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« Humanity are the data wells that make the black gold of the 21st Century | Main | Elop 25 Million Dollar Golden Handshake for Destroying the Company - How Could This Happen at Nokia (analysis and speculation) - Tomi plays detective again »

September 23, 2013



@Sander van der Wal
"Blackberry was executing the strategy that Tomi was recommending for Nokia, keep developing one's own platform. And that strategy has failed miserably, Blackberry had to write down 1 billion in unsold devices, they fired 40% of their staff."

Not sure if I'm allowed to comment on BB here, apologizes if wrong but:
Can't compare BB with Nokia (other than that they share an incompetent executive team) but two factors regarding BB that I find interesting:
1. The Z10 was upon release immediately priced out of market.
2. The BES10 strategy was terrible as it (amongst other) didn't support previous BB models.

Too bad for BB. "Like a Meego & Android had a baby" was a standard comment I heard from developers.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hey, Baron95..

Come on! You know the rules. If you try to argue that Nokia failed in this, or Nokia's ecosystem that, whatever - and I have FACTS in this blog proving otherwise, you cannot post that comment without first ACKNOWLEDGING that I wrote what I did, and then providing FACTS, not your own silly irrelevant opinion, of why my posted facts should not count.

Feel free to post the nonsense, it takes me one click to eliminate your comment. If you spout that rubbish, it is all gone. Read the blog, check the facts, come back with valid points and give us some EVIDENCE if you want to argue against my point. I am growing sick and tired of your counter-factual rants here

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Despite the fact that there's a solid case of criminal action by the ceo and the board, absolutely nothing will happen. Just like nothing has happened for the past 2.5 years. Rules are for the little guys sad to say. Where's the finish or European govts or stockmarket regulators? Asleep, complicite or unwilling.

Tomi T Ahonen

Patrick and Sander, lets not talk Blackberry on this thread, ok. I'll let your comments stay, but if you'd like to talk BB, lets take that to a previous blog about the smartphone industry or BB itself, ok? This blog was clearly about Nokia.

Tomi :-)


Enough about Elop, can you talk about the Board that allowed this mess?

Kevin P

I think the early part of this analysis is pretty misleading. You imply that Symbian was doing fine in 2010, and Nokia was a strong and growing company. But in reality Symbian had huge problems and its rising sales were not a sign of Nokia's strength but a limited-time anomaly caused by the rising smartphone market in general.

In reality, people saw what smartphones could do and chose Nokia for 3 reasons: it was cheaper than the competition, Symbian had some features that iOS/Android still lacked, and Nokia had good brand loyalty. But by 2010 the writing was plainly on the wall for all three of those advantages. Android smartphones were getting cheaper and cheaper; the competing OSes continued to add missing features like copy-paste, MMS and multitasking; and customers were becoming more aware of the shortcomings of Symbian compared to Android and iOS, which was eroding Nokia's reputation. BlackBerry was in a very similar situation at the time, seeing increasing sales despite falling market share; they collapsed soon after with no help from Microsoft.

The last few paragraphs make it clear that you agree Nokia needed to switch away from Symbian, so why include such misleading charts earlier in the article? The analysis stands up just fine if you skip all those paragraphs and start from the disaster of the Burning Platforms memo.

Earendil Star

On the ludicrous statement that "every single European company in mobile self distructed". Actually the mobile revolution is still being powered by one European company, without which none of this would have been possible: ARM.

Furthermore, saying "self destructed" for Nokia, means forgetting to consider that THTRH Flop was a saboteur. No-more-Nokia did not self distruct. It failed after the coming of THTRH Flop, by the way an American.

What is certain is that Nokia failed after -and despite- adopting the WP (P)OS. What Nokia would have been if it had adopted a different course -be it with Meego, Android or both- we will never know. What we know instead and for sure is that THTRH Flop declared that Meego would be killed despite its success. Hardly a sensible strategy. Actually, one thad destroyed value for investors, since MS -thanks to Flop- knew Nokia had no options outside MS, and was therefore able to be sold at a fire sale price: just compare it to what MS would have paid if it had fairly bought Nokia back in 2010, like Google did with Motorola.

