My Photo

Ordering Information

Tomi on Twitter is @tomiahonen

  • Follow Tomi on Twitter as @tomiahonen
    Follow Tomi's Twitterfloods on all matters mobile, tech and media. Tomi has over 8,000 followers and was rated by Forbes as the most influential writer on mobile related topics

Book Tomi T Ahonen to Speak at Your Event

  • Contact Tomi T Ahonen for Speaking and Consulting Events
    Please write email to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com and indicate "Speaking Event" or "Consulting Work" or "Expert Witness" or whatever type of work you would like to offer. Tomi works regularly on all continents

Tomi on Video including his TED Talk

  • Tomi on Video including his TED Talk
    See Tomi on video from several recent keynote presentations and interviews, including his TED Talk in Hong Kong about Augmented Reality as the 8th Mass Media


Blog powered by Typepad

« The Patient Heart Has Stopped. Now the Doctor 'helps' by starting to strangle the patient too (Stephen Elop incompetence) | Main | Why Nokia Board Decision to Fire CEO Stephen Elop Is Now Urgent »

June 08, 2011



"The selected Microsoft WP7 operating system did not have Ovi map support, but it would be added, which would remove a unique Nokia benefit, and gift it free of charge to Nokia's big rivals, Samsung, LG, HTC and SonyEricsson."

I was under the impression that Ovi maps would remain exclusive to Nokia in the transition to WP7, giving Nokia a point of differentiation among WP7 devices. If not, then I agree, a very stupid thing for Elop to do.


Tomi, you are spot on as usual. I'm beginning to think I could have done a better job running Nokia :)

I do wonder, why hasn't Stephen Elop been fired by Nokia's board yet? Is there yet more to this sordid, sorry tale?

Timothy Meade (tmztmobile)

Yes, totally yes. But you also reminded me of something, not only will Qt run on Android, on 2.3/3.0 it could theoretically be faster then the Android applications and Dalvik. Also, Ovi could have launched on Android as well with carrier support, supporting the same applications compiled against the Qt 4 ABI as both Android native apks and debs for MeeGo, as well as whatever package format Symbian uses (with a recompile) as a transition. Ovi could have been a third-party market like Adobe's on Android, but the primarily supported channel for certain carriers (especially ones that want more control of content in the market for political or security reasons). Nokia can easily be their hardware and software partner. By the way, Open Handset Alliance included carriers and manufacturers in the Android ecosystem, but it's not clear from a public perspective what they actually do to support Android.

Michael Scharf

Tomi: You said, "He had the biggest army in that war, and one that was being prepared for the very cutting edge of everything anyone could ask for in ecosystems, from open to Linux to compatibility to migration path. Stephen Elop tossed it away, and replaced it with the weakest army, WP7."

While I agree with you, Elop would not. It would appear that he believes that the biggest army belongs to Microsoft, and that they have enough market power to buy their way into the market.

Unfortunately, with the possible exception of Apple, the power in this market still resides with the carriers. I just don't see US, European, or Asian carriers want to help Microsoft out in any way. In the US, we call this an EPIC FAIL!


This is crazy talk - thinking that Symbian or MeeGo could have done anything going forward for Nokia is exactly the reason why Nokia is in the trouble they are in.


Tomi I often disagree with you about the greatness of Symbian in the respect that you see little wrong with it, where as I haven't gotten along with it for over 3 years now. I can't bring myself into using any Symbian devices.

The points you make about Symbian's successes, however are very true and what is happening to the Ovi Store is just plain sad. It is indeed changing a working, strong army into a handful of rookies who've never been out to fight before.

Have you thought of the possibility that history will show the WP7 deal to be simply a "placeholder" OS or temporary OS until MeeGo gets going. Or do you think that Nokia will be run to the ground before anything like that can happen?


Agreed completely with the post. Let's not forget that on Microsoft store / Android store allow merchants from a small number of selected countries, while on Ovi most of them were allowed.


While I agree with you that Nokia's strategy is harebrained, I don't think it is right to blame all of this on Elop. The decision to dump Symbian and Meego and go with a third party OS was probably made by Nokia's board before Elop was hired - perhaps, the two homegrown operating systems were in a lot worse shape than what you make them out to be. I am pretty sure that Elop is responsible for the decision to move to Windows Phone but even here, I don't think he would have been able to McKenna such a sweeping change without full buy-in from the board. I think it Is a little unfair to make Elop the scapegoat here - the board is probably equally responsible - if not more so.



