back to article Grief and disbelief greet Elop's Nokia revolution

There are times when you don't want to intrude on public grief, but Nokia has spent 15 years (or more) trying to avoid this day. New CEO Stephen Elop would argue otherwise, but giving up control of your platforms means giving up control over your destiny - and Elop has given Nokians not one twig of consolation around which a …

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Dead Vulture

RIP Nokia

What a surprise. NOT

Clearly someone wants to return to a well paid job at Microsoft one day.....

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or

Maybe he still has one, that the Nokia shareholders know nowt about?

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Gates Horns

yup

I think this gets us back to an older, pre-virus/pre-computers, usage of the words "Trojan Horse".

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FAIL

This guy sounds too much like later day Carly Fiorina+Mark Hurd!

Post merger, Carly wanted to get rid of R&D and focus on "efficiency" - which her successor was able to implement more ruthlessly in history on IT than anyone can recall. I think this guy will do the same to Nokia. Not that Nokia didn't have it coming, but I really, really question his choice as a CEO coming from a b/g where he has never done any turnarounds of this order; Or in this domain.

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Anonymous Coward

No need

He doesn't need to - he is the 7th biggest individual investor in Microsoft,

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Or ...

... Trojan Whores.

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Paris Hilton

Re: No need

>He doesn't need to - he is the 7th biggest individual investor in Microsoft,

Conflict of interest doesn't apply here or what ?

Paris, coz I would like a conflict with her.

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Stop

Differentiation?

You know how you could differentiate? You could build better phones, cheaper than your competitors. Sounds crazy, I know. You might as well because, and no-one appears to have twigged this yet, Android phones are still your competitors, even if you choose to use a different OS. Even more so if they're the dominant OS and you're using a backwater also-ran that doesn't even have a decent browser.

Your devious yet transparent attempts to lock-in customers and offer less value for more money might have had a chance if you were coming at it from a position of strength, but even Apple's probably going to be forced to support HDMI and DNLA and Bluetooth audio rather than sell you expensive proprietary dongles that do the same thing as long as all your kit is made by Apple (or a royalty paying licensee).

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Alert

What got me was...

"The commoditization risk was very high [with Android]"

...and it's not with WP7? We're talking about the same company that has pretty much drained the swamp of desktop, laptop, and server hardware manufacturers making anything more than commodity-grade profit and thinks that it will somehow be different with their new Phone OS?

...and just about every phone manufacturer making Android devices is also making WP7 devices. How exactly do they plan on differentiating with all the other WP7 manufacturers with their WP7 devices any more than they would have done with Android - by virtue of their proprietary Maps and a lock-in to only use Bing?

I think if anything, based on the sweetheart lockin deals they seem to have struck, if I were in the market for a WP7 I might just look for one that I could, well, change things on. Of course, I don't own an Android or WP7 but can you usually change the search provider on one of those phones?

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Dead Vulture

Hmm Nokia still pining for the Fjords?

I don't know - maybe this is the best thing for Nokia but it always seemed to me that what Nokia was good at was the hardware. Symbian was ok, but its main job was to not get in the way of the hardware which it failed at miserably with the N96 on. With the advent of Android the OS running on your smartphone has become commoditised and therefore to a degree not the differentiator. There are still no Android phones with a camera as good as that on my N95 years ago - or at least not many. I reckon if Nokia focussed on producing great handsets with good connectivity - Iphone4 debacle showed that still matters - then they could build from there. Android also allows them to customise and add in OVI services to get loyalty and the customer relationship they have always wanted.

Also as alluded to in the article Nokians hate Microsoft... Their abortive attempt to take over from Google as a 'internet services' company was marred internally because they bought Twango for image sharing - all Windows .Net and Nokia music is all built on .Net -- Nokias internal standards for architecture/software was all Java/Linux with maybe Oracle/Solaris for enterprise stuff. Good way of alienating your internal staff who were supposed to be innovating on this new services platform! Spose it shows the management in Nokia were never that connected to the grass roots even before Elop.

