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February 25, 2014

Comments

Earendil Star

So, say the astros, the N9 was not sold in Nokia's main affluent markets (EU), but it was in Brazil, Russia and China...

Reality police here. One mustn't forget that one of the main tactics employed by THTRH Flop to hamper the N9's diffusion (which, despite being supported by no marketing whatsoever, or actually being hit by negative news such as THTRH Elop saying it would have no future, apparently sold more than the Lumia despite the latter being supported by one of the strongest maketing campaigns in history...) was to sell it at premium price (i.e. at the level of the iPhone 4s) with no discounts, nor carrier subsidies.

This tactic made it immediately "unattractive" precisely in the emerging markets quoted by the usual astros.

In summary, THTRH Flop sabotaged Nokia's real flagship with, among others, these moves:
a) not selling it in premium EU markets
b) making it clear the OS stood no chance because MS, ehm, Nokia, would discontinue it asap, no matter how successful it would prove to be.
c) keeping the price extremely high, especially in consideration of the markets it was sold in

Well, despite all this, the N9 outsold the first Lumias (the ones being marketed, pushed and supported with full force). Not bad. Not bad at all.

Does this change reality? Will this save Nokia from its end? Is it relevant for the immediate future? No.
Still, why should we distort reality? Even if MS won the Nokia wars, it should not be forgotten how victory was achieved.

RottenApple

@Leebase:

Please, not the old fairy tales again.
Back in 2011, 90% of all customers had no concept of 'ecosystem', that was just developing.

And you still don't get the position Nokia had in non-American market. They sold their phones based with shitty OS (Symbian) and they STILL SOLD - not because they were great but because they were Nokia! Hell, they still sell their WP crap just because they are Nokia. Without that the system would be long gone.


So, had they released a competetive product without being stained by Microsoft it would have become a bestseller. The driving force of the name Nokia alone would have been sufficient to create an ecosystem.

As for Blackberry, they tanked because you can't endlessly sell your hardware with outdated software. Nokia wouldn't have had to for much longer, they could have survived the 4 months because their self inflicted destruction and the N9's release. But when Blackberry had their new phones ready, nobody cared anymore.

E.Casais

@Leebase

"The value is in the ecosystem."

It always was.

There is this tendency nowadays to state that ecosystem === apps, and to assume that the player that unavoidably will reap the rewards is the device manufacturer, or possibly a service provider (such as Google), with app developers getting some morsels.

Fun fact: there were huge, profitable ecosystems long before the iPhone. Except they were not exclusively based on apps, but instead on binary content such as wallpapers, ring tones, music, and yes, apps (Java ones), as well as hardware (such as changeable covers, table loudspeakers with battery charger, etc), and that the players reaping the most rewards were operators (with voice calls and SMS). Blackberry had a different, thriving, profitable ecosystem as well.

You assume that the success and profitability of mobile in developing countries must be evaluated against the smartphone ecosystem in the USA. This is myopic. Different markets, different technical and economic conditions, hence different business models and value chains. Perhaps banks will be the major players capturing value from the mobile world (with mobile payments and banking, already well established in Africa). Or perhaps transport companies. Or education institutions. Or firms delivering and distributing energy/electric outlets for people to charge their devices (believe it or not, there is a thriving economy of such vehicles in Africa, see http://www.opendemocracy.net/damian-rafferty/biker-africa-mobility-doesnt-just-mean-phones).

Perhaps the Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon of the world will never gorge themselves with the profits they enjoy in developed markets. It is a different world, so the argument that "Apple/Google/Microsoft/app developers cannot make money there, so it is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things" misses the mark.

And if only 15% in the 1st billion really are in this wonderful app ecosystem you are fixated upon, then it means that the space of high-margin app-oriented smartphones is already much too crowded, and we can expect a serious market purge.

Earendil Star

On more Baseless fairytales.

Let's be clear here: MS never gave billions to Nokia. It just channeled WP marketing money through Nokia. MS did not pay a single dime on anything else. Actually, it hoped to GET money from Nokia, in the form of WP fees from Nokia to MS, which were supposed to be multiples compared to the initial peanuts MS channeled to Nokia for its WP support campaign.

This is one of the many absurdities of the MS Nokia saga. Nokia had tons of options:
1) stick with the Symbian/Maemo plan
2) adopt a combination of Symbian/Maemo plus Android (best bet, with Android plan B if Maemo failed)
3) adopt a combination of Symbian/Maemo plus WP (worse bet, given the uncertainties tied to WP and MS, the company with a decade long history of failures in mobile and notorious for killing its "partners"...)
Remember: in 2010 Nokia was still commanding a 30%+ market share while being profitable. It was not the Nokia of 2014, with 3%+ market share and unprofitable, after the THTRH Elop cure. So there was no immediate financial urgency either.

On the other hand, MS had no options other than Nokia. WP was already failing a few months after launch. Also because WP7 was a stop-gap (P)OS. MS was DESPERATE to find a solution to its plight.

