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« Thinking of Donna - Recollections of DJ Tommy T | Main | Postcards from the Digital Jamboree - Whats Happenin' in Smartphones Bloodbath? »

May 18, 2012



microsofts troubles with security, stability, and slow sw releases started with 1 BIG feature they always thought is good of everybody: LEGACY SUPPORT

apple recreated their OS twice or thrice in their history without legacy support and yet they are happy ?


i appreciate your elaborate insightful articles but

sorry Tomi, I still believe elop's 'of course' meant

"operators dislike skype"

and I will no longer post comments related to nokia and elop

in this article.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi jiipee, vijay, don and Grim

And Sander, I forgot.. (see Jiipee)

jiipee - hey, great point to Sander about Google way to make money. And Sander, sorry, I forgot to talk about that. Yes. Google has figured out the way to kind of 'game' the system in telecoms. Normally, if you want to be in control of all the devices in our pockets, the only way is to get a licence to operate a network ie become a carrier. That means license fees but most of all, it means massive infrastructure costs, typical modern cellular network infra costs about 1 Billion dollars for a typical mid-sized country. Then you still have to fight the other rival network operators and its near impossible to be in 'most' pockets of your country unless you're the incumbent who might have half of the market.

Google instead has now become the predominant OS layer. They have captured essentially half of all handsets (assuming the total handset industry migrates during this decade from dumbphones to smartphones, as increasingly the industry consensus is agreeing with me on that). And what do they get? They have very similar info to what network operators are able to get about our traffic and behavior! This is what many futurist and technologists now argue the most valuable part of the telecoms future. The carriers have access to it, and Google does (and of course any other smartphone OS vendor, Apple, Blackberry, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung etc). But only Google reaches half of the planet this way - all without spending one dime on network licenses and no billions on the networks themselves. Its a kind of heist of the century in a way haha.. They will never need to charge one cent for the OS, this data is so much more valuable..

jiipee - obviously we both agree on the future of the role of the 'mobile' being a kind of centralized connection device tying together our digital devices, screens, etc and providing connectivity also across those devices.

vijay - good points about MS other businesses and I don't agree on those. I would suggest, that their initial growth was, and their sustained business to some degree still is, dependent on also being the OS provider. The office suite for example comes very often as a package with new Windows laptop purchases. If those customers were actually to select apps for their 'office' needs, they might very well buy other apps or packages, but MS gains disproportionately by being the default OS platform on PCs.

don - thanks! And obviously we 100% agree on the Nokia parts haha. Should be fired already haha..

Grim - please note same as the comment I said to vijay about Windows OS being a basis for much of MS other sales. Not all, definitely, but a major part. As to end? I did say last year I didn't expect Nokia to survive this Spring. That time line is starting to run out haha..

Ok, thats the responses to all, thanks for the comments, please keep the discussion coming

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@Grim Reaper:

very true about Nokia : 1 or 2 months

their only saviors:
1. win8
2. patents
3. also support android [???]
4. lowend / medium / base markets
5. play 2nd fiddle in china, russia markets [android is king, iphone is 3rd]


@Tomi, wow I never thought of this angle!

"They have very similar info to what network operators are able to get about our traffic and behavior"

gr8 insight.

I wonder in what ways knowledge about "users traffic and behavior" can be leveraged ?

It also reminds me of
1. google collecting wifi data by mistake:
2. apple collecting of user/anonymous location data:



It's very unusual to read so direct comments of a Director of Communications. I am a loyal Nokia client since the Nokia 7110 and have followed the Maemo/Meego since the beginning by owning a N770, a N800, a N810, a N900 and now a N9. You can find old posts from me on those projects where I have warned many times how the project will fail if the top Nokia exec and the rest of Nokia don't take it more seriously. At that time, not only me, but the whole community, should have loved to communicate constructively with people like you at Nokia. We never get that level. We were simply ignored. Nokia trashed all the effort and go for Windows Phone: the worst possible situation for a Open Community, the history proved that many times.

