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« What Happened to Blackberry? RIM reports 10% decline in smartphone unit sales for Q2? Decline? This year? | Main | Imagine, the Lennon Imagine Lyrics, applied to Nokia CEO and strategy? »

June 24, 2011

Comments

eFlop

@rodrigottr

Nokia and Intel have been focusing on different areas of Meego from the start.

Currently Intel has mainly been interested in running Meego on tablets and netbooks. They will be more interested in handsets when phones based on Intel's Moorestown (Atom) chips appear.

Nokia has been working on support for ARM based phones.

They both have been working on their own versions of UI components. "MeeGo UX Components" (QML) vs. "Meego Touch Framework" + qt-components

They both have their own app stores for Meego software, Meego AppUp for Intel and Ovi Store (or whatever it will be called) for Nokia.

So there certainly is fragmentation between these two Meegos, but as the APIs are mostly the same, porting applications between them is very easy.

Android apps can be run in Harmattan/Meego without modification/porting using Qt based third party software called "Alien Dalvik" by Myriad. http://www.myriadgroup.com/Device-Manufacturers/Android-solutions/Alien-Dalvik.aspx

While the android apps can be run in some way, I don't think they can be seamlessly integrated to the system.

E. Casais


May I suggest one possible reason for the apparent swings in the message delivered by Elop? Cultural impedance mismatch.

When I read the "burning platform" memorandum, I thought that the document was overwrought with hyperbole. The typical rubbish that a North American manager would put forth in order to galvanize his troops with a "salutary shock".

There is one problem though: So far, Nokia had been led by Finnish managers, whose style was never characterized by a surfeit of fiery figures of speech. When somebody like
Baldauf, Ala-Pietilä, or Alahuhta stated "we have a serious problem", then press, industry, customers would assess the situation exactly as spoken out: a serious problem.

And this is precisely what happened in February: everybody took Elop's rhetoric at face value -- Symbian is worthless, Nokia's ecosystem doomed, its legacy useless, its experiments in Meego and Maemo fruitless, its product portfolio at end of life, there is no alternative than WP7, etc.

From this viewpoint, Elop is now only adjusting to reality and keeping a more subdued, balanced expression when describing his corporate strategy. There is such a thing as a corporate culture, and Elop (who made his career in the USA) is realizing this -- but the damage has already been done.

I disagree that he is backtracking on the WP7 commitment though: the Symbian outsourcing agreement with Accenture has been just finalized; the WP7 phone was leaked at about the same time as the N9 was presented; and whatever happens with N9/N950, we are talking about sales figures of 5, max 6 digits overall -- a rather symbolic endeavour for Nokia.

Now the real question: what on earth were the members of the Boardm(presided by Ollila) thinking when they vetted the "burning platform" memo?

fucykou

and at the end of the days nokia will offer devices which are able to be installed or flashed by any OS that end-user wants. Qt with its technology could realize this soon or later and the only thing that still left is the WPx so they need somehow to "learn" it (since it's a closed/proprietary source) properly by choosing it as a primary smartphone OS.

Just wait and see... The final intention is, nokia doesn't create a new ecosystem with microsoft, they just learn it for a while and at the end they'll participate in all existing ecosystem. The hardware technology will become a final decision point (again) and not the software or ecosystem.

Nokia is or was a market leader worldwide, they should have this mind years ago.

eFlop

@fucykou

HTC recently announced that users will be able to flash alternative software to their phones.
http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/26/htc-officially-dissolves-locked-bootlader-policy/

Sony-Ericsson posted instructions how to build a linux kernel for Xperia phones.
http://blogs.sonyericsson.com/wp/2011/05/06/how-to-build-a-linux-kernel/

Microsoft will never allow anything like that.

eFlop

@Tomi

N950 (aka Dali) is already shipping to developers, so that they can develop on real hardware before N9 ships. The software is the same and there are only small differences in the internal hardware.

