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« The Apple Q3 Results in Smartphone Wars | Main | For the Record: My projection of US election 2012 one week before voting »

October 29, 2012



ZTE has just passed Nokia and is now the forth largest smartphone maker. Nokia has fallen out of top 5.


Hi Tomi,

I've been following the Nokia debacle and even though I didn't think the sudden, no-way-back switch to Windows Phone was a good move, I didn't expect such a sharp drop in Nokia sales and I really believed that Windows Phone would fare better with Nokia's weight behind it.

You've covered extensively this whole mess and you were right from the very beginning, however there's one question you have yet to answer: WHY is Elop still in charge ?

Why the Nokia board and/or shareholders haven't fired him already, like HP did with Leo Apotheker when they realized his plan wasn't a good one ?
I mean, even Microsoft has lost faith in Nokia and is rumored to soon compete with them with their own hardware.
Does he know any Jedi mind trick to talk the board/shareholders into believing in his plan ?
I can understand that he managed to get buy in for his plan initially, but now ?

Please share with us your thoughts on this question !



Also what is doing the finish governement ?


I think they give Elop one last chance - Lumia 920+820. If these handsets dont do well, it's goodbye Mr.Elop. I suppose this will happen in February - March 2013, cause I seriously doubt the latest Lumias will be a big hit. Let's hope Nokia will be able to recover in the post-Elop era.
To be honest, I see only one chance of recovery for Nokia(but I'm not a specialist). Forget Windows phones. Keep them updated but stop any development of Windows handsets. Get back to Symbian or MeeGo or, go Android. Nokia with Android will certainly sell more than Nokia with Windows OS.
Obviously, since I don't know how much would cost Nokia "to go Android" and how much time would such a change take, my so-called solution might be utter crap. But I hope Nokia can still give up Windows or at least diversify the OS, because right now the future looks bleaker and bleaker for my beloved Nokia.


Anyway, I read Mr. Ahonen's posts on Nokia, but there's something missing in his articles. And I'm not the only one seeing this.
My big question would be: what would Mr. Ahonen do if Nokia's board proposed HIM right now to be the new CEO? Maybe the battle is already lost, but he should at least try to do something to turn the situation around. What would he do?

Fabio Correa

To Johnny:

What? That's not missing in his articles; Mr. Ahonen has come up with recovery plans for Nokia for many quarters; even today's article has a proposal to salvage something from total utter destruction, so it is not missing today either.

I don't think he would accept such an appointment. Who would?


I think Nokia should see where 920 and 820 leads then.

If they are not WILDLY SUCCESSFUL. And I mean, iPhone level of success. Just abandon it.

Slowly reintroduce Symbian,I mean, Nokia Belle FP2 and up with better hardware as low cost smartphone.

Work tightly with Jolla to make another Meego/Mer/Harmathan/Linux smartphone using the Swype UI and N9 design. Do NOT aim for the next year. Something for 2014, where you don't need to spend as much to rush a project out.

Or, simply abandon smartphones forever. And bankrupt in a few years.

Sander van der Wal

As there were no Nokia MeeGo devices in any kind of significant number, I doubt the Chinese wanted the MeeGo smartphone of old back.

Anyway, with the smartphone per-regio sales estimated, it should be possible to see whether the Elop effect is visible in all regions at once.



>>Slowly reintroduce Symbian

It's too late for that. That train has passed.

Although Symbian would still be ok for low cost smartphones, ever since Nokia self-destructed that market has been completely taken over by Android.

And here lies the big dilemma: Nokia is screwed regardless of what they do.

If they continue with WP they continue making losses and run out of cash - unless WP8 becomes a surprise hit.
If they switch to another platform they lose at least a year to develop and produce something competetive while having high R&D costs.
If they abandon smartphones they lose any chance of earning money in the long term. Dumbphones are a dead end.

So, sadly, right now they can only do one thing: Continue as they did, pray, and hope for the best. All alternative paths lead to certain death, this one only to almost certain death - not good but still the only (slim) chance for survival.


"So thats the deeper analysis of Nokia by regions. Again, readers, this is getting to be a pointless analysis. I will still do this for Q4 but not into next year, as Nokia is diminishing and almost disappering as a major player in smartphones... Who cares what tiny smartphone provider Nokia does as a 'regional split' or its split across the platforms."

