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« When Things Get Even Worse Than You Thought - 1st Preview of Potential for Nokia Microsoft Partnership, short term 2011 and 2012 | Main | All the Numbers, All the Facts on Mobile the Trillion-Dollar Industry. Why is Google saying: Put your Best People on Mobile? »

February 16, 2011



Tomi - Nokia isn't giving away any market because of the Microsoft move - they were going to lose it anyway.

The reason is that MeeGo was way behind iOS and Android. Elop is a software guy, he looked at it and realized that MeeGo was substandard regardless of when they could release it. Any developer who got got to see Beta releases of MeeGo knew that. This move to Microsoft has nothing to do with it. Nokia's downward trajectory was already in freefall.

As for 2011 - this is the year of Apple and we will see Samsung, SE, LG and Motorola in serious decline as Apple gets on all major carriers and releases iPhone 5 + the low cost iPhone that they are planning to release.

The other big winner in 2011 will be the ZTE's and Huawei's of the world and white label manufacturers. They will be able to leverage Android on the very low end as all phones become smartphones.

It is not just Nokia who will lose in 2011. All the brand labels except for Apple will lose when the low cost iPhone mini comes out because of the following reasons:

1) iOS is better than Android
2) Apple has the best brand in the world that people aspire to. No one aspires to own Samsung
3) Apple has the best ecosystem in the world with iTunes

2011 will be the year of Apple and people will finally realize that Android is only "selling" because it is free for manufacturers who can sell it well where Apple is not. When Apple comes to those markets - it is over except for the very bottom.

Good phone

You people sound like Nokia wasn't already loosing it.


Contradicting your analysis:

"For Nokia and Microsoft it will be pretty powerful, but for RIM [BlackBerry's parent company] it is the real problem. Microsoft has access to Word, Excel, Outlook, etc. All major companies use BlackBerrys. Suddenly, there is a major new player which will have Microsoft Office natively. One client has already called us about this."

Did you hear that? Native Microsoft Office running natively and 30 million paying gamers taking their Xbox Live with them everywhere they go. This is very good news for the gaming community and you seem to have overlooked that.


The trends were pretty clear but not decisive. Nokia is THE brand globally in what concerns mobile phones. Put anyone to draw a mobile phone and name it an you will see that will put Nokia's name on it.

The main issue here is not that Nokia (MAYBE) was loosing the market anyway but that not it is loosing it for sure and without any fight.

Simbyan 3 was not nearly perfect in terms of UX and UI but the sales were not that bad as RIM, Apple, Palm etc. And I believe that the things could have been put back on track with some drastic changes in terms of internal processes and business strategies.
I am not saying that I will not buy a Nokia WP7. i would do it tomorrow if it would offer the same features S3 have.

And this is my second main issue here. Until and only IF Nokia will be able to influence and improve WP7 to include S3 features some 2 maybe 3 years will pass and they will loose it all.

2 years of boosting and focusing on Qt development and implementation together with some improvements of S3 together with focusing on developing MeeGo would have had more chances than WP7 (IMO)

They were just starting to adopt/ learn and implement Qt and it was just a matter of time until it would have paid off. I saw some Qt apps and I was amazed of the possibilities to innovation and long term development.

I hope at least Intel will find some others interested in MeeGo cause this is what I will buy. And hope it will come sooner than my N900 will stop working

Allen Cross

Very good write-up, Tomi. Been following your blog for awhile now and, admittedly, haven't always been a fan -- finding your analysis often excellent but your conclusions sometimes non sequitur. However, ever since the shock of Nokia's 11/2 announcement you seem to be on a roll. Maybe this is because you perform best under pressure? :-)

Still, I would argue that in granting Apple a significant share of 'Windfall' candy, your European forecast overlooks something: signifcant ill will toward Apple (i.e.: seeing the infamous 'walled garden' as anti-competitive and too overtly 'corporate America') and, perhaps to a lesser extent, toward the 'iPhone mindset' (i.e.: the triumph of form over function).