Furthermore, the "American" argument is just BS to sway attention from what really counts. That THTRH Flop and MS actions badly stink.

And finally, being a paid MS shill and lying does not count as Christian behavior. Spare us this propaganda tricks and stick to facts, not mendacious statements.

Sander van der Wal


Here are some facts for you. From, the nokia group annual accounts choice box at the bottom of the page.

Net sales in millions
2006 2060
2007 2641
2008 2294
2009 1733
2010 2019
2011 1606

Notice a drop in net sales from 2641 million euro to 2019 million euro, without any kind of burning memo being released. Sales crashed in 2009, and were up a bit in 2010, crashed again in 2011

The UK
2006. 2425
2007. 2574
2008. 2382
2009. 1916
2010. 1470
2011. 996

Net sales crash after 2007.

Look at the other top ten countries. Same pattern. iOS and/or Android enter the market, and Nokia sales crash. Sometimes there is a bit of a temporary recovery, sometimes there is not.

Clearly, the facts show that Nokia was in trouble. Increasing global sales hid this for a bit, but the pattern is undeniable.


MeeGo was conceived after iOS was introduced. Maemo was older. The Qt acquisition was in 2008, after the introduction of iPhone in 2007.

Tomi T Ahonen


Yes, I deleted your comment but I sense you had a valid point there, so this is why. You claim that Nokia had died because all European makers died due to Apple iPhone. Fine, you can believe that. In this blog I PROVED to you that prior to Elop mismanagement Nokia was beating Apple like a rented mule - yes selling 2.2x more smartphones - profitably - than Apple. If you want to argue that Nokia is like other Europeans who failed, you HAVE to address that point. THAT point that in Q4 of 2010, Nokia is vastly bigger than iPhone, VASTLY bigger, bigger than HP was ever of Dell or bigger than Toyota was ever of GM. And Nokia did this with the gap growing not shrinking.

Answer me that, with some facts please. I openly admit that you were here promising that Apple will kill Nokia like it will kill everyone else. You were wrong. Nokia did die, it didn't die by Apple, it died by Elop. Or give us some evidence otherwise.

I like your comments from time to time, but if you spew the garbage, your comments are deleted as you know. I am counting on you being a sensible adult this time, and dealing with the issues sensibly. Please prove my trust in you to be warranted... cheers :-)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Dansus - I have mentioned where the Board is also at fault. MOST of the problems to Nokia were caused by Elop - even his own top management disagreed with him - usually resulting in them either being fired or resigning in protest. Elop himself admits he has received opposite (sensible) advice that he has rejected. So yes, the Board is at fault but the majority of the fault is with Elop the Chief Executive of Nokia, who makes the executive decisions.

Kevin P - I implied none of the sort. I explain CLEARLY that Nokia smarpthone sales - Nokia branded smartphones sales - were growing while Symbian was shrinking market share. This is not an analysis of the Symbian ecosystem, this is how Nokia handset division was destroyed. I also explain CLEARLY that Nokia was in trouble, Nokia the corporation, but I explain that the problem was NOT in the smartphone unit, it was in the networks and Navteq units, where Nokia was making losses and caused previous CEO to be fired. I know you've read the blog but I suggest you read that first part more carefully. I make those points very clearly, explicitly.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Sander

Good points and thanks for the stats. First, obviously, as Nokia reports global numbers in the quarterly results, the overall global Nokia picture is told by those results, not individual countries, because obviously we could go pick other markets like Brazil or India or China and get dramatically rising numbers. But yes, about Europe.

