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back to article Nokia's Great Software Cleansing scrubs off everything since the '90s

Nokia took an axe to much of its non-Windows software capacity today, leaving all but a core team working on S40, company insiders say. Among the 10,000 casualties officially announced are teams working on Meltemi, Qt and QML. The team imported via the Smarterphone acquisition will work on S40, we understand. Engineers were …

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Anonymous Coward

''Engineers were locked out of their source code management systems and wikis before the announcements were made this morning.''

That must have been panic inducing, heart sinkingly shitty

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe

Maybe, but it's pretty standard procedure: I've worked in a couple of large companies where they've done this because - as they have to announce to the stock market before it opens, reporters had turned up and were asking questions outside the office of people going in, usually giving mis-information.

In other news, there's also a article on slashdot about some ridiculously high percentage of IT guys freely admitting to the fact that they would take as much data as the could with them, were they sacked.

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Take as much data as the can

The most valuable data that us engineers have that makes us desirable employees is taken with us everywhere we go - its our brains.

OTOH, I've known salesdrones to walk off with client lists and contract details (and digitally tracked their activities, so we can sue the pants of them after they've left and gone to $competitor).

Good time to pick up some QT developers on the cheap.

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Facepalm

I was thinking the same

I feel bad for the sys admin who had to lock all his co-workers out of the servers :/

Nokia is finished, *TWO* years ago they could have brought at least ONE android handset to the market in a short time frame, they had a chance.

Best scenario now is a consortium of google and android handset manufacturers to buy the patents to assure patent protection for android.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe

In other news, there's also a article on slashdot about some ridiculously high percentage of IT guys freely admitting to the fact that they would take as much data as the could with them, were they sacked.

Well, in this case the last laugh would be mine, as I take home a backup of my employers source code repostitory every day.

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Paris Hilton

OPTIONAL

BUT THANK GOD THE ONLY PROGRAMS THEY WILL BE WORKING ON NOW WILL BE FOR THE FUTURE OF SMRAT PHONES: WINDOWS

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Windows

Locke out..

By the same techies that'll be following toute suite, and even sooner than that.

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FAIL

Re: Maybe

aren't you a clever boy then.

Must be a real important codebase if you just bung it on a USB stick each night...

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Re: Maybe @1rafayal

I dunno, 16GB USB stick and rsync should do the job nicely.

On the other hand the AC is probably breaking any number of his employers rules, and probably deserves a P45.

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Anonymous Coward

Been there...

I was sysadmin at a co that was laying off 10% of its workforce every year or so. Ended up writing a perl script called 'sackomatic' to do the donkeywork; csv list went in with usernames, users went out the door (assuming the electronic door entry system still let them of course!) Horrible job, especially when you are given the list and told to sit on it until the end of the week.

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Devil

Well .....

I'd be surprised if they stayed locked out for long, if they were any good at developing. Alternative offsite backups, and so forth.

The point about hackers is, we won't be kept down.

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Mushroom

Shareholders?

Never mind shareholders voting down CEO pay packages - can't they just vote out the CEO?

I don't understand why this hasn't happened.

I have an N900 and a 6310i, and I'll keep using them until they stop working. I'm not likely to buy another Nokia. Ever.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shareholders?

then you're behind the curve, most of the rest of us declared to "not buy another Nokia. Ever" a long time ago

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Re: Shareholders?

The 6310i was discontinued in 2005, you know? It still works perfectly as a phone, and is far better made than today's offerings (of pure phones). Probably because it was made in Germany, not China.

The N900 may not have been a proper commercial offering but its the closest thing to an open source phone you'll get. Its a shame Meego/Harmattan was binned.

I can't offer any opinion on Symbian.

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Re: Shareholders?

I loved using Symbian. The OS is stable and responsive. My last Nokia was an N8 and it has four different bugs with SMSs one for sending and three for receiving. I have had the lot. Nokia will not acknowlege the issues which happen globally or show any desire to fix it. When I contacted Nokia care about it I was basically told to go away.

So I have. I now use an iPhone. It is still being customised to work the way I want but I can at least receive SMSs and use CalDAV. Neither the N8 or the new windows phones can use CalDAV. I was hoping to use a new windows phone.

It is sad times for a Nokia fan, sad to see them go. I suspect the end is near.

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FAIL

Re: Shareholders?

Pretty much everyone I know, including myself, loved Nokias then eventually came to the same conclusion that they wouldn't buy another one, ever.

For me it was the N97, promising to be as good as the iPhone but from Nokia and turned out to be a pile of cow dung which I ditched after 6 months of a 12 month contract.

It's certain now that Nokia will be sold, probably to Microsoft, and will end up just as a brand name, how the mighty have fallen.

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Re: Shareholders?

I had an N900, and loved it. Sadly my phone provider wasn't providing, and in the process of giving them the flick i had to either pay ~$200 to keep the phone, or post it back to them. Now while i like my new android phone (G-Note), i can't practice Python on it, or fire up Kismet, or anything like that. It's not the same!

I, too, won't buy another Nokia phone. Even if they survive long enough for my current contract to expire.