I suggest these perceptions are more pervasive -- and powerful, viz decision making -- than you might suppose. By my estimates, they will have a huge impact on Apple's potential buyers, reducing Apple's share of 2011's superphone 'candy' by 25%-35% below even your most pessimistic model. Of course, Samsung and HTC are the likely beneficiaries.

Anyway, it'll be fun watching the action. :-)

 Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Vikram, Good, Ts, Croco, Allen

Vikram - I agree with you that Nokia's market share was in decline. But even after exceptional decline for two quarters, Nokia was still towering over its nearest rivals - more than twice as big as its nearest rivals Apple and RIM. I can yes, agree that management had to do something drastic. But there was a clear plan to migrate Nokia to MeeGo. You don't like MeeGo now. Fine. I'll grant you that. I put to you, that if Nokia had stayed with Symbian S^3 - which outsold all Microsoft Phone 7 handsets in Q4 by more than 3 to 1 - and developed MeeGo seriously last autumn (rather than stop its development) - Nokia would end this year 2011 with FAR better market share than 12%. Maybe not 25% or even 20%, but something like 18% or so - with the world's second biggest app store in Ovi - and most Symbian developers migrated via Qt to MeeGo and then would be the time to release a series of MeeGo devices.

We will witness the crash of Nokia market share this year, that is agreed by most analysts already and many say my forecast here is far too optimistic. Now, Vikram, if you go to industry analyst houses and forecasters like Gartner, IDC, etc and look how they projected Nokia's market share for 2011, before the Microsoft announcement - ALL felt Nokia would have over 20% market share by end of this year, some put Nokia near 30% with its Symbian/MeeGo strategy. Even if they were off by a huge error, Nokia would still end up with far more than what they now will have.

You say this is the year of Apple and if that includes the Nano iPhone (and/or QWERTY iPhone) then yes. If not, then not. Apple has the chance to become the biggest smartphone maker in the world but only if they offer the Nano model.

Then you say the victims will be Samsung, SE, LG and Motorola. Here I totally disagree with you. Samsung's Galaxy is very competitive against the iPhone 4, and the Samsung bada phones are far cheaper than even any Nano iPhone can be. No, Apple won't do damage to Samsung, the opposite is true. SonyEricsson, maybe. Their main market is Europe now, and if Apple brings a Nano iPhone, that would hurt SonyEricsson. Meanwhile the Playstation Xperia phone may well turn into one of the biggest hit Android phones of the year.

LG is making a massive play in 3D displays including the world's first phone with a stereo camera (for 3D pictures and 3D videos). Apple isn't in that game so I don't see LG hurt. But Moto, yes. They are mostly going head-to-head against Apple in the USA, and a cheaper iPhone would damage Moto quite hard.

I agree about ZTE and Huawei. The rest of your posting seemed like that of an Apple fanboy, and I'll just leave it at that. If you want to believe those points, feel free.

Good - I am one person haha.. But also while its not obvious in this blog posting, I made a big analysis of what all is wrong when Nokia's Q4 results came out. I have been vocal about Nokia problems here before. But if you are not a regular reader, I know you might not have seen that.

Ts - haha. Well. Did you not know that Nokia E-Series and Microsoft had a deep partnership - since 2009 - to provide all Microsoft office suite software on Nokia phones. If that was the case as you reported, then Nokia should have seen such a gain from Blackberry back from 2009. What you report is an isolated case. I can promise you the Blackberry sales staff is in overtime right now taking customer calls, and Nokia E-Series sales staff is taking calls from angry customers cancelling contracts. Watch this space, watch what the analysts report and we'll see the numbers coming out soon.

Xbox Live is a valid point but it comes late. Sony's Playstation is now also in phones and unfortunately the SonyEricsson Xperia Play has the PS1 controls on the slider phone - compared to the Nokia phones, that is night-and-day for any gamers. Xbox coulda been big a year ago but now Xperia is the top dog in gaming phones.

