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back to article Microsoft fingered for Nokia's bleak future

Nokia shares are down slightly today on news that ratings agency Fitch has downgraded the company's lending rating from BBB+ to BBB-. Fitch reckons the situation is bad and getting worse for the once-mighty Finnish firm. The rating agency also set the outlook for Nokia to negative. The rating impacts Nokia's long-term bonds - …

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Silver badge

Turnaround when?

>It said Nokia could only expect a rating improvement with positive market reaction to Windows-products

Well goodness. That just doesn't seem likely ever.

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Mushroom

Hardly surprising

What else would anyone expect?

Nokia is as good as dead. They are hinging their future on an OS that has demonstrably failed in the market place time and time again. Even if MS' OS was any good, it's still not the "right" OS - nobody is interested in it any more; the only platforms of any interest is Apple's and Google's. RIM seem to be hanging on in there, but they have a special niche in the market anyway, so they are probably the exception.

A few years ago, Jo Punter was probably not too bothered about what OS their phone was running. Now though, everyone knows about iOS and everyone knows about Android. MS and Nokia have no chance whatsoever.

MS will eventually give up and go and rape some other industry. Nokia? They may as well shut up shop now and all go home. I bet all their engineers are taking a VERY keen interest in the job market at the moment.

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Gold badge

Time and time again?

Time and time again? Windows Phone 7 is not Windows Mobile. WinMo had a reasonable number of users once upon a time.

Nokia's biggest failure was to announce the deal well before any new product was available. A startup company can hype up their vapourware and live on a loan from the bank for a year or so, but a huge company like Nokia needs sales to keep things ticking over.

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7

But it is...

Its Microsoft on a phone. People who were plagued by earlier iterations are not going to know nor care how different 7 is from the previous offerings. They'll just stay away.

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Silver badge
Devil

Business as Usual for Microsoft then?

Embrace = Elop moves to Nokia

Extend = MS Signs deal with Nokia

Extinguish = MS grabs everything it can from the doomed ship Nokia.

Next Step?

Elop moves back to MS as Balmers replacment in 6-9 months.

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Big Brother

What did I just say?

http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-buying-nokias-phone-business-for-19-billion-report-2011-6#ixzz1O42RPN8w

MS is reported to be buying the Phone division of Nokia for $19B.

step 2 of 3 complete.

This is nothing more than Microsoft trying to buy market share. WP7 devices are (At least in the US) losing market share.

It would be ironic if someone else came in with a higher offer. Sorta like the pre MS-Nokia pact market captialization.

If this is true and goes through then Elop will certainly be rewarded by the MS board with Balmers job.

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Bronze badge

Nokia did for Nokia

They have wonderful products, their phones - S60 even - are still better than the competition but Nokia are:

a) too slow to get anything out on to the shelves

b) too secretive about what is coming - had people known what Nokia were about to deliver they wouldnt' settle for a second rate iPhone

c) too quiet about what their phones can do (and thats vastly more than an iPhone)

d) too silent about how secure they are (better than Android)

e) too backward in coming forward to provide incentives for applications to be developed (their developer kit has its problems, but its mulitple times better than the iPhone equivalent).

f) too reserved about trumpetting the phone works as a phone

g) too far behind pointing out how much better their screens and cameras are

h) too backward about telling the world about the video playback, tv output, video download, portable video player style functionality they have built in (without extra apps).

In short, its not the technicians, the engineers, the designers that should be on the scrap heap (sorry chucked to accenture or the dole) it is the marketting droids and upper management (including the import from Microsoft).

Time for the shareholders to take an active interest in their company.

BTW I worked for Symbian many years back, I have a keen interest in the scene, own a nokia (wonderful phone), write nokia apps (s60) but have never worked for nokia.

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Bronze badge

Disagree, Dave 25 on one point.

"b) too secretive about what is coming - had people known what Nokia were about to deliver they wouldnt settle for a second rate iPhone"

Well, now we all know what's coming. As a result, it seems that World+Dog are settling for a "second-rate" Android. Couple of S/H N8's in my local Elisa shop at the moment.

