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back to article Finnish PM rules out Nokia rescue package

The Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has ruled out any government rescue package for ailing Nokia, saying the company is on its own. If any Finnish company is too big to fail, it would have been Nokia. At its height, the company was responsible for a quarter of all Finnish exports and accounted for nearly 5 per cent of the …

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Unhappy

Flops mission is complete.

Blamer sends his thanks.

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Re: Flops mission is complete.

OK - this is what I don't get.

Elop might be (or might not be ) incompetent, but what does Microsoft have to gain by destroying Nokia? I can see they have much to lose if Nokia die, because they are actually trying to market Windows Phone, unlike HTC and Samsung who are clearly only interested in Android.

Is it so that they can bankrupt them and get their patents on the cheap? But why would any liquidator not sell them to the highest bidder?

Is it so Microsoft could get rid of Symbian and MeeGo? Don't make me laugh. The one was dying and the other didn't exist at the point of Elop's takeover.

And why would Elop risk serious jail time by deliberately ruining a company he was running? I mean, he was extremely rich before taking over Nokia. Why would he risk it all by deliberately ruining them? So he could cackle in an evil manner?

If someone can explain - using facts and logic - how Microsoft stand to gain by Nokia's demise, I'll be glad to hear it.

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Anonymous Coward

He's acting like Pontius Pilate, washing his hands of it.

What does the Government know that we don't?

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Re: Flops mission is complete.

1. Symbian, sold 110 million handsets in 2010 - biggest marketshare.

2. ip, symbian has a lot .

Elop merged Macromedia and adobe about 12 years ago, hes a merger man and nothing else.

Everyone seems to forget symbian had the biggest market share and thats what Microsoft wanted destroy by 4 x $250 million cheques and wp7 wp7.5 wp 7.8 and wp 8,

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Flops mission is complete.

I've always wondered a bit about that as well. The man has been a walking corporate disaster since the first time he ever took charge of a company, years before he worked for Microsoft.

(Hint, he didn't do too well there either!)

I think it's mainly because of his Gung-ho for Microsoft attitude while he worked there, right before he Katrina'd into Nokia, that raised eyebrows when he gave his infamous "Burning platform" speech.

I'm assuming that in person he's one hell of a charismatic dude, and projects a blinding aura of confidence, because there's no way in Tophet that anyone that's ever looked objectively at his record would even remotely consider him as leader of their company.

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FAIL

Re: Flops mission is complete.

Because when the share price is right down MS will be able to pick up all the patents (and maybe any hardware infrastructure) cheap.

Seriously, I doubt Eflop meant to do this, after all it was nearly too late when he joined. Still, I believe he did put the last nail in the coffin by going MS.

I'm very sad about Nokia. I was a big Nokia fan for many, many years, but their lack of impetus and finally their dropping of the new version of Symbian and Meego (both of which, IMO, could have been winners) just before they were ready to go, pis$ed me right off. I defected to Android, and it looks like that's where I'll be staying for the foreseeable future.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Flops mission is complete.

When Nokia did the Microsoft deal, Elop could have insisted on a route to WP8, I really can't understand how Nokia could invest in the Lumia lineup without assurances. Not just Elop, the whole board and senior management team bear responsibility.

Even if creating a Lumia to WP8 upgrade path was technically impossible (which I dispute), there was still a get out clause:

Microsoft could have announced WP8 for a new generation of premium phones with WP7.8 the preferred option for current generation/budget handsets. Developers given clear guidance to develop for WP7 for maximum market share, with WP8 reserved for applications using the new hardware features in the medium term. SDK and marketplace revisions oriented toward the new dual model.

Instead as part of the Microsoft Windows 8 convergence strategy, developers are being encouraged to move to WP8 with the likely result that Lumia users will find most of the new apps in the Windows marketplace unavailable to phones tha are otherwise perfectly capable of running the apps. Anyone who has bought into the newish Lumia 900 on 2 year contract can justifiably feel aggrieved. Anyone buying now who isn't fully informed its an end of line product is being conned.

Think the only way Nokia can resurrect the Lumia brand is to announce a dual strategy quickly side by side with Microsoft who can apologize for confusion and let those responsible for screwing Nokia go to show they mean it. Otherwise its a long cold summer and fall in Finland.