First the point, yes thanks, clearly your stats help prove the point that Germany was Nokia's biggest European market in 2010, as I said in the blog. Secondly, that from 2009 to 2010, while the UK declined, Germany increased, so these two markets, up to the Elop Effect gave a 'mixed' result in Europe, one market grew while the other declined. And finally, the most important point, the data you supplied proves conclusively my theme, that right after the Elop effect, obviously, both markets collapsed from 2010 to 2011.

You claim that this data proves that Nokia is suffering because of iPhone or Android entering the market. That is a huge jump of logic from this data. The global numbers do not support that at all for the iPhone - because if somehow Apple was stealing share from Nokia, how can Nokia grow more strongly than Apple at this time. Also, most of Apple's iPhone sales at this time were in the US market. Meanwhile of Android's rise. At this time globally Android growth is driven by the US sales, not stealing share from Nokia because Nokia US share was flat at this time. Android at this time - HTC, Samsung and LG in the USA - were stealing primarily from Palm and Windows Mobile - tellingly as Sammy and HTC both were offering Americans smartphones on both Windows and Android platforms haha..

I hear you, that you want to see a pattern based on those two countries. Those markets show European volatility, which is also evident in France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Netherlands etc. Some go up, some come down. We have Nokia's European sales in Nokia Q4 2010 results, when they also report annual sales, from 2009 to 2010. Nokia sales were as close to flat as is mathematically possible - a 2% decline only in revenues and 3% decline in unit sales. No, Sander, Nokia was not experiencing a collapse of sales in Europe from 2009 to 2010. From 2010 to 2011 it did - total - European handset sales collapsed 27% in revenues and 22% in unit sales in that year. And from 2011 to 2012, you know the story...

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Herring Hunter

Thanks for the article and the fun speeling errors: Tomi invents the smarpthome - profifts for sure :-)


@Sander van der Wal:

"MeeGo was conceived after iOS was introduced. Maemo was older. The Qt acquisition was in 2008, after the introduction of iPhone in 2007."

Correct, please forgive me for mixing up Maemo with MeeGo.

So, about the numbers:

2010 tells us two things:

1. The overall stagnation in Europe is clearly a sign that Symbian was aging and reaching the end of its life.
2. Symbian was in no way in such a bad shape that an immediate panic reaction was needed.

Furthermore, Android was nowhere near strong enough yet to threaten Nokia with a competetive selection of devices. Hell, back in 2010 Android was a pretty shitty OS that only succeeded due to lack of alternatives, not due to quality. Nokia had it in their hands but completely dropped the ball. Had they pushed Maemo earlier instead of 'protecting' Symbian they would already have had some roadblock in Android's way to domination, had they not endlessly delayed MeeGo they would have had competetive offerings long before Android became dominant. More importantly, they would have had something a lot BETTER(!) than the then current Android version! And Nokia still was the dominating company in the smartphone market! Not even Samsung would have been able to beat that. Sure, the US market was lost but why even bother if the rest of the world is on your side?

So whatever numbers you bring up, there's a few things they could NOT prove, most importantly the need to scrap all the in-house development work and switch to an unproven, externally developed OS that had no backing in the market. I think they would even have fared better, had they stuck to Symbian after face-lifting its appearance and making software development for it easier - both things they did in 2011.

I did one project on Symbian/Qt and honestly, it was by far the best development platform at the time, much more comfortable to program for than iOS and lightyears ahead of Android - and let's not even start about Blackberry or old Windows Mobile. Developers would have loved it. I'd still love it because over the years nothing had changed at both Apple and Android, if one discounts third party development tools.


"Nokia's handset unit was still earning 5.3 Billion Euros of revenues per quarter (ironically, exactly the same amount it was now sold for)."

Actually, wasn't the actual sum for the sale 3.79€ billion? The larger figure that is often quoted instead is a combination of the purchase price and a 10-year lease on some of the patents. At either price it was a steal compared to what it was once valued at.

Anyway, Elop is not the first to work against his own company to the advantage of MS. There have been others. Belluzzo was probably the most famous before Elop in taking out technologies that were in markets Bill wanted NT to enter.

