its only a blog. It is totally not worth my professoinal time to waste 5 hours on something like this. Now you, reading this for free, dare suggest I spend more hours to edit it for your pleasure, so you'd get an easier read? No, Chad, clearly others who are your peers and colleagues have written to thank me for a great article. I think I've done enough. If you want to read me in professionally edited form, buy one of my nine books. This blog I do only out of my passion and personal motto "in a connected age, sharing information is power". If you can't appreciate the value of this blog, please do not come back. Like I said, for people who cannot handle a complex argument, there is always Tomi on Twitter

Harri - thanks for "great article". Yes, you make a great point, it is not a question of is the innovation implemented well, it is who does the innovation to begin with. And Apple is brilliant at taking what someone else had "engineered" to the max, and then far exceeding that utility. The PC into the Mac, the first PDAs into the Newton, the Walkman into the iPod and now the smartphone into iPhone. Apple is brilliant at this, re-engineering to make things better (and they also are innovators too)

Rodrigo - You say Nokia and Symbian are lacking usability. That is fine, we totally agree. You say a larger megapixel camera is not innovation. Fine. But what of all the other items I mentioned - like the world's first internet access phone - it is what the iPhone is most known for, how wonderful it is with web surfing. That was NOT invented by Apple. It WAS invented by Nokia. Nokia is undeniably the innovator in this, even Forbes acknowledged it way back in 2001, 6 years before the first iPhone. What of the QWERTY keyboard which is the biggest key to Blackberry's success (mentioned in Forbes article). BB sells twice the number of smartphones than Apple sells. QWERTY is certainly an innovation, who did it first, Nokia. My article was not about camera resolutions. I mention the 3 megapixel camera because APPLE mentions it FIRST when they did their formal press release about iPhone 3GS. Not my words, Apple's words.

Marketing Intern - thanks, very nice posting and thanks for arguing on my behalf as I was travelling.. I love your word, renovator. That is perfectly what Apple is. It is the renovator. It takes badly performing technologies that should be far better and makes them great - PC-Mac, PDA-Newton, Walkman-iPod and now iPhone. Renovator, that is exactly the word I was looking for. Thanks

Thank you all for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)


We disagree only in few details, actually.

First: making a system an open source is NOT an invention, at least not Nokia's.

Yes, the percentage that Mac OS has on the market allows you to say it is a niche product, but - it's not, because it is used by all kinds of people. If it was used only by, let's say graphic designers, then it would be a niche product. So, it is just platform used by xx percentage of users.
And yes, maybe the Mac will dissapear (we should all be sorry if it happens). Betamax was superior, not to mention other inventions. We all know what happenned.

Sorry, I still think Nokia has "Motorola moment". 66% drop in profits? THAT is what article was about! When you write this kind of article, you write it about present moment, not about history. She wanted to say Nokia is not inventive NOW or for the past few years.

Although, I think Nokia didn't invent anything.

When I was in 8th grade, I told my mother that one day we will have some kind of hand device that we will read books on. We would put modules in it. That was 30 years ago!! (and I lived in former Yugoslavia)
16 years ago I said we will connect those devices to a telephone line in the morning to download e-version of newspapers. When Apple dropped production of Newton I said it was a HUGE mistake, that it was the future. Am I an inventor or just visionary?

We all knew what was coming. Internet on mobile phones etc... QWERTY keyboard on phones? oh, please... it is not INVENTED by Nokia... Do you know the definition of invention?

Nokia is NOT innovative. You say they were the first to SAY "mobile phones are little computers" (big deal). Well, for every version of their software you have to buy a new phone! You cannot upgrade!! That is anti-innovative!! I was mad when I realized it. Not even Microsoft does it.

User interface, ease of use and a GOOD implementation - THAT is an invention these days. For now - Apple is No 1.

But, history teaches us - the best doesn't mean the most succesful. I am afraid Nokia will become a new Microsoft.

I will repeat: if Nokia doesn't come with a whole new system, they're finished (or finnished :) . They have a fantastic market position (in other parts of the world, not in the US) and they can use it. But I want them to be punished for twisting our arms to buy a new device every year and for making such a crappy system.

