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« Why Europe Is So Critical to Nokia in Smartphones: The Symbian S^3 Sales Pattern in Q4 | Main | Preliminary Projection for Full Year 2011 Smartphone Market Shares, and Q3 and Q4 performance »

August 31, 2011

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Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Everybody. Am back from vacation, am starting with replies, doing a few at a time

Hi Roo, SVE, Vikram, khim, Afewgoodmen, Decade and Victor

Roo - Thats a fair point, but it would be 'another' accolade for Jobs if he managed that too. I think, whether this leadership is repeatable or not, Jobs has been greatest CEO ever - by quite a margin to the next best - by his accomplishments listed just in this article.

SVE - Thanks haha.. Yes, good point about retail too. I thought about it, and felt I didn't have any good metrics to measure did Jobs achieve any kind of world leadership achievement with the Apple stores. I was not aware of the Tiffany's stat, if you have it anywhere in the public domain, please post a link or where you saw it. I do think the Apple stores are something amazing yes, and he is re-inventing the retail experience too with them. But I didn't have the evidence to claim he changed yet another industry haha..

Vikram - first comment - thanks! your second comment, about the iPad development, is not inconsistent with my history here of the iPhone, both were under development obviously by 2006..

khim - good points and yes, its too early to know if the successsion issue was handled well enough at Apple, but a CEO like Jobs is not out there to replace him, who do you hire to replace a true genius like a Michaelangelo or Edison or Brunel? Nobody. That is an unfair measure. But Apple obviously now faces a new challenge, how to build on the Jobs legacy. I would expect Apple not to be quite as dramatic as it was under Jobs, but not approach mediocrity as quickly as Microsoft seems to have under Ballmer. But nobody knows that, time will tell. It does not in any way detract from the greatness of Jobs himself.

Afewgoodmen - thanks

Decade - thanks, I had forgotten that Xerox got it from Stanford Research Center and didn't know it was Mr Engelbart. Yes, deserves to be noted. But the mouse and GUI came to the Mac by way of Xerox, at least in that part, my history here is reasonably close to the events haha.. Thanks

Victor - I removed your piece as clearly factually utter baloney and you seem to be some Microsoft fanboy. I don't mind you posting here, but stick to facts. If you deny that Microsoft has angered handset makers and partners, that is utterly untrue and such postings add no value to this blog. Please feel free to post your thoughts and opinions if you can stick to the facts.

Thank you all for comments, keep them coming

Tomi Ahonen :-)

@rodrigottr

@LeeBase


Thank you!

That is the first time I think you get me!

None great genius leaves a great genius after him. Although we do know that the genius is the one responsible for choosing, teaching, encouraging and challenging those he leads. And that comes again to what me and you said: because great genius have great EGOs, one to leave a mark after him must to quit and go out make his own path.

And that is why I said on the other topic "nanotoughts about iPhone nano" and also on my last post on my blog, that Apple is today on its top and is now beginning its path of downfall. Tim Cook is meant to be under the shadow of Steve Jobs and will never be able to change Apple's path no matter how he thinks Apple is going on the wrong way. That by itself is a serious management problem just waiting to become a huge bomb. And in no hypothesis it can be considered not SJ's fault.

You said:

"Sure they wanted Tim Cook, but they are paying him to stay where he could NEVER hope to leave his mark on the world. Stay and continue the Jobs way without ever being able to actually be a Steve Jobs."

That is almost like leaving a plane to be flight all by the automatic pilot. SJ did it. He doesn't want nobody to surpass him inside the company he founded. He wants to be the best on history. And that means Apple must suffer when he leaves.

In other words, did SJ managed for the sake of Apple or for the sake of his reputation or his EGO?

And that reasoning conducts us to another: does it worth having a genius in the lead of a company knowing after he leaves you will have a great chance to go into decadence? Does the good side pays for the bad side?

I believe that is something to think about when saying SJ is a genius. Is it a blessing or a damnation?