Just add one more tip to Android compatibility, Alien Dalvik was announced earlier by 3rd developers to bring Android apps to Maemo / MeeGo.

Indeed, I believe an open Linux based OS is the key for Nokia. Just think about it, how many Maemo devices have ever been sold, and how active that community is? In case you don't know, the community even released some major software updates! Not to mention the great weapon of Qt ;)



The points you make are valid. But they are crying about spilt milk. Whether Elop screwed up and spilt the milk or not, is not relevant. Let's accept the situation as it stands now. What would you recommend Nokia do to make the best of this situation? What would make the WPx ecosystem become bigger?

Randall Arnold

Tomi, one caveat: Visual Studio developers will have little or no trouble adding WP7 development to their skillset... and VS is a standard dev tool. Overall, though, I sadly agree with your assessment.

A Reader

Tomi, great post as ever. If only everything in life was as simple.

To play devil's advocate for a second - if the Nokia ecosystem is/ was as great as you mention and use facts to powerfully back up why did none of the newer handset manufacturers "jump in"? Surely it would have made more sense to go this route and join symbian rather than bet all on a company/ OS with no previous experience I.e google and android. Would love to read your thoughts on this.


This topic is directly related to what I posted the other day in response to one of your earlier posts:

I.e. though I think that 'ecosystems' is something that will hopefully disappear in the future, or lose relevance or turn into something less restricted at least, there is little argument that MeeGo would have been the most open platform of them all - I would love to see what the open-source community could do with MeeGo if given half the chance!


The biggest irony in it all is that Microsoft decided to sabotage Windows Phone half a year before Nokia will even get a shot at its new strategy.

They announced that the touch optimized UI of Windows 8, their tablet OS, will be based on anew HTML 5-based framework, instead of the Silverlight-based one, already developed for Windows Phone.

It is not enough that Windows Phone is doing very bad on the market, that all of its current device makers are cold to the OS, and that the channel is choking WP7 too, but now this. No continuity of Windows Phone applications to Windows 8. Something that you get almost for free with Android and iOS.

Microsoft has done it again - after discontinuing Windows Mobile, now they do the same for Windows Phone. Simply unbelievable.
If I were a .NET / Silverlight developer I would be running screaming.

Microsoft, the stalwart of closed-source software is showing everybody why open-source is the only future-safe choice. And Nokia gave up its first-class open-source ecosystem for that. Truly ironic.


Nokia will not be using the standard wp7 os , they will add their own whereas other manufacturers can't.

Abandoning meego was wrong but killing symbian and choosing wp7 over android was the right decison.


hi tomi - do you really think Nokia still had a chance to fight apple & google wiht symbian/meego... your post on E7 explains how bad symbian is.. & Meego never saw the light... it is way too far before Meego can even pose any challenge but by the time google would rule the industry...

i dont think Elop's decision is wrong.. he had no choice but to dump symbian & meego & bring nokia to profitablilty & competence soon... he had a choice of android or MS.. with MS i see there is a chance of fighting back. as WP7 user i like the OS.. it is futuristic & provides good integration to Office & Gaming.. it is far better than Symbian .. I dont know if it is better than Maemo or Meego but from a Nokia Shareholder standpoint - they cant wait for ever for Meego to get acceptance & start making profits.. i like your posts as always you give great insights but this post i would have to disagree to an extent..

Symbian was the best app store, symbian was the most # of used smartphones but now mindshare &marketshare of symbian is eroding..

Dan Thornton

Looking purely at the ecosystem debate and the app/developer side of Symbian and WP7, then I'd be supportive of Elop moving to WP7.

Good Symbian developers have been able to command a premium for the last few years, due to the intricacies of the platform and device compatibility, which is a problem when you can throw a stick and hit someone who develops iPhone/Android apps. And while that has paid off in terms of the download numbers, it's as much down to a lack of competition as anything else when it comes to smartphone Symbian downloads.

Whereas WP7 allows non-mobile developers to move from web to phone pretty quickly. And if the smartphone app ecosystem is what matters, and you've got problems with your share of developer interest, making it incredibly easy and cheap is far better than continuing with a platform which is perceived rightly or wrongly as a bit different.

WP8 using HTML5 is a bit of a problem, but there's an ever-increasing number of HTML5 developers - it's not as huge a leap to go from HTML5 sites, HTML5 apps for iPad etc, to HTML5 for WP8 as it is to go from building a website to building a Symbian app.

I'm a huge fan of open source philosophy and products, but I don't think that's critical in the business decision - sometimes open source works fantastically well, and sometimes it doesn't.