Now people like you trying to defend a impossible position are irrelevant. You can cry loudly anything. Nobody will take attention. Tomi have a extremely deep understanding of the reality that affect Nokia client like me, and from what I know, he understand probably as well if not even more the mobile phone market internals. Nokia have lost client like me because, even in the hope of success of this Maemo/Meego Open Community, I never get the feeling that Nokia was paying attention to his community. Now Nokia play the Microsoft card (more realistically Microsoft play the Nokia card to death), but Microsoft don't have any real client like me. Microsoft customers are only PC manufacturers and enterprises that forces users to use bloated software, mostly by killing choices, and fight against any Open Community that do not strictly comply to a Microsoft domination plan. I don't want to have anything like that in my pocket, I will feel contaminated.

I now have a Android Nexus to learn the new world. Still preferring and enjoy the N9, but Nokia not any more.

Jean-Christian de Rivaz

Tomi T Ahonen

UPDATE re Johnatnokia John Pope

Sorry readers, this is not related to the Microsoft blog, but because John Pope came to this thread to continue the fight, I do want to record it here, what just happened at Twitter. I will be posting a full blog about all the developments in Electronic Echoes Part 2 soon, including this of course. But for the record

John Pope just tweeted in reply to me demanding many times that he shows where I have fabricated quotes about Elop. He tweeted: "Not new & not about direct quotes at all, but twisting words into bogus ‘admissions.’ #factsvsfiction"

So John Pope is now shifting away from his May 9 accusation that I fabricate non-existent quotes, into the position that I now twist words. That is a shift. That is implicit acknowledgement that his original position is not tenable. He was wrong. He no longer holds that I fabricated, he now suggests that I twist words.

I will not deal with this LATEST accusation, until John Pope both explictly acknowledges he was wrong to accuse me of fabrication - and he apologizes. Then we can start to talk about what other accusations he has made.

Please to all in the comments, lets try to keep this discussion still about Microsoft, not this bogus unwarranted fight John Pope johnatnokia Director of Communications at Nokia has started with me. Thanks!

Tomi Ahonen :-)


I think the two biggest mistakes Microsoft did with Windows Phone was.

1. No backwards compatibility with Windows Mobile apps. Microsoft should have worked hard making this work as far as possible. A company that whose success is basically built on backwards compatibility should have known this. I had a Windows Mobile device and it was ok and HTC Diamonds were cool phones at the time. There are loads of programs for Windows Mobile with a giant "ecosystem" (I hate that word) and Microsoft killed its own ecosystem that they had been built up during several years. I know several people who bought apps for Windows Mobile but since they didn't work on Windows Phone they switched to Android. Good work Microsoft!

2. Changing to Metro UI. The Metro UI is absolutely awful and it looks like it was made for seniors or very small children. You quickly get tired of the transition animations and just want them to be over as fast possible. "Tiles" is just a new word for widgets and they are very limited who you can arrange them on the screen. The level of customization is very low, how many people have you seen with pictures of their loved ones or pets as wallpaper on their phones? Does Windows phone allow this? Even if it did the tiles would obstruct the wallpaper. Metro UI is total fail when it comes to GUI design. Windows Mobile UI was a much better candidate for having similar UIs for desktop and mobile apps which was the idea from the beginning. Instead they change the UI of desktop Windows which is their main seller and destroys it, how smart is that?

The business model of Microsoft is not competitive against Android. Android is free and everyone can download it. This means it easy to obtain knowledge about the system which leads to many potential Android engineers. Since the availability of Android is great many smaller businesses use Android. I've seen many non mobile phone devices which run Android, this can for example be measurement tools or data loggers. There is a great probability that a manager say "we can use Android" because they are more likely to previous experience with Android than with any Microsoft mobile or embedded OS.

Windows Phone on the other hand is not that obtainable. Actually with Windows Mobile you could download the source and everything but Microsoft didn't expose this possibility very much. Also, that Microsoft dictates what kind of hardware you should use will limit the sales. The conclusion is that the business model of Android is superior when it comes penetration and Microsoft can't compete with it.