Eurofan

@rodrigottr: Wow, rodrigottr, I think you are writing this late at night! You sound like a prophet or a pot-head, but my friend, I know the feeling, so I will give you my thoughts, because you will never get anything out of Lee except, Maemo/Harmatten is not real Meego, WP7.5-8-9-10 is Nokia's best chance not to go BK because Nokia can't do software and MS has software skills and tons of money to put behind its phone efforts, and MS wants Nokia to succeed selling WP phones, not to go bankrupt. So, rodrigottr, let me speak to your soul, or try to, my friend:

I just watched from my local public library BBC/Acorn's 1982 6 hour production of John Le Carre's Smiley's People on my 5 year old MacBook Pro. Totally gripping, not only the performance and the production quality of the movie (DVDs) but also the performance of my MacBook Pro. The ease of use for watching a DVD, the sound quality (like surround, high def? on my desk top), the quality of the HD screen image. I had to buy a new battery last year for this machine when I stupidly left it out in a car for a winter week at high altitude (sun and steam and then freezing night for 5 days) and the four year old battery swelled up and broke its casing. So maintenance for my top of the line five year old MacBook Pro over five years: a $129 replacement battery, delivered from the Apple USA website in five business days, a smooth transaction.

Jobs is not dead yet. He is chairman of the Apple board now, a position he left purposefully unfilled until this moment. Apple has more money in the bank than any other US corporation and will make an absolute killing in the next 12 months on the iPhone5, for which demand is so greatly pent up all over the world, but especially in the two biggest markets, USA and China, that Apple could build its own moon rocket and moon lander with the profits from iPhone5 in the next 12 months. Jobs has won permission to build on an old Hewlett Packard site in Palo Alto, the most expensive real estate in America and closest to the most powerful influence on computer science in the last five decades, Stanford University, a giant donut shaped building, the "flying saucer", to house the entire Apple family, with newly planted pear trees put all over and parking underground, like a true 21st century self-made-mogul. Don't worry about Apple. Apple builds "bomber" stuff ever since Jobs came back from NeXT, and Tomi is right, they are happy with the top 20% of the computing market, the most profitable part, for making thoughtful, useful machines with excellent, thoughtful, premium software, just like Hewlett-Packard used to do before it made it's first laser printer cartridge and was transformed by the retirement of Hewlett and Packard into becoming a seller of printer ink cartridges and some kind of break even efforts in IT consulting. If Christopher Columbus had sailed to North America and written the USA constitution and endowed the USA with 20 trillion dollars in gold he couldn't have done better than Steve Jobs has done for his baby, Apple. As Tomi says, Apple will have a great Q4, as they always do, and then their share of the smartphone market will settle back down to 20%. There aren't enough rich people in the world who can afford Apple products and anyway 20% is enough if you make the most profits per phone of anyone, isn't it?

Eurofan

I like Mr. Waugh's idea of a bluetooth keypad that rolls up, maybe with its own rollable Kindle type electronic black ink screen for typing longer emails or reading newspapers when the iPhone6 is in your pocket. Mr. Waugh is right, Apple will solve the keypad "problem" with a solution which is an add on to their perfect form factor, the all screen brick computer/phone. Don't worry about Apple.

Now Microsoft... Let me tell you a story I remember about IBM. It was late in the 80's, if I remember's. Anyway, MS had become successful with its first windows OSes and clones were selling more than IBM desk top computers for the first time. IBM's stock was at an all time high but starting to wobble and I think there was talk of Gerstner, or whatever. I am too lazy to look it all up right now. Anyway, what I remember is all the tech analysts on Wall Street were saying the same tune for 12 months: IBM is too big, too smart and too rich to give up the PC market to the clones and to MS. IBM will come up with something, some killer proprietary OS that people will want that will only come with IBM desktop PCs and they will win back market share from MS and the clones. Don't worry, this can't fail, IBM has too much money and will try as many times as they have to to win back the business desk top market, there's too much money to be made in this market for IBM to walk away from it and they have all the brains and all the organization and money to do it eventually. IBM stock is a buy on this pull back; buy and hold for 12 months, you can't loose. IBM stock went down for the next five years and Gerstner eventually threw in the towel on PC OSes, joined MS, and then later sold IBM's PC division to Lenovo of China, a total loss. Of course Gerstner knew better than to throw all the money at PC OSes and IBM is profitable now as a consulting company, but the stock never recovered anything like its highs from the point in 1987 when IBM made the most popular desktop business PC, running VisiCalc, etc., on DOS.

