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May 20, 2016

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Tomi T Ahonen

PS I am now back to officially being an nSheep. My blood turned from red back to Nokiablue.

So that means that I hate Apple now, I hate Samsung now, I hate Sony now. I hate Blackberry (wait, I have that Priv, ok, maybe I just ignore BB now) haha... no, I only hate Microsoft as always, but I am back to loving Nokia

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

So what? 150 comments? Wow.

Ok. Its 04 AM my time. What to do, what to do. I could go to Twitter. Or I could go to bed. Or I could go hang with those who have been 10 years loyal on my blog. Ah, decisions, decisions. What to do, what to do. I know, I have an even better idea: whisky!

No. I wouldn't do that. Or actually better yet, I don't need to chose, the whisky is close enough :-)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

on May 21

Lullz - on the 5% market share. Fair point. The 'safe' forecast is to say they'll be well below that. HTC can't get to half that. Sony is only at half that. Blackberry is less than one fifth that level. Why would Nokia suddenly do better than say ZTE or Xiaomi or LG.

Three big reasons. One is the carrier boycott. It is now gone. The ACTUAL Nokia sales performance (back when Nokia still owned its handset biz) was at 3% even with a global sales boycott against it. How much higher would it have been if there was no boycott in 2012 or 2013? Maybe 4% maybe 6% maybe 8% who knows. But it took SERIOUS sales out of Nokia. That pressure to prevent their success - for the same effort - is now lifted. The Nokia total effort can see its full results, not a diminished result.

Second is sensible design and portfolio. Elop overruled the experts. We heard it again and again. There were SMART people utterly frustrated, forced to create crap-phones rather than genuine Nokias. Not because it was Windows (although that was another big part back in 2012) but because it was idiot Elop. Nokia knows - reasonably well still today - what is a desirable basic modest-price premium smartphone today for a global/emerging world market (very very different from what sells in the USA) and Nokia is exceptionally good at designing such phones.

Third is a Nokia fighting spirit. THEY WANT TO WIN. They used to win. They were ready to win. Their boss prevented them from winning. You will not believe the winning spirit they will now have (for at least the next 3 years) to prove THEY were not at fault, it was only the idiot-in-charge. They want to prove they CAN win again. Among the Finns, its what we call our 'winter war spirit' from World War 2, when Finland was outnumbered 15 to 1 in soldiers, 40 to 1 in airplanes, 100 to 1 in tanks, and yet we stopped the Soviet invaders. Those Finns will be digging deep into their 'sisu' (a kind of guts) and push the victories through, whether a design or manufacturing deadline, or a sales target or delivery date. That 5% is kind of the 'easy' part. Then the hunger by management/owners becomes - lets get back to the top - and Samsung and Huawei of today are not easy picking like Motorola and Siemens of 1997 haha.

But you're very prudent to say, won't get to 5% and you know it, I'll still be here, lets talk about that in what, 2019 and review how it went?

On your last point - to convert dumbphone users.. I think that is actually the easiest part. Microsoft-Nokia dumbphones have now a larger share of the remaining dumbphone market than Samsung. Very many of them who use Nokia are in the Asha class of featurephones not the very basic minimalist phones. Those are ripe at the next upgrade cycle to go with the very cheapest Nokia Android superduper minimalist basic touch screen smartphone. THEY trust Nokia the brand the most. They haven't even had the weird detour of Lumia and the Microsoft brand. The 'harder' battle is to win back those who once loved Nokia SMARTPHONES who now are on Android on a Samsung or Sony or LG or Huawei etc (and nearly impossible - if now on an iPhone). But I wasn't promising Nokia to get to 33% haha... (yet)

Lullz - on the picking the best phone. Actually, for most people worldwide who buy a mobile phone (smart or dumb, new or used) it is the most expensive thing they own. Its like what to Westerners would be the equivalent of our car or home. We DO spend a LOT of time and effort, picking our car (we often know as teenagers what that first car will be, having dreamed about it for years, reading all about it) or our home. Now imagine the person who earns 10 dollars a day in say Brazil.. that 100 dollar basic smartphone is a HUGE investment, its several months of savings (he or she won't have a credit card and no bank loans) and they will most likely consider VERY deeply what it is they want. Thats not to say, that perhaps empirically, they might not be aware of what all is available in that market (but probably are) and that they might still make an 'irrational' decision but which of us hasn't done that haha. But yeah, I do think for most people - who can't afford to just walk into a phone store and buy any phone - they do think a lot about that purchase. I'd say its more in the rich world where we may be quite ignorant of what is actually a good value or what is available...

