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April 24, 2014



What happened to the carrier support of Tizen? You have been telling us for years that carriers want a third ecosystem and it is Tizen.
Care to tell us what changed?

Where in the world is Tomy Ahonen

Welcome back sir, it's good to see you update the blog.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi AndThisWillbeToo and Where

And - no, I have not been saying carriers want 3rd ecosystem - that was Microsoft. But on that argument, I have repeatedly said that where any carriers would welcome a third ecosystem they would take anything other than that by Microsoft...

As to what happened with Tizen, I hope we will find out. It seems there has been some serious falling-out which seems strange considering how well Samsung should know that carrier support is vital. But at one point it seemed the largest carriers in many markets were all for Tizen from NTT DoCoMo to SK Telecom to China Mobile to Telefonica to Orange etc etc etc. And they had a US carrier too (was it Sprint, I now forget). I think part has been the long delays, if carriers planned for a 2013 launch and it was pushed back and back and back again.. that would eventually put them all off. But if the first Tizen phone were to be something as hot as say the N9 on MeeGo was, Samsung could find carriers coming back soon. The Samsung exec said that for Tizen to remain viable in the longer run, they would need to shift 15% of their smartphone production onto Tizen. So on Samsung's own brand they'd need to get to 4% market share (more than the peak at bada, globally) and then add a point or two from other vendors and Tizen would be well ahead of Windows as the third ecosystem but still tiny. I personally think if you're not Apple you do need to get over 10% global share to remain viable whether you're second, third or fifth ecosystem haha

Where - thanks. Been busy and heavy travel and also in regions where connectivity been bad. Plus I've actually felt like I really had nothing more to add to the tech world for a while (I'll blog about that shortly) and my focus is shifting to other matters. But yeah I've missed you guys!

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Tomi, are you serious or having fun about what you say about x-series:
"Q1 but Nokia may be saved by the X-Series running Android"

Out of curiosity? I suppose X-series is DOA.


Even Apple needs more than 10%. Probably 20% or so. But not of "handset numbers" but basically of "profit made by partners". Smartphone ecosystem needs partners and they need income. Apple grabbed the luxury segment which means that it may survive at 3% or may be 5% of "handset numbers" (today Apple developers are generating similar amount of money as Android developers even if market share is split 5:1 not in Apple's favor), but if it'll ever lose it's glamour (and people whole buy iPhone because it's fashion status)... it's fall may be swift indeed.

Don't see that happening any time soon. Not till next stage of global crisis.



" About the only thing that's going to make them look like winners is Tizen."

I'll wait with such a statement until I have the first Tizen phone in my hands.
If it's a quality product, Samsung has all the resources to push it into the market.

The future of WP solely depends on how much of the current market is driven by the Nokia brand. If it's a major factor, it'll be gone quickly and WP will make Tizen look like a winner.

As for Apple, unfortunately the numbers only tell half the story. What I'd like to see is how Samsung's sales in the premium segment developed compared to Apple's. Only with that we'd have something to compare Apple against.



" Every app that they've created for the android phones is far inferior to the Google apps"

Correct. But I'll still wait until I see what they come up with before doomsaying it.
Hey, even though I don't believe it, Samsung may actually surprise us and come up with something better than Android.

But if Tizen is the same (non-)quality as Windows Phone it won't stand a chance.

eduardo m

I think Tomi's rather negative view on Apple is because he is a marketing guy, not a business and finance guy, and beyond that his interest is in how mobiles are changing the whole world, not just nice for rich people.

By the way, I wonder if there is any truth to the rumor that Tom Cruise will be playing Tomi on an action movie based on the story of his recent kidnapping and daring escape.

Tomi T Ahonen

to the new visitor whose nickname was something like Grozki ?

I posted a reply to you explaining why I removed your comment. It didn't post by some reason by Typepad. I now don't remember your exact spelling of your name, I apologize for that.

