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« Huawei CEO Says Could be Interested in Acquiring Nokia but that Windows Phone is 'Weak' | Main | News from the Smartphone Front: Blackberry Results, other news »

June 25, 2013


Interested to know

Great write-up. Elop's actions have been criminal. I hope someone in Finland wakes up and starts assigning blame- there is a lot to go around.

So give me #jolla phone instead!

In this land of former great Nokia, how do you think that kind of re-assigning is going to happen. Even the Lumia market share is one of the biggest in the world in Finland. And, don't get me wrong, I'm definately against the current" strategy" and its implementation and all the cruel consquences of it; loss of market share, killing of Meego and N9, and dropping own OS-development, and the thousands of jobs lost in Finland, alone!


One thing related to Meltimi that puzzles me. Why would you abort your Linux based Qt platform (MeeGo) that is ready for production and shipped (N9) to start a complete new Linux based Qt platform (Meltimi) without reusing anything* while knowing there is not much time left**? And then if they finished (weeks before release) you abort. Why***?

* It was from scratch, Suse based, nothing of MeeGo got reused
** Elop himself visited the devs, gave them "freedom and full support to unleash the next billion" just to abort little less then a year later short before release.
*** Was that to silent Mary McDowell and the support she had in the Nokia BOD for a while till it was to late?


@LeeBase, yes everything has made Nokia less desirable for purchase, yet the disaster has been great for Microsoft. The destruction of a competitor for third place, the killing of a Linux-based platform, their utter dependence on MS for survival. Obviously, Elop imagined that things would magically go a lot better. Perhaps he thought that dashing Nokia on Microsoft's rocks would prove his eternal love, and they'd take him in as a lover, but instead MS just says "Look at you, you're pathetic, broken", even though it was Windows that did it.

Elop made the mistake of giving everything away for free to MS and destroying everything else, not realizing that the feelings of loyalty weren't mutual, and that he wouldn't be rewarded for spoiling the company for their sake.


I always thought this post about Mary Macdowell was loaded against Elop. Could she be the next CEO?; Qwerty ot Touch? Qwerty;


Bill Gates on CBS: "We didn't miss cell phones. But the way that we went about it didn't allow us to get the leadership, so it's clearly a mistake."


Playing the devils advocate. An alternative hypothesis would be that Elop should covert Nokia customers to WP. Beyond that conversion, Nokia had no value. Any sale of Nokia to MS would only be a payout for collaborating.

In this alternative, any project or product that could compete with or distract from WP had to be killed. The share price of Nokia would then also be irrelevant to these strategists.


So Elop killed most of the online services (Ovi), to not conflict with the ones from Microsoft?


Who can read the mind of these mad master strategists? However, anything that might make existing Nokia platforms attractive could delay Lumia uptake.

The message was clear: if you want a Nokia phone, you must buy a Lumia. And the people responded that they did not want a Nokia that badly.

Btw, that was also the strategy of MS with Vista and W8: If you want a new computer, you have to use Vista/W8. And people answered that they did not need a new computer that badly and bought a tablet instead.

Sander van der Wal

Microsoft's capabilities are truly amazing.

On the one hand they are able to forecast that Nokia's own new shiny operating system MeeGo would not be ready in time (the Business Week story, reported fact). That way they would have a change to get Nokia on board with Windows Phone. For this cunning plan to work, they would need to put one of their own, Elop, in the drivers seat as Nokia's CEO. So they convinced Nokia to dump OPK and appoint Elop as the CEO.

And on the other hand they are completely unable to predict everything else happening in the mobile software business. The success of iPhone, the success of iPad. The troubles with Windows Phone itself. The rise of Samsung. The rise of Android.

yeah, right.

What happened is that both Nokia and Microsoft came to realize independent of each other, what an incredible threat iOS and later Android were to their mobile businesses. Microsoft saw what happened in the States to their own mobile business, Windows Mobile. And Nokia saw their key markets in Europe and later Asia being obliterated. We are talking 2008, 2009.

In 2010, Nokia dumped OPK and appointed Elop. They kept working very hard on MeeGo.

Early 2011, it became clear that the MeeGo strategy was not going to work because it would not be delivered in time (reported fact). A new strategy was hatched. Windows Phone and Android were investigated, Windows Phone was choosen.

I would not be surprised that close ties with Microsoft were one of the reasons Elop was choosen as the CEO. After all, there were not that many options for Nokia as plan B in 2010, the time OPK was ousted. They could keep working on MeeGo, they could reassert Symbian, they could go to Android, they could go to Microsoft, they could buy Palm, they could start another project. All the reasons for not choosing Android were as obvious in 2010 as they were in 2011.

This makes going with Microsoft a good plan B. So you pick a Microsoft manager as your new CEO. But Plan A was at that time to go with MeeGo.


When Elop ended Symbian on Feb 11 there was a strange article in Newsweek or Businessweek - I can't remember exactly - which was an interview by Elop to justify the decision. There were some very strange things there - like Nokia employees being castigated because they actually chose Symbian devices as their own personal devices (like what would that say if they all toted iphones???) But the strangest was a story he recounted where he was looking at his options and reviewed the Meego products and had an "oh shit - it's not going to be ready moment". At the time the N9 was not announced so it passed without comment. Then shortly after they announce the N9 - well before the L800...

Tomi - you have an opportunity for a fabulous classic business book - because Nokias fall from the top is one heck of a story - just don't make it too personal!


There is a movie about Facebook (Social Network). Story of Nokia would also be a great drama. Maybe Danny DeVito could play Steve Ballmer and Philip Seymour Hoffman Stephen Elop? Tomi should do screenplay and (play Mr Bond in a supporting role)...


