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July 17, 2009



Apple sux balls.
Symbian > IPhone OSX, just a pity S60 is lagging behind.


I know its unprofessional, but CHECK THEM HOES, Tomi!! I am so glad you took offense and spoke up, but I honestly wished your marketing department did the same thing. Your internal policy of not doing direct competitor comparison while all your competition rips you to shreds with propaganda and false claims has taken a toll on Nokia and skewed its identity in the American public. Its gone on far too long, and its time Nokia begin telling the facts in a salvo of print, online, and TV ads. I remembered the iPhone claiming to be the first smartphone to access YouTube while I was using my month old N95 to watch the commercial via...YouTube! These folks in America are the kings of spin and propaganda. Nokia needs to play the same game and expose the competition.


Now my N90 had autofocus way back in 2005! WAY before the iPhone, and the iPhone's video is definitely nothing of a quality comparison to any DVD I've seen. I find the iPhone's video quality to be downright horrible.


@ SymbiX
I don't think that size of the company has anything to do with it. Just remember Apple and their poor decision making in the past... That's why they are relatively small on the market. But also the right ones! And, in the end, it always comes down to a few poeple making decisions and writing software. I think they were afraid to write a completely new software. And it was a matter of pride, also. Like, now we have to admit our software is inferior and they made us do it; everybody will know it!
Now it's easier - they have no choice. But they lost precious time.

There were so many big companies making wrong decisions.

I didn't like Nokia smartphones because of memory problems, instability and S60 was extremely SLOW (and overall hardver quality; there's no excuse for that). Yes, there are some things iPhone lacks, but there is no phone on the market that has it ALL. And BTW, this is their first phone. They did a fantastic job - primarily for us users. Competition, competition...

And I agree with Marat: iPhone is the first phone to introduce mobile web browsing the way it's acceptable for users.

And I think this is good for us; Nokia was sleeping giant. Now let's see what they are made of.


@ Boro.

Sure it has, a company with a lot of money can spend more on R&D, especially if it will help them make more money in the long run, a company like Nokia, once having 3 different UIs over Symbian, is not a company not spending money on R&D. Is it really so hard to accept that they just didn't want to change an already established UI familiar to millions of users ? Companies have no pride in things like that, companies like to make money, it's us the end users becoming fanatics over things like that. Not all Nokia Smartphones had memory issues or were not stable, E90 comes to mind for instance, plenty of ram, very fast, great build quality, so I guess you have to be more specific, there are so many S60 devices out there. I do agree though with one thing, Nokia now has some serious competition, that should be a big kick in their behinds, one which we, the consumers, will benefit from.


@ SymbiX

I understand what you are trying to say. But I think it was wrong from the beginning. Why have so many versions of the software, one for each product? That was a completely wrong model.

So what if millions of users were familiar to the system? It is a bad system! They should have known that, like I did (some Boro from Croatia)..

Less is more. Imagine the computer world where every company has a different version for every PC model?!?

I was Nokia user. I had so many problems with my N70, that after two months Nokia's representative gave me back the money (not the telecom provider where it was bought). The final month I was there EVERY day with it. What did I do next? The next day I bought N73. I was a LOYAL customer. I thought it would be faster and better. And then I said - that's it, no more.

Now, Nokia lost a customer because they didn't want to make it right.

And, if you were right - then Apple would have never came to the market. They came with completely new system and showed them it could have been done. People switched.

Palm came to the market with the system of their own.

At one point you have to know what you have and what will happen. THAT is what makes you big.

I am not a "big company" and I knew what was going to happen.

Janne Jalkanen

As far as I recall, the app store model was invented by DoCoMo for their iMode phones already back in 2000. It had even exactly the same business model of people submitting apps, then DoCoMo taking a cut on the sales.

It was very, very successfull. Unfortunately the idea took eight years to root itself to the western world.


Again, saying that S60 is bad, is clearly your own opinion, 5800 sales for instance and me personally beg to differ.

Less is more as far as you're concerned, there are people who think that less is not more. Each to their own.

This is your own personal experience, I've had the following Symbian phones : 9210i, 7650, 3650, SX1, P900, X700, 7710, M600, N80, N71, N95, E90 and the 5800, apart from the 3650 and SX1 with their weird keypads and the N71's lousy plastics, I have been very satisfied so far, the only one that was slow was the N80.