All the differences are listed in the following link:
http://www.developer.nokia.com/dp?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fsw.nokia.com%2Fid%2F3744886f-69c1-4544-8ad3-72b352b4a832%2FNokia_N950_OneClickFlashers_Release_Notes

Poifan

Aren't we getting a bit ahead of ourselves in claiming the N9 is any good as a platform and worth building a company future on? It looks great, but Nokia typically makes great hardware. But we've only seen a little of the OS in operation. Sure it seems slick at first glance, but so did the N97 and N8 when they were announced and demoed. But the more you use d them the more you realized that they were buggy and incomplete and not of the same class as iOS or Android. I'm not saying this is necessarily true for the N9, but it seems like Nokia in the past has a track record of over hyping and underdelivering. Maybe this says more about the brutal honesty and realism of the current management. My Windows Phone is nearly bug free, fast, and punching well above it's weight in terms of available apps (more blue chip apps than Symbian already I'd say). I however cannot wait to get a quality Nokia phone with this WP7 as the existing hardware is less than inspiring.

Poifan

The existing (Samsung, HTC, LG) hardware for WP7 that is.

cycnus

The last few days of Nokia Connection 2011 is very interesting event.

First of all,
the number....
if anyone here a frequent patron of GSMarena will be very surprised....
N9 hit a NEW RECORD with 90K+ hit in one day.
No other phone will ever done this in GSMARENA.COM history
Mostly it's only hover around 40K-50K in a couple of days and then going down to 20K and gone.
N9 really show that Nokia is THE LEADER and can FIGHT BACK others with Meego.

Second,
if everyone see the leaked demo of WP7 devices in N9 body (I would refer here as N9-01) and compared to N9-00, it really feels different. The N9-00 is feel like the OS and body design is connected spiritually to become one great experience. And it's make me really want it. On the other hand the N9-01 feels like very cheap. I would say it's like a BMW 8 series with TATA engine. WP7 is really boring, and make nokia devices looks bad.

Third,
This Elop is really inappropriate as a Nokia CEO.
Imagine that Nokia just release N9, and everyone when gagagagaga over it, and he try to dissuade us with WP7 devices? it's like someone in family just die, and I throw a big party. It's very inappropriate. This one alone should be marked as sabotage, and the shareholder should SUE him!!!!... and of course Elop could said he's innocent because he's crazy.

Fourth,
it seems to me that AT FIRST elop think that Symbian is really bad, and even worse than WP. that if symbian were replaced by WP, the sales would went up. But after several round of resistance from the REAL nokia user, he still not really understand the symbian user taste.
Proof: he never introduce other than WP7 devices with screen on by himself.

I really wish this men got fired
and nokia produce the Meego tablet soon.

cycnus

@poifan

the part that make the WP7 product uninteresting is the WP7, not the LG/samsung/SE/etc.
it's the blue box, pink box, what ever color that you can't really choose from the preset one.

it's a FAILED UI concept from Microsoft
Microsoft Metro UI is the new Microsoft BOB
(search: Microsoft bob failure in google, not bing).

EM

Regarding the UI, and others can feel free to correct me, everything I've heard is that the N9 UI was a nine-odd month rewrite based on abandoning the original N9 (now N950) and attempting new/innovative things without being tied to earlier Maemo/MeeGo efforts. I think they did an amazing job, but that would be way harder to judge at the beginning of the year based on the usual Maemo/MeeGo failures.

The only hard fact to back that up is that (as mentioned) the N9 doesn't actually run MeeGo, implying that jumping off Maemo 6 was faster and more effective then whatever earlier stuff (N900 & Maemo 5) and MeeGo work was in the labs.

That, sadly, backs up how fucked Nokia's internal R&D is/was. Which is why a ton of people did need to be fired, regardless of who was in charge.

@ @rodrigottr

Um. This is one of those technical things that matter not at all for an end user but matters very much for future development platform.

Roughly speaking if you write a program for the N9 (as it and the N950 are the only Harmatten 1.2 devices) you do so in QT. While writing the program you are relying on Maemo 6 (foundation), Harmatten 1.2 (UI) and MeeGo (API compatibility). Having the same APIs != being able to write the same thing. It helps, but if the underlying foundation shifts on you the fact that API calls do the same are of great help but still need work.