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Anonymous Coward

Sad day

Horrible to see such a great company destroyed by cancerous mismanagement.

Last one out please turn off the lights.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sad day

To be fair their phones were buggy, poorly supported, the OS was tired and clunky, usability was appalling and their previous management was rubbish for failing to develop anything competitive to replace Symbian.

Classic example of a company who did well when the market was small and there was little competitive.

It's a shame really as they could have spent more time and effort develiping the communicator range into the smartphones we all know and love today.

Same goes for Microsoft and Windows Mobile. They did about 4 or more releases of that with hardly any changes.

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Re: Sad day

Their phones were not appalling and buggy a decade ago, when the market was small(ish) - I don't believe there was less competition then at all.

They made some fantastic, well thought out, functionally excellent and solidly built phones back then... it is indeed a shame to see how things turned out but they've been producing rubbish for years and the Microsoft-only plan was clearly suicidal.

Pity that QT got mixed up in it all, but hopefully it'll continue to exist and develop without a corporate millstone^w backer.

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Re: Sad day

Nokia has always been a textbook case of mismanagement with different divisions almost in perpetual war with each other. It needed an overhaul. But Nokia's current course is less overhaul and more corporate suicide, shedding jobs, knowledge and identity and sucking up to Microsoft as their sole benefactors.

I would not be surprised if the company is up on the auction block soon enough. All this job reduction is not a long term move, it's to make the books look more balanced for a quick sale.

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Unhappy

Re: Sad day

"They made some fantastic, well thought out, functionally excellent and solidly built phones back then..."

Indeed. I had a Nokia 6110 from 1998 until it died circa 2005. It had a really imtuitive text based menu where you could address items via their number within successive menu levels (e.g. you could bash in 4.2.3), and there was a section in the manual detailing the combinations.

Then on a course a couple of years ago there were two of us working together, both with more modern Nokias, and we couldn't find the calculator function on the wretched things (it had been buried inside the Organizer menu). The sad thing was that we had both bought Nokia the second time around because we had been so impressed with their earlier models.

I read a couple of years ago that Nokia had something daft like 80 models in their line up. That was enough to tell me not to hope to much for their future.

A sad day indeed, but somehow inevitable.

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Devil

Re: Sad day

Most symbian fans were inexplicably committed, in a way some Blackberry fans are. There was only one thing Nokia could do to drive those customers away. And they did it. And now Nokia sells fewer smart phones than that committed installed base of loyal fans would have bought even if they didn't update Symbian at all.

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Re: Sad day

I think if you were to capture the essence of what people liked about Symbian it could have been replicated fairly accurately over Android. There was no reason to drive them away except for the fact that what they chose to replace it with bore absolutely no resemblance and Microsoft were not to permit them to customize it in any substantial way either.

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Are you sure?

" ... essence of what people liked about Symbian ..", great, what I liked was the week long battery life. Just how do I go about making my Android phone do that?

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Happy

Re: Sad day

You can still do the menu number combination on my budget year-old Nokia C1, though if you use one of the softkeys for a "Go to" menu you hardly ever need it.

I would agree on the excessive number of phones in their product line-up, it's too confusing for users and the support suffers.

I'm sad to see Nokia self-destruct. I'm loyal to their brand having exclusively owned Nokias for the last 8 years but doubt I'll get another one. I'm happy with the C1 though, with Opera Mini and Google Maps it's pretty powerful for a cheap phone, despite the lack of processing power and a few software bugs (but what phone hasn't?).

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Awful but predictable

Now Elop has borged the entire company they have little of value left for any potential suitor.

Very sad, particularly to be locked out of source control.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Awful but predictable

"little of value left for any potential suitor"

They have a lot of value left: their patent portfolio. Elop just has to bring the price down a bit more, then they'll get snapped up by MS before you can say "embrace, extend, extinguish".

They didn't even need the "extend" phase this time...

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Anonymous Coward

People weren't expecting this?

Every business project sets out how it's going to pay for itself: usually by enabling the company to make X more money or make X savings. Savings is a nice way of saying less people, which means sackings. Like it or hate it, the biggest cost Nokia has/had was it's engineers and software budget. That's now going to be a whole lot smaller now they're buying in the OS.

In fairness, I'd have thought anyone who wasn't working on WP7 at Nokia would have known the writing was on the wall...

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Unhappy

Re: People weren't expecting this?

You're right. A friend of mine who was a developer for s60, left over a year back. Almost everyone in his team was worried and on the lookout. The sad thing is that not everyone can get another job, for a myriad of reasons. Then there are those who although qualified cling to their jobs because of a comfort level and a sense of inertia.

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Anonymous Coward

source control

If the source control system was still Synergy then I'm sure most developers would have been silently relieved to have been locked out.

When the Symbian cuts first started to happen there were reports that the Cambridge office employees were locked out. It wasn't true.

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Anonymous Coward

> Nokia really has no ‘Plan B’ now.

Yes they do. Bankruptcy.

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"Yes they do. Bankruptcy."