I stopped buying Nokia handsets after the crapulent N96 .. Made a mistake in moving to SE and have not looked back since moving to Android. Looks like thats set to continue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm Nokia still pining for the Fjords?

"Nokias internal standards for architecture/software was all Java/Linux with maybe Oracle/Solaris for enterprise stuff. Good way of alienating your internal staff who were supposed to be innovating on this new services platform! Spose it shows the management in Nokia were never that connected to the grass roots even before Elop."

Yes, the execs really love their Microsoft at Nokia. I imagine it's just like the clueless boss everyone has had at some point coming in and trying to "teach" everyone something about technology - "You'll really like this Microsoft stuff. I think it's great!" - and everyone rolls their eyes and waits for the guy to sod off out of the office and take his dirty little playthings with him.

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FAIL

Nokia - Another name cast into History!

This is the start of the end of Nokia, you made some good kit in the old days... So much for the memorys!

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"Spock" - the first communicator.

I think it was cemented- cast? - someplace in Tampere in a rock, behind a plaque.

It'll be there far, far longer than Nokia.

Having said that, I remember the hassle to move into Stanhope Road*, Camberley, with all the haste to present a professional image. e.g., get the mayor and some 'Finnish shouty' round to plant a Finnish birch tree, as a symbol of lasting growth.

Went tits-up in 5 years.

Wonder if the 'tree-of-growth" is still there, or massacred by its new owners. I understand car parking spaces are at a premium in UK. No need for a tree, when the CEO can park where it once was.

We - us Muppets - realised the problem long before, and quickly renamed it "No-hope road".

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Footnote:

"The Tree" has indeed gone, according to Goole's street view.

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Echoes of Digital.

This is so much like the beginning of the end at Digital / DEC. Farewell, Nokia.

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Unhappy

Management by Committee

This is a sad day.

I loved the old Psion products. Way ahead of their time made by a small British company showing how great form and software could meld to produce a world beating product.

Nokia, manufacturers of great solid hardware but in need of a lean OS, saw the threat from MS and joined forces with Psion.

Even Bill Gates saw this as a world beating strategy.

And it all went wrong...

Just goes to show how management by committee doesn't work...

You need that visionary, that leader with a fire in his belly, who instinctively knows what the future is and caters to it. Psion, Nokia et al once upon a time had that and they threw it all away.

It's a sad, sad day.

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Unhappy

Indeed...

I think sadly this is endemic in almost all tech firms these days, they set up so many levels of bland management to keep us tech proles in line, that the company just turns in a paranoid safety state in its own right. The management have no idea about tech, they rely on the market goons to feed them what they think Joe Public wants. The techies design it as requested and no one is allowed to step out of line and suggest radical ideas.

We can't have these techies coming up with ideas?! If they come up with ideas that people actually want, the management are all out of a job! We need crap products that are never quite good enough just to keep the Joe Publics on the upgrade treadmill forever!

Long gone are the days when the Sinclairs and Psions were given the "props" they so rightly earned.

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Anonymous Coward

"a lot of value moving in different directions"

I read "run away! run away! every man for himself! run away!"

I know it's not what he's saying; he's saying he can choose which side of the burning platform he's jumping off of. And he's choosing this side. Oh well.

Whichever way he's jumping he's in for a mighty cold landing. Problems differentiating with Android but not with wp7? Why would that be, because the former doesn't cost royalties and the latter does? Is paying through the nose for a losing proposition the new "extra value"? I've heard that wp7 is "pretty good". I've heard that about symbian too. It's high on "... when the next version will come out" again. We've heard that one often enough too.

But more importantly: What point is there in having a vertically integrated company from hardware to services with a large, vital, middle part missing? With a big chunk missing you'd get a company that's dependent on another for its sales to itself. And that other company isn't their benevolent sugar uncle. So, I think the next step would be to split nokia in two.

The days of skunk works are pretty much over. The superstructure doesn't allow it and the brass doesn't think enough out of the box either. Best to spin out the chunks that work or can be made to work instead of leaving room for the whole company to gaze into the abyss left by the missing part.