William A - Actually it was your comment originally when I read it, that had me thinking that wait. No. this was not cooked up SINCE the deal was done with Microsoft. This as cooked up BEFORE the deal was struck with Microsoft. This was VERY 'Jedi move' corporate heist by Risto Siilasmaa screwing Steve Ballmer. Including the threats then to go Android when Ballmer didn't agree to some part that Nokia insisted was going into the deal.

Nokia clearly knew in 2013 (ie they wanted it) that they are coming back. They gave Microsoft the MINIMUM exclusivity period to smartphones. Ballmer no doubt wanted 10 years which they only gave on the dumbphones. But once Nokia then said, ok, if you won't take 3 years, we go Android next year, the X Series has already been designed. We'll put it into production. Then Ballmer thought, ok, in 3 years I can kill off the Nokia brand, move the Windows world to Lumia and 'obviously' Windows with Win 8 will be such a huge success, by then Nokia on whatever OS will be irrelevant. Microsoft will have 10% of the smartphone wars - when Ballmer himself can micromanage the handset biz with his monkeyboy Elop, and no Nokia 'naysayers' will be there to bitch at every stage. The Nokia deal was essentially concluded by the time Bill Gates fired Ballmer and while his firing came first (ok, announcement that he'll be stepping down) then Bill Gates had no chance to go renegotiate the pending Nokia deal, without even more obvious PR nightmare if after Ballmer exit is announced, suddenly the Nokia deal breaks down (and Nokia leaks it) and then Nokia goes Android. The Android threat was how Nokia squeezed the 8 Billion dollars out of Microsoft. Because all other major partners had already departed, Microsoft was totally dependent on Nokia at that point and Nokia knew it. Some day I hope we can read some account of the inside view to those negotiations. They have likely been epic (like with initially Nokia walking out on Ballmer when his offer was so lousy).

(more coming)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Manufacturingbig

You don't play that game against me. You either RESPOND or you shut up. If you try to argue points without RESPONDING, you are gone (again).

I deleted that comment. You will RESPOND or go away. You will not spew propaganda without responding

(I love deleting moronic comments. It just takes me one click)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

(still on May 21)

Wayne 'may the gods..' - LOL thanks!

AtTheBottom - good point. (differentiation, Nokia will end up like Sony). First. Sony stupidly retracted from a global footprint - costly. They tried to focus only on the top end (dumb for a mass market brand). That transition meant big costs and heavy hit to profitability. Then they had that marketing blunder (down-numbering their flagship).

If a player STARTED with Sony's strategy, it could well be a profitable niche. If a player started global and broad portfolio, then tried to shrink to be a direct iPhone-only-rival - that is a VERY costly move. Nokia won't be attempting this mad gambit. I get it, that if you think of Sony as the model, then it looks bad. I say a far better comparison is LG. They are roughly similar in scale but they have a broad portfolio and international footprint, on a (marginally) premium brand. They've been in and out of profits. Nokia will definitely offer a broad portfolio (most of its customers are at the lower end) and a global footprint (with possible exception of USA haha and obviously not bothering with Japan or S Korea)

On the 'vanilla Android' I agree. Nokia bottom-end Androids will be nearly indistinguishable - on specs - from rival Androids. Their primary selling advantage will be the Nokia label on the device. BUT that is EXACTLY how Nokia competes now in the bottom-end of DUMBphones. There is nothing magical about Nokia low-end phones that you can't get on a similarly priced MiFone or Karbonn or Xolo. (actually the Nokia will cost about 10% more for otherwise-similar specs). BUT Nokia will - A - FIGHT for those market segments (most global brands have abandoned the low end, even Huawei doesn't want to fight there) and - B - Nokia DOES have 'all the boxes ticked' for the must-have features. Nothing is ever 'missing' in a Nokia. Its like a basic Toyota car. Good enough, good quality, trusted brand. Plus they have a reputation for being indestructible.