What Steven Wallop hasn't quite grasped is that the timescales he's talking about give the average user time to change their phone at least once.

And it won't help the poor fuc*kers at Accenture one iota, 'cos you can bet your bottom dollar it won't be a Nokia.

Point worth taking heed of: It won't be the punters who decide on the phone they want. They don't give a fuc*k if it's vibrated by a sybian, or whatever. It's the sales folks who, being savvy, will steer them simply to the path of least resistance. READ: Least returns. Max. Commission. Max. data transfer. == MONEY. Don't believe me? OK, look on any news site for (e.g.,) cookery app. iPad/iPhone/Android. Yep.

Symbian? Forget it.

If you add the sales plans of retail phone sellers, and factor in the punter's lack of visibility of product as described above, then remember the sales manager of Vodafone/whatever is pushing his staff for for NOW!!! not yesterday, Wallop's move looks like he jumped off the Deepwater Horizon. When it was already lying on the seabed.

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The title is yadda yadda

I think it went deeper than that. Every S60 phone review since the 5800 - maybe since the N95 - has been along the lines of "interesting hardware, but Symbian sucks". Even with the N8 and Symbian^3, where it's no longer really true that S60 is far worse than the competition - some things are better, some things are worse, the overall experience is fine - that's still the line that is trotted out. Mostly due to the browser that can't handle part-loaded pages very well and doesn't reflow properly, and the stupid hide-the-screen touchscreen input mechanisms. It's a huge shame things like Nokia Sleeping Screen and Nokia Bubbles aren't in production hardware, too.

When the Saturday guys in the phone shops started telling people not to buy Symbian / Nokia, the game was pretty much up - had they shipped the N8 with Anna they might have got away with it, but they didn't. Windows at least offers the prospect that the operators will start pushing Nokia phones again hard - they certainly don't want Google to start risking their lunch.

Why Elop cut Symbian off at the knees so soon is a far bigger question - he's backtracking like crazy now (support to 2016?) but the damage has been done. A huge shame - I really like my N8 and it could have continued to sell well for some time to come.

BTW I'm (now very) ex-Symbian and non-Nokia too, though I spent a lot of time in Finland.

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@Dave15

"They have wonderful products, their phones - S60 even - are still better than the competition "

Are you sure?

I had a Nokia X6 through work which aspired to be an equal to the iPhone.

It is without doubt the worst phone - at a hardware and software level - I have ever owned, to the extent that I dropped it, stamped on it and kicked it into a flowerbed, and then went and bought (at my own expense) a PAYG HTC Android phone in which to use the (work) SIM.

Nokia were great when there was no competition to speak of (e.g. 8210).

Steve

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Silver badge

Disagree on a bunch of points, but by no means all

Specifically:

(c) and (h): these extra features tend to be things that people don't actually care about, outside of a tech blog niche, and in any case can generally be found on Android phones too — with similarly few people particularly interested.

(e): I attended a Nokia development day recently, where we were given free phones and lots of information, and told about the latest cash prize development competitions. The Nokia employees were very nice and are clearly trying very hard.

(g): actually, I think quite a lot of people can tell you that Nokia phones come with Carl Zeiss lenses. They just also (very erroneously) think that it's a made-up brand ala Matsui. So this hits the (c)/(h) point of people not being particularly interested. On screens they're not really any better. The iPhone still has the leading DPI, and I think that Samsung's AMOLED screens provide the best overall colour. I have the feeling Nokia use a similar OLED technology at the top of the range, but they're definitely not ahead on that front.

On the purely technical/internals front (which I think people definitely don't care about at all, whereas I accept that some people do care about whether they can connect up via HDMI), Nokia are almost alone in being yet to produce an ARMv7 phone, and tend to go with the less powerful Broadcom GPUs rather than the good PowerVR stuff. So I wouldn't say they're technically brilliant.