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Jobs Horns

how do you differiente a platform meant to avoid fragmentation?

Windows minimum hardware spec and licence fee rule out budget and probably even midrange phones for the next couple of years. Nokia have ceded that market, by the time WP7 runs on lower end hardware Microsoft will have killed Nokia. They always kill their 'partners'.

What's funnier is the crazy idea that Nokia can differentiate on a platform sold on the promise that fragmentation will not happen, that operators ability to differentiate will be strongly constrained to give end users a better experience. So how does that work here?

I suspect the reality is: Nokia will in fact stand only because so few will adopt WP7, if there are only 2 or 3 major WP7 brands it doesn't take many subtle differences to differentiate them. Nokia's brand is going to simply melt away, people will think Microsoft when they see these phones and barely notice the Nokia branding.

This isn't even long, slow suicide, they've knelt down and invited the killing blow. Idiots.

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Flame

"This isn't even long, slow suicide"

They are, after all, standing on a burning platform, so whatever suicide they choose they should better make it quick!

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Gates Horns

Kneeling down?

It's not so much kneeling down as grabbing one's ankles...

And Elop isn't even Appalachian.

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Badgers

how? by making better handsets than everyone else...

... and Nokia are quite good at that.

The other side of all this is that Microsoft NEED to get a decent mobile device out there - the current trend seems to be towards mobile computing and they could do worse than Nokia for hardware.

This could be like you say, a long slow suicide - but equally it could be the thing that makes them both.

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Qt?

Hmmm. Will Qt survive this? Is it counted as R&D?

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No. Qt is dead.

If Symbian is dead and Meego is DOA what is the point in Nokia investing in Qt?

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Stop

The Libre Community Will Take Over Qt

Remember, it is GPL. And too many people depend on it, including KDE.

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Linux

Stick a "fork" in it

OpenOffice.org became LibreOffice. MySQL became MariaDB. What shall we name the Qt fork to restore freedom to one of the best cross-platform development environments in the free software world?

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Joke

QT fork

How about instead of "cute" (Qt) we name it Mgr (Minger) ?

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Excellent!

Nokia's superlative hardware couple with the speed, slickness and sheer potential of WP7 gives me high hopes for some absolutely excellent devices.

Hopefully this partnership will show the world how tacky/shoddy HTC products truly are and how Android is just too much of a mess to have personal longevity to a user.

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WTF?

You are..

...Steve Ballmer and I claim my £5.

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Atonnis, stop by the pharmacy, your meds are ready.

Nokia RIP

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Analysts' oversights.

Windows Phone

Nokia chose to join up with the less than loved giant because the other options were slow death with dated or delayed platforms or to become an OEM for Google competing with agile Asian manufactures and losing out the Services battle rendering investments like Navteq practically worthless. Nokia chose the option, where it has most influence on its future. This alliance enables:

New, modern OS with better usability (which has been the problem with Symbian). Even though it's early days for WM7, the initial feedback has been good and much better than S^3 reviews

MS has an army of coders developing the OS, which will enables Nokia to save significantly in R&D cots

MS has enormous marketing engine and budget

Even if the first N+MS phone is not perfect, both companies have huge resources to push forward and improve the products over time until the product is mature enough (think Zune player) This is a luxury many companies don't have.

MS enables Nokia a quick, yet expensive access to North American market. Even few per cent market share with MS has more media value than Nokia's individual attempts to win over North America.

Nokia's alliance is not unique. HTC also has WM and Android phones in its portfolio. Nokia has the advantage due to its size and can use it to affect how WM will be developed in the future and how it will be integrated to Nokia services.

Symbian

Symbian will be around for a long time, but as a S40 version. Nokia has built different versions of emerging markets for a long time and today S40 Touch phones offer nearly the same user experience as the older S60 phones, such as N97. Even if S60 would be totally discontinued, the development of S40 can offer nearly similar phones as current S60 for emerging markets.