Starting fresh from scratch is much easier than being an established OS and trying to re-write everything, I'd like to see how the iPhone will manage to stay as user friendly and relevant while expanding into different form factors and audiences, of course it's a smooth experience, it only has 3 models on the market, changing essentially only some of the insides.

If you can recall, Palm was very successful with Palm OS, they took a heavy beating because of this same reason, they couldn't change their OS so drastically without losing users, they instead decided to switch to Windows Mobile along with Palm Os before finally releasing WebOS and that did cost them significantly.

Unless I'm missing something, Nokia and Symbian still dominate the market, I don't see Nokia or Symbian becoming a small insignificant player in the industry any time soon, especially since SE and Samsung are now backing Symbian with their new phones. No one knows what is "going to happen".


@ SymbiX,
Nokia knew what would happen, as their data suggests, and their performance has proven their research true. They've held onto and even gained a dominant share of the smartphone market with a quick 4 to 6 quarters to unleash a new UI for Symbian touch devices on its open source OS, apps will be aplenty, their services will have freshly minted distribution channels, and Apple and RIM will still have only gained a paltry 10% go 20% of the market. Nokia has very little to worry about. They have a strong position, knowledge of the areas they need to gain strength in, the finances to implement those changes, and a profitable company to boot. I see Apple and RIM wishing to be in those shoes.


@ Christexaport.

No doubt they picked the best possible time to remodel Symbian, open sourcing at the same time as redesigning it, I'm just a little bitter, being a loyal S60 lover, I'd hate to see it go away like UIQ and Series 90 did and I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking that way.


As somewhat of an aside, Lee Simpson at Jefferies is based in London UK, so hardly an example of a US-centric iPhone fanatic.

Prior to Jeffries, Simpson worked as a telecoms equity research analyst at Goldman Sachs, a telecoms consultant at Price Waterhouse and was previously at Deutsche Telekom, so he just may know whereof he speaks.

In any event, he's hardly a "clearly clueless analyst," which was perhaps less than worthy of you.

Tomi Ahonen

Hi everybody.

I am travelling in South America today, very briefly on the web now.

I greatly appreciate all comments here, please keep them coming. I will definitely reply to every one of you a bit later when I have a steady web connection and a bit of time. It may be later tomorrow or might take two days.

i will definitely reply to every person who commented here. Thanks! And keep the comments coming

Tomi Ahonen


Some more facts:

"An indication of the problem Nokia faces came with the announcement from CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, that the company had shipped 500,000 of its flagship N97 smartphones in June.

However, Apple was able to state that it had sold more than 1 million units of its latest model, the iPhone 3G S, in the first three days of its debut last month." (

"Last year Apple and RIM made up only 3 percent of global cellphone sales, but took in 35 percent of operating profits for the market, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Brian Modoff. This year Modoff expects the cellphone market for the two firms to grow to 5 percent, and winning 58 percent of total operating profits, according to the Journal " (

That's a vindication that Apple (and lately RIM, Palm) is playing the innovation part and if you play the hardware game (like Nokia, SE, Moto, Samsung), you're stuck with tiny profit margins if any. But Apple is not a miracle, there are places where it has flopped (Russia, India, high growth markets, ironically where Nokia rules) mostly due to the different business models of operators (no subsidy) and which represent the best opportunity for Nokia when people upgrade their phones. And I hope that Nokia can reposition itself, get rid of crappy interfaces and learns a few lessons from Apple to make a decent and competitive smartphone (smart and intuitive UI, ease of use, eye-candy, cool features and etc).


I found this to be an excellent and well written article. And I found the comments made to be even better, whether for or against the article! If nothing else, the blogger has successfully created a worthy debate, which is more than can be said of the pandering and spin that dominates the US media analyst of the different phone manufacturers.

No, I don't really think that Nokia is having a Motorola Moment. And I don't think that they should place less emphasis on the hardware side either. It is their hardware features, whether in smartphones or basic phones that has raised the standard in the preceding 5 years. Hardware innovations shall set the standard in the future as well. And I really think that their performance issues has been mainly hardware related, their penchant for low speed processors and no graphics chip have made them vulnarable to the accusation that Symbian is..slow.