I wrote that this blog forbids discussion about Wall Street type of short-term speculation of the stock market, does a given company share price hit its expectation or not, is it undervalued or overvalued etc, as I have decided that it adds zero value to my readers but mostly pollutes the discussion. So I remove all such debate without mercy. You couldn't know that as a new visitor to the blog. You made some other good points in you comment, please feel free to repost without the stock-market analysis part.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen


That was below the belt and you know it. If you take one Tweet out of context, out of my Twitterfloods, that is not proof of the complete thought I have had on that given topic. Go here on this blog and show me a blog where I wrote the main point of the blog, that carriers are looking for a third ecosystem - which is not in response to Microsoft's/Nokia's claim that Windows should be that third ecosystem - and then you have a point. Picking one Tweet out of my TW stream is not the full story as you well know. Play nice.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen


I meant 'saved' only in the one-quarter smartphone shipment number. Nokia's handset business died last year already.. And separately, I've already written on this blog that the X-series is DOA (Dead On Arrival for those not familiar with the term) at Microsoft who cannot let Microsoft-branded hardware running on Android be sold for any meaningful period of time...

Tomi Ahonen :-)


"Why is anything ELSE a story if Apple's stunning 44million iPhones in the March quarter is not a story?"

That story has been plastered all over the media. Why should we join in praise the Apple here too?

Apple is very well able to organize the praise they need elsewhere.

You should also not forget that there really are people who do not care who rakes in the most dough. People who are interested in other measures of performance than stock performance.

Why are you disturbed by such people aggregating in places where they do not sing the praise of the Apple?



Okay, I'll play nice. Here is from your blog:

Try to focus on chapter you have named "CARRIERS WANT A THIRD ECOSYSTEM" when you wonder why I disagree with your "I have not been saying carriers want 3rd ecosystem".

And as for Tizen, allow me to quote from that post:
"And what is their fave choice of third ecosystem today? Tizen! Yes, Intel's and Samsung's Tizen, what Elop abandoned from MeeGo partnership and Samsung jumped in to take over. Tizen."

I sincerely hope I did not break any rules of commenting in this specific reply.

Tomi T Ahonen


Please. The TOPIC of that blog of mine that you posted already CLEARLY indicates this is a posting IN RESPONSE to the myth that Microsoft was trying to push about carriers wanting a third ecosystem. Then yes, I show that where carriers would want a third ecosystem, they preferred anything other than Windows. As we've now seen with Tizen, the alliance of carriers has vanished (and I am VERY curious to find out why, as we hopefully will discover over time)

But that is once again a posting I did in response to the nonsense Microsoft was peddling that there was any demand of a third ecosystem by carriers. If they wanted a third ecosystem it would have more than 3% market share (on handsets so heavily subsidised they've been sold with a loss every single quarter since launch). I appreciate your research effort AndThis but the title 'Why Lumia and Windows Phone will never become 3rd ecosystem' is CLEAR on what I was writing about. And yes, obviously, WP did finally become the third ecosystem something I said they could not achieve but with 3% that is hardly a celebration, more due to Blackberry corporate suicide than Windows 'success'..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

LeeBase and Winter

About that money-making within the iOS ecosystem. Actually LeeBase you are presenting reasonable facts but drawing unreasonable conclusions. First, the Apple App Store was there before Android. It has a first-mover advantage that Android has been gradually creeping up on and will of course pass. First was total devices, then was total apps, soon will be total revenues. Inevitable.