And you are extremely biased. You say it took only two months for Ovi store to reach 20,000 apps. Now, that is complete nonsense!
Yes, when Apple showed them how to do it, it was MUCH easier, don't you think?
And - it's not true, either. There were third party apps for Nokia's Symbian phones years before iPhone. And then Apple comes and there are 55,000 apps in a year. Who's lagging behind? Or, to use your own words - "Who is the leader"? Interesting use of statistics, though... Don't you think, Tomi? It took YEARS AND YEARS for them to have only 20,000 apps. That would be more fair to say, I think... Who cares when they opened the Store?
A computer company comes, with no previous experience in mobile phones production - and they steal the show from huge market leader with a single model?!? Who's fault was it?

I am a journalist but I don't write about technology, I just love it.
One thing is right. If you want to respond to the article, use same space.

It would take too much time and space to answer all the issues in your original post (this is already too long).

But I still think: Nokia didn't INVENT anything.

(Newton was a real visionary product and they blew it.)

The future? I read all forum posts on this subject here in Croatia and, by reading Nokia users posts, all I can say they don't have a clue what iPhone really is. They think it's just stylish and a must-have products for snobs. They never had it in their hands. They think Symbian Nokia phones are century ahead of anyone else. Besides, people tend to see the brand they are using as a favorite soccer teams (you should see the terminology). That is, unfortunately, a good news for Nokia because they have time to come out with new system and use this fact to their advance. Just like in Microsoft's case.

When I got my my iPhone last November, I was VERY dissapointed. It took some time to get used to it but I couldn't understand why there was no landscape keyboard, MMS, etc. Now I have MMS and don't use it. I rarely use landscape keyboard. One thing makes me really mad, still: I can't choose my ringtone melody, not the way I could on Nokia or any other phone. There are some other things, but that is not the subject here. Let's just say I am very happy with it right now.

Bottom line: if they drop the ball again it will partly be their fault.

But, when you have more than half of the market share and you start to rapidly lose it - it's only your fault.


I'm gonna come back on the rest, but about SonyEricsson, I think I know what the problem is: they were the ones "caught in the middle". Whenever there's a bit market shift, it's always the guy in the middle (with 1 smartphone, and 1 budget phone, but tons of feature-packed mid-range phones) that suffers the most. So I think they were caught off guard with that. I'm eager to see how their smartphone offerings come out, I know they've had some success with the X1, and let's see Satio and more importantly, Rachael. Personally, I can say this though: my W810 is 3 years old and still takes better pics than an iPhone, not a single reliability or OS issue, not even the battery).

Now I'll be back to reply to some other (preposterous) comments... ;)

Jouko Ahvenainen

A lot of good points here, but I thought I must say something too. I think Nokia has been excellent to play with the mass market. And often it is so that you cannot be too innovative to make profitable business. And of course it is important asset for Nokia to have a huge customer base and really effective logistics and production.

Having said that I must admit that I share many concerns re Nokia's next steps. Services are very different business from hardware business, and it also needs a new kind of culture (could I say internet culture). And Nokia has a lot to do to achieve that. Nokia has been quite technology or even radio technology driven company. But for many users it doesn't matter anymore (e.g. we know iPhone is not the state of art in all area, but it is what it's users like). And at least for me Nokia hasn't been able to offer very attractive design. So, I don't know if this is Motorola moment, but I definitely see that Nokia has a lot of work (and changes) to do to be successful in this new situation. And of course they make a lot of things like new operating environment, OVI etc, but they haven't yet been able to prove that it works. But they have been also good to follow other guys to bring new things at right time.

So, Tomi, I agree on many your points, but also would like to raise more question marks.

Hardeep Singh

Hi Tomi,

I think its no use wasting time with mac fanboys, they'd stay the same. Check out any Mac/PC related forum, its the same story, Apple vs Nokia is the same story all over again. They'd never understand why, even after being so easy to use, apple's marketshare never goes beyond a certain single digit percentage figure.

Tomi Ahonen

Hi Mobile Observer, Boro, Mika and Vlad

Thank you for your comments. Here my replies to each of you individually

Mobile Observer - Calling me a "raging frustrated Nokiatard" does not add to your credibility as able to add reasonable contributions to this discussion. But I'll address your primary point anyway.

You say that the hardware era is over and now its software and usability. I would beg to differ that the "era" for hardware is "over" - Africa, Latin America, India, China etc will add easily a billion more non-smartphone mobile phones over the next two years, but I do agree with you that there is a grand shift going on in the handset business, away from hardware and into software.