What I'm saying is Lee's whole argument is MS has all the brains and all the money and all the incentive to eventually succeed in phone OSes and Nokia is lucky to put its hopes in MS. We now know Nokia was undone by civil service minded idiots with no technical talent calling themselves Nokia middle managers and top managers when all along their long term strategy was sound: Symbian, Qt, Maemo/Meego. The last part I hyphenate for Lee's sensibilities and because maybe Intel wasn't the greatest group to partner with. Maybe the N10 should be called Maemo7 and Nokia can let the Linux foundation come to it instead of trying to go the other way with Intel as a partner. All I'm saying, rodrigottr, is the initial production run for the N9 is everywhere said to be one hundred thousand, not one million, and selling more than two million N9s in the next four months will require an expansion of Nokia production plans by a factor of twenty, not a likely event. Perhaps a worldwide groundswell on exasperated opinion will force Nokia to sell a million N9s, as Tomi predicts, but the best we can realistically hope for is for the price for used N9's on Amazon, Ebay and other sites will be higher than as new price in Switzerland and Singapore. That would be telling and fun to explain.

Eurofan

Meanwhile, I agree with you the Nokia WP phone line will land with a total thud in all markets. Not even little old lady's or school children will be fooled by Nokia and MS's massive marketing efforts. Tiles are not cool on a cellphone. They look like stupid battery powered games for drooling infants and are made by the most hated brand on the surface of the Earth, Microsoft. So I think your Q4 prediction of 1M Nokia WP phones will come true (final sales) and this will get back to the Board in 2012 Q1 and require an explanation. So will the unexpected continued profitability and success of the Symbian Belle line get back to the Board, including N8s, which only needed Belle to be reasonably cool phones. Symbian phones are cool with Belle, they have lots of good qualities and aren't at all stupid to look at. When the WP line is costing more in marketing than it is bringing in in REVENUE while the Symbian line is making more profits per phone than any time since 2010 Q4 that is going to say something to the Board in 2012 Q1 that Elop will find hard to explain. Meanwhile the techy press will be loving all over the super scarce N9 like it is the Elvis phone come to life and begging for more production releases from Nokia's Finnish factories.

The best thing that could ever happen to Nokia would be to be bought out by Apple who would build a flying saucer building, perhaps a giant brick phone like "eclair" to balance its California doughnut, outside of Helsinki to house their Nokia unit. Jobs would sign off on the deal and put Tim Cook in as Chairman, the deal mostly paid for with profits from 12 months of iPhone5 sales. Apple could run Nokia as a hands off buffer against market disruptions, with Nokia making Maemo6-7-8-9 and Symbian Belle, Carlos, Daniel, Eva, etc phones and cellular switchgear and system consulting. Let MS make a continuing profit on their recent investment in Nokia IP but draw the line at that. Let some of the Nokia models be bootable to whatever OS the customer wants, WP, Android, Symbian, Maemo, whatever; let MS have those bones, after all they jumped on Nokia first. I agree with Tomi, we will se a profit warning for Q3 but within Q3 the beginnings of the Symbian Belle profit resurgence will be seen. Q4, with the flop of WP7.5, the continuing profitable successes of Belle and the N9 groundswell and cult phenomenon in tech press... it will be fun to see Elop stammering about WP8 like Timothy Geithner lecturing the Chinese about national currency policy. Elop's story about MS phone OSes is just like the old story about IBM in desk top PC OSes. Its a nice story that makes sense at a certain level, but makes no sense if you understand what the market really wants and where the market is headed. Hats off to the Nokians who got Belle out the door and who made the N9. You gentlemen and ladies have spoken without words. Elop has done all the talking but Belle and N9 will make all the profits in the next quarters. Elop's WP line will be remaindered and ridiculed and will cost more to market than it will bring in in gross revenues, a first in business history.