Secondly is affluent customers. The iPhone's best markets are USA, advanced markets in Europe and Japan plus the tiger markets of Asia. The richest parts of the planet. Android's largest market share advantages are in the less-affluent markets like Africa, India, Latin America where the total market for services is far smaller and so too is the advertising market. But as Android catches up to and passes the iPhone in those markets too - in installed base and over time - the numbers will balance out. Even so, the iPhone line is the most expensive smartphone so its customer base is the most affluent within those countries, again translating into disproportionately large ability to spend on apps and various other mobile services including many that are advertising-funded. That also will balance out in time by the larger population of Android but that takes much more time to fully play out. The trend in every case is inevitable. Just like the Mac vs Windows and I think you know this. Apple cannot sustain an 'equal' or higher level of total developer revenues generated with a user base that is a tiny fraction of the size of Android. But Android will need time to catch up and its lead is in markets where the consumers and ad spend are least affluent, its lead in the most affluent markets is the smallest and growing the slowest... Only a matter of time.

Nonetheless, today, you do make a good, valid point that any developer should consider the iOS ecosystem and allow for the fact that while user numbers are significantly smaller than on Android, the affluence of the iPhone owners partly makes up for that.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

John Fischer

Why is it so hard to report bloodbath news about samsung? It is clear by now that for the last few quarters the company has been constanly bellow their own targets and have even misled investors with wrong sales numbers.

The company became a marketing gimmick and now is going to reduce its marketing investment as they need profits, it is clear that they are racing to the bottom in the proffit department, every company that has won that race is down and out.

The new flagship phone is a joke, the fingerprint reader is probably the biggest tech disaster i've experienced in some time ..

A bit of objectivity in the fanboy Samsung department needed urgently

Tomi T Ahonen


I report on the 'facts' as best as we can find them and then I give my analysis on what I feel worth commenting on. I TOTALLY ignore any expectations and targets of investors obviously, that is not in the scope of this blog. But 'why is it so hard' to report on Sammy? Because they don't publish their own smartphone number regularly. So we have to wait until the big analyst houses give their counts and I then can do the average of those for my analysis and my best guess of what the number was. When occasionally Samsung does release an official unit sales number for smartphones, I do report that always, of course. They unfortunately don't do that regularly. The revenue and profit number is not relevant to this topic, this is not an investor blog. As long as the handset maker remains somewhat profitable, it is viable, and I am only critical of those handset makers who fall below the break-even level and report losses as loss-making is not viable in the long run. Please keep that in mind and don't talk about the market valuations or to that degree the profits etc. Apple is profitable yes. The level of profit generated by Apple is not relevant to the installed base of iPhones as a platform for developers. As long as Apple makes some profits, it can be expected to continue the iPhone platform. The huge profits are only of interest to investors (not readers of this blog). Same for Samsung, for Android, etc. When a player becomes unprofitable (Blackberry, Nokia etc) then it is a very dangerous sign that the platform may not be long-term viable. That is the relevant point, not who made the larger profit a given quarter.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Now you are putting words to my mouth. I did not say that carriers want Windows Phone to be third ecosystem. Did not. Check back. That was not the topic.

I said that you have been telling us that carriers want a third ecosystem and it is Tizen. No talk about Windows Phone.

You said that you have not been saying carriers want 3rd ecosystem. No talk about Windows Phone.

This I disagreed and per your request linked to your blog post where you (no matter what the context) say that YES carriers want third ecosystem, NO it is not Windows Phone and YES their favorite choice is Tizen. Windows Phone mentioned but irrelevant to the topic.

It does not matter what is the reason you posted it, you confirmed that carriers want third ecosystem and their favorite choice is Tizen. Which was what I made question about, you replied to (thanks for that) and which you for some reason denied and I just pointed that you in fact have said so.


So in brief Tomi: I am aware that some people here try to claim WP is the third ecosystem but I think we both agree that if we look at market shares then three ecosystems would call for 33%-33%-33% split? Or perhaps 20%-20%-60%, but definitely 4%-16%-80% is not "three ecosystems" - it is hardly even two.

Tomi T Ahonen


Sorry about that. You are right. Yes, totally agree with especially you last short summary comment. A 3% Windows Phone 'ecosystem' is technically the 'third' largest currently behind Android 80% and iPhone 15% but like you say, its not really an 'ecosystem' because it is so small, it isn't really sustainable if we removed all the injections of cash that Microsoft has been dumping into keeping it alive the past years. About the carriers... they did seem very interested in Tizen (and before it, arguably even more so with MeeGo). But last year the Tizen enthusiasm started to wane and by year-end the news got progressively worse.