I've not been an Elop basher before but at this point if he can't do something, about time he was fired without handshake.

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Unhappy

Re: Flops mission is complete.

but what does Microsoft have to gain by destroying Nokia

Microsoft destroyed MeeGo and Symbian, with the former in February 2011 moving towards becoming a credible operating system for Nokia that scaled from the phone to the desktop and everywhere in between, with the support of Intel and China Mobile. The latter, Symbian, was being redeveloped with the updated UI that it sorely needed and that has been very well received. Both of these operating systems would have utilised the same Qt development framework, which is much loved by developers. It was essential - for Microsoft - that both these threats were extinguished as soon as possible.

Even if Nokia now crumbles (which may or may not be part of the plan, but seems inevitable anyway) Microsoft will have achieved a great deal by taking out what would have been the biggest threat to their mobile software business (MeeGo/Symbian/Qt) after iOS and Android.

Nokia were a huge, HUGE, supporter of Linux and open source technologies - all of that has been killed stone dead, thanks to Microsoft. It has been a major success for Balmer.

And once Nokia is no more (and Microsoft has acquired all the IP) there will still be plenty of OEMs around the planet to entice into using Windows Phone software, as the only viable alternative is now Android, which Microsoft has already got stitched up with the Android Tax.

Nokia is expendable, period.

They were a means to an end, to give WP some credibility, but their long term survival wasn't important nor essential to Microsoft - on the contrary, they are the one most likely to now benefit when it all goes tits up in Finland.

And now that Nokia has shared all of its experience with Microsoft, if Nomura are to be believed then Microsoft will be making their own phone.

Nokia: Sendo Redux?

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Re: Flops mission is complete.

Nobody has explained why Nokia would sell MS their patents and other IP on the cheap. It's just a baseless assertion. And the idea that MS would go out of it's way to kill Symbian and MeeGo strains credulity. They would kill iOS and Android in a heartbeat, but not a dying OS or a non-existant one.

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Re: Flops mission is complete.

Flops chances of success in turning around Nokia are similar to Tony Blair's mission as Middle east peace envoy < 0. They would probably get seriously beaten (if not killed) if they dared to show their faces to average Joe on the street.. Both had a chance to do something but so dissappointinly chose the wrong path..

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Vic
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Re: Flops mission is complete.

> Nobody has explained why Nokia would sell MS their patents and other IP on the cheap

Nobody has explained why Nokia would bin their entire product line and hitch their wagon to an essentially inknown product from a software vendor with a very chequered history in the consumer marketplace.

But they did.

Elop is very clearly a Microsoft fanboy, even if he isn't a plant. Why would he not go cap-in-hand to Ballmer when he starts running out of money? As long as that happens before an official bankruptcy, MS is quids in...

Vic.

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FAIL

Re: Flops mission is complete.

Well you would want to weaken Nokia to make it a takeover target. There is no way in hell that the European regulators (possibly even the Americans either) would have approved the takeover by MS of Nokia in Feb 2011 (when Elop killed Symbian). It would've taken years to clear. Nokia just had too large a market share in too many spaces to let anyone merge with it, it was simply too big to swallow. The Nokia takeover of Symbian was previously defeated by regulators and only just scraped through in 2008/9 buy lots of assurances that the OS would be open sourced.

Elop set about changing that. I suspect that he was more sucessful than he imagined. He had to take Nokia off number one slot for smartphones, done; number one mobile OS, done; and number one all phone vendor, done (just). Now anyone looking to enquire about purchsing Nokia will be seen as a saviour and with the backing of the Finnish government, positively encouraged into a buy-out. To those of us on the inside, this was and still is entirely predictable.

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@ Neil 7

Q "but what does Microsoft have to gain by destroying Nokia?"