Its at the mid-price level where Nokia starts to get some differentiation (like with Xpress Music line with the music oriented details or with cameraphones the Karl Zeiss optics etc). Then at the top Nokia can go beyond everybody on a couple of specs like say Pureview or wireless charging etc.

As to Pureview - I am pretty sure Nokia owns that tech and only licenced it to Microsoft. I'm pretty confident the first Return-Nokia (what should we call it, Retro-Nokia?) flagship will do a proper Pureview sensor. Likely the 41mp but they might up it just a bit, to get the press out of it, to say 50mp. Its WAY cheaper for Nokia to deploy Pureview than to say try to assemble a clumsy costly mechanical optical zoom like on Zenphones and the past Samsung Galaxy K Zoom and the rumored optical zoom on the next iPhone. (me? I'd DIE for a Pureview married to optical zoom haha)

Sailfish, I think I discussed that already. I would love to see it, I can't see Nokia wasting resources on it early. If they get to say 3% market share, they might then try it. But don't hold your breath...

Hey, everybody. How does Samsung's Tizen play now go? Samsung has messed up that gambit so many ways its a major miracle they got the second phone even to the market. But now? To try to get Tizen on its feet - while Nokia - Sammy's nemesis - is back, or dump Tizen and get every person onboard to build a vast galaxy of Galaxies?

John - fair point. May we ask what country do you live in? In most of the Emerging World (outside of China) the Nokia brand is still VERY strong. Even in China its good. In Europe, its somewhat 'your dad's phone' and in the USA its a cheapo-brand.

Now on the boredom factor. Remember when Blackberry did its weird square-screen flagship (dumbest screen form factor for the pocket ever, but anyway). It got HUGE attention simply for being a bit different. It didn't sell too well but it was a rare 'different' phone form factor. Now go back to 2011, 2010, 2009 and Nokia. They had BY FAR the most varied set of form factors. I do expect most NeoNokias to be standard slab touch-screens but we WILL get some departures, attempts at different form factors. Thats part of Nokia's DNA and its the key to discovering true opportunities to differentiate. Maybe there is no other viable form factor. But we don't yet know. There may be several viable variants that can still find a significant market - which Nokia is most likely to discover and exploit. Talk to us in 3 years, if this RetroNokia has attempted a few radical departures in form factor - and they all failed - then maybe we have entered the time of the standard form factor like say modern TVs are all variants of the identical flat panel.

Barney - yeah the UI is a great possibility. To make the ReturNokia to be a bit like it was in its roots (before the iPhone, Nokias were by far the most user-friendly of all phone brands), in parts be like Apple (in a good way, obviously) and in some way, be a 'descendant' of the MeeGo N9 project. But also it means more software work which is not a well-staffed part of what remains. Might be a tall ask, might even be impossible...

PS - I want the PERMANENT DISPLAY clock on my Android screens... (like Nokia Symbian used to have)

I think a few of the new Androids have it. This kind of simple UI thing could be a way how Nokias both seem more usable, and also, seem more 'like the good old Nokia' of the past haha

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

On May 22 comments

Santiago - I haven't yet studied it deeply. We heard about a year ago that Nokia was starting its Android development team (stationed in China). So a part of the R&D would come from there. I would think these work with HMD (or maybe are taken over by HMD even?). Nokia was licencing its intellectual property to HMD to make smartphones. As to Pureview, I said before, that it was developed at Nokia (originally for Symbian based 808 Pureview) and must be tech that Nokia owns and kept. Nokia only licenced that to Microsoft. If you remember the Nokia sale to Microsoft included a lot of intellectual property for which Microsoft got perpetual licences or dual ownership - I don't think Nokia has ever abandoned its 'own' rights to its own inventions - even those cases where Elop sold some patent families to patent trolls. Nokia kept its OWN right to use those inventions...