Look at this way, every new release of Mac OS X has new APIs, kills old ones, tells you which ones will be killed, and so forth. Now imagine that the new version of OS X did all that + entirely shifted the underlying foundation from BSD Unix to Sun's Solaris Unix. It sucks.

cycnus

@poifan

I agree with you that the UX is not bad, but the UI is not eye catching nor useful. Meego/Symbian/Android/iOS have a better UI than WP7. Even the microsoft user reluctant to go to WP7 from pre-7. And look how sad the WP7 devices sales number.... nokia is doomed. and Finland will lost the income tax they got from nokia. thanks to MS.

PS: Steve balmer really take microsoft to the new low. He must be fired too.

cycnus

@Tomi

elop personality is called doppelganger

@rodrigottr

@Staska

I don't really understand why you are taking so seriously tomi's words saying he is "SCHIZOFRENIC". I don't really feel like that was Tomi trying to prove, even because that doesn't matters and he is not a psychologist. What I believe tomi was trying to prove all these months was that Elop is following his own agenda which some of us believe is not the best for Nokia even if that was he was supposed to do as Nokia's CEO. By what you said you also agree with it. At least in parts.

And what he is saying is that Elop changed his tone. I felt that also. And that makes a lot of sense by the results he had until now, which were really catastrophic on financial side, which is the side that mostly matters to measure a CEO's results.

So, if Elop changed the way he speaks and Tomi has showed that with many examples, his point is still good. The question is: why? Tomi says is because he has been doing some crap and/or his agenda (Elop's) is not being good for Nokia.

About Skype, tell me. If you where a mobile carrier, would you like or not Skype?

In my experience I have Skype and Fring on my N8 and they save me from 50% to 90% on calls. I've reduced my bill in 50% since started using it because I started using pre-paid plans thanks to VoIP. And without contract, so I'm free to go to other carriers, whenever I want, if they offer me better prices.

So, If I can save so much with it, then carriers could have revenue loss if Skype is more spread.

Gilles Monterey

Take a look also at
http://felipec.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/my-disagreement-with-elop-on-meego/

I agree with those who said here that if you blame Elop for incompetence, you should blame even more the Board of Nokia. Either for they fell for the spell, or for they have actually designed this strategy, and hired Elop to play it.

On the other hand, Elop didn't show all the cards yet... Microsoft has a lot of money, and money tends to make its way. They do have an ecosystem, and WP7 is just the beginning: Windows 8 may be the game changer. Now Nokia's fate really depends on WP, and without this succeeding, there won't likely be "the next billion" Qt phones either.

But what kind of CEO is that sacks a viable plan B (Qt ecosystem with at least MeeGo and S40, with Symbian ramping down) which is also profitable in itself? One that has been cornered and told to do so (by the Board), or one that has betrayed the company and conveyed Microsoft interests. Is there any other possibility? He has pushed the company till the edge of its resilience, and now anything can happen from aggressive buyout to bankruptcy, or a slow recovery. But he did not solve the original problem: Nokia's inefficiency. You see the same crap mass of managers lead by the same incompetent leadership, but now with much less paddlers.

I also think that after the butchery and all the dirty work is done, Nokia needs a new CEO with a new message to customers, who could leverage everything from which Nokia could make money, and set up at least 2 possible paths forward, with a compatible ecosystem. That would mean Qt/Quick (with Alien Dalvik included), and Windows on devices, HTML5 support on both, and services joint with Microsoft. As for start, the new CEO would renew the management and working style completely, make peace with Intel on MeeGo, and seek to satisfy operators in a very humble way. In the meantime, competitors won't be still, either, but Nokia still has assets to be successful.

I think Nokia also needs a completely new Board: based on tha happenings of this and past year, they are all incompetent, and even if they are well connected, there were the wrong connections they have bet on.

Marc Nathan

Hi Tomi,

Your posts, though rather long winded, always prove to be an intersting read.

But, for the sake of professionalism, I wish you were more balanced.

One, in terms of arguments, @staska makes a lot of valid points. Yes, there can be differing interpretations, but yours come out at as more biased.

Second and more important, many readers have commented on the responsibility that the Board must take. Please do not make this blog a pure anti-Elop one. In addition to the Board, almost all of the previous management is continuing. If they cannot stand up against Elop, why are they still there ? THey are equally complicit in the errors being made.

jay

Yes, Elop needs to be fired.
Nokia shareholders have lost 20 billion usd since his Feb 2011 strategy.