A "Microsoft destroyed MeeGo and Symbian"

I don't dispute the reality, that MeeGo and Symbian are now gone, but I dispute Microsoft's need to destroy them. Both were dead men walking anyway, against the iOS and Android market domination reality. Pointing at sales units of Symbian to justify how well it was doing is exactly the same behaviour that got Nokia into such trouble - you are ignoring the inevitability of Nokia's independent OS's decline. In terms of competing ecosystems, Symbian and any follow up were dead men walking against iOS and Android

You even reference this by disagreeing with yourself:

"It was essential - for Microsoft - that both these threats were extinguished as soon as possible"

"Microsoft will have achieved a great deal by taking out what would have been the biggest threat to their mobile software business (MeeGo/Symbian/Qt) ***AFTER*** iOS and Android"

I added the *** and whatnot, to emphasise the disagreement. Anyway, the point is that iOS and Android are the threats to Microsoft, and Symbian and MeeGo did not even count as long term threats, let alone immediate threats that required extinguishing.

Also, if Nokia (or important parts of it) are for sale, why is it somehow an automatic sale to Microsoft? Do Microsoft have automatic first dibs? There are other companies around, with tonnes of cash, who might be interested.

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@AC 21:38

He knows that with Flop in charge it'd be more practical to print some money then set fire to it.

The Finns will invent something else. Shame about the patents though.

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Re: Flops mission is complete.

The lower Nokia shares go, the cheaper it is for Microsoft to buy Nokia.

Microsoft has shown recently that they are going the Apple way of developing their own hardware (and Google might also go that way with their recent acquisition of Motorola). Buying Nokia would go a long way towards that goal.

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Coat

Re: Flops mission is complete.

For a while I also had this bad feeling about Elop having a Microsoft mission for Nokia.

To day I simply think the guy is totally worthless to run any company at all.

Too bad, but one has to remember that Nokia fell a sleep long before Elop pulled the helm out of the ship.

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Meh

Re: @5.antiago

The point you're not getting is that Microsoft aims to be #3 in mobile software - that's a place that is still up for grabs and where MeeGo/Symbian/Qt (imagine Qt as the ecosystem/platform, not MeeGo or Symbian per se) and you can see that Nokia had a credible chance of taking that third place with its own platforms that Microsoft wanted/needed.

MeeGo had the backing of not just Intel and a raft of other hardware and vehicle manufacturers, but also operators such as China Mobile with 650mn subscribers. When Nokia bailed on MeeGo, China Mobile were so pissed they refused to stock the Lumia in China, leaving Nokia to deal with the smallest of the Chinese operators.

With the reach of Nokia in terms of devices, the hardware and operator support, it's pretty easy to see that Nokia could get their Qt platform on to hundreds of millions of devices in pretty short order. In fact, Qt IS on tens of millions of devices already (Belle, N9) - probably an order of magnitude more devices than are running Windows Phone right now, and that's without Nokia even trying (and indeed, having already killed the entire platform).

The point is, that Nokia were easily capable of preventing Microsoft from gaining traction with Windows Phone and taking that #3 spot for themselves, so converting Nokia to be Windows Phone exclusive made a lot more sense to Microsoft than just getting them on board as a hardware manufacturer.

Destroying the Nokia platforms was most likely the primary objective as it leaves the way clear(er) for Microsoft to grab that #3 spot - getting them on board to also make devices was just gravy, but won't be necessary for much longer now that Windows Phone has a better chance of success.

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Devil

Re: Flops mission is complete.

You must be new round here? The Vole has a history of converting partners into roadkill. The Vole will even try to eat Chipzilla when it thinks it can make its own silicon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Flops mission is complete.

@Anonymous Coward 101

You don't get it do you?

Microsoft's original plan was to destroy Nokia from within, drive Nokia's share price to hell, then snap up Nokia's remainders for pennies. In other words, Microsoft wants Nokia to be its OEM bitch. Or 'exclusive hardware partner', if you prefer a more tactful term.

Yeah, and the patents bonanza is a good loot too.

Nokia will not be sold to the highest bidder, because:

1) Trojan horse Stephen Elop will make sure that Nokia is sold to no one else but Microsoft.

2) No other company (Samsung?) wants to get drawn into a bidding war with Microsoft.

3) The Nokia board will be helpless to do anything about it (I'm quite sure the Finnish folks never read the fine print when they decided on the 'strategic partnership' with Microsoft.)

4) Nokia will be in no power or position to negotiate with others, or negotiate better terms with Microsoft.

