back to article Nokia waves goodbye to device biz as phone sales continue to spiral

Nokia's fourth quarter earnings report for its fiscal 2013 shows a company that's striving to reinvent itself – as it prepares to complete the sale of its struggling mobile phone business to Microsoft. The Finnish firm is already reporting its Devices & Services business unit as "discontinued operations," even though the deal …

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Anonymous Coward

I hope

And I really hope, that Mr. Elop will become the next boss at Microsoft, for reasons I am to shy to reveal.

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Re: I hope

Is it because he'd probably switch Microsoft to being an OS/2 redistributor, then leave for IBM as soon as the money dried up?

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Re: I hope

Hmm, it was a bit different, Elop was obviously planted as a mole by Microsoft.

He might have done the same at Macromedia.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I hope

Planted as a mole by Microsoft - who brainwashed the board of Nokia and the shareholders to get him elected to the board.

Err, on second thoughts maybe it's a piss poor conspiracy theory that doesn't stand up to even basic scrutiny?

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RIP

Twas good while it lasted.

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Mushroom

How the mighty have fallen

Even Nokia Siemens Networks is now an un-word.

Oh well. The last action will be the issue of a phone with an additional "Windows" key, then.

And I have to say: I just had a cheapo Nokia Asha in my hand. And I have to say... Do these people write unintuitive dreck interfaces worse than those thrown together by spotty-face sophomores for the fun of it? Is management running interference on correct product design and usability testing? Are there only two developers at Nokia's mobile software division? Is the deep reason of FAIL the northern "third way" semi-socialistic model? It's practically deliberate....

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> Is the deep reason of FAIL the northern "third way" semi-socialistic model?

That's like one of those teaser questions on the cover of a tabloid magazine at the checkout - "IS BIN LADEN STILL ALIVE???". And the answer in both cases is "uh-uh, nopety-nope".

Nokia's internals were hardly socialistic - they went through all sorts of contortions to generate internal competition. The problem was that these were mostly crap and prone to backfiring, such as the notorious phase of dividing the smartphone market into three types (something like business, media, and messaging) and decreeing what features fell into each type. So business gets the fast CPU and media gets the autofocus camera, thus the next business phone boasted a barcode reader app but could only resolve enormous barcodes painted on the side of a barn and the media phone struggled with playback and games. Truly shades of "Life of Brian":

("Campaign for Free Gallilee" and "People's Front of Judea" start fighting)

BRIAN: Brothers! Brothers! We should be struggling together!

FRANCIS: We are! Ohh.

BRIAN: We mustn't fight each other! Surely we should be united against the common enemy!

EVERYONE: The Judean People's Front?!

BRIAN: No, no! The Romans!

(and nevermind the delusion that the customers will neatly segment - business folk never play games or take photos, etc. Or perhaps they'll buy (and lug around) two separate phones, and spend those lonely hotel nights resyncing the contacts dbs with each other and relishing the opportunity to try out all the local swear words)

This craziness wasn't a socialist planned economy - I think in part it was to try to avoid the innovator's dilemma by having radical competition arising internally before some Visigoths could bring it crashing through the front door. But done in this Laurel & Hardy way all it did was provoke lots of siloing.

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Re: How the mighty have fallen

Well as for Siemens it's fairly simple to understand. It's an urge to go penny pinching beyond the point where you cannot maintain a decent product.

Siemens once had mobile phones which rang via the same speaker you also held to your ear. The obvious problem with that is that people miss the "pick up" button and hold the phone to their ear and it's ringing again rather loudly. Nobody likes that, but it won't show up in polls since everybody assumes it's done correctly.

Another aspect I've seen with Siemens (I currently work at a Siemens daughter) is that most of the people there are rather closed minded. They, at best, know about their little niche, but have no overview or vision. The resulting approaches are "... a je to!"-esque.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sebkjBe-Hu4

Since the 1990s Siemens has a bad reputation for engineering.

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Re: How the mighty have fallen

Interfaces? UI design was often "holier than thou" :o(

There would be problems in proposed changes that would affect users but get no attention. Once the product was in the field and users complained, *then* things would get fixed - because the designer (UI, industrial) had moved on to the next development project.

When they weren't holier than thou, the UI designers were actually very good, but the culture of everyone having back channels and being able to put in tweaks caused a lot of difficulty in developing---well anything. On the one hand, you needed back channels to get fixes in, especially in maintenance, but during development it didn't help.

Favourite game with each Symbian/S60 release: where is the file manager this time?

Elop did miss that UI design is actually a Nokia strength, if it is managed strongly. Whilst he was around Nokia had the Symbian Anna/Belle refresh, the S40 refresh with Smarterphone, S40 full touch, N9, plus others. What was missing as with so many other things was a clear old testament prophet view of what had to be done (including flames, devastated cities, plagues, screams, avenging angels....etc). Just having one UI across S40 and Smartphones would have been a start.

I remember Danish colleagues moving from S40 to S60 - their first comment was, "What do you mean there are no smileys in the SMS editor?!"

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Prediction for 2016/17

(Or whenever Nokias no compete clause finishes).

Nokia buys Jolla and makes a return to the phone market.

I think that they might be quite successful having shed the the hulk of the once dominant monster and with the brand not completely destroyed. They would also have a platform that should be maturing at that point and I have feeling that the Android party will have peaked with growing acrimony between Google and Samsung.