And they're not exactly lagging behind when it comes to software either. Symbian OS has constantly been upgraded, their move to make it an open source OS makes it easier and cheaper for it to be upgraded, and lays the foundations to an applications store that can rival that of Palm in its heyday.

Sachendra Yadav

Ok, Nokia is an innovative company and Forbes got this wrong, but let's not discount the fact that Apple's focus delighting the customers with their products has created the best phone known to man in 2007 (The whole is greater than the sum of its parts)

The question's not if Nokia's innovative, but is it innovative enough to take on Apple. Others will obviously catch up, but what's needed to win this game is to leapfrog iPhone, let's see if Nokia's innovative enough to do it (Note: Microsoft hasn't been able to do it since it's inception)

Tomi Ahonen

There is so much here, I have to reply in shorter parts, I'll do the next set of replies Kin, Boro, Symbix and Ratkat.

Kin - THANKX !!! About your kind passionate plea to beg for more quality in higher end phones to India, I can promise you first of all, that this blog is read very widely in the industry and your comment has certainly been read by many Nokia executives at HQ by now. What I will do, is to send also a private email to a few who are relatively close to such matters, but obviously I am a total outsider and can only send greetings, Nokia still has to decide what they do. I greatly appreciate your heartfelt requests and I hope they will respond with phones more satisfying to you. Do remember, the total development cycle for a new phone is about 18 months and the design is locked in about 9 months, so even if they decide to take all of your advice to heart, and immediately implement it, you would not see such phones in India (or anywhere else) for at least a year from now. So give them a bit of time, ha-ha

Boro - some definitional arguments, ok, but you do agree that innovating in implementation is not the only possibility to innovate. What I find very contradictory however, is that you say FM radio is not innovation (and only a feature), then you admit that you miss that feature currently. It was certainly an innovation if it causes withdrawal pains when you don't have it, and yes, we are obviously in the indsutrialized world where we have tons of FM radios all around..

On Arrogance of the wealthy. You clearly prove that sentiment in your statement "I don't think there is anyone with a smartphone but no PC". Yes, I hear you, that you cannot believe this to be true. But you do not live or work or support the mobile telecoms industry in the developing world. I do. I have just in the past year been in public with visits and press visibility and government regulator assistance, industry assocation support etc (and tons behind the scenes with my actual customers) in Colombia, Indonesia, China, Russia. Each of these was a return visit of public visibility (meaning, that my previous visit in public, a conference etc, has been so well received, that the industry invited me back). I met with the Colombian President and telecoms minister, and with the Indonesian telecoms minister. I also have been seen in public for the first time this past year in Egypt and Pakistan.

I know - I report on it - and I have tons of evidence, and I hear all the time, that there are tons of smartphone users in these markets, who don't own PCs. Just one example is the Chinese university student groups, where four poor college student housemates who all have a mobile phone, and together cannot afford a netbook, will get together and buy a smartphone, so they have computing-equivalent power that they then share. A "community computer" and obviously they rotate so any one day, one of the four housemates gets to take the smartphone out and about. Boro, your attitude, that when someone like me says this happens, and do I really have any record of reporting lies here, and even after that, you come and say you cannot believe this to be true. That is EXACTLY that arrogance of the wealthy, which the IT and telecoms industries in the developing world see all the time, and are very resentful about. We - people fortunte enough to be born to rich countries - need to be more open-minded.

About profit, that is not market share, please don't now start to muddle that issue (someone else came into the thread later and already corrected that point) Software upgrades? Have nothing whatsoever to do with Forbes article. I can totally grant you that argument but I won't, but if I did, it would not diminish at all the point that Nokia HAS been innovative, and thus lack of innovation can not be Nokia's Moto Moment. Boro please stay with the topic.

Symbix - THANX, great replies and excellent further details to illustrate clearly that yes, there has been a ton of innovation at Nokia

Ratkat - Thank you

I will post more replies soon to a set of respondents, please give me some time. I am travelling, having a short moment online and have to meet up with my local customer soon. But I will be back and will reply to everyone who posted.

Thank you all

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Ok Tomi, let's clear few things up: if innovation for you is adding new feature - ANY feature, then I understand your position. I think it's more than that so let's not go there anymore.