Really? How are they going to go bankrupt when they get a cut of every other phone sold on the planet, and they STILL sell more phones than anyone else in the world?

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You obviously missed the news about Samsung now being the largest phone (not just smart-) manufacturer in the world then. Samsung are selling something like double the numbers of Smartphones that Nokia are (or, if you like to discount all the Symbian devices as smartphones, then 10 times the number of smartphones that Nokia are selling).

In other news Nokia have also cut all inovative development for the follow-up to S40, so you can expect their dumb/feature phone sales to also head down the toilet rapidly. Mind you that division is losing money by the bucket as well, so they might as well off that too.

It's instructive to think that 18 months ago Nokia were selling as many Symbian devices as all iPhones and all Androids added together. This year, in a growing market, they will likely sell 10-20% of the total number of Smartphones that they sold in 2010.

Looks like a winning strategy to me, Mr Elop!

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"they will likely sell 10-20% of the total number of Smartphones that they sold in 2010."

Actually even less. In 2010 Nokia sold 134 million smartphone, a 34 million increase over 2009. WP as a whole will see around 10 million sold and that is across all manufacturers. So Nokia won't even see 10% of where they were, even if they were 100% of the WP sales.

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And for every phone Samsung make, Nokia gets some patent money. They couldn't go bankrupt even if they sacked every single worker!

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Anonymous Coward

It's a shame for Qt

Nokia stopped being relevant when they missed the smartphone shift and yet they managed to dig even lower with Elop, so I won't really miss them.

But what about Qt now? This platform is terrific, it'd be a shame to sell it to another clueless company that will probably ruin it. Let's hope someone forks it soon, it shouldn't be a problem as long as the forkers keep it open source (dual (L)GPL license) and don't fiddle with commercial licenses.

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Re: It's a shame for Qt

Qt became this far without Nokia at first place. All Nokia did was hurting its well deserved prestige by trying to fit it into incapable devices, trying to convince developers "it is Nokia future" and slowing down its progress into things really matter (tablets).

Nokia have really hurt the project enough but as it already have established base& trust in both commercial and free software, nothing serious happened. It could be worse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a shame for Qt

Well you're right of course, it was bad management but from my point of view it's far from being catastrophic. I mean, they might have seriously crippled it (the Oracle way) but fortunately they didn't.

And there's at least one thing we can thank Nokia for: they allowed it to be used under LGPL terms. For me and probably for numerous other freelance developers, it meant that I could reuse my FOSS-acquired Qt skills without needing to buy a commercial license which I couldn't have afforded anyway.

All in all, I guess it could have been a lot worse.

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Good job, Elop! You really did jump off the burning platform, but it is company that is drowning. Hope you have a soft landing on floating carcass of the company.

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Devil

From a burning platform, to the fiery pits of hell

When Stephen Elop became CEO of Nokia, he was Microsofts 8th largest individual shareholder.

He was a dodgy bastard even before Blamer sent him to rape Nokia - the right man for the job, then.

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Anonymous Coward

Are we witnessing largest robbery ever?

We really need law and finance geeks here. Lets say company board got some promises (or plain bribe) to hand a public company, country running size company to the freaking shareholder of a rival, actually nemesis (read wince history) company.

How come that countries market authority, police and even intelligence doesn't look into it?

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JC_
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Re: Are we witnessing largest robbery ever?

How come that countries market authority, police and even intelligence doesn't look into it?

Cause it's paranoid bullshit?

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FAIL

All the eggs in one burning platform

It's clearly not going to end well for Nokia...

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Anonymous Coward

I wish they'd spin Trolltech back out

I wish they'd spin Trolltech back out to being an independent company again - it would make me a whole lot more comfortable about Qt.

It is not in The Puppetmasters Behind The Scenes best interest for there to be a cross-platform, well engineered UI toolkit that could target Android, *nix, MacOS, and Windows with one code base.

(and Qt could work on IOS as well, again but for the decisions of Apple management).

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Re: I wish they'd spin Trolltech back out

If Nokia didn't bug the project, a huge amount of Android software was using qt right now.

Can you believe port of qt to the most important mobile operating system (as ios not possible) is done by a single person who doesn't even work for Nokia? It was, for a period. Don't know the current situation.

As trolltech was a very successful and seriously managed company, we forget their size. Nobody in today's environment would leave them to Nokia's hands and they are easy to buy.

I just wish some really big and mature company like IBM buys it so commercial software guys feel safe.

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Re: I wish they'd spin Trolltech back out

Ironically Qt is your only real choice for developing desktop app in C++ on Windows.

So if MSFT sank Qt they are looking at no reasonable way to do proper apps on Windows

- no C++/CLR and WPF doesn't count as reasonable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I wish they'd spin Trolltech back out

So if MSFT sank Qt they are looking at no reasonable way to do proper apps on Windows

But do they really want us to write proper apps on Windows? See Metro, WinRT.

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Re: I wish they'd spin Trolltech back out

>But do they really want us to write proper apps on Windows? See Metro, WinRT.

I think their idea is to embrace and extend the idea of an App store - to just be Office365

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