And I think you're neglecting two key points in favour of Microsoft - their success with the Xbox games platform, which not only has been successful in capturing users and brining them online with a robust platform, but is also heavily and increasingly integrated into WP7/WP8, and their approach with Kinect, which has also been really successful and has shown an open approach to dealing with hackers and outside developers.

I haven't really played around with MeeGo, but it seems like it still has a chance of success, alongside Web OS as the other dark horse, so we'll see how it goes, but given the history I've had with several Nokia handsets and producing apps on the 5 major platforms, I'm personally not sad to see the back of Symbian and Maemo.

And don't forget that the long tail of developers are also phone users. If the best user experience is on an iPhone, Android or WP7 phone, and those are what all the staff use on a daily basis - does it make sense that they'll spend time and effort developing for Symbian except at a premium?

And although app downloads and market share may be huge for Nokia outside of the Western world, inside the app ecosystem, which application purchasers and advertisers drive the most profit? I don't think I've seen a geographical breakdown of both app purchasing habits + advertiser spend by territory, but that's also an issue.


I'm affraid the high hopes for OSS devs to innovate on OS layer would not materialize.

Mameo have been around for years and while N900 is touted developers dream, while oss devs have had mountains of existing quality linux application code to cherrypick from, no killer apps that would put shame on IPhone emerged.

Delivering good experience and functionality apparently requires focused, synergic developement of programmers, UI designer, graphicians, etc. (read: commercialy managed).
And Gnu/Linux just hasn't delivered as a good commercial developer ecosystem (no stable api, spoty documentation, useless debugging). As much as I love it, love the opennes, ability to tinker, you'll find plenty of evidence MS has much better track record in that regard.


I think this is a very narrow view of ecosystem, it not just about phones. Apple and Google are both creating integrated ecosystems of devices (Phones, PCs, Tablets, STBs, and Game Systems) and content (Apps, Music, Video, Photos, Video Conferencing, and Game Networks). All of this is designed to working seamlessly across devices. The ecosystem is the platform, not the devices. Nokia, RIM, and HP are getting boxed out of these ecosystems. Microsoft is attempting a 3rd ecosystem built around Windows 7/8, Xbox, WP7, Bing, Zune, and their Live services like Skydrive. Nokia just doesn't have the reach to compete in all these spaces as shown with Ovi. It's better to partner and concentrate on what they do best.


Tomi, this whole post strikes me as slightly kooky:

(1) There are some seeming technical howlers, like Android software (even at the kernel level) just running on MeeGo or Visual Studio not being a standard development tool. (One would guess that Visual Studio is the single most popular development environment.)

(2) You blogged early this year that Symbian had stalled out in 2010, and Nokia had just been stuffing the channel to make it seem like it still had any momentum. Plus (somebody else pointed out) that your own recent review of Nokia's latest smartphone was that it was an unusable mess.

(3) The Bloomberg article on Nokia basically tells us MeeGo didn't happen.

(4) Here's the biggest problem with what you write: by "ecosystem" Elop really seems to mean "be competitive with the iPhone and Android". It would have been unsurprising to him that by 2012---when Nokia could realistically make a change---that to be considered at all a platform would need: (a) a usable attractive interface; (b) a big app developer community that includes the US; (c) a "cloud" story for search, email, backup, etc. (Notice that Android has been converging to the iPhone on (a) and Apple recently went big with (c)).

Now, I don't really think it will work out, but MS---unlike Nokia---actually has a story in all three areas. WP7 is pretty nice looking, but there's also Bing and Xbox that MS brings in. Visual Studio is probably the most well-known development environment, period.

So Elop chose "catalyze" from his list of options. Plus, probably this is all that was available to a floundering company: Apple is a closed system and Google has a lot of low-margin OEMs. Microsoft might have been a bad option, but it seems like the only one.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Available for Consulting and Speakerships

  • Available for Consulting & Speaking
    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Helsinki but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

Tomi's eBooks on Mobile Pearls

  • Pearls Vol 1: Mobile Advertising
    Tomi's first eBook is 171 pages with 50 case studies of real cases of mobile advertising and marketing in 19 countries on four continents. See this link for the only place where you can order the eBook for download

Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009

  • Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009
    A comprehensive statistical review of the total mobile industry, in 171 pages, has 70 tables and charts, and fits on your smartphone to carry in your pocket every day.

Alan's Third Book: No Straight Lines

Tomi's Fave Twitterati