That said, you're completely right that they do the phone stuff brilliantly. I used a Nokia phone up until 2008 and was very often the only person able to get a signal, especially when I lived in Cumbria. However, I find the OS a bit confused and inconsistent (eg, on the N8, just talking about built-in apps, some scroll areas require you to touch and pull a scroll bar, some are direct manipulation with no inertia, some have inertia but it varies from app to app), have never understood their holy devotion to having just one slightly peculiar font — especially as it makes web pages look really awful.

So, ummm, conclusion: hardware very good in some areas, good enough in all others, software definitely needed a change.

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Stop

@Steve K

I agree with Dave, except for the (in retrospect) dark dark period of Symbian^1. Phones of this series often had great features - I still use my 5800 today - but a UI that was at best inconsistent, and hardware that often just wasn't up to it. This culminated in the N97 debacle.

The X6 was about half the price of the iPhone though, I don't think it was ever marketed as "an equal".

More to the point, Symbian^1 was the same era as iOS 1.x (though quickly left behind - iOS 2.x came a few months after). Symbian has since moved on much as iOS has, though to differing extents in various directions. Past use of a Symbian^1 device does not give a sound basis for judging Symbian devices today, even if parallels can be drawn - just as taking a first-gen iPhone with iOS 1.1 to inform one's view of the iPhone 4 would be a bit restrictive.

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Coat

I dropped it, stamped on it and kicked it into a flowerbed

You couldn't play Angry Birds on it, right?

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Dates?

Fitch claims that Nokia will have it's WP7 product "only expected to be in place well into 2012."

But didn't Nokia just say that they would have WP7 phones out by years end?

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Boffin

They may have said that, but...

I suspect that Fitch have seen such promises before and have a weather eye to the likelihood of delivery of rash promises made by a company which likens itself to a burning oil platform.

However, as a loyal Nokia (N8-00) user, I would be delighted to see (viable, stable, usable, appealing) Win 7 Nokia devices before year end. Even more delighted to beta them.

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Happy

Yes but.

They didn't say which year!

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FAIL

Well...

I think you'd be LUCKY to get ONE of those qualities from a Windows phone. I have never seen one that works well and the only people who buy them are the (bless 'em) older folks who don't know any better and get pwned by the phone shop salesmen. Nobody I know who has had one is even remotely happy with it and, having had a go on several, I can quite see why!

It's hard to know who has made the bigger mistake here, M$ or Nokia.

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FAIL

Lol

Roger Heathcote 1, you are a funny guy, *not*. Your post reeks of condescending FUD.

I have a HTC Desire and a Samsung Omnia 7. I'll give you a clue about the one I prefer and use all the time, and it isn't the Desire.

WP7 is missing some features at the moment, that I won't dispute, but even so, it's much nicer to use than Android or iOS.

It deserves to do well.

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No data nicking android or over priced iPhone

I'll keep hold of my 6700 Classic because it works AS A PHONE.

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Anonymous Coward

Microockia is doomed

All MS wants is for Nokia to go down the drain so they can get their hands on Nokia's mobile patents to use as ammo in their war against the rest of the mobile/handheld/embedded industry.

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Unhappy

@Nokia's bleak future

Its really like watching a big ship sinking, not because of an accident, but because its been scuttled by the people running it. You can see that any attempt to help it would at this stage just be a salvage operation to break it up.

So you wait and watch knowing its only a matter of time as it takes on water and you know in your heart, its going to end only one way. But its still heartwrenching to watch it slowly going under and to think of what it could have been, if only things had been handled differently.

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there. now it does.

> vibrated by a sybian

I see what you did there :o)

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FAIL

One dying brand to buy another

How does M$ purchasing Nokia help either?

They are both loosing market share and face stiff competition... Surely one of the winners should be purchasing M$ and/or Nokia for the patents and picking over the bones and interesting tech, but a falling bring purchasing a falling brick (or just tying themselves together) still results in a falling brick, just a larger one.