5) Elop won't be jailed because the Finnish govt is impotent. The Finnish govt had also recently declared that no company is 'too big to fail', not even Nokia.

Any way you look at it, it is clear that Nokia is royally screwed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Flops mission is complete.

"Projects a blinding aura of confidence" usually means "surrounded by a close-knit band of flattering sycophants". Look who were the top Nokia execs whom Stephen Elop had kicked out, and who he brought in.

Competent, experienced people out, inexperienced cronies in.

Happens in politics, happens in the business world too.

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Anonymous Coward

Why is Elop in control still given their huge losses?

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Probably because the only long term they have now is "get as much out of MS as possible" and for that they need Elop. It's so bad even the Finn's themselves are avoiding buying Nokia, that's a bit like the French being told to buy something American instead of French.

The nail in the coffin is WP8, Nokia has to convince the world to keep buying the Lumias even though it's an EOL product with no future app support (yeah, who's going to develop for WP7.5 when WP8 comes out?), they lost a lot of loyal fans because of that decision... I'm one of them (from the 6210, even the N900 and, yeah, a Lumia).

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Vic
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> the only long term they have now is "get as much out of MS as possible"

You think so?

I reckon a complete about-turn would give them a survivable future. Get a few Androids out for cashflow, then run Symbian & Meego (or similar) for a bit of market value.

This is obviously an uphill battle - Nokia having lost so much traction, kudos, and staff over the last little while - but does *anyone* think they're going to make a go of Windows Phone?

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Funny how everybody could see this coming...

...except for everyone in Nokia outside of Elop.

I'll be very amused if Google (or perhaps a consortium lead by the OHA) outbid Microsoft though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Funny how everybody could see this coming...

That would never clear the regulators in a million years. Google owning both Motorola and Nokia?

Get outta here...

For good reason too. Outside of their feverish fan's wet dreams, Google's current monopolistic grip over the Web and smartphones already raises hard concerns.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Funny how everybody could see this coming...

Compared to Microsoft, they're saints by comparison. Not saying they aren't a company with a bottom line, same as any others. Just that Google appears to have gotten extremely huge by being good at what they do, rather than being the troll under the bridge that everybody has to use.

However I did say "or a consortium". In either case, keeping Nokia out of Microsoft's grubby fingers would be amusing, since it seems that's been their plan ever since Elop took the top spot, and probably some considerable time beforehand.

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Re: Funny how everybody could see this coming...

With the exception of its patent portfolio, is Nokia worth anything to anyone other than Microsoft? The company has tied its future so tightly to Windows Phone that turning it round to manufacture - say - Android handsets would surely be such a massive task that it could founder before anything came to market.

I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft took a large equity stake in Nokia real soon now, if only to keep those lovely patents close to hand and avoid the company slipping away.

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Facepalm

At one point they were too big to fail, but not any more.

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Anonymous Coward

One Word: Epic Fail

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That's two words :P

I would say "too late" would fit the idea of a rescue better at this point.

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Coat

That's two.

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Terminator

No Windows phone for me

I am never going to buy a Windows phone from Nokia, or anyone else for that matter. My last Nokia phone that I buy might be Nokia 701 Symbian. But I am still considering that options. Since my current phones are rather new.

Too bad that there are not many 3G phones that support 850/900/1700/1900/2100 as Nokia N8/700/701 does. I want nothing less.

Sad story about Nokia. But this is what you get when you hire a Microsoft office pencil pusher to work in your company. The lesson. Do not deal with Microsoft unless you want your company to go the bankrupt way.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No Windows phone for me

"But this is what you get when you hire a Microsoft office pencil pusher to work in your company".....

right, because everything was going so swimmingly before Elop turned up, right?

Volume matters to a certain extent, but ultimately it's all about profit.

At least with WP they have a *chance* to differentiate themselves. Becoming yet another android player would've meant fighting for whatever scraps Samsung didn't want.

And as for keeping things in-house? Well RIM's showing how well that's going...

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Anonymous Coward

"Yet Another" Android Player

Well, they would be if they jumped in now.