And what happens? Nokia yields on all grounds, and we end up with a solution that is a free lunch for MS. No concessions whatsoever. While Nokia renounces its independence and ecosystem, which goes to MS for free. Including Maps, Patents, Store, Music licensing agreements with majors, worldwide carrier relations, mobile know-how, etc. etc..

Sorry, but in business, there is never place for absurdity. And what I described would be totally absurd, if we stick by official accounts.

Things become clear only once you admit that Nokia's board sold the company to MS in 2010 already. It was only then that THTRH Flop could arrive as new Nokia CEO and start his mole plot. And all his moves become immediately comprehensible. Because he never worked for Nokia. He always continued to serve his old master: MS and Ballmer. With this explanation, everything fits logically in a clear scheme.
Options 1 to 3 above, logical from a Nokia standpoint, become no goes from MS' perspective, since the goal was to salvage WP, and Nokia's future could not count less. Finally, the absurd (for Nokia) decision to go with WP EXCLUSIVELY suddenly makes total sense.
It allowed ridding of a formidable competitor (Symbian + Maemo) and planning for becoming a dominant player thanks to the Nokia brand.

Fast forward to 2014: the plan did not succeed as planned (with the 1 to 1 Symbian to Lumia transition), but MS wins anyway: the Nokia purchase was a real bargain. Fine. But do not rewrite history. MS now stands a chance, but only thanks to the Nokia sacrifice.

Meanwhile, we are still waiting to know from Jorma what happened on that now remote day in 2010, when Nokia sold its soul to the MS devil.

Spawn

OMAP-only: come on, don't fool yourself.

http://www.gsmdome.com/nokia/meego-hardware-specs-detailed-version-1-2-coming-in-april-2011_19697

"Now, we learn some details about the hardware specs of the future devices based on MeeGo, that will require a minimum of 512MB RAM and 600MHz+ ARM V7 CPU to run. An alternative is the x86 processor segment (Snapdragon, A4, OMAP, ST U5400) and the minimum hardware list continues with 512MB internal ROM and GSM/HSPA."

https://gitorious.org/meego-porting

"Qualcomm Snapdragon, Nexus One, Dell Streak, HTC Desire, Desire HD, .... Hummingbird, Nexus S"

http://www.androidpolice.com/2010/09/25/project-porting-nokias-new-meego-os-to-android-phones-well-under-way-starting-to-yield-results/

"Nexus One, Streak, and Desire are all based on the Snapdragon QSD8250"

Yes, Snapdragon. Hey, this is Linux and it runs on EVERYTHING :-)

http://pdadb.net/index.php?m=os&id=l2639m&c=nokia_meego_1.2

"ARM and Intel Atom"

Yes, even x86 and that should come at no surprise since Intel was in. Do I really need to point at that Exo-tablet running Meego long before N9 came out? Do I really need to point out that the first Lumina-device was running Meego on snapdragon? That Nokia's canceled Meego Tablet was using Snapdragon? Come on.

RottenApple

@Leebase:

"As for ecosystem...it's a hell of a lot more than ringtones now. It's apps and movies and books and music and tv shows and cases and radios and everything else. It's a platform where other people make money making products that work with your phone. But mostly, in today's modern smartphone...it's apps."


Ugh...

What a pile of utter bullshit.
Yes, apps are important, but for most players they are merely a means to conduct their (non-mobile related) business (e.g. banks offering a means of accessing the account from a mobile device), not a product to directly make money from.

A direct conclusion of this is that any player who it into conducting their business won't cherry pick the one platform where the most 'valuable' customers are. Banks for example couldn't afford that as it'd limit their customer base too severely.

"Yep. Meego was totally ready and primed for market dominance. So much so, the Nokia board fired their CEO and went out and hired a Msft executive with zero hardware experience, let alone mobile phone experience. "


They released a phone long before the first Lumia, didn't they?
Conclusion: It was clearly more 'ready' than the 'alternative' they got lured in.

They didn't have to release a perfect product right away. What Nokia needed in 2011 was not an iPhone killer but a means to prevent their customers from bleeding off. And for that purpose the N9 would have been more than sufficient. If problems develop they can still be fixed with the next OS iteration.

That's how Apple started (without any app capability even!), that's how Android started (their first versions were abysmally bad) - both systems needed a bit of time to mature to the point where they could take over - but according to your weird logic the same approach couldn't work for Nokia.

Instead they had to kill all momentum they had and then start from the bottom up with another system that STILL had all the abovementioned problems? Sorry, makes no sense.

What you got with Nokia was panicked stockholders without any clue about the business who forced some bad decisions onto the management. The results were quite what everybody could expect.

RottenApple

@Leebase:

There is one major difference between Nokia and Blackberry which you persistently ignore:

Blackberry in 2013 was too late. They had a measly few percentage points of market share and didn't matter anymore.