But the end-user perception of Nokia products can be considerably improved with some minor attention paid to the phone UX/GUI.
How to improve the Nokia phone UX?

Besides putting in great graphics, animations and eye candy for the GUI.
Nokia certainly need to take better care with doing a "task analysis" of the user interaction on each phone model.

The GUI/UX task analysis should help bring about consistency with the key press and screen taps for related user actions on a range of devices.

Current Nokia phone models make the end-user feel the devices are designed, built and shipped by different companies.

Basically "Task A should be done by touching/clicking the same screen space or buttons on phone X,Y,Z"

Tomi T Ahonen

Am starting with comments, will respond to reach, individually. First set:

Hi Boris, Vikram, eFlop, Martin, rodrigottr and bamalam

Boris - very good point, I said also earlier that the MeeGo device that Nokia weirdly committed to in February must be some kind of contactual obligation. What is more puzzling, is why now also the N950. If it was only the need to deliver the 'one' promised device to Intel, then the effort to make a sister device on a different form factor (QWERTY) really doesn't make sense.

I agree the leaking of the WP7 phone the next day is very poor form by the CEO. He should have understood how much good will to the Nokia brand was being generated and the buzz. He would be able to get his Windows Mobile moment whenever he wanted. Why kill the N9 buzz.

Haha, I didn't notice the pattern in the stock price (rose after N9, declined after WP7) but it fits the general pattern, the investors do not seem to be impressed with Nokia's Microsoft alliance and its moves. And yes, Compal (of Taiwan) who seems to be the actual factory making the first 'Nokia' WP7 phone. The ultimate irony, Nokia's own smartphone factories standing idle, and Nokia pays for a third party factory to produce its new phone. This while the company is making a loss. Good moves haha.. Thanks Boris

Vikram - You make good points, Nokia was having trouble adjusting to the new world in the iPhone Era. But you didn't read my blog article about how to fix Nokia from January, before this Elop mess. I explained clearly how to deal with Apple and the iPhone. But Vikram, I have also written on this blog for many years what I think of Nokia and its various moves. We are in 2011. What you say is true, but we are now looking at how the situation has been made FAR worse in the past 4 months, than the previous 4.5 years. So yes, there were many historical reasons and many systematic problems. But Elop was brought in to fix those, he has made the situation at Nokia far far worse than it was.

While this blog article was about Nokia, you mention RIM. I think RIM certainly is a perfect example of NOT messing up the 'past 5 years'. The iPhone launched in 2007. So Apple's disruption has been in the market for four years now. RIM had become the second biggest smartphone maker in the world behind Nokia. Then while all others were attempting to copy the iPhone, RIM quietly went along a different path, very profitably - grew unit sales - and grew market share! RIM kept growing up to last Christmas.

In an environment where Android came to disrupt all including Apple, RIM has been steadily shifting its business away from being US-centric to being global (Where most of the smartphone market is). The most 'business-centric' of any smartphones, RIM shifted to consumer smartphones (where most of the market is). And they managed to become the darling of the youth market (where the future is). And this all they did quite profitably while growing. I think RIM was doing fine. In 2010 their market share started to decline but were still doing far better than say Windows or haha, Palm. I would say RIM's problems really didn't start until their unfortunate adventure into tablet PCs which I think took their attention away from the main business and is draining their competitiveness and profits now. But RIM is nowhere like Nokia. RIM has consistently ranked AHEAD of the iPhone in one age demographic - 16-24 are group. From Canada to the UK to Indonesia. This company is not in trouble (yet). They may be. But they are not yet. But again, their mostly North-American investors see how RIM is doing in the domestic market and judge RIM very harshly because of that.