I hope you knew, that Nokia has been very vocal about this shift for far longer than Apple has been a phone maker. So if this shift to software is your argument of an innovation threatening old handset makers, then Nokia has truly been on that matter for many years already. Its a giant company - twice the size of Apple for example and far more global ie different cultures and nationalities to harmonize - it will take time to get there. But if your point is that Nokia has not noticed the Motorola Moment of software, you are wrong. Its been widely reported in the press for many years that Nokia is aware of this and trying to change to face that reality. If the IMPLEMENTATION of that change in the company is struggling, that is not the point of the Forbes article and if you intend to argue irrelevant issues, I won't rise to the bait today. But to change, Nokia is trying to do that (and arguably several of its major rivals are less so).

Boro - you are completely mistaken. Nokia raised market share in smartphones, it did not lose market share. Please check your facts.

Then you say making cheap phones is not innovative. Was offering an iPod Nano not innovative? Was offering a Macbook not innovative? Yes, a significant form-factor change can be innovation, but it is not automatically innovation. But as to innovation in cheap phones, you have not seen them, because you don't live in Africa, India, China, Brazil etc, but Nokia has innovated a lot in the cheap phones segment. Take FM radio and the "flashlight" ('torch') feature. FM radios are not common in the developing world, most families do not have a radio in their homes. When Nokia (who first did this) added FM radio, they became very popular not among us wealthy people who have probably a dozen FM radios in our home electronics and gadgets; but for the young employed person in the developing world, who literally cannot afford to buy a newspaper and for whom an FM radio would involve savings for half a year (and is nowhere near ever getting a bank account or credit card) for that person, FM radio into the phone is a god-send. Innovation by Nokia in cheap phones.

And the light. Note that most villages in the developing world do not have night time lighting. It is dangerous to go home after dark, because you might be robbed, raped, killed. Having a little portable flashlight/torch on your phone is a great benefit. You and I would not pay a penny more for the feature because our homes have lighting and electricity 24 hours a day. I was just in Pakistan in a village last month, where the electricity is off twice per day for 2 hours (but the villagers know in advance, and it comes on a schedule, and only 2 hours, so their frozen foods etc don't spoil). And this was a wealthy family in a well-to-do village near the city. If we consider places like Zimbabwe where I was 2 years ago, the poverty is almost unbearable. The living conditions are totally different. Yet these people all aspire for one thing, a phone. it will totally change their lives. And if Nokia adds a particularly useful tidbit of convenience to that cheap phone, it adds to Nokia's market share significantly..

Finally implementation is not innovation. You need to get a dictionary.

Boro (your second comment) - well, at least we agree Apple should expand its product portfolio. There, I was not so evil after all, was I (and I did say that in 2007 for the first time...)

As to "typing Mr Ahonen's article on a phone" you are again talking of being a privileged person, with enormous arrogance of the wealthy. Only 1.4 billion people have internet access, less than 1.2 billion of those people even own a PC. But there are 4 billion people who have a phone, so 2.8 B people have a phone but no PC. For them the decision to type or not on their phones is not an option, its the only possibility.

In Japan, the e-books/mobile books industry is worth half a billion dollars. Not that the books are sold to phones and read on phones, the most amazing part is that the majority of them ARE written on phones. A kid today can text faster on a T9 phone, than the "cluttered" PC keyboard. Sorry, Boro, you don't know the reality out there about phones and their users. Its not only a Blackberry or iPhone. BB and iPhone together account for 3% of new phones sold, and under 2% o the installed base of all mobile phones in the world.

Mika - thank you so much! About that spiral, yes its alarming to me too, that there are many very reputable experts in the US, who are drawn into that very perverse reasoning that is going on. I do see that at times there are good highly visible annoucements by US players - like Google's CEO just a couple of days ago when he said the future is not Apps Stores, its services on phones. But the US industry is kind of insular, its very much "them and us" kind of thinking. What happens in Japan "cannot happen here because we are not like the Japanese" or else its like you said, the US way is somehow "inherently better" and therefore the world needs to learn it and adopt it and buy it (well, like the Hummer, ha-ha, a car so beloved by drivers in cities the world over..)

Vlad - very good point about S60 v Symbian. Very good, totally agree, thanks for pointing it out.