"apple recreated their OS twice or thrice in their history without legacy support and yet they are happy ?"

You simply don't understand the difference between "legacy support" and "transition path". Yes "legacy support" is a way to death in the long term. This is why "legacy support" is generally only a temporary state, the time required to make a "transition path" in place.

I don't like Apple, but I have to recognize that there are really good at playing transition path, especially by changing two times the CPU instruction set and bringing UNIX base in place of the old MacOS. By the way, did you realize that Windows is the last OS not using UNIX bases ?

Nokia heaved a transition plan from Symbian to Meego with Qt. Qt could have been the "third ecosystem" if actively supported by Nokia to Android and Windows Phone (the two ports are already functional). Nokia could have successfully make a transition from "Connecting Peoples" to "Connecting Communities". But Qt is not in the interest of Microsoft, there are afraid of it. This is, I think the reason #1 why there infested Nokia. Microsoft don't like making "transition path" (or in fact make that only for big account customers), there uses "legacy support" until it became too bloated and then there break everything. Not only WP7 have no path from actual ecosystem, but it's already a dead end as clients have to buy a new phone to get WP8.


Tomi T Ahonen

Aki - you know the rules here. Don't post stuff that isn't in the blog.. I deleted your comment because of a dig you stuck at the end, it was otherwise a good posting, please repost it.. but stick to the point..

Tomi :-)


Regarding operators hating Skype. Tomi is a consultant and I guess his customers are mostly operators. This probably means he constantly hears operators moaning about Skype which of course is responsible for a dent their budget. Realistically they can't do much about it. I've heard that some operators are planning to block Skype IP packets but that would result that customers would abandon those operators and that would cause even more loss in revenue. The operators are in a no win situation regarding this and I can't see how it can be solved other than they start competing with Skype when it comes price.

Aki Antman

One recent example on a carrier (AT&T) commenting on Nokia & Microsoft (source:

The launch of Nokia’s Lumia 900 has exceeded expectations and Windows 8 will further boost the Windows Phone platform. This is according to Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T speaking at the JP Morgan technology conference.

He was quoted in saying the following about the Lumia 900 and Windows Phone:

"I am really pleased with what I am seeing out of Microsoft and Nokia coming out with their first product. The operating system works really well. It is simple, it is easy to use, it is intuitive."

"The reception to the Lumia launch has actually exceeded our expectations. So we think there is a very good chance that Microsoft will have a very good OS that will be right in there with iOS and Android."

"When they come out with Windows 8 in the fourth quarter, I think it will actually add to the value that that OS brings to the marketplace, in that that will be the first time that you can truly have a similar experience on your PC, on your tablet, and on your smartphone from soft Microsoft. From what I have seen and the previews that I have been given, I think it is going to be exceptionally good. I am very upbeat in what they are bringing to the market."

Aki Antman

Tomi, sorry, I don't have time right now to repost it. But if you considered my last phrase a dig, maybe you should reread some of the other comments in this thread.. But sorry for that, anyway.

Aki Antman

Oh, a friend still had the tab open with my comment - thanx for a quick response! So here is the original comment again (without the last paragraph...):

This is exactly the problem with these posts by Tomi. He knows the *OLD* telecom business inside out (or at least I guess so, as I'm no expert there). But clearly he refuses to see the new role of carriers. Maybe in Tomi's world carriers dominate everyone, but in real life that's not true anymore. Just see how Apple dominates the carriers as an example.

And Tomi now thinks he knows Microsoft, too. Sorry, he really does not. Windows is a big business to Microsoft, even though the real breakdown is not exactly public. But this is of course public: in Q1/2012 (Microsoft FY's Q3) Windows and Windows Live generated $4.62 billion in revenue. Meanwhile Server & Tools generated $4.57 billion and Business Division $5.81 billion.