The person who left a company with crappy top management was not Steve Jobs but was Jorma Olilla. I hope Apple will put Rick Simonson in charge of Nokia when they buy the company out next year. It won't be an antitrust issue because Nokia will have less than %10 market share in smartphones and will be hemorrhaging cash like a murdered cow since all the profits in the world from less than 10% market share can't cover the overhead of giant Nokia. It is a company built for at least 20% market share if it is profitable, which it could be with a post-Elopian strategy of swipe interface Symbian and Maemo and some return to roots of good phone making. Rick Simonson is very bright and knows who is competent and who is a toady milking the Nokia cash cow. Rick Simonson for Nokia CEO in 2012 Q2!

@rodrigottr

@Eurofan

Did you read my blog?

http://apitoemercado.blogspot.com/2011/09/apples-situation-and-why-it-tends-to.html

Eurofan

@rodrigottr: Yes, now twice. I guess I was also addressing Peter's Nokia Q4 predictions from Tomi's next blog more than your comments here. Sorry to bring your name up. I will check in on your blog site now from time to time to see if you do more postings in English. You write very well. When I write it is more coming from impatience not to be able to see two quarters into the future.

@rodrigottr

@LeeBase

"I will be surprised to see Apple continue on to disrupt industries every few years after Jobs."

Exactly. I make yours my words. Except for the feeling I have that if Apple stops being disruptive some differentials will stop being positive to become a great problem:

a locked environment is very good when this environment is ahead the others but is very bad when is behind. When it is ahead it makes the advantage more solid, but when it is behind it makes the disadvantage also harder.

Sometimes I get shocked about how it is impossible to send pictures through bluetooth using an iPhone!
WHAT THE HELL STEVE JOBS!! BLUETOOTH!

@rodrigottr

@LeeBase

Agree 100% with you. Apple will still be great. But won't rule the industry anymore. It will be Google the next evil monopolist.

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outlettoryburchs

Of course is too early do say SJ failed on that. But is also too early to say the opposite. That is why I said that is just my guess. I was just saying that is too early to tell he is the best CEO ever when the results of his work are not entirely know yet. And one of the most important results that is his legacy.

But I had that guess based on how Apple showed itself about succession. All the buzz and anxiety around SJ succession when everything else on Apple usually happens like a clockwork. Then the delay on iPhone 5. Then the choice of Tim Cook. I believe Tim Cook is an evidence that SJ failed on creating visionaries like him. My impression about Tim Cook is that he is a Ninja as a execution kind of person. But not a creation kind of person. When all we like and expect from Apple is about creativity. About reinventing things.

Jonathan

1. Attributing Steve Jobs full credit on Apple's pre-97 (or pre-85 in this case) successes sounds like rewriting history. Steve was not CEO of the company then. I would say Mike Markkula and John Sculley were the main benefactors back then, Jobs was concentrating far more on vision and products than managing the company.

2. The story about Xerox becoming the Mac is far more complex than what the article states. It was something else than "Steve saw it and made a commercial product" and involved great minds like Raskin, Atkinson and others. Sure Steve Jobs contributed a lot, also did Mike Markkula, who had to save the project when Steve wanted to axe it (and concentrate to his then current Lisa project)

3. The story about Steve Jobs rejecting an almost-ready "conventional" prototype of iPhone sounds false. That probably happens at Nokia, but given the small amount of products Apple has, it is very hard to imagine a *major* project like the iPhone being at that stage without Steve and the others being very actively involved. Such a major flaw in the design would have been realized far earlier.

4. Which LG phone is Tomi referring when suggesting Apple copied iPhone's design from that? Probably not LG Prada, first pictures of that surfaced in December 2006, leaving far too little time for Apple's copying.

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unfair measure. But Apple obviously now faces a new challenge, how to build on the Jobs legacy. I would expect Apple not to be quite as dramatic as it was under Jobs, but not approach mediocrity as quickly as Microsoft seems to have under Ballmer. But nobody knows that, time will tell. It does not in any way detract from the greatness of Jobs himself.

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