Analysts seem to forget the massive potential, which lies dormant in emerging markets. As Elop mentioned, the next billion users are waiting to access internet. Nokia with a strong foothold on those markets can offer that access. These markets have grown up with and customers have aspired to own a Nokia phone and eventually gotten it are an easy target for Nokia to build upon with new services in addition to internet, such as Nokia Money and Life Tools.

Nokia could offer WM7 phones for these markets, but due to hardware requirements, those phones will be too expensive for the masses. S40 will offer similar user experience, but much more cheaply.

Meego

On important thing to remember is that Nokia and Microsoft contract is not binding, leaving Nokia with the option to check out anytime and this might be the reason for Meego being left as an alternative platform. Meego will be developed on the side, creating new and exciting products until something so strong comes along that Nokia no longer needs Microsoft. This may never happend, but the exit strategy exists.

Another thing analysts have missed is the embedded Meego. Today Meego and WM are strong contenders for car computing. Navteq has worked years with car manufactures, so there's even more potential. Nokia builds its future on two platforms which have practically untapped market so far.

Meego will become Nokia's 'Skunkworks', where new technologies are tested, competitive advantage is created and exit strategy is being secured.

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On your meego point

I really hope this happens - the N900 with Maemo is a wonderful phone let down because all the apps are written for symbian - witness ovi maps, for instance (which is way better than any other free contender, incidentally).

I was looking forward to the meego N9 or whatever they're calling it now that's supposed to be released later this year - I saw it as the first step to actually produce a line of meego phones with full app support, but now it looks like it'll end like the N900, unsupported research phone.

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Boffin

Meh

"Symbian will be around for a long time, but as a S40 version."

S40 does not use Symbian OS, it is an OS. Symbian was open sourced, S40 has always been proprietary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_40

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbian

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S60_(software_platform)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Analysts' oversights.

Is this a copy-and-paste job or did you actually use your own words here?

"Meego will become Nokia's 'Skunkworks', where new technologies are tested, competitive advantage is created and exit strategy is being secured."

The problem is that Meego (and Maemo before it) were already "skunkworks", and had Nokia's management got their shit together, it'd be in actual mass-market products by now. Sadly, the skunk has been left to piss itself again, and it'll be the other "industry partners" than end up taking it somewhere, potentially with Intel in the lead as they seek to get their kit into devices.

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WTF?

Analysts' mistakes

"Symbian will be around for a long time, but as a S40 version"

S40 is not based on Symbian. It is based on the internal 'Nokia OS'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_OS

"Meego will become Nokia's 'Skunkworks', where new technologies"

But if you say you aren't going to try to create an eco-system, aren't going to ship phones in volume, who is going to waste time developing apps for it? If you are not going to ship phones using it what is the f***ing point of developing it? So you can demo some nice new UI tricks which Android developers can copy and put on 'real' phones ( you know - phones that manufacturers make and actually try to sell)

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FAIL

Fail

New, modern OS with better usability (which has been the problem with Symbian).

Usability has never been an issue with Symbian, but then Symbian is just an O/S and doesn't have an interface.

Nokia's series 60 UI, now THAT has some issues - many of which were fixed in Series 80, Series 90 and countless other still-born projects.

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clarification

yes you're right technically, but the features of S60 trickle down to S40 platform and the new S40 phones act and look like simplified S60. S40 has followed the S60 development for some time now and despite being simpler platform (no multitasking, etc) it's used widely on lower end and mid range phones.

Pretty much like iPod Touch vs the new Shuffle.

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100% my own words.

My own words, based what I saw on the webcast today.

As I mentioned in my post, Meego could also be the exit strategy for Nokia in case deal with MS goes sour.

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haha...

I get thumbs down for analysing Nokia's strategy. Love it.

I love to read what bloggers and geeks write about tech companies, but don't seem to understand anything about global strategy. Only thing they analyse is if a particular phone model suits their current need or expectations.

Just look at Gizmodo or Engadget, who do exactly this, and also only concentrate on US operator provided phones & their tech specs and not on global business models and long term strategies.