Windows is of course important for Microsoft. But Microsoft does so much more, as Vijay already said.

And carriers hating Microsoft & Skype.. Oh well, not so true (anymore). Almost all the big carriers worldwide are already working with Microsoft and many are already reselling their solutions like Office 365. (See my previous comment for a quote from AT&T's CEO, hadn't seen that one when I wrote the original comment).


Microsoft's position is quite paradoxical:

In one hand, it has a very strong captive market (companies, any PC buyer who doesn't have money to buy a mac), in another hand it pours oceans of cash in markets they obviously don't master, raising risks company takes.

Besides that, I see other mistakes MS made that makes company more fragile (relatively, as it's still quite strong) :

- MS doesn't listen to customers, it teaches them; many companies aren't pleased with that.

- Migrations are more and more costly, companies often skip OS versions (many companies skipped Vista as it wasn't reliable, and as they move to 7, there are many chances they will skip Windows 8)
As said Jean-Christian, Apple's always been careful about its transition path, since System 5 to latest version OS-X (classic mode on early OS-X, Universal binary... even Boot Camp is one of the best ideas they had)

- MS doesn't know many softwares they sell, as they actually didn't develop them; most remarkable example is Flight Simulator; since Microsoft kicked Aces studio out, they weren't able to make a proper Simulator... too bad.

- If online apps (google docs for instance) keep on evolving, people will be soon more confident in changing OS, as it won't matter any more.

MS is still a giant, but it's not optimized; everyone remember what happened to Kodak, or to General Motors.

Unlike Gates, Ballmer is not a genius; his wealth is due to the fact he was at the right place at the right time.

And to me, as I mentioned in a previous post, Elop and Ballmer are just like Dumb and Dumber; I'm looking forward their next dog-phone.

I recall a case in a company where I used to work, which compiles all aforementioned arguments.

The company wanted a new project-management system; instead of developing a home-backed one, a MS was considered as cheaper...
Actually, like politicians, MS are very good in making promises : they promised us a cheap and efficient product - just like they promised WP7 would be a success and that WP8 will, to be noted -

It was not adapted to our work methods, and instead of adapting its product, MS told the company to adapt its methods to MS tools.

That was quite bad accepted by the company (which used to manufacture planes for 90 years), MS was kicked out of the project, and their tool was adapted by "home" developers; the whole project cost much more than planned.

We also realized MS and its consultants didn't know their own product at all (not surprising as almost anyone at MS is a director, the others being trainees or consultants).

Tomi T Ahonen

To Aki

Excellent that you happened to have it.. I did see it was a very good points, I'll get to it in sequence here with the replies, but also, I do have to 'police' the rules here else it is total chaos haha, especially now that there are some Nokia and Microsoft trolls messing about as well, plus the usual spam so I gotta delete comments almost every 5 minutes haha

Really, good points, thanks for reposting, comments coming later

Tomi :-)



You most probably are very right about the operators situation. Since the next operator's network architecture is LTE, and LTE use VoIP for the voice (the details are more complicated, but the switching network architecture is no more in LTE). Basically this means that everyone will do VoIP in the long term. For the operators, aside of playing a dangerous game by degrading concurrent VoIP packet, there is little hope in making different revenues rate from different packets based on the service there provides to the client. Like internet provides, there will just link client to the Internet, regardless of the content. Maybe there is a niche market in granting some bandwidth at a higher price, but VoIP in not that demanding (less that for the switching network) and there have to make there own VoIP a satisfaction anyway to keep there own client happy.

I don't think that operators are dumb about those facts. In the coming years the price of VoIP packets will match the price of a normal data packet. There just play any cards there have to make this future as far as possible. Skype was not too dangerous when it was a independent company trying slowly to take attention from clients that have to install it. Operators prefers to see the thread as a small entity that grow slowly. But Microsoft buying Skype changed that game in a big way. Microsoft have the power to install Skype (by default or by update) in all Windows based system (PC, game, mobile, enterprise, etc...) in a very short time. Operators fear that Windows 8 buzz could be that, and don't trust a single word from Microsoft about this subject: there already heaved lied so much time.