Tomi, you miss two very important points:
- Nokia - Microsoft secret agreement, has been told to be valid till 2016. Nobody will every buy Nokia for keep producing only Lumia or DumbPhone till 2016.
- Nokia account now 80% of total Windows Phone sales. Microsoft did push HTC when they presented together the new HTC WP8. Even with Microsoft push, Nokia outsell the competition on WP by 5:1. This show one clear factor: People don't want Windows Phones ... but still there are people that recognize Nokia as valuable mobile phone producer.

If Microsoft would acquire Nokia, the brand of Nokia would be diluted, sales of Microsoft Lumia will be not as good as Nokia Lumia. Microsoft with surface shown that they are no capable to sell any relevant amount to HW to the customer.

Yes ... maybe Microsoft was interested to have direct control of Nokia, but once they realize that Noka brand is what make the sales, and Nokia with Elop does exactly what Microsoft request to be done ... there is no point to waste money for get worst result.

Lumia is now making ground in many markets, the momentum is good, it has to be seen if this will go on.
The money, we have been told already, Microsoft with more then 5m Lumia sales will get most or all the profit. So money wise, Microsoft get already all the benefit from a possible success of Lumia




One more: When Elop aborted MeeGo the major reason given was that 'we can do only one device till end-year and thats not enough'.

1) the second device, the N950, was ready since a while, Elop knew it.
2) there was that theird device ready.
3) hw-teams had a bunch of more prototypes.
4) Lumia had how much devices beside Lanku last 2 years? One!

Also the 808 was supposed to be fated by Elop in similar ways (eg no US) and that changed only later (on pressure?). Same N9-question applies: why would you make a product and not sell it if there is demand?

One central point: his statement and reasoning that the battle of devices became the battle of ecosystems. This marked the central strategy-shift where Nokia stopped to compete with Samsung, HTC, etc and started to compete with Android. It wasn't any longer Nokia vs competition but became anybody-WP vs anybody-not-WP. The later included Symbian, MeeGo, Meltimi but not S40, Smarterphone. Last two not have ecosystems and that's where the circle closes.

Think about it. Nokia makes devices (core business) and back then ecosystems (Symbian, MeeGo). It aborts competition on devices and its ecosystems, adapt the ecosystem ontrolled by anotger and makes fighting for that ecosystems market share its core strategy. Still today I ask myself how Nokia wins if WP wins? If eg Samsung wents all in WP, Elop welcomes them, Samsung eats 90% WP market share, how does that align to Nokia profit goals? It doesn't. Its insane, flawn by design.


@timple: You mean this?

"At its current pace, Nokia was on track to introduce only three MeeGo-driven models before 2014—far too slow to keep the company in the game."

@Sander: "What happened is that both Nokia and Microsoft came to realize independent of each other, what an incredible threat iOS and later Android were to their mobile businesses."

Pretty much. The mistake for Nokia, in retrospect, was not to just switch to Android, since WP failed on its supposed strengths, which were agility and service stack.


@Tomi: "This is like Chamberlain and Hitler in Wordl War 2, British Prime Minister thought he had gotten a solid promise from Hitler not to grab anything more in Europe, but like Hitler in world history, Ballmer in tech history just took what he wanted, gave promises to Nokia and conveniently ignored those. Ballmer wanted Symbian dead and MeeGo dead. He got both."

This is a bit gauche. Also, wrong. Ballmer wasn't concerned with either Symbian or Meego. He was concerned about the iPhone and Android, which were finally bringing actual computing and mobile together. Elop was concerned about the same thing, and then backed the losing side.


Probably this "news" about Microsoft wanting to buy Nokia is only a distraction from the recent spurn from Huawei. The sad truth is that Nokia is in a state where there will be no good to anyone, least of all to Microsoft. Microsoft already has control via Elop and the people he brought in. Microsoft got rid of Symbian and Linux phones leaving Nokia only with Windows. Microsoft already got most of the patents, maybe the only worthwhile ones, farmed out to patent trolls. There's simply nothing left of value. One motivation that is being overlooked is that Nokia has been crushed just for the sake of crushing it. Sure it was a fairly large company when this started to happen, but if we look at the history of Microsoft they have a habit of crushing smaller companies apparently simply because they can.


@timple: "But the strangest was a story he recounted where he was looking at his options and reviewed the Meego products and had an "oh shit - it's not going to be ready moment". At the time the N9 was not announced so it passed without comment. Then shortly after they announce the N9 - well before the L800..."

Oh yes, the famous 'oh shit' moment...

That can either be true or not I can not judge. But whatever Nokia has releases with WP7.x could have been released with Meego, to - without any real additional effort, I guess...

Not to mention what (technical/technological) advantage WP7.x - and maybe WP8.x - could show against Meego. Otherwise the list would not be so short...

If I were in the chair of Elop I would push Meego - and maybe WP, but from WP8 only - and let Symbian die gradually with honor...

I might have some difficulties justifying introducing WP into the portfolio later on then... :-)


"One motivation that is being overlooked is that Nokia has been crushed just for the sake of crushing it."

After beating Motorola and abandoing CDMA it's not even completely unlikely that after many years they must have hated the companies' guts.

Another possibility, is that they are more interested in their mapping unit and patents than in the actual devices, since those can be gotten elsewhere.


Add to list...
1) De-funding and killing Symbian foundation.
2) Shuttering 'all' Nokia retail stores..
3) Killing Nokia's innovative line of accessories and outsourcing to partners.
4) Erasing dozens of Nokia consumer and developers facing web sites.
5) Slashing Nokia betalabs and killing innovative social software.
6) Buy and Trash Smarterphone OS

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