Croco - we agree on most points especially the trends. On Symbian S^3 - in its first quarter, on only 3 phones, it sold 5 million units and easily beat all phones from Microsoft Phone 7 family. Within two quarters Symbian S^3 could easily have been on most Nokia phones and had a market share bigger than RIM or Apple. Not enough to match Android but easily the second-bestselling OS. This with the second biggest app store in Ovi. Nokia's OS strategy was on the verge of being a success, when it was killed...

Totally agree about Qt and especially about developers. Now Nokia has zero credibility with developers who are at best lukewarm to Microsoft haha.. Meanwile they seem to love Android and Apple. Which system wins, I wonder..

Allen - thanks. I try my best and haha, yeah, sometimes pressure will perhaps crystalize the thinking.. On Apple ill will, that is a good point that I did not consider. I am however, increasingly convinced by the customer loyalty studies which have consistently astronomical ratings for Apple far beyond any other brand in almost all age groups (except 16-24 age segment which obviously loves their Blackberries). So I think the customer love of Apple is perhaps stronger than the industry ill will haha. But we'll see.

Thank you all for writing,

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Sander van der Wal

Citi analyst Jim SUva has simliar ideas according to Business Insider at He sets a target of USD 80 for RIM stock.

Carrier "Promotion Commotion" should start to flip to benefit Research In Motion at the expense of Sell-rated Nokia (CIRA analyst Zahid Hussein). Nokia is completely changing its strategy to now embrace the Microsoft mobile operating system thereby creating a multi quarter gap in Nokia products & carrier promotion support. We met with several international carriers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain this week who commented on their forthcoming shift to promote other handset OEMs (Android, Apple & RIMM) until Nokia's product strategy is more realizable.


Is the following scenario possible?

1) Microsoft gets Nokia stock using intermediaries

2) These intermediaries pressure Nokia board to give in and hire MS-guy (there were rumors that they threathend to kick out Ollila from board if he did not hire Elop)

3) Elop does what MS assigned him to do

I don't think that this would be out of character for MS and Ollila has been oddly silent about this whole episode


I've thought about something similar myself. I've to say that it looks a lot like a conspiracy teory, leaks would probably had come to surface, and we would be aware of some rumours, but nonetheless it is possible (not probable).
Jorma's silence is also intriguing me. I still don't understand how the man that 10 years ago favored Psion (Symbian) against MS, because the company would lose the power over its destiny, now it's ok with it.


On the other hand, traveling the subways of Helsinki and Stockholm I see more and more IPhones each passing day. It just could be that the Symbian-ship was sinking faster than anybody realised, even Tomi!


Aha, now it seems that Ollila has made some comments in a speach he made (in Finnish):

1) US has passed Europe/Finland in mobile innovation and Nokia can't do it alone

2) Going to invest heavily to upgrade dumbphones to have internet connection and maps etc.. (internet to the next 1B)

3) Future mobile technology, taking a very long perspective

I just don't understant why Elop did not stress these points at the original announcement?



1) Maybe it is more wise that this comment comes from the mouth of an European?

2) Maybe they wanted to left this to MWC2011 speech ... well, I don't know why either

3) Could it be that at this point of time Nokia wants to emphasize the partnership with Microsoft and the WP7.

Consider, in a long run, how important role the OS of the mobile device will play? In a long run, can it be that the ecosystem will be in the network, not in the device? Not stating that something would happen but ...


One more time a great reading, but I have just one doubt, for sure Apple/Samsung/RIM/HTC are now re-doing their 2011 forecast post Nokia/M$ announcement, but who will build this +50M smartphones for them?

Has RIM the capacity to produce +15-20M more devices per year? Or Apple (foxconn) or HTC? Smartphones don´t grow in the grass, somebody must build them.

I think that the big winner will be the one who will be able to exceed their production forecast to fulfill the Nokia exodus.

Matthew Artero

What is everyone's thoughts about Elop's credibility and how the credibility of the CEO dictates what Nokia is able to do and what it must do?