I think its fair to say that carriers are concerned about Google's uprecedentedly large reach with Android (in total numbers and percent of all mobile subscribers globally, its now far bigger than Symbian had at its height even as Symbian did at some point have similar percent of 'smartphone' users when that was a tiny fraction of all subscribers). They clearly didn't like it when Apple tried to muscle into their 'domain' such as Apple insisting early on, on getting a piece of revenue-share from data traffic - carriers soon said no to that and the few early carriers who agreed, quickly renegotiated out of that deal. Carriers also were worried about Blackberry Messenger among teenagers (the earliest mass-market OTT service on mobile) and now with hind-sight, BBM and Blackberry's deals with carriers would have been far better bargain than Whatsapp who is now the new king on OTT messaging. And the carrier backlash against Blackberry came at a very perilous time when the company was struggling with the failing tablet launch and was slashing marketing budgets - vital for any success in consumer mass market sales.

So the carriers had played with a few options and toyed with a few others but the support to Tizen was never very strong. Strongest was NTT DoCoMo out of Japan. As I wrote on the blog, when DoCoMo said they are delaying (indefinitely) their Tizen launch, that was a really bad sign for Tizen. Japan alone could have sustained volume of handset sales to make Tizen viable and offered a handful of handset makers a market worth pursuing. Then neighboring advanced mobile markets from South Korea to Taiwan to Singapore would have rather easily fallen suit. But DoCoMo pulling out is the big sign Tizen is now in trouble.

Now, what would be in the carriers' best interest? An 'alternative' ecosystem that is close enough to Android that the developers can rather easily support both (ie Linux based) but one not controlled by Google.. Let Google's Android hold the largest share globally but not 80%... bring that down to say 50% or 60%, that would be kind of 'optimal' from the carriers' point of view. A strong third/second ecosystem (not Apple) who would be more friendly to carriers (ie not Apple, nor Microsoft) - ie Tizen with carrier representatives on the steering board and not a single owner, led by Samsung with Intel, would sound like that optimal third choice. I am very curious about why it went sour last year. Is it personal chemistry? Was Samsung getting too big (another Nokia) and carriers decided they don't want that? Was there some internal politics or what happened. I think Google has been managing to play the 'do no evil' card very effectively in contrast to Apple, Blackberry and Microsoft, giving plenty of evidence they are not out to damage the carriers out of Android (ie look at Nokia's fork of Android on the X-Series).

So.. I think the overall argument 'carriers want a third ecosystem' was an artificial one, invented by Microsoft in the game to get Nokia onboard. But while that was being in the press, and Android kept growing, there was a good deal of noise suggesting some carriers would welcome a third option (but not that from Microsoft), and they seemed most supportive of Tizen (but also of Firefox). My blogs here about that third ecosystem argument were posted in response to Microsoft's propaganda position (that Microsoft was not even in the options) but then pointed out there is an interest by several incumbent operators, especially NTT DoCoMo in Japan, to pursue Tizen (as follow-up from MeeGo). And that turned out either to have soured or not having been as solid as I thought. I am curious to find out what happened... Currently it seems carriers have zero interest in any third ecosystems around apps, and I think partly that is because the apps 'opportunity' ended up being as I suggested, mainly a gaming vehicle, the rest of it is hype and no real relevance. The consumer apps (exclusing Blackberry etc enterprise apps that have been around for a decade) total revenues, after games are removed, even with all the advertising and in-app purchase etc income, is less than 1% of the total global mobile data revenues now, six years into the 'apps revolution' and where some carriers hurried to get onto the 'apps bandwagon' with their own app stores etc, they now have greatly calmed down about that 'threat'...

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Helsinki but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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