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Silver badge
Headmaster

How does M$ purchasing Nokia help either?

One word: Patents

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Happy

Went and bought a...

...C1 double quick, before they stopped making them/went out of business. Excellent device, none of this "smart-phone" crap for me. I can make and receive calls and send and receive texts, the battery lasts a week at least between charges, and it is easy to use - what more could you want :-)

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Hegelian dialectic

Thesis: Nokia probably doomed

Antithesis: but why would one believe these rating agencies about anything, ever?

Synthesis: ?

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Silver badge
Boffin

When the head rots

When the head rots the body dies. Perhaps this was all a grand plan bye Microsoft to get rid of an competitor. Does not sound possible, though.

Perhaps it was this old mantra that Microsoft will always succeed the third time.

Rotten heads, anyway, I am afraid.

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Anonymous Coward

Announcing vapourware too far in advance, killing your existing line?

Can anyone say Osborne?

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Mushroom

Windows alone is the start of the end

Windows phone or what ever you call it is not what consumers want. Businesses do like it, but only for email interaction without blackberry taxation.

If people wanted Microsoft phones, then they'd be a top 3 OS and handsets flying off the shelves.

Nokia should have simply ditched their own OS systems and focused on hardware for both Microsoft and Android just as Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson have (the other 'old boys' in the mobile hardware market).

Nokia's following was down to the hardware as it was almost always better than the competition which is one of the only reasons the N series sold well and the N95 was such a success.

The s40 series sold because of price, features and durability. The world moved on and Nokia didn't know how to and was left behind by its own stubborness to stick with symbian and not invest in touchscreen technology as it moved to capacitive and away from needing stylus'....

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FAIL

maemo

Why? Why did they drop maemo? It was based on a pedigree, Debian, why drop it? When almost no one else was developing a Linux based mobile OS, Nokia go and drop the one GOOD thing they had going for them. Why? why? why?

Ludicrous ...

I shall cherish my N900.

Well maybe one more Nokia with meego... but the N900 will perhaps be Nokia's greatest achievement.

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Silver badge

Uh, yeah

The N900 was the only Nokia I would have wanted recently, and even that took forever to release, delay after delay.

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Meego

Meego may be what the linux foundation are supporting but the Meego community has some catching up to do with the maemo community.

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Anonymous Coward

If...

They can get some WinPho 7 Mango phones out the door this year, I think there's every chance Microsoft/Nokia will take a decent chunk of market share.

They'll need to get some more developers on board while they're at it, as the marketplace is still a little sparse, but it's getting there.

Oh and hurry up and get Skype on WinPho!

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The smartphone market is in its infancy

From the comments you'd think that the market for smartphones was mature but the iPhone was only released 4 years ago and Android has come from virtually nothing in 2009 to over 30% now.

This is clearly a market in its infancy and one that Nokia screwed up because it could not get the software right and clearly wasn’t going to any time soon.

There are clearly risks in dumping Symbian and going for WP7 but Microsoft has committed billions to making it work and Window Phone 7 is not Windows Mobile with a UI facelift, it is a new platform.

I’ve been an iPhone fanboy since 2007 but a Windows developer for 30 years so the chance to write apps for WP7 was of particular interest and have recently had my first app published. There are thousands of professional developers like me who are going to create apps – the developer community for Microsoft is incredibly strong and vibrant.

I’m also interested in Windows 8 and am fully expecting a good level of compatibility between the two, push compatibility onto the Xbox as well and hopefully Microsoft will make this a serious 3 way race.

Interesting times....

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Anonymous Coward

(2011 - 30) < 1985

"I’ve been an iPhone fanboy since 2007 but a Windows developer for 30 years"

Wow, so you've been developing for Windows since version what, minus 2.5 then?

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Silver badge
Unhappy

Dunno why they called 'smart' phones.

They are not. they are damn stupid phones.

Who was the idiot that thought it a good idea to put buttons all down the sides so as soon as you try to pick it up you perform some random operation?