When Elop first took control of Nokia he publicly stated to the world that the solutions to Nokia's problems will come from inside Nokia. He went on and on about how smart Nokia employees are and how it is his job to listen to them. He promised customers, developers, and employees that all is well and great things will be coming from Nokia.

But now he wants to put Nokia’s fate in the hands of an outside company. Doesn't this make Elop a CEO with one of the lowest credibility? Does he want to shift the blame to the outside company that they now rely on rather than taking responsibility himself? Perhaps he couldn’t handle the responsibility and has brushed it off onto an outside company. Does this strategy require someone of his caliber? Couldn’t anyone have made the decision to not make the attempt to be self reliant? In refusing to rely on itself, believe in itself, Nokia looks like someone relying on government welfare food and housing.

Elop spoke about all the great products and services that have been developed in Mobile and he told us even greater things are still to come and that Nokia would be bringing them to us. But then he gave up without even trying.

Of course the best and brightest will not remain with Nokia now that it has become unreliable in keeping its word. Elop has now rendered Nokia unable to recruit the best and brightest. This forces the remaining employees to have no choice but to execute this plan of giving an outside company control of its future. Does this remind anyone else of Microsoft’s relationship with IBM? First IBM lost the Desktops and eventually the Laptops as well.

It is no secret that both Microsoft and Nokia have relatively recently purchased Mobile advertising companies. How is it that a non-phone company like Google understands the importance of controlling the OS in order to be able to sell mobile advertising but Nokia doesn’t?

Nokia told its shareholders that it was taking a share of the lucrative mobile advertising industry but now it has just relinquished control of its ability to do so. Because Microsoft is a rival in this effort I’m not sure if Nokia’s decision is even legal.

How is it that Google with no Mobile legacy to speak of has full confidence in itself to compete but Nokia has lost all of its self-confidence? Perhaps it is because the founders of Google are the creators of their own technology (search engine) that has far surpassed all of their rivals.

It is a very different story when looking at Microsoft and Nokia. Microsoft did not invent the OS, the GUI (Graphical User Interface), or Internet Explorer. Nokia started its cellphone network decades after other companies were doing it. Perhaps it is because these companies cannot point to their own inventiveness in their origin stories is the reason they lack faith in their own inventiveness and do not give inventiveness the respect it deserves. Therefore we have companies like Apple and Google that show a better understanding of both the value and process of invention eventually outperforming those who have purchased their way into the game.

I think Elop scared the hell out of himself in that first speech he gave. He told us all these great things are yet to come but then he doubted his ability and the ability of his employees. His doubt in himself led him to the conclusion that these future great things he spoke of will come from other companies. In his state of fear and lack of confidence he feels that he has no choice.

Nokia recruited from the wrong source. Elop is too rich and too close to retirement. He is not going to look for another CEO position after Nokia so he doesn’t have to be concerned about his resume. Because of its desire to cash in on Mobile advertising, Nokia should have tried to lure someone out of Google instead.

Jake Hamby

Thanks for the great posts. I've been working in smartphones since 2003, when I developed a Series 60 app for a now-defunct startup called GoPix. In 2005 I got a job at Danger, Inc., where I worked on six different models of the T-Mobile Sidekick phones, then we were acquired by Microsoft, as you know, and I quit after one year into the disastrous Kin project. Now I'm working at Google, on Android. It's been a wild ride. A few comments for you.

First, I can't emphasize strongly enough just how utterly unsuitable Symbian was for any sort of future smartphone development of any kind. I know that it appears to many that Mr. Elop made a foolish mistake by cutting off Symbian, and curtailing MeeGo, so quickly, or that he didn't have Nokia's best interest in mind, but if I were in his shoes, I'm afraid that I would have had to do more or less the same thing that he did. Symbian is simply not competitive, and can't ever be made competitive, when stacked up next to any of the competitors, except for the now-dead Windows Mobile, which was in fact technically worse than Symbian in several areas that WP7 (or rather the underlying CE 6 kernel) has remedied.