Thank you all for commenting


I am just very glad that there is a respected and well-heard professional in the mobile industry who cares about the truth and real statistics before commenting on the issue. Thanks, Mr. Tomi for the immaticulate article and the incredibly polite replies to the trollish comments.
I'm gonna go a bit off topic so you may want to read and reply later.
I only have one emotional request - if you still have some contacts with someone in Nokia who is in a influential post (by which I mean affecting the future of new devices), could you please suggest him that users out there actually want new features now - like xenon, for their money. That's one solid innovation that needs to be used more by Nokia. And consumers are WILLING to pay for it! I'm from India and I can say for sure people won't mind paying for a smartphone that has the requisite features. Value for money is what is needed. I'm angry that Nokia belittles our intelligence by demanding more than 700 USD (by current conversion rates) for a phone like N96. It is not the cost. If the phone had the features, consumers don't mind paying. But no Xenon, cheap plastic, poor battery, bad build quality, absolutely NOTHING new over existing models, etc. and THEN this amount of money? No, never. Not just the premium segment, even the lower segment suffers from sloppy carelessness and an apathetic attitude. Take the newly released black and white 1203. It is a rehash of the 1200 (whic was a rehash of the 1100) but it is WORSE. I own one as a secondary phone and it seems unbelievable, but the phone actually CRASHES. Yes, an entry level Nokia crashes. I've used every phone from the 1100 to the 1200 and that has never happened in the past. Sloppy releases in the premium segment is understandable but not in such phones that sell by the dozens per minute. Please tell them, give us value for money, or it won't be long before some other manufacturer smells the potential of the lower and middle segment of the market and makes a killer profile of phones (Samsung is already doing that, with appreciable success) that finally overtakes Nokia as the market leader, in terms of sales.


"Then you say making cheap phones is not innovative. Was offering an iPod Nano not innovative? Was offering a Macbook not innovative?"

Well, actually - no, I don't it was innovative. There alredy were MP3 players on the market. And the iPod was the most expensive. So - why do you think they are the market leader in this segment?

I think we disagree on the definition of "innovative", "innovation" and "invention". Nikola Tesla is for me the greatest inventor of all times. It's also true that most of his inventions weren't implemented.

And I didn't say ONLY implementation is innovative (take a better look at what I wrote) - that is what YOU said. You said that making cell phone with FM radio was innovative. I think it was exceptionally great feature - which I miss very much in my iPhone.

"Arrogance of the wealthy"?!? You got to be kiddin'... I don't think that anyone would want to type article that long on a smartphone. Not even you. It was not meant for that. Third world countries? They mostly have cheap phones. I don't think there's anyone with a smartphone and no PC.

And, like I said - I just can't be an Apple fanboy. I had 7 Nokia's and was happy when I switched to iPhone. And I'm looking forward to use even better phone even if it is going to be Nokia. But not today.

Nokia is gaining smartphone market share?!? During past month all data I found on the Internet (articles on CNN, Guardiantech and many others) showed Nokia is rapidly losing ground in this segment. Nokia placed a report yesterday they had 66% fall in profit. Since the biggest profit margins are in this segment.. well - do your math. Don't tell me they are losing (only) cheap phones market share? There was even one report that predicted Apple will come in front of Nokia in 2013. (I don't think that will happen)

Well, I would like to hear your opinion (so it's not that I don't respect you) about Nokia's policy not to make phones and software that you can upgrade to a new version. (You didn't comment on that)
Don't you think it is suicidal? And what do you think about future of their present software? Don't you think they should write a completely new one?

They blew it, Tomi... I tend to be loyal user (that is why I sticked to Motorola for so long, but I made a switch to Nokia). After one month of using N70 I knew that system was doomed. I still bought N73 but that was it. No more.
Their Symbian (or S60, whatever you say) has no future, I'm sure of that.


And I think Apple will blew it again if they don't licence their phone OS to other companies. The real question here is what will become a STANDARD.

Most likely - it will be Mobile Windows if Apple makes the same mistake again.
They have 1.5 billion downloads and practically one phone. Imagine the revenues from licencing the OS and from downloads of apps THEN!
They can't have it all, it just won't happen. We've already seen it.