Talking about random, how is it that the powering system is so crud that you keep switching the phone on and off when it's in your pocket - even when it's supposed to be locked? Why can't I have a real slide switch that breaks contact with one of the battery terminals? That would also have the benefit that I would know it really was off and no sneaks could activate the mic and eavesdrop on me.

Locking, yes that's another one. So I start a call and as soon as it connected the stupid phone locks out the keypad. Why? The information service has just asked me to press 1 for... Well I miss the rest while frantically scramble to unlock the phone, only to have it lock itself again when the menu options repeat.

Then there's the camera. FFS I don't want a camera. Many places I work will not allow cameras on site. What use is a phone that spends all day in the security officers safe?

All the power hungry 'extras' - who really needs them? Who even asked for them? Does anyone really want a phone that takes forever just to churn through this junk when you switch it on? Then, the battery life is so short and unpredictable that you find it wakes you in the middle of the night to demand feeding.

Half asleep you reach for the charger - yes it's one of those new 'smart' micro USB ones. You can hardly see the damn thing, and dare not turn on the main light for fear of waking SWMBO. After struggling for 1/2 an hour you realise you were trying to plug it in the wrong way round and have now totally destroyed the charger and possibly the phone too - except it gives you another little forlorn beep. What was wrong the the jack plug? I can do that in total darkness entirely by feel.

No there is nothing smart about today's phones.

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Pint

SGS2 launch proves: selling the best hardware is the differentiator, not proprietary OS tiles.

The truly good news about the great SGS2 launch is proof that hardware is the commodity now and that sniffing Telco bum like Nokia has done for years has finally stopped cutting it.

See Sammy's giveaway of free Phones to custom Rom cookers. I feel confident in buying popular Sammy phones, cause I know there will be updated custom ROMs long after official updates stopped. AND Sammy won't be trying to screw people up who want to use those!

Samsung could care less what OS goes on it, they just want to sell phones, not philosophy. They suck at software, but they say: whatever customers want to use, we'll sell them a top-of-the-line device to run it on.

So why would Nokia go to the folly of trying to foist a single OS choice on their customers with locked bootloaders? Do it like HTC: Make one great Phone at each price point, toss Windphone7, Android and Megoo on it. Then allocate your software resources according to respective sales volume.

Nokia's new Smartphone looks great. I prefer the design over anything else I've seen, even though they don't use nice materials like HTC. But Symbian Anna? give me a break... WindPhone7? no way.

Megoo I'd buy. And your specs should be up to snuff. Can Nokia focus on hardware enough to get their specs to be competitive with Samsung?

Selling phones that don't compete on hardware won't go over well at any rate. Not on loyalty and not with Windphone7 either, if that's Elop's hope, he should hire a replacement for himself now.

Let customers vote with their money which OS wins. Nokia has done great selling Phones on making great hardware. They might have missed the boat on becoming a software company by being too slow. But Megoo had a lot of people waiting, some of us still want a cleaner Linux than Android is.

In the end, we just want to buy hardware from you, not OS philosophy. Give us a better mousetrap than the other guys, and an OS that won't annoy the crap out of intelligent people by trying to babysit them or by fencing them in. Should be much like the PC, You buy one computer, you can boot it into Leopard, Windows or Linux or all 3.

If M$ could return to the ways of the Lotus 123 takedown with a "hello customer: we solved your problems, we made extensive inquiries and we did it exactly the way you said you'd like it"... but now, they're just jockeying for more tollbooths without giving you any good reason to drive over their roads.

M$ is trying to emulate Apple, and where Apple looks like a fenced garden to a lot of people, with Microsoft, it looks more like a ghetto.

And M$ is trying to emulate Google too, just without trading you free stuff for the advertising dollars made on your back. No they want to charge on both ends... go away, Ballmer...

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FAIL

MS and Nokia are both doomed

If you tie a sinking ship to another sinking ship, they're both still gonna sink.

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