I care!

In fact... I hope you'll put together all your posts about Nokia and publish a book.

Here's the cover:

You have the contents. :)


An article that doesn't even need to be commented...



The thing is by staying with WP Nokia is losing more money. Even when they abort now its more cheap then going on. Nokia can live on for a while, refocusing and coming back, when aborting right now what continues to burn there cash.

This is not possible with Elop and Elop will stay till end of 2013Q1. That are 2 more quarters to make it even more harder to survive and recover. There is very less time left, at the current ongoing burning rate, and that important time is lost forever. Elop is bringing that company to an end till the end. He is not done yet. Trudt him and give him just some more quarters and the job is done.



Because the BOD is highly incompetent. All those in the board are newbies, newcomers. The old crew, the Nokia dream team, is long gone and they got replaced with class C candidates since class A was gone and class B not willing to join knowing where the road ends.

The options left are limited. What should they do? Who would be willing to take over the CEO-position and the damage Elop left? Certainly no class A or class B CEO. They, the BOD, knows they have no options left. Its an end game.


@Tester: agreed a full Symbian comeback would be a doomed strategy too.
The only way out would be to bet on Meego... Maybe buy Jolla back and build on the great reception that greeted the N9 ?
So they're not 100% screwed yet, they still might have this solution (although the odds they can recover with MeeGo are still slim)



>>The thing is by staying with WP Nokia is losing more money.

Right now they do, yes.
What I mean is that the only option left for Nokia right now is to take the gamble that WP8 will be successful. If they lose they'll lose big, that's for sure.

But every other path leads to certain death, the incompetent management by Elop made damn well sure of that. They do not have any other alternative, except maybe to shut down the smartphone unit for good - but I don't want to know what the impact of that would be on Nokia's market position. It may be a disaster for their reputation, worse than anything that happened over the last 1.5 years.

J.O. Aho

I thought majority of Lumia sold in China were Symbian based, are we sure that the 801C sales ain't counted as a WP sale instead of Symbian?

Also, do you have a prediction of Jolla in China, do you think they may make it or will they just be a side note that everyone forgets in a short time?

Wayne Borean

I think everyone missed Tomi's main point. Nokia's carrier relations are ruined. Switching operating systems won't fix that.

Changing out management is the only answer.



@Wayne :

New skype version on WP8, which is permanently active, will make things even worse.

Strange that Microsoft doesn't learn anything of its mistakes.

Earendil Star

Nokia has been doomed since February 2011.

Tomi understood the trajectory the company was taking better than anybody else. Kudos.

Meanwhile, even if WP8 is a success, that won't help Nokia. People will just buy Samsungs and HTCs.

Why? Lots of reasons. People don't trust Nokia any longer. Furthermore, Nokia is not allowed to differentiate within WP.

Worse, Nokia was *forced* to gift its best apps (e.g. Maps) to MS & the WP8 ecosystem.

As correctly pointed out within the article quoted by vladkr, Nokia will become a phone design division within MS.

No other option is viable now. Sad.


There is an issue about Nokia (and other WP players) which shocks me.

LG is about to release its new Optimus (G and VU) products, which clearly outperform Nokia Lumia 920 in every characteristic, and is also cheaper.

According to LG CEO, they added an optical stabilizer since their customers asked for it after the Lumia 920 was revealed in early September.

That means Nokia showed it cards to all the other players... but couldn't use them immediately.... and here's my problem.

Samsung, HTC and theoretically Nokia (theoretically because we know it's not the case) pay Microsoft for a license to use Windows Phone. So Microsoft is a supplier, HTC, Samsung and Nokia are the customers.

Microsoft forbid its customers to release their smartphones before a given date, putting them into a delicate situation (especially for Nokia, as LG for example is giving an reply on time).

How come a supplier dictates such conditions to its customers ?

I have some experience in industry, and usually, the customer asks for a service at a given date... if the supplier can't deliver on time, then another supplier is contacted. If the supplier accepts the conditions, but can't deliver on time, then it has to pay for compensations.

With Microsoft, the situation is quite paradoxical as the supplier has authority on the customer, whereas it should be the opposite.

With the full Microsoft strategy, Nokia not only put all its eggs in one basket, they also put their balls on Microsoft's hand, and they're being squeezed like lemons right now.

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