Maybe operators will be more comfortable about VoIP when all there networks will be adapted to it. But now there have to keep profitable a hug amount of switching network infrastructure that have more and more problem sustaining the fast growing data packet demand.



Just one question... do you consider Nokia latest results (sales) as a success?
Your boss himself considers them as "mixed"... but since his strategy is astonishing, results should be much better, shouldn't they?

If you're not able to make what some call a "Jesusphone" with WP8, maybe you can try the "Elop-phone" (see picture bellow)

Sorry, it's not very respectful of Mister Elop, but as a shareholder who lost thousands of euros, and as a dissatisfied customer, I feel I have the right to express my lack of respect for your CEO, lack of respect, which is actually completely reciprocal.

Tomi T Ahonen

More comments

Hi vijay, jcamdr and At (Aki, will do you next)

vijay (several comments) - about the 'of course' haha, ok, we then agree to disagree. About Nokia in next 2 months, good points and I'd add that there was I think yesterday or Wednesday a fresh analysis on one of the big financial sites about Nokia market cap value and the book value of the company. The share price is well below the value of Nokia assets, which means - if I remember my Finance MBA courses correctly haha - that its worth some corporate raider to come in and buy the company for its parts, and split it up. Like that fictional Gordon Gekko character in the movie Wall Street. I've said before, that I think when the hostile buyers appear, Microsoft will rush in to pay premium to buy what Nokia is then to safeguard the Lumia line. But for Microsoft the more Elop can get rid of other parts before that, the better it is for Ballmer.

On the data part, yeah haha, welcome to the club. When you examine it from that angle, suddenly this is a monster play for 'all the marbles' haha. And yes, both examples you mentioned, Google and Apple are clearly angling for the data collection. It definitely stretches Google's image of 'do no evil' haha... Also its an increasingly accepted dogma now by many futurists that indeed, the data we collect from mobile phones is 'the new black gold' for this century, as Alan Moore said those years ago. Lets see how that plays out especially for example Google's intentions in mobile money. How much more value does the data gain, if we add to our telecoms behavior, our wallet behavior too, from credit cards to cash..

Jean-Christian - thank you so much for that public statement of how you feel. I am sure when other people long-time loyal Nokia fans and developers read that, they totally agree with you. What I only would hope, is that some smarter heads at Nokia - probably more at the Board level - would understand how you feel and that there are thousands, if not millions like you out there feeling the same. Thank you.

At - we totally agree. Excellent points, very well made

At - about the consulting. Yes, operators/carriers form a significant part of my clients but so too are handset makers, network tech providers, and IT companies etc. About what can operators do about Skype. They can't kill it, they can't stop it from existing or even growing. What they will do, tooth and nail, is to not support its growth, because they see Skype as the worst form of cancer to the carrier business (I've explained in the separate blog articles, please follow the links from this blog and read). So they will prioritize any other OTT service such as iMessage or BBM or Whatsapp or Facetime etc ahead of Skype. And they will hate Microsoft for now providing Skype tons of money to continue its guerilla war against the carrier business. So the carriers will continue to fight against Microsoft globally. What they are particularly good at, is to convince Microsoft into paying them money, so they always first say nice things like US carriers now say about Windows Phone. Its exactly the same as European and Asian carriers said six months ago. Then after they get their money, they will torpedo Microsoft at every chance.. Mark my words haha..

Thanks for the comments, keep the discussion coming

Tomi Ahonen :-)



Here's a new piece of information about Nokia:

"The unfunded defined benefit pension plans are the critical issue when attempting a salvage value for NOK....much of NOK's unfunded pension liability is off balance sheet and has been estimated at $10 billion euro.......i.e. they are already technically insolvent....that is why the bonds were downgraded to "Junk"."

Do you have any information about this pension liability?

The comments to this entry are closed.

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