Boro : Nokia's policy of not upgrading their smartphones with newer versions of S60 has to do with the fact that up until Symbian Foundation came into the play, Nokia had to pay a license for every S60 device out there to Symbian, they didn't have full control of Symbian, so imagine having to pay a license fee for say upgrading N80 to FP2 ? That would cost money and resources, it's not like they only have 2 or 3 S60 devices out there (they now say that future Symbian releases are compatible with today's S60 5th phones, since they don't need to pay a fee for every license). Also, S60 is a UI, Symbian is the underlying Operating System (exactly what KDE is to Linux for example).

Nokia is losing profits not market share, they are in fact gaining market share this passed quarter (Nokia put in a solid performance in what was another tough quarter. We increased our share of the global mobile device market sequentially to an estimated 38% and grew our smartphone market share to an estimated 41%. Source :

They are completely re-writing the UI based on QT, we should see it in about a year or so, the reason for not changing S60 is very simple, it is a very big risk changing an interface that people are familiar with (if you are an S60 user, you feel familiar with each new phone cause very few things change with each version, hardly ever do companies with a big market share completely re-write the UI's for that same reason) they are ready to take the risk now and I really hope it goes well.

As for innovation, yeah, Nokia has been innovating and inventing a lot of things in the past decades, 7650 for example was the first smartphone in the planet, also Nokia had a little something to do with the creation of GSM too, or how about the DX200 ? or the NMT standard ? the first GSM call ever made on a Nokia network using a prototype Nokia phone ? the 9210 ?

As for touch screens, some of you may remember Series 90, for those that don't, it was a Symbian UI designed for touch screens in 2003, Nokia saw no point in having both UIQ and Series 90 in the market (the market wasn't big on touch screens then) and since UIQ was doing very well at the time, they decided to combine Series 60 (S60 now) and Series 90 into what we now call S60 5th, as they did with Series 80 as well, stupid move if you ask me because now Series 90 would have been way ahead of S60 5th.


Reading your Article used 1% of my iPhone 3GS battery, some good points, sadly Nokia have removed the barcode reader and sip voip function from both the 5800 and N97.


@Symbi X: Thanx for the info, that was interesting... The thing is - no one who knows this fact will buy a new Nokia in "the next year or so".. But, you must agree: that should have been done years ago, not wait for Apple to force them to do it.

I somewhat disagree that it is risky to make big UI changes (especially if yours is not good enough and you're a market leader. You should know what happens then). I switched to iPhone! How about that for a change? It was completely different! And so many others did it!
If that was "risky" for Nokia - now they have nothing to lose - they are FORCED to change it.

They should have known what was coming, if not before, then after iPhone launch.
That was 2 years ago. I knew it the first time I started to use S60.

Also, you have to know that Apple and Microsoft won't be sleeping for year or two. But, as I said before - there's a big Nokia's customer base and they probably won't lose that much to make it impossible to come ahead again.


Market share statistics. According to Bloomberg ( Nokia's marketshare in the SMARTphone segment fell to 41 % in the 2nd quarter vs. 45 % a year ago. The fact is Nokia's losing although Nokia's shipments of smartphone rose 10 % (anyway good) but shipped 15 % less of total phones (that's bad). Apple doubled its market share to 11 %.

Now on to the "innovative" factor.It's true that Nokia first installed many features and technologies long before the birth of the iPhone but does it make Nokia innovative? Maybe inventive, but to be innovative the novelties should have a high take-up among the users or customers and have some kind of a substantial effect on the market. Has it happened with Nokia? Not at all. As far as I remember, every move by Nokia into sevices or software has had a limited success at best. Enter iPhone and a year after everybody reports of iPhone's browsing success. According to StatCounter ( in May 2009 iPhone alone took 22 % (or 37 % if iPod touch included) vs. Opera's 24.6 % (on all devices) and Nokia's 18 %. And this is global statistics! And this is just after two years of iPhone introduction! That's a huge success unbeatable by Nokia. And remember how everybody had written off mobile browsing before iPhone?

Next, apps. Yes, there were apps aggregators before Apple like getjar or ovi. But did they have success? Nope, for sure. Ovi had a reputation for storing different media files but not apps. Getjar recently reported 500 mln downloads. Since 2004. Clearly they're riding the Apple App store wave. Of course, in terms of monetary effect the apple app store contributes little ( but still it's significant as a trend changing innovation. Some say it's a short term trend with apps migrating to web apps in the future. It might be true but remember Apple started apps as web apps only in the beginning, so they might've been just too early in the game.