Nokia knew in 2013 when they were negotiating the sale with Microsoft (and Microsoft also suspected) that Nokia will return - to smartphones. They knew how much Nokia buyers specifically loved the cameras. Would seem utter madness if they somehow surrendered the rights to say Pureview tech to Microsoft without keeping their own rights to use it in their own future devices. We should be reasonably confident the NeoNokias will feature Pureview.

Of the Lumia team, what remains probably half were absorbed into Surface, the rest were those 1,800 who were now fired. I'd think the management at the two buyers want 'none' of the 'poisoned' Windows related Lumia people.. So anyone who might have worked on X Series (Androids) or else anyone who did any work on any of Nokia's own OS platforms - Symbian, Meego, Maemo, Meltemi, S40, S30. But those who were pure Lumiafolks, I'd have said to Microsoft, I'm not taking any of those, haha...

Wayne - the 'I mostly agree with Tomi but there's a lot of stuff' - comment. Long, detailed, speculative but very sharp. Yes, that is how a smart management would approach this opportunity. They would have prepared for it BEFORE they concluded the negotiations with Microsoft and would have gone through all those steps, some before and the rest in the interim years. Never committing in public until they were TOTALLY sure they wanted this route - and with VERY solid intel on the actual market, the actual end-users, their feelings about Nokia, the retail channel and carriers, etc. They know this is a 'sure thing' to the degree any new venture can be a sure thing.

The carriers do not want a hardware duopoly of Samsung and Apple. They do not want a software duopoly of Google and Apple. If they can bring some tension in that environment via Nokia - at least now on the hardware side, they recall that Nokia was ALWAYS the most carrier-friendly of the major handset makers. Apple? Is the most hostile. Samsung? Has not won them over.

To some degree there is also a 'lesson' to be taught to all in the mobile industry ecosystem (especially Apple and Microsoft). That you don't fuck with the carriers. So if they punished Nokia (and Microsoft) with a sales boycott, now that Nokia has stopped misbehaving (no more Windows) then Nokia should be allowed to recover. That is a powerful lesson to give to every other tech company who plots about ways to steal the market or power from the carriers. But that lesson is not delivered, if Nokia died or vanished. They'd need Nokia to now become a major player again - without Windows. So they can say to Apple - if you try this virtual SIM ploy, we will crush you like we did Nokia.. etc.

Note also Wayne's point - Nokia has had multiple scenarios in play, seeing exactly how well or badly Microsoft succeeded with Lumia etc. Whats happening in the rest of the market, the migration rate from dumbphones, how is Samsung doing and Huawei, etc.

Oh - and note the TOTAL opposite of Microsoft. Microsoft brought in the Nokia business giving it for Elop to mess up. Rather than get competent OUTSIDE and knowledgable management who KNEW those Emerging World phone markets, they took the idiot who wrecked this thing already once. So he could do it even more thoroughly the second time haha.

Abdul - on Xiaomi, not really. X is only starting its expansion and has bare bones sales in a few countries outside of China. And it has no established carrier relations in any of them, starting first by selling online. Nokia starts with a global footprint selling significant numbers of dumbphones and (very) modest amounts of Lumias. And Nokia's relationships go VERY deep into the carriers not just on hte handset side, but as Wayne mentioned - also on the network sales side.

The phablet stat was over 5 inches in size. On screen size.. yeah, the physical limit is roughly that 7 inches. BUT we are just about to get into the era of the foldable/rolling/expanding screen. Samsung may bring its first version out on the next Galaxy. Theirs is rumored to open like a book. So a 6 inch smartphone would open like a book to have an 8 inch screen.. MASSIVELY bigger yet it still fits in the pocket. And designed so that you never see the 'seam' where it folds.

How far is a foldable 'giant' screen concept from a classic Nokia Communicator? Not darned far, I say. Thats before we get to projectors.. And then there still is the brightness, pixel density (clarity) and contrast (blackness) including use outside in daylight. I think there is plenty of life left in the screen wars haha...

Arup - thanks, yeah I remembered it was one of the Japanese brands, I didn't want to go Google it to find which (its very late/early morning for me haha) but yeah. Pureview 41mp sensor was manufactured by Toshiba.

