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« Smartphones Bloodbath Year 2, Q1: Now Nokia. Ouch, this is painful | Main | Whats Happenin' in Mobile Marketing? MMA Forum Asia review - the most astonishing event ever! »

May 02, 2011


Sander van der Wal

Symbian is a much younger OS than either BSD, which powers iOS, or Linux, which powers Android. Its problem was that it was too hard to program for, so, while it was good on underpowered hardware, by the time hardware got powerful enough for the Unix closes iOS and Android, it lost on programmer friendly-ness immediately.

You are also forgetting that Epoc, as Symbian was called in the nineties of last century already had a touch UI, and that UIQ, as used by SonyEricsson, also was a popular touch UI.

App Stores are also not a Nokia invention, Go32, and Handango are a couple of Pre-Symbian App Stores. Note that both UIQ and S80 Communicator software sold very well on those stores, much better than S60 software.

And Nokia murdered its iconic Communicator brand all by itself with the introduction of the E90, using the T9 S60 UI instead of the UI that is much better for querty keyboard devices: S80.

So while there came a couple of good things out of Symbian at Nokia, there were also a number of preventable or redeemable big mistakes there. But Nokia thought it was so clever it never made mistakes, so there never was something to prevent or redeem.


the other side of things which would deserve a separate blog the kind of strategy that Accenture is pursuing through this "people acquisition"
I doubt there will be no cut in forces. remember the Capgemini-Schneider people + IT outstourcing deal a few years ago, and some others I don't even know
my guess: Nokia could destroy itself with such a massive & brutal stop in the field, in what used to be as you're pinpointing one of the pioneering OS for smartphones, so one of the most innovative team in that space. laying off 7000 highly qualified innovative engineers, technicians & business men would be a real earthquake at nokia & could threat the stability of the "rest" of the company. Other major companies have been experiencing similar disasters & it took them years before recovering a company spirit & culture
but the point it: with such a huge hidden layoff outsourcing approach, are we witnessing a new kind of business at a time where innovation & industrial cycles get shorter, growth & decline faster & more brutal (the smartphone landscape which has drastically moved in a matter of years, and the social companies cycle phenomenon with companies surfing à light speed on what could a sustainable trend...or not)
if I may do this metaphor, you companies that want to disengage from business that have suddenly lost their cutting edge with thousands of people to unboard, ...send them to the cloud, and IT companies will host them...temporarily


About Cortez: (spanish).

It's a topic based on an historical fact, those ships where scuttled and sunk.

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The blog article very surprised to me! Your writing is good. In this I learned a lot! Thank you!


Hi Tomi,

I just read on somewhere @ the internet that Microsoft only manage to sell 600K+ license of WP7 since the nov 2010. This number is already including the number of device that still stuck on the store.

Do you really think that with nokia on board of WP7 will make MS sell hundreds million of devices each year... or maybe 25% of that???

I think MS need the Nokia WP7 prototype more than nokia need it. I seen your modeling number, but with this new information, I think:
1. Yes, symbian take a dive
2. But, no, WP7 won't help nokia

which mean,.... the end of nokia smartphone division.

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Thanks for interesting article!! Nokia could destroy itself with such a massive & brutal stop in the field.

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Last week, Nokia announced that 7,000 jobs would be cut from the handsets side of Nokia, saving the company about 1 Billion dollars in salary costs. 3,000 of those were the shifting of Symbian and its staff from Nokia to Accenture, where Symbian development is now effectively outsourced....

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A big and expected announcement just came in. From today onwards Nokia’s OVI Mail will be powered by Yahoo!. In simpler words OVI Mail will be now hosted on Yahoo! servers. All the user mailboxes are now being transferred to Yahoo! servers. This will also enable OVI Chat users to use ‘Chat-on-Web’. The new Mail interface is basically the new and familiar Yahoo! Mail interface combined with ‘Green’ colour of OVI Services.


"he had to get rid of MeeGo, Qt and of Symbian" - Nokia did not get rid of Qt (only the desktop consultancy/support part that was of no interest to it anyway) nor any Qt 'R&D' staff, and if you follow developer news, is actually going full steam ahead with it (QtSDK 1.1 release, components imminent, etc).

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Jonas Lind

In the contract between Nokia and Accenture there is most likely a huge payout to Accenture for taking on all this staff. From the grapevine in Helsinki, I have heard that the Nokia unions have prevented any mass firing of staff. A huge professional service firm as Accenture probably has the rights capabilites to to move these professionals over to other areas.

However, they will most likely use this infusion of mobile software competence to expand their mobile service offering. My guess is that they will target the corporate market. such as mobile solutions for the staff in larger companies.

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A few notes

1. Note that Elop said this in the US, which makes it clear it wants to please US ears. Here is your phone, designed by you, for you, running your OS. That doesn't mean it's meant for the world OR that Nokia gave up on the world. Flattery will go a long way, even if you don't really mean it.

2. Google is doing the same, selling Android as 'American' and motor of US innovation. You can see in the comments that people don't care who actually made the devices. This is also a vulnerability, as those manufacturers can cut off Android at the legs if suddenly a competing platform offers them better profits, just as they did with Symbian (yes, plenty of today's big Android manufacturers used to be in the Symbian camp, and something similar almost killed Moto - how quickly people forget). The US benefiting from Android is correlational, in fact Android, even by Google's own admission, is around breakeven or slightly in the plus. ALL the money and revenue is happening at the carriers and manufacturers. They might not be earning much, but Android spun them up, and helped them build supply chains and volume. Note that those things come handy REGARDLESS of your plaform.

3. You are missing the Qt piece of the puzzle. The desktop business is sold but Nokia shows no intention giving up on it in the mobile segment, on the contrary, you could see on the MeeGo summit that it's more alive than ever, Qt5 and QtQuick delivering a level of performance and candy in an _OS independent manner_. I don't think they just 'forgot' to sell it or ramp it down. Speculations welcome.

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