And what's driving all these successes for Apple? Innovations in usability, UI and business models. I'm sure they have the highest margin on smartphones, provide the high level of ARPU for carriers and keep their users satisfied and happy.

By the way, I don't own any piece of Apple hardware. I have a SE feature phone which is fine for me now but want to upgrade to a smartphone. I know I can't afford the iPhone because we don't have them subsidised and most likely it will be Nokia widely available and affordable so it will stay the leader in the market for the foreseeable future.


Tomi, as much as I liked your response on the hardware innovatio side, I think your are using too narrow a definition of innoviation - why would a breakthrough in usability not be an innovation, even if someone has had e.g. an icon based interface first? Even if it strictly speaking would not fall within the definition, I gather that's what Forbes was largely referring to.

Just to split some hairs ;-), a few definitions coming up with google (!) search:

invention: a creation (a new device or process) resulting from study and experimentation
invention: the creation of something in the mind
initiation: the act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new; "she looked forward to her initiation as an adult"; "the foundation of a new scientific society"

The term innovation means a new way of doing something. It may refer to incremental, radical, and revolutionary changes in thinking, products ...

The act of innovating; the introduction of something new, in customs, rites, etc; A change effected by innovating; a change in customs; something new, and contrary to established customs, manners, or rites; A newly formed shoot, or the annually produced addition to the stems of many mosses


@ Boro : Yes, I do somewhat agree that they should have changed S60 years ago, but, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm gonna say this once more, when you have a UI that millions of users are familiar with, you think long and hard before you make any changes, let alone a UI that has so many settings and customization options and runs on many different devices, most of which are not touch screens. Do we really think that a giant like Nokia couldn't have changed it if they wanted to ? Do they lack the money or the resources to do so ?

Again, Apple is not forcing them to do anything, as I've pointed out before, S60 5th was the result of Series 90 being merged with S60 (Nokia said so when Series 90 was discontinued back in 2004, iPhone was not in the picture back then), if you ask me, Series 90 should have been alive today, S60 should have been left on non touch screen phones and Series 90 should have been to UI for their touch screen phones, which was the original thinking behind Series 90.

It is also a matter of opinion, I have used the iPhone a lot, didn't like it at all, too limited for my taste, I have an E90 and a 5800, both of which I use every day for many more things I would use the iPhone for and I could provide a very long list of things the iPhone can't do here. The thing is, that people only complain about one thing when it comes to S60 and that's the UI and not the features, while most people using the iPhone go mute when you talk about simple things, like, well, i don't know, a file system or the ability to transfer things over bluetooth maybe ? what does that tell you ?

@ Marat : It's a very complicated procedure when analyzing quarter results, I could blame it on the fact that Nokia had no new devices on that specific quarter, the financial crisis, the fact that the iPhone is heavily subsidized and promoted as well, you name it, but the fact is, Nokia did raise their market share this quarter and 5800 is a big part of this. Considering that most of the resources on Symbian at this point are working on going open source and re-writing the UI from scratch, new devices are very few and bringing nothing really new, I think it's a miracle Nokia has managed to raise share on this quarter.

Now, on to the innovation part. You keep mentioning of browsing, how about the fact that the very first smartphone ever released was the 7650, was it's technology new ? Not really, but did it manage to create a trend ? Yes it did. How about video recording and optical zoom (N90)? Widescreen (7710, which by the way, was using a quite familiar concept, no menus, instead, the desktop had all the application icons and you could have multiple desktop screens, sounds familiar ?) ? QWERTY (9210) ? Multitasking (iPhone still hasn't got it) ? And that's just to name a few, if that's not innovation then I guess our definitions differ.

No one had written of mobile browsing before the iPhone, the problem was with the networks, 3G was relatively new, as was HSPA, as someone using the mobile internet in the good ol GPRS times, let me tell you, it wasn't anything like today, there were very few of us who did use it and social networks like Facebook weren't even an idea back then, there weren't many things you could with it. Apple has had a huge hit with the mobile internet because it's one of the most promoted features of the iPhone, similar to the hit Nokia has had with the N95 due to it's (at the time) superior camera.

Even the idea of an in device application store was nothing new, Nokia had Catalogs and Download! years before, they just didn't care for it, what they did instead was adding a host of applications into their smartphones so users didn't need to buy them seperately (QuickOffice, Adobe Reader, Zip manager just to name a few).

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