They had their chance and blew it. Nokia could be stomping all over Samsung by now, with a brand name that is well renowned for phones, not televisions. As is, they've gone into suicide mode and Samsung are just saying "lol, thx Nokia".

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Use a freaking Android first

The os itself is designed to be customizable by vendors and user in insane levels. There are Nokia launchers made by hobbyists which are so perfect that you can't figure device running Android. Even a windows phone launcher exist.

Actually, lets say google lost all "look and feel" cases. There is nothing they can do as os design allows third party screen lockers, launchers and keyboards.

By the way guess where all symbian techie users and advanced developers are? Android.

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Flame

Re: "Yet Another" Android Player

Not disagreeing with you, but I can't help wondering what the Koprean for "LOL, thx Nokia" is?

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Re: "Yet Another" Android Player

I think I meant Korean by the way. LOL.

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Unhappy

"Volume matters to a certain extent, but ultimately it's all about profit."

Exactly, so tell me, then, why did the Microsoft "office pencil pusher" so magnificently destroy all possibility of both volume and profitability back in Feb 2011 by pissing on his own platforms with nothing to replace them with? It's true that Symbian sales were slowing, but it's also true they dropped off a cliff post Feb11. Even Elop now admits he made a mistake by not anticipating how much damage he would cause to sales with his "memo".

And now it's happened again, but this time Microsoft has done it to Nokia by announcing that all of Nokia's current stock is obsolete, EOL, worthless. And Nokia knew this when they signed on for WP7.

What fool will now buy a Nokia device running Windows Phone 7? And when is WP8 going to launch, December? So that's Q3 and Q4 down the toilet, possibly even Q1/2013 if Nokia don't get a device to market on WP8 launch day (assuming Nokia even last that long).

Honestly, if Elop had waited until Feb 2012 to announce Nokia were going "all in" with Microsoft and Windows Phone 8, things wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as they are now - Nokia would be in much better shape, financially.

Even better, if Nokia had just agreed to support Windows Phone along with their own current platforms they wouldn't be in the financial shit they now find themselves in, and also wouldn't be enslaved to Microsoft.

Taking the route they did, they've not only lost their financial security but also their technological independence, and quite possibly their existence, and for what? A pittance from Microsoft, and a whole boatload of promises that will never be realised.

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Holmes

Re: "Volume matters to a certain extent, but ultimately it's all about profit."

And still no-one has realised the burning platform memo was written in Redmond.

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Re: "Volume matters to a certain extent, but ultimately it's all about profit."

"It's true that Symbian sales were slowing, but it's also true they dropped off a cliff post Feb11."

Market share was dropping off a cliff in the six months previous to Feb11. Unit sales of Nokia smartphones increased, but only because smartphone sales in general were exploding. When the smartphone market only increased by a small percentage in the first quarter of 2011, Nokia smartphone sales would have utterly collapsed anyway.

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Re: "Yet Another" Android Player

"Nokia could be stomping all over Samsung by now, with a brand name that is well renowned for phones, not televisions"

I think HTC are proof that it's not as simple as that. You can make a good phone but it's not enough.

Samsung came to dominate in TVs by subidising their marketing and development with massive profits from other areas of their business. They flooded the UK market with TVs that were merely as good as the competition, but cheaper and somehow cooler (marketing), and seized huge market share which they later leveraged for dominance with newer products that were genuinely better (development). This was an incredibly aggressive strategy and it was built on revenue streams from radically difference sources like superconductors.

There's no guarantee that Nokia could have competed and therefore be "stomping" all over Samsung now. They just don't have the resources of Samsung to sustain a protracted and bloody battle for market share. (That's why markets tend to monopolies, a well-established and fundamental flaw with capitalism)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Volume matters to a certain extent, but ultimately it's all about profit."

Symbian market share was being eroded due to competition (mainly from Android), but sales of Symbian were still decent and only went into decline (and steep decline at that) after the Feb11 announcement. There is no doubt that the Feb 11 announcement hastened the decline of Symbian far more so than if the announcement hadn't been made - even Elop now admits that it was a major mistake to dump Symbian in Feb 11 when it was still the main cash cow for Nokia.

