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« Mo Mobile mAdness - Ecosystem-Elop Sells Nokia Mobile Ad Unit (??? - True!) | Main | No Straight Lines: an open access participatory book »

February 10, 2012



Very interesting and comprehensive analysis - what in particular struck me one year ago was the fact that regardless of wheather MS was the right way to go or not, I never realised why an earth somebody would state that "Hey folks, the products we have are crap, but within a year we have something wonderful available" - I was expecting Elop to have something really smart in his pocket to later explain what was the rationale for shooting down everything he had available to sell before the MS strategy would start paying off... Still waiting.
And yes, Nokia had an excellent strategy combining a solid vision of how people & places would integrate in my pocket to facilitate my personal needs - but the execution of that strategy was just terrible with obviously lacking or failing governance to steer the organization to support that strategy and the innovations to actual products with a focus on a proper user experience that would actually make the products desireable by the consumers.


@baron95 :

- Where do you live, if it's not a secret (that might let us better understand your point of view) ?

- Have you ever used Apple products on a regular basis ?

- if number of sold units is not important to quantify an ecosystem's success, why the number of applications would ?

Quite often one can see an application and its demo -> that's two entries in the store, but only one application. And many useless applications are not better than few good ones.

To me, what's important is how much companies can earn out of their ecosystem.

Apple makes a lot of money because it offers more than just N thousand of applications.

It's the best choice on movies, TV-shows, books, newspapers... it has complete range of applications, for pilots, for doctors, it's compatible with braille translators...

I also think that Apple Stores are also a part of the company's success. People can see products, they can touch them, try them, get advices from staff who know what they're dealing with.

Apple stores are company's face, and it's always more pleasant to see the person you're talking to (in this case the company). Customers are more confident because they know where to go in case of a problem.

Nokia used to have a lot of Stores too, but they decided to close most of them

So it's all little details, but details that make differences.

The fact is Apple thinks about its end-users whereas Microsoft thinks about developers.

Who of the two is right?

P.S. I don't talk about Android for a good reason; I don't know this environment (or ecosystem, or whatever...) at all.


As usual, Tomi, another epic post.

One questions why a CEO would essentially crash the value of his company so quickly. You detail exactly how, of course, but haven't really provided an explanation for WHY he might do this. Other than just being entirely incompetent, which, honestly, I don't think Elop is. Especially if the end game is, as I think it is, that Nokia and Microsoft "merge" (likely Microsoft buying Nokia). In that context, Elop's actions make a lot more sense.

I'd love to hear an alternate explanation for Elop's actions, beyond simple incompetence or delusion.

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This is a good topic to talk about but unfortunately the reading is too long. You almost dissect each and every one of the words in the memo. Its too redundant and you discuss the same points over and over again. I was very interesed in the reading but it became too much and frankly I couldnt finish reading it. It is too long and the article loses power. You have to get to a conclusion quickly to have an impact.



Well, my questions were off-topic because they weren't precise enough:
I asked where you're from to understand what view you had of Nokia, why you have this opinion about MS, because it doesn't match what I can see in places I know.

I also asked about your experience with Apple products, because you compared Nokia's switch to Intel and from Systems 1-9 to OS-X, and the way you did it surprised me.

Now, I think you misunderstood my message; I don't care about how much developers earn, and I know it's not what will keep the ecosystem alive.

What I meant is that stuff Apple offers, such as films or TV-shows for $10, books for $x and so on and in many languages - thanks to all agreements it signed - are a good asset for Apple to be attractive.

If we use the ecosystem analogy, then EVERY element of it is important; so applications are as important as marketing, as available media, as design, as features, etc.
Like in real life seaweeds are as important as shell fishes and as important as White sharks.

There is an outsider we don't hear much about : Amazon and its Kindle. You'll tell me that Amazon doesn't make cellphones - neither does MS - but things like kindle fire look more and more like tablets/smartphones.

To me, that could have been an interesting partner for Nokia, and though small right now, a future challenger to existing ecosystems.


About ecosystem:

When/If Windows Phone ecosystem is strong enough, the eco system is not as important anymore.
WP ecosystem will not grow strong enough before Apollo. WP as it is now is too weak. With Apollo, it becomes possible to program C++. But then another problem arises and it is that C++ is portable. A standard that works for all operating systems and it makes it much easier to port applications. Guessing that most people who write applications for Symbian today also compile them for MeeGo.
Ecosystem and how important they are things of the past when or if Windows Phone becomes strong enough.

I think Android is moving towards native C++ apps too.

Windows 8 / Apollo also has a strong focus on HTML5.


@Baron95 wrote: "Google offered nothing to Nokia - just standard terms. Microsoft offered a lot, but in exchange for a clear public vote of confidence on Windows Phone ecosystem."

Microsoft offered a lot in exchange of Nokia's soul.

Nokia abandoned all the other operating systems, and all the hope of being free.