On arrogance of the wealthy: I feel a bit insulted :), I am the last person you can tell that.
I'm pretty sure you knew what I wanted to say - things you can do on PC you just can't do on any phone. I use phone to surf the web and use it for e-mail (personal), read the news, add new apps, play online games... I would never participate in discussion like this typing on my phone!

And I truly doubt Nokia added FM radio and "torch" feature thinking of people living in Third world countries. I think they had people like me on their mind. (Torch is useful when trying to find keyhole in the dark...:)
Now - it turned out it was perfect for people in those countries - bravo for Nokia.

When I bought N70 and N73, connecting to the web was VERY expensive (and not a very good experience), just like the phones themselves. I could have bought a PC for the price of those two. No internet, no e-mail... All I got was a slow phone, freezing and crashing all the time.
(Those guys in China bought their smartphone. If they surf the web or use it for e-mail they have to pay a basic monthly fee. I think you know where I'm going to, but this clearly IS another subject...)

Just adding new features was obviously not enough and a newcomer got it right and made a much better device. This was a good INVENTION.
RIM came with their BlackBerry e-mail solution - same thing.
So, we need to get back to the subject: all I'm trying to say is that NOKIA should have done that! They forgot and missed the most important part of innovating.

You explained in one of your posts that Nokia was first in so many things and I agree (those were facts, no argue about that). But remember that Motorola invented the whole business. And then some company from Finland that most people never heard of became no.1 in a very short time. Where is Motorola now? On the brink of extinction. What was the reason?

Yes, in a way (not completely), we see the same scenario.

Personally, I think Nokia has too many models. This philosophy worked well with simple cell phones, they saturated the market with so many models (with little or no difference between them). But that's no way to go with smartphones and I think they begin to understand that now.
Let's not go back to that.

1. So, you think the Forbes article is completely wrong. Ok.
2. Sorry, but the market share is not as important as profit, as we had a chance to see lately. You should agree on this one.

So, why don't you give us YOUR analysis - WHAT is happening and WHY?

Reading all the posts in favor of Nokia, someone would think they are doing better than ever and we know it is not so.


It is hilarious to read what the prancing Apple fan-boys have to say. They just can't understand that it's not about Apple. Maybe their ears were covered by Steve's cheeks.

Jilles van Gurp

The Forbes article is spot on: Nokia is lacking in the innovation department and not for lack of trying or even coming up with good ideas but for failing to convert good ideas into good products. Actually having all these ideas and yet failing to come up with a product is a total failure to innovate because innovation has nothing to do with being first to think of something and everything with being first to market and being successful there, where and when it matters. This is what Apple has done and Nokia has not done.


Hi, really great article (maybe a bit too long :-)

A few corrections, though. You write: "Yes, that phone [iPhone]had impressive innovations, in particular the size of its screen, touch-screen interface and accelerometers, all which have been since copied also (not touch-screen clearly yet as well) by Nokia."

None of these were Apple innovations. "Size of the screen" is no innovation itself. Touchscreen is no innovation by Apple and Nokia was first here too. Nokia 7710 with touchscreen was released already in 2004! And it had many features that iPhone still does not have. And Nokia N770 had touchsreen already in year 2005, so 2 years ahead of Apple (and it had truly *innovative* Linux operating system!). I consider N770 to be a smartphone although it didn't have a cellular radio itself. But it had both WLAN and Bluetooth. With BT you were able to connect it to internet basically anywhere by simply pairing it with any Nokia phone with BT. This was *truly innovative*, you had your Nokia phone in your pocket paired with N770 and you had true internet (with full web browser) all over the world.

Accelerometer is either no innovation by Apple and it was first in Nokia phones. N95 had accelerometer already in the beginning of 2007. And there were really innovative applications for it, for example step counter.

So, this leaves zero innovation for Apple :-) We must also remember that Nokia has thousands of key patents related to wireless technologies and hundreds of essential ones (which means that Apple must paying big royalties to Nokia for every device it sells). Nokia has been very active for example in 3GPP standardization where all these cellular technologies iPhone is using have been developed (GSM, EDGE, WCDMA, HSDPA, HSUPA). Nokia has written thousands of 3GPP technical documents, thus making wireless revolution to happen. Apple has written none, they have just benefit the work other's have been doing openly.

But actually, Apple has some true innovations. They are related to multi-touch, but that's about it.

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