As to 'Elop convenient scapegoat' for 5 years of mismanagement. Well, I said on this blog last year, that I warmly welcomed him. I said of his Microsoft strategy in February that it would take time, and we would not know if it succeeded until earliest in 2012. And I have been chronicling good developments and news here on this blog like the excellent launch of the N8 last year after a year of delays. I honestly saw Nokia flaws and errors for years before Elop came along, and I have honestly given him a chance. It is not skapegoating. I am now critical of actual management actions by Elop, this year, as Nokia CEO. That is what this whole blog is about. Those silly statements have made a bad situation FAR worse.

eFlop - so N950 is Dali rebirth? I didn't know that, thanks. That is interesting. So in January this was obsolete in the mind of Nokia CEO Elop, but suddenly in September it is worth making.. haha.. we live in interesting times.

Martin - this is my blog, my hobby. There are no advertisements on this blog and you paid no fee and you had no registration to enter. If you dont' find value in it, dont' read it. I have volunteered over 2 million words on this blog (a typical hardcover book of mine - I'm a 12x published author - has about 300,000 words). I can write very boring technical stuff if I feel like it, and sometimes I like to spice up my blog writing with attempts at humor. I felt like telling the story of Stephen Elop's spanking. If that offends you, please go away. My loyal readers appreciate my writing and can see past the silliness for the facts.

rodrigottr - thanks! I really appreciate it and yeah, its so nice to see regular readers come back here and refer to stuff I've written before. It honestly is a nice feeling to know there is a 'regular' readership out there who appreciate what I try to do on the blog.

Hey, great point about the Board. I certainly agree, the Board of Nokia needs to take responsibility too. They were slow to fire OPK last year. But they also once they decided, they did move quite fast in finding a replacement and got rid of OPK swiftly once Elop was hired.

As to the Board's responsibility in this. First, the abandoning decision (of February) of Symbian and MeeGo (that Elop is now partly back-tracking) must have had the full support of the Board. It must have been actually discussed at least in principle, as a possible 'solution' to Nokia problems when Elop hiring negotiations were ongoing this time last year. Elop came in to 'save' Nokia, which was on the brink of generating losses. He HAD to save somewhere. I've written many times, that the Elop hiring decision (vs for example Anssi Vanjoki) was not about Symbian or WP7. It was about Nokia profits. Elop was given full authority to do what it takes - including firing thousands of people, including terminating 'darling' projects and managing his company. But in that discussion, it will have been discussed, that he should study Symbian (and MeeGo) viability and if they are not viable, seek alternatives. We know this, because we know that by November Elop was in discussions with at least Google and Microsoft and had been turned down at RIM.

So the Board had said 'do whatever it takes' and Symbian was among many other things like NokiaSiemens networks and Navteq etc, on the table. Then Elop made the tough choices.

And seriously, in November-December 2010, a choice of Microsoft Windows Phone was not very 'bad'. It was 'worse' by February when we had Q4 numbers out and saw how badly WP7 was doing, but even then it was not a 'wrong' choice. I have argued on this blog, that Nokia had the 'best' smartphone strategy of any legacy dumbphones makers (ie LG, Motorola, SonyEricsson etc) when we exclude the pure smartphone makers like Apple, HTC, RIM etc. Nokia's real competitor is Samsung, not Apple, and Samsung is copying Nokia. Its bada smartphone OS strategy was a direct Samsung response to Nokia taking ownership of Symbian (where Samsung used to be a partner). And bada was exactly like Symbian, positioned to be the mass market OS for cheap smartphones for the masses.

So, sorry for long response.. about the Board. They made a decision to hire Elop. He seemed to be a good choice, IT guy, West Coast guy, 'cloud computing' guy. Very highly regarded, a great public speaker. The Nokia investors liked him, and rewarded Nokia with a 10% share price hike since he was hired, up to February 2011. I think the Board made a good choice. We didn't know how Elop would manage. Nobody can know that. It was not until his Microsoft Strategy was unveilled, that we saw how bizarre is Elop's management style.

The Burning Platforms memo is a disaster. It will be sited in MBA case studies as the classic case of how one internal communication can do irreparable damage to a giant global brand. Note - the ACTUAL oil spill by BP in the Gulf of Mexico did not do as much damage to BP's brand, as Elop's memo did to Nokia's.