There was no fallback plan. That's *not* how the game is played at that level by the pros.


@Baron95 - Very well known leadership and war technique "Burning the retreat bridge behind you" - may be but a very bad strategy execution as well to actually burn it in front of you rather than behind...



I don't claim that Elop and the institutional investors in Nokia are in a conspiracy to destroy Nokia to benefit Microsoft. I just say that it would not be inconsistent.

With such strange actions coming from Elop, without any official censure, it's just fun to engage in a bit of conspiracy theory.


Baron - 10-16 crowd you mock produced the piece of engineering art, that swipe ui in matter of 6 months, running circles around anything Android has to offer.
Another lazy bunch created best C++ toolkit in industry. The only on that architecturally survived mobile revolution with its evolutionary improvements. The only one that can bring adequate experience on $50 3 years old Gen hw. Call me back when Microsoft comes anywhere close to this.
The sophism of your argument comms from showing how powerfull software organization Apple is and than assuming MS is a proper answer to that , while all accusations about bureaucracy, large corporate corruption and arrogance seem to fit perfectly to them.


I mean, the only reasoning behind this can be: OMG MS is so powerfull, we can't compete with them, let's give up on the spot.
But if that's the case how comey Nokia not only competed but have been winning in the market with all the army of Windows Moblie powered Asian contenders? How come MS got spanked in it's turf (enterprise) not only by strange european company but also by some obscure canadian company?


@Baron95: Thank you for your answer. Maybe I'm a little bit old-school, but it's always nice to know who you're talking to, and it makes debates more interesting.
By the way, I'm French (Russian origins) living in Canada. I'm IT analyst in financial services company, but worked previously for few French defence companies (again in IT).

Sorry for this off-topic, but sometimes it's nice to know we're human after all.



A little about the QT perspective (from a developers point of view): the main benefit of QT for software companies was that it made finding talent for projects extremely easy.

In the last many-many years the majority of multi-platform desktop software used QT (Google Earth, Reason, KDE, and I think everyone can name his favorite title too). The mobile guys doing the majority of the work (not the devs doing the fart apps for the US iOS market...) are also using it - if you need to be multi-platform C++ then you are most likely using QT.

This is an incredible advantage:

- As an employer you can skip the first few months of training usually required for in-house solutions, and employ talent with years of experience in the specific environment you are developing. You can hire 18 year old guys with 6 years of QT experience, and its hard to even describe how hardcore these guys are. They seriously kick our old a***es... :)

- Existing, freely available and high-quality documentation and the helpful community decreases the amount of time spent on finding optimal solutions, tracking down bugs and porting to new platforms.

So I guess what I'm saying is: QT was one of the strongest assets of Nokia when talking about the software part of the ecosystem. It allowed (and still allows) dev companies to focus on WHYs and WHATs rather then the HOWs and struggling to find talent.

Anyway, that's just my 2 cents from Hungary, a market quite different from the often cited US one.


Baron. You're right about the cost and complexity of achieving combination of portability and performance. It is the cost Nokia has paid through last couple of years of delayed answer to IPhone. My point is, Elop stepped in when the work was basically over. The quality of N9 software is testament of that. The adequateness of its symbian implementation is another one. A friend of mine, a seasoned IOS developer was paid good money to deliver an app for a national TV Chanel. A result? He was delighted and told me that starting with no experience he had hacked a working 1St version in a matter of 2 two weeks in QtQuick. And one that was working smoothly on not freshest Nokia Xpress S60 handsets. MS has nothing grondbreackingly better to offer, esp worth lost independence: no better technology, no greater mind share (Ms have dedicated developers but qt / Nokia had them as well), no diffrerentiation but lots of Asian partners that are waiting to undercut Nokia on price once its dedication put into moving WP from the ground brings effects .


One more thing Baron is spot on is how US style managerial of fixation on a single goal at all costs explains the seemingly dilusional theme of last interview covered in following post. This is poor mans version of Jobsian reality distortion field.

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At its anniversary, now is a good time to set the Burning Platforms memo into the proper context of reality and facts. To see just how idiotic it was. Because the memo was so error-laden, misguided and most bizarrely, even where Elop was right, his actions since have been against the 'sensible' parts of the memo, I have to do this blog properly. This is a long article, some 12,000 words. Take a cup of coffee before you start. This would be the length of a whole chapter in one of my books. But lets examine the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Burning Platforms memo.

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The Burning Platforms memo can be read at several locations including the Wall Street Journal. I have reproduced the memo here verbatim (in italics), but added my 'translation' from a Rumsfeld-Cheney'an deliberate distortion of reality by Elop, to the more commonly accepted definitions of 'facts' and 'reality' by the rest of the world that was not serving the George W Bush government.

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n the countries, where Lumia launched, in Nokia's strongest market, where nearly half of consumers already have Nokia branded smartphones - when they walked into the store, and were shown Lumia smartphones - out of all European customers who ended u

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