If he hadn't been such a fool then, Nokia wouldn't be in such financial dire straits now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Volume matters to a certain extent, but ultimately it's all about profit."

"And still no-one has realised the burning platform memo was written in Redmond."

As much as I would sorely love this to be true, I believe the term to be used here is "post proof or retract".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Volume matters to a certain extent, but ultimately it's all about profit."

I don't recognise your figures... the Q on Q smartphone market share decline was consistently in the 2-3% ballpark and actually lifted in two quarters with the notably with the N8 launch. From Q1 to Q4 2011 the decline was 24% from 36% to 12% (or a 66 percent loss of share)... that's a cliff edge.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Volume matters to a certain extent, but ultimately it's all about profit."

Evidence? See graph here.

The trend was undeniably downwards in Q3/2010 and Q4/2010 (it actually picked up a little in the final quarter with decent seasonal sales), but nowhere near as fast it became in Q1/2011. The decline in Q4/2010 accelerates sharply during Q1/2011 - I wonder what happened in Q1/2011? Oh yes, that's right, in the middle of that quarter the CEO took a dump on his own platform. Customers aren't stupid (though Nokia clearly thought they were) and sales fell off a cliff - not in Q4/2010, but in Q1/2011.

You might say that sales were always going to fall off a cliff anyway - but there is no way to know this, the evidence doesn't suggest this, and it's more likely the steady decline would have continued at about the same rate, maybe at most a little more rapidly, but certainly not cliff falling fast without the additional impetus required to actively turn customers away from Symbian.

The only rational explanation for the sudden and massive decline in Symbian sales during and after Q1/2011 can only be the cause/feffect following the Burning Memo debacle, where the CEO told all his customers that the platform they had invested in was, frankly, shit.

If you think there is any other justification for the rapid drop in sales during that period you're a blinkered idiot - even Elop knows (and has essentially admitted) that his memo had an unforeseen and massively detrimental effect on Symbian sales and plunged the company unnecessarily into the red, a mistake (assuming it even was a genuine mistake and not intentional) that Nokia is unlikely to recover from.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Volume matters to a certain extent, but ultimately it's all about profit."

Apologies - the above post linking to the graph is meant in reply to Anonymous Coward 101 who appears to be suggesting that the Burning Platform memo had no significant effect on Symbian sales.

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JDX
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upgrading existing handsets is impossible

>>Microsoft has recoded the platform so that it shares kernel features with Windows 8, which is good for integration but bad news for smartphone vendors, since upgrading existing handsets is impossible.

Is this just bad reporting... why does changing the kernel automatically mean handsets can't be upgraded? Surely if people can hack their iPad to run Android or get Win98 running on a phone, getting WP8 onto WP7.5 hardware is possible?

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Silver badge

Re: upgrading existing handsets is impossible

WP7 rules mandated a single core processor, amongst other silly restrictions on screen resolution and size.

WP8 mandates multi core CPUs, with a couple more options for screen resolution and size.

Therefore, WP7 phones will never run WP8, no matter how much you might want them to. As with Android and iThings, unofficial hacks simply do not count. Your WP7 phone will never run WP8, specifically because of Microsoft-imposed restrictions.

Don't believe me? Type "will wp7 handsets run wp8?" into your favourite search engine and have a good look around.

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Re: upgrading existing handsets is impossible

And yet *any* old HTC HD2 runs 7.8 *today*, when it's not even available on WP7.5 devices yet.

http://www.slashgear.com/windows-phone-tango-leaks-ported-to-htc-hd2-16218736/

And I've now seen WP8 on a Lumia 800 and a 900.

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Re: upgrading existing handsets is impossible

Let me say this again:

Unofficial hacks do not count.

It does not matter than you can hack Android into an iPhone, Apple will never make an Android device unless something seriously tits-up happens at Cupertino.

It does not matter than Linux can be hacked into a toaster, Kenwood will not be making Linux Toasters any time soon (or will they?).

It does not matter if WP8 can be hacked into a WP7 device. Microsoft will not be providing upgrades, ever. Their own hardware rules forbid it. WP7 is single core only, WP8 is multi core only. WP7 devices will never, ever, be upgraded to WP8 without a massive change of minds at Microkia HQ.

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