_The Recusant_

Tomi, Nokia has made and is continuing to make Nokia Android phones until now:


"In fact, the project is so ahead in its development that Foxconn has made and delivered a cool 10,000 "Mountain View" prototype units to date. Moreover, there are still more development that's going around the prototype and Foxconn is continuing its manufacturing. According to the report, the project will continue to live on at least until November. Then, Nokia shareholders are bound to approve or denounce Microsoft's acquisition offer."



Tomi, I generally enjoy reading your opinion and analysis. And I agree with you for what its worth. Not only when it comes to MS play for Nokia handset unit but with everything you write. However your personal rants are getting rather annoying. Yes, we all get it, you dont like MS (neither do I but for different reasons), we also understand how big and profitable Nokia was before Elop, etc. Its just it is very fucking hard to get to the good part in all this venom that you keep spewing out in every post.
All Im saying is that your content is great (and accurate!) but the style of presentation is way too biased (anti MS and pro Apple). If its fine with your audience then feel free to ignore my comment. Then Im obviously not the target audience.

Sander van der Wal

The fall in revenue in Nokia's key markets has to come from somewhere. It doesn't mean that everybody was buying iPhones. It can also mean that everybody stopped buying Nokia's and were aspiring to buy iPhones. And a bit later, they started buying Androids. This is testable, correlate the introduction of iPhone and Android in a market with the decline in Nokia's revenue.

Whatever the reason, people in Nokia's key markets stopped buying Nokia's. They stopped buying long before the Memo. Therefore, the memo did not cause people to not buy Nokia's.

Regarding developers, as soon as Apple's App Store opened, app sales were massive. Two orders of magnitude bigger than sales for Symbian. I don't care how nice a platform is to develop for, if another one makes lots more money.

Not that the iOS tools are that bad. They were much better than the Symbian tools. The Qt tools might have been even better that the iOS tools, but they were way too late with them.

And they were way too late with Qt apps being properly supported in the App Stores. Developers had to wait more than two years after Apple's App Store for that to work. No commercial developer in his right mind is going to give up two years of revenue waiting for a vendor to deliver a proper tool set and a working app fullfilment system. They would go bust in that time.

So, there you have it. Your burning platform. Your old customers aren't buying your stuff anymore, and your old developers have left for a place where they could make lots more money.

_The Recusant_

On the other hand, the obvious formula for a deluded & delusional marketing company proclaiming itself as a mobile tech innovator would simply be to employ paid sockpuppets to endlessly regurgitate the same RDF-flavored marketing propaganda & have the assurance that it, in turn, would be mindlessly parroted by the tech-ignorant, pro-US mainstream media acting as a self-reinforcing echo chamber. It's easy enough to follow the NaziParty's propaganda minister's mantra: Repeat a lie often enough until it becomes the truth.

And, as P.T. Barnum has said, a sucker (read: hipster d-bag) is born every minute. And, in the US, no one has gone bankrupt underestimating the intelligence of the American public. Just ask Dubya & Cheney.

_The Recusant_

Tomi, sign this or similar petitions to this:


@Tomi "Yes, Elop had a contract that would pay him 25 million dollars if he managed to sell Nokia's handset unit to Microsoft."

The big question is, when did he receive this incentive?

If he received this incentive back in 2011, this is clearly a criminal act.

But if we received this incentive in 2013, after the collapse, I think this is not so bad.

Nokia didn't have much chance to survive without being acquired.


Another point that you should address:

One of Elop's advocates main arguments is to point to Blackberry and say: "see? that's not an exclusive problem. It also happened to Blackberry!"

I think that there are many counter-arguments:

1) Nokia was bigger than Blackberry

2) Nokia's fall was quicker than Blackberry's

3) Blackberry didn't make a series of dumb decisions, like picking the worse, less popular operating system and killing their cash cow to please a "partner".

These are just a few differences between Nokia's and Blackberry's fall.

You should write a post about this topic, to put an end on these arguments.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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