Jolla doesn't count. They never went for the volume. They were also far too late to have any impact on the market.

Nokia in 2011 would not have been too late. They were still the largest mobile manufacturer in the world with an incredible brand loyalty (that is, if you ignore the effects of the burning platforms memo which nuked most of that.)

So, no, we do not have the same story with Nokia and Blackberry. They surely made similar mistakes but Blackberry made another one - and that's the only one that destroyed them: They took too long to release a next gen device.

AndThisWillBeToo

@Earendil Star
"Well, despite all this, the N9 outsold the first Lumias (the ones being marketed, pushed and supported with full force)."

Says who?
As we have Tomi saying it did and Elop saying it did not:
http://mynokiablog.com/2012/05/04/mnb-reader-generated-fact-checking-what-was-said-at-nokia-agm/
we probably need some other source. How about Canalys and Gartner that Tomi repeatedly uses as his sources for quarterly numbers?
The amount of sold phones in "other OS" (where MeeGo lands) reported by both cannot house Tomi's N9 sales even if we assume MeeGo was only non-mainstream OS out there.

RottenApple

@Leebase:

You are making no sense.
And even if MeeGo would have become third platform in 2011, it would probably have been a 20% market share platform, not a 4% disaster like Windows Phone. Android only started to skyrocket when they were able to flood the void Nokia left. But had Nokia executed in a sane fashion that void would have never materialized.

You are still completely ignoring the Nokia factor in all of this. Yes, they executed badly, yes, they brought this all upon themselves by years of mismanagement - but in the eyes of the European public this never showed up on their radar. Nokia was the phone to have. How, do you think, was Nokia able to sell millions and millions of obsolete Symbian phones, even after announcing the WP switch? Those people didn't primarily care about operating system or existing ecosystem, they wanted a Nokia phone!

Henrik Nergård

It seems many apps are already ported to the Nokia X own store even for day 1:

"Patel suggested that Nokia had 1,500 apps submitted to the Android-based Nokia Store in the day since Nokia X was announced. If this swiftness were to continue, additions to the Nokia Store would outpace Windows Phone app submissions at a ratio of 3 to 1. Patel reminded us that Windows Phone currently has 500 apps added to its store every day.

Of course that’s apps newly developed for Windows Phone compared to apps ported with Nokia’s own rather simple submission portal, but still, things are looking good at the outset."

Full story here:
http://www.slashgear.com/nokia-x-hero-apps-hundreds-of-top-brands-briefed-in-advance-01319074/

Maybe this is the "new Microsoft" we now see.

Earendil Star

On N9 vs Lumia shares: if Flop had published those numbers we would not be debating here. But he did not. Guess why... :)

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-keeps-weird-silence-about-MeeGo-could-it-be-because-it-outsold-Windows-Phone_id26304

On the N9 market share: not zero, but low. Well, what would you expect from a phone whose fate is doomed by the same company that produces it? Yet do not forget that at that time Symbian (also doomed by THTRH Elop) sold muliples of any Lumia for ages... and guess what platform was geared to inherit the Symbian legacy thanks to QT? Hint: it wasn't Lumias...

Did you forget the Nokia MS alliance announcement? When the real man on the stage was Ballmer, not the Elop pussy? All talk of MS and the WP ecosystem, Nokia being mentioned just as an afterthought?

http://youtu.be/rTCwf6dXZOg

In retrospect, what a truckload of BS.

But, yeah, MS won, and history gets written by winners, not by losers. 1984 all again. Thanks Boring Baseless Astros Too. Not!

RottenApple

@Leebase:

"20% platform. Wow, so easy to type. We can make up all kinds of "would coulda beens".

vs.

"WP is going to be at 40% by the END OF THIS YEAR!"

There is one difference here: One is a (admittely amateurish) projection based on Nokia's previous market share and assuming a positive reception of the product (which was the case for N9), the other is just firing off a random number generator.

Yes, I believe that MeeGo could have reached 20% market share in 1-2 years, had Nokia marketed it seriously. Nokia customers were still loyal before burning the platform. They were disappointed, though, that Nokia was unable to release anything competetive (i.e larger screen, higher resolution, more modern look and feel.) So, what do you think these people would have bought, had they had the choice between N9 and Android?

Symbolset

You will follow through on the Nokia acquisition, or Windows Phone gets it.

mark notiwh

I suggest you change the blog name to "I Hate Elop"

fat block

Nice article about Nokia X. Thank you. Regards from istanbul.

fat block

Yes, With time the bugs would've been fixed, Nokias market share might've dipped a bit but nowhere near as catastrophic as with WP. The reason is, carriers would not have given Nokia the middle finger!

steve the great elop

Still whining about Elop and the death of Meego? Improve your mental health and give it a rest. Your analyst would tell you it is done, you cannot go back and change it, you need to accept it and move on with your life. But hey, you would lose a whole bunch of Finnish blog readers wouldn't you?

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