So the 'errors' in management by Elop started in February. One error can be put to practise, its his first time as CEO. The Board should forgive him even that grave error. Its not the memo itself. Its Stephen Elop since, that tell us, he is now adding gasoline to the fire he started. He is literally making matters worse. The statements, one after another, the US California designed phones - that didn't go over well at Nokia's global footprint. He got spanked for that. The dual SIM phones. He got spanked for that too. the Skype commitment! That is what got probably all Nokia major client CEO's calling up Jorma Ollila personally to demand Elop be fired. That is why Elop has been spanked.

And I really do believe - I have no knowledge, but I do believe - the situation has gotten so bad, that Nokia Board is already quietly seeking to find his replacement. And it is almost certain - it won't be a Nokia insider, it won't be a West Coast American. It will almost certainly come from the carrier community.

Now, if the Board doesn't act really quickly now, then yes, they are also at fault. But Elop didn't start to fail in September. He was doing fine until February. One mistake is not reason to fire the CEO, not even two. It is now the systematic way in which he is destroying years of Nokia carrier-relationships, which is why he has to go. When the carriers revolted in a Nokia boycott, that was 'the last straw' that 'broke the camel's back' haha..

bamalam - good points. Note the long discussion about the Board in the above. But I like the points also about MeeGo as a platform beyond phones. And yes, as to N9, I think its a nice evolution of the Nokia thinking and fixes at least some problems of the recent past (autofocus haha) but keeps other problems (battery, come on!)

Thank you all, I will return with more soon

Tomi Ahonen :-)

LoveNokia

Nokia can't afford going back, so, that's it, no plan B as what Elop said, and sometimes without plan B will encourage people make even greater work, like Apple was also so down some years ago.

If Nokia fires Elop now, the stock will drop another 50% or even more.

Many people hate Windows because its monopoly in PC world, therefore, it is not nice see the same situation that Google could monopoly new smartphone generation.

Why not give Windows a chance? And it is the only chance Nokia has now, chaos will create more and more damages to Nokia, Nokia needs team work. Nokia could avoid joining with Windows, but definately not now, with all the money Nokia earned before, all the cash spread, it couldn't even save itself, that's a shame of Nokia management and shareholder board.

Nokia needs win back consumers, normal consumers don't care if it is Symbian, Meago, Mango, Droid, or Windows (different from PC users), what they want is a solid device with desirable software. Maybe Meago is great, maybe Droid is not bad, but the only one who could help Nokia to pass cashflow difficulty moment is Windows -- nobody told me that Nokia has cash problem, but if it hadn't, why not buy back its own stock now since it could be the very right moment.

@don_afrim

Tomi, you are right. Elop is a muppet point blank but the Nokia board is mysteriously silent these days while Nokia itself is burning, why?

I honestly think that Nokia is done for good, in today's form at least. No way they can maneuver themselves out of this self inflicting mess without losing its independence. I think they will be bought out by a big player in the tech market with an own ecosystem, and I think it will be non other than HP. They are a PC maker but have realized that the future is mobile, what did they do they went and bought themselves a great OS for peanuts now what they need is SCALE to put that OS in the greatest mobile hardware maker in the world: Nokia. HP+Nokia+webOS are a match made in heaven and peanuts for HP to swallow Nokia at this price.

I've said it all along that Nokia needs to buy webOS and now you watch in a year we will see Nokia webOS phones at last, but under the HP brand.

Branedy

Being the owner of an N900 I can tell you that I still believe that the apples and androids of the world are still catching up with it. Sure I don't have an app store to compete with them, neither do I have many 'fart' apps to choose from.

I do know that the N900 surprised Nokia and it's pundits by requiring them to produce more of them well in excess of the numbers predicted, a number that eFlop has not mentioned, but is estimated to be in the mid 6 digit numbers range. And those sold without advertising. It indicates that Nokia could sell a brick like the N900, if only they would advertise it, let alone a slick N9.

What ever happened to Market forces deciding the fate of products, Microsoft is almost more about preventing Linux/Android than it is about 'saving' Nokia.

Let Nokia continue to build EVERY kind of platform and see which ones succeed. S40, S60, V3, Anna, Meego/Maemo and WP AND Android. Why cut off your footprint when it's already established?

You want to clobber your completion? Overwhelm them with products.



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