I have often made extremely negative remarks about Windows CE / Mobile / Phone due to my unpleasant experiences working in the stressful environment of MSFT (see the many anonymous commenters at for a window into the strange corporate dystopia that exists in Redmond). However, even I have to admit that while it may be a knock-off version of what I would consider a "real" mobile OS to be, and it may be filled with spaghetti code and legacy code and inelegant hacks, at least CE has the form and shape of what such an OS should look like. But the people who originally wrote Symbian did not understand how to use C++ properly, designed an extremely ugly and difficult to program API which makes the untidiness of Win32 look like brilliant craftsmanship in comparison, and their coding style used the most bizarre indentation of the curly braces that I have ever seen (using the same margin as the code inside, instead of the indentation of the enclosing scope, like normal C programmers do). So just pure ugliness from top to bottom. Elop was right to give it a mercy killing.

So that is my comment against Symbian. Clearly I'm not alone, or else there would have been some level of interest (any at all) when Symbian OS was open sourced a few years ago in a desperate attempt to save it. I know there are many users and some developers who loved that OS who are now very upset, who are vowing to leave Nokia for any of the other platforms, exactly as your analysis states. And I'm sure that Elop and Nokia's PR people could have handled the roll-out of the new strategy in a far more reassuring way than they did. But honestly, in my opinion, Symbian was truly a "burning platform", and MeeGo is not yet ready to replace it.

Microsoft clearly needs Nokia in order to salvage some measure of dignity out of their bumbling Windows Phone attempts, and Nokia clearly needs the backing and assistance of a company that knows software at all. As poor as I would rate Microsoft's software engineering practices and corporate culture, and certainly in comparison to Google, which has been a sheer delight to work for by any standard, they are probably going to help bring Nokia's engineering up to a level where they will be able to compete with the other players by the end of this year, or early 2012.

The other point I'd like to make is that there is no particular binding between the various smartphone OS's and the platforms that they run on top of. Just because they are making Windows Phones to the particular quirks that Microsoft requires for their platform (the three soft buttons vs. Android's four soft buttons, as one example), these are minor details that don't prevent the same device from also running MeeGo, or even Symbian Series 60 in some sort of compatibility layer, if the remaining Symbian engineers have the resources and desire to pursue that route.

As for Meego, they may succeed or they may not. It all comes down to execution. We shall see how it all plays out!


Tomi - i m following your blog for quite some time now. I dont understand why there would be a such a drastic drop in Nokia's Market Share. Meego was not there anyway & I dont think Meego had any good volume projection for 2011. It will still be primarily Symbian

And as Stephen Elop mentioned, if Symbian is still supported with New UI, Better processor, better design - Consumers will still go with them anyways.. So if Nokia Sold 100M in 2010- they should still sell more or less same even with the new Strategy - unless if you are intending consumers will be confused & they would stop buying Symbian - I doubt if that is the case in the Mid End Smartphones Nokia Sells today...

can you please clarify.


Does the Nokia/Apple lawsuit have any relevance? Suddenly Apple has got no leverage on Nokia anymore since (if I remember correctly) their counterclaims were software based and Nokia is basically out of the software business. Is it likely, or even possible, that Apple could end up paying Nokia several $ per idevice, which could surely approach $1billion?

Paul Jardine

As several other commenters have said, I'm not sure that the carnage will be nearly as bad as feared. The question is whether WP7 is good enough and whether the public take to it (they were still buying Symbian phones, remember).
Longer term, Nokia has to be in a better position with WP7 than with Symbian, so the only question was MeeGo vs WP7...
Nokia will take a beating in Corporate sales, but elsewhere I'm not so sure.


last chance for nokia, i hope you'll make it good


hi Tomi, regarding your reply to TS -- "Ts - haha. Well. Did you not know that Nokia E-Series and Microsoft had a deep partnership - since 2009 - to provide all Microsoft office suite software on Nokia phones" -- you are mistaken.

There is as of yet no native support for the Full Microsoft Office Suite on Nokia smartphones. At most only ONE App from the suite is supported -- the Office Communicator Mobile.

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