Winter - yeah AI and learning comes close to 'reading our minds' which can be magical if done right... Can also be supercreepy if done wrong haha

Wayne - LOL yeah.. then just when they reach the top 3, Nokia go and finish the RetroNokia project by re-hiring Elop as their new CEO :-) - they will do it just so I won't lose my sanity here on the blog :-)

OK now I can't keep my eyelids open anymore... gotta go get some Zzzzs

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Abdul Muis

@Tomi

"William A - Actually it was your comment originally when I read it, that had me thinking that wait. No. this was not cooked up SINCE the deal was done with Microsoft. This as cooked up BEFORE the deal was struck with Microsoft. This was VERY 'Jedi move' corporate heist by Risto Siilasmaa screwing Steve Ballmer. Including the threats then to go Android when Ballmer didn't agree to some part that Nokia insisted was going into the deal."

Wow... So at some point Nokia realize the only way to cut Microsoft/Elop/Balmer strategy is to force Microsoft to buy Nokia in a way like.... "You (Microsoft) make our daughter (nokia) pregnant. Either you married her and pay us the big bride token, or she will abort (stop WP) and married to the king (Google), and you will got nothing since I know you were barren (No one want to produce WP)"

You really need to write a book about nokia. It will be best seller.

Santiago

Off topic- what whisky are you having Tomi? Thought that as a Finn you'd prefer vodka haha (love finnish vodka btw).

Abdul Muis

@Tomi

Talking about other screen type... Motorola have a great product to come.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_3XneTRCLw

From Lenovo/Motorola Tech World 2016 (already fast-forward to 11:15)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBgQLraVGJQ&t=675

http://www.androidauthority.com/motorola-just-schooled-lg-modular-design-697566/

Abdul Muis

The above post...
I post the wrong link for the last part....
It should be this one:
http://www.androidauthority.com/lenovo-foldable-smartphone-concept-697706/

chithanh

It will be interesting to see how Lenovo will sell consumers on this modular phone. For now the phone is marketed as high-end device and will thus not see much adoption.

The foldable devices are still concepts which won't reach the market anytime soon. But if the concept catches on, we'll probably see similar things from other Chinese manufacturers within 3-6 months after launch.

Winter

What is it with these rumors that Samsung would switch to Tizen?

http://www.techspot.com/news/65204-samsung-exec-claims-company-eventually-move-all-devices.html

Would that not allow Nokia to take over the top spot?

Tester

If Samsung is doing something this incredibly stupid, yes, there will be a vacuum that a smart competitor will fill.

What I find far more interesting here is that Samsung actually thinks that the Apple way would work for them. Are they this arrogant or just utterly clueless?

chithanh

Well the article said "eventually". They didn't say that Samsung would switch overnight, which would clearly be a very dumb move.

I think the plan is to gain some share at the low end like they had with Bada, and work upmarket from there.

BTW. If the 64 million figure in the article is correct, Tizen has gotten Bada's #3 position in the smartphone market back.

Tester

@chithanh:

Working up from the low end is doomed to fail. These are precisely the users which do not help create an ecosystem. Nobody will develop apps for them and their usage habits are not really what counts here.

We've already seen this in some markets with Windows Phone which always had a disproportionately high amount of bargain bin customers. As a result the interest in apps was even lower than the market share suggested when being compared to Android.

The developer interest in Tizen is extremely low and it'd need a miracle to change that

And thinking that their market share leadership is sufficient driving force - let's take a look at 5.5 years back when Nokia was market share leader - and look where they ended up when they switched to a new OS with little to no support in the market. For Samsung this would end up the same - their only selling point would be 'no Google connection'. Well, they could have that with Android as well - and not suffer from the app-black-hole.

Nomi

My only issue is Timo stand in front of mirror and ask yourself this question. Should people help me and my people (finish). Are we so nice people should buy our things, want to deal with us, want to do business with us, want to meet us,, want to visit our country and may be come and work here. I found finish people very toxic kind of people. If you hate every other country people and are racist to the bone, why should anybody be buying your country things?

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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 www.tomiahonen.com 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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