Luckly The Register has wider understanding and provide quality analytical news...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: haha...

"I love to read what bloggers and geeks write about tech companies, but don't seem to understand anything about global strategy."

And you do? For example, did you read about how Nokia were getting punished in the developing world? And yet you seem to think that riding the magic carpet sprinkling Symbian Series Ancient on them is going to reverse the decline. These people are going to demand decent products, and of the major vendors, the Android brigade is most likely to reach them first, at least at the top end initially.

You can actually deploy Linux-based stuff on the kind of hardware that the developing world is wanting at reasonable prices. I imagine that there are people in (picking a random place) Kenya with a higher specification phone than the one I have, which probably wouldn't run Linux, but then it's an eight year old model which was probably one of the last generation that couldn't comfortably run some flavour of Linux or other. Move forward a year and phones were shipping with more memory than a Unix workstation had once upon a time.

Symbian might be handy for low-end embedded devices, but it's not totally alone, and clearly Nokia's competitors don't seem to be held back by not using it. If such technical insights are incompatible with "global strategy" then maybe such "strategy" is nothing more than sticking labels onto things and high-fiving the brand manager.

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Silver badge

Nice try

It's good to be positive, but the reality is Nokia are now a hardware company based in Europe, competing with the far east. Beyond this tough intensely competitive core business they have no strategic assets that aren't hopelessly outclassed. Yes, emerging markets may have huge growth but even for emerging markets, Nokia only have a short time before hardware is cheap enough and affordable enough to run Android. Symbian has many loved features, but as a whole is ugly, convoluted and past its' sell-by date. A software OS is an ecosystem. Being first and having a large footprint is everything. Nokia have missed the "New Wave" boat. Who really thinks Meego can achieve the buy-in and scale to compete with iOS or Android? And that will be the problem, the staff will be working mechanically as robots with no real belief. They can do it, but need a one in a million inspiring leader who knows how to run a software business, total focus and belief and a corporate structure channeling all energy forward to success. Do you see that happening? Win phone 7 *is* their best bet but will not return any strategic advantage to Nokia. Microsoft now win that prize. I the long game it is everything.

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Unhappy

It is much worse ...

> ... had Nokia's management got their shit together, it'd be in actual mass-market products by now.

I saw first N800s in 2007 at the GUADEC conference and my first reaction (as everybody else, who was at the conference and wasn't employed by Nokia) was: "Why in the world Nokia didn't put cellphone chip to this ... this would be absolutely awesome phone." Maybe N800 would be just a research phone (as N900 is now), but in 2010 they would have real selling platform which would give Android run for its money. Oh well.

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WTF?

Services?

Nokia is not going to win in services either - look at the Ovi music store.

WP7 phones are hard to differentiate with Microsoft locking down the platform specs to try to stop Android style fragmentation.. oops.

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lots of elops

thats it

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Anonymous Coward

My dear

let us elop

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WTF?

Whatever.... but what about Qt?

Frankly Nokia been an irrelevant phone company for a while. From making great phones with simple interfaces to producing stuff that really doesnt capture anyones imagination.

Concerned whats going to happen to Qt though. Its a great toolkit.....

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Silver badge

Hopefully...

Trolltech (as were) will be spun out and will survive happily on its own terms, just as it did for almost 15 years before the Nokia purchase in 2008.

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Differentiate?

Am I the only one to fail how being one of the manufacturers for the untested and so far unpopular Windows Phone 7 along with HTC and Samsung puts them in a better position than being one of the manufacturers for the best-selling and popular Android along with HTC and Samsung?

Am I the only one that would love to buy Android on Nokia?

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Stop

No you were not the only one

We were all hoping Nokia went to Android.

Unfortunately Nokia's CEO had other plans that involved his ex-colleagues at Microsoft. Who cares want consumers want.. I want my Microsoft stock....

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Anonymous Coward

"Commoditisation"...

means having to sell everything for thruppence. That's fun for consumers, but for producers it isn't a business plan!

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