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Sitting On Their Hands

I remember when, not so long ago, Nokia dominated the world. If you had a mobile phone ten years ago, it was either a Nokia or a Motorola, the latter being my first, and the former, my second mobile phone (that sounds funny).

Nokia must have just sat on their hands whilst the rest of them developed and improved the basic function of a mobile phone with text capabilities, to the most elegant of computing/communications devices we have in our hands now, made by, I know, it's hard to believe, Apple and Samsung.

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Re: Sitting On Their Hands

My N9 kind of disproves that.

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Re: Sitting On Their Hands

"Nokia must have just sat on their hands whilst the rest of them developed and improved the basic function of a mobile phone"

Um... Ever see one of those cartoons where Daffy Duck gets freaked and runs in ten different directions at once and gets nowhere? That was Nokia just pre-Elop.

All they needed was strong leadership to grab the reins and steer the whole team in one direction. Instead they got someone that parked the carriage on the tracks and cut the horses loose, saying. "No worries, that train'll push us like the wind!"

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Re: Sitting On Their Hands

Well running in ten different directions is still better than running directly towards the cliff.

What Nokia should have done was to harvest the good ideas that strategy created. I mean Maemo/Meego still is the only smartphone OS for professional users there is.

There is nothing wrong with going different directions and having different platforms. Just imagine Nokia would have given users the choice of operating systems on their hardware. Just imagine being able to get a Nokia Communicator with either Symbian, Maemo/Meego or Android.

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Re: Sitting On Their Hands

Would not have happened though.

The way they were set up encouraged silos, and actively discouraged the distribution and reuse of good ideas internally, due to the us-v-them internal culture.

So common hardware wouldn't have happened without a shakeup and major change to internal management culture.

I will never understand why the board let Elop shoot them all in the head, rather than picking the "best" from each unit and merging them.

I'm just really glad Qt-on-mobile survived it, as it wasn't ready when it was sold off and Digia had no interest in mobile at the time.

I do find it funny that Qt can now develop for every mobile platform except the one Nokia sells.

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Re: Sitting On Their Hands

There are lots of things wrong with that strategy. It's a nerds-only strategy, so only nerds will like it. Everybody else will avoid phones like that like the plague. Which is 99% of the population.

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Pint

They shall be missed...

Still rocking their classic 6300 black here as the absolutely perfect "night out" phone.

- Small + light (fits in any pocket)

- Made from some super alloy of indestructium and satan's teeth.

- Just functional enough to get you home at the end of the night, without being a blurry cluster of similar looking icons that puts you in mortal danger of inadvertantly sending a picture of your todger to every social network and your boss simultaneously whilst attempting to dial a cab, pee and juggle a rapidly heating incendiary "wassitcalled again" chaser.

- No interest at all from smartphone pilfering chav-gits.

Just small and perfectly formed (barring a few scrapes and dings that merely attest to its battle hardened attitude to being repeatedly dropped from heights and launched down train station stairs).... what's not to like!

I should think about buying a couple more "just in case", but I suspect my vital organs will give up the good fight long before it does.

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Re: They shall be missed...

Thanks. The 6300 got a lot of love in development and even more during the sales+support era. :o)

Plus if you know what you're doing and have some spare phones, a Torx 6 plus a guitar pick is enough to open it up for repair.

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Re: They shall be missed...

You should take a look at their "classic" 515, or 301, or 206, or 105. Basic phones that do the biz simply like the 6300.

Some have standby up to 40 days, amazing. Some have a dual-SIM option which is great for having your biz SIM and personal SIM in the same phone, or else going on holiday and having a local SIM card for cheap local calls but also keeping your main SIM card in the same phone in case of need.

The 6300 may suit you well but it will not last forever and it's great to see Nokia still building this form of basic phone for us.

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Windows

What is wrong with you people.........

This is the best move possible for Nokia phones.

It has the best designed OS on the planet built in, after all Android, iOS and Blackberry keep having to send out updates etc while windows is good for a rollout and then can be left with no updates needed for much more than a year....

It must be the best otherwise MS would update it, or, could it be, MS are so bad that they don't really care any more? No that can't be can it?

No I am sure that MS have released a windows product that is perfect right from the start......

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Re: What is wrong with you people.........

Psshaw Big_Ted, For a moment, I almost believed you were being genuine. Shame on me; I must be needing a holiday..

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Re: What is wrong with you people.........

Even the last much-vaunted update, added only a few must-have things and they were different must-haves to different people.

Yay! I can nuke apps now - never have, never needed to, the OS does it perfectly satisfactorily.

Yay! I can use my own ringtone for a text - okay, I see how that might be useful in a noisy environment or something.

Yay! Some camera improvements - the cameras are so far ahead of everyone else already it is a joke but fine and good.

Yay! Orientation lock - well perhaps very rarely needed but would have to be 'instant' like 3 finger tap or something before I found it commonly useful.

Yay! App folders - diminishing returns, adding a tap to get to useful apps while perhaps reducing the time to get to others. I can't see how it is possible to have a huge number of apps used all the time.

Yay! Bluetooth LE - actually useful to those with the right kit (i.e. BT LE health bracelets etc.) but my old BT headset will soldier on until the battery is useless I guess.

By far and away the most useful thing IMO is the improved glance screen. WP doesn't need a notifications page (as apparently everyone without WP thinks it does) but having notification icons on the standard lock screen is useful. Now, the same notifications can be visible on the glance screen also. This means never having to switch the phone on at all unless a notification is there *and* it is one you want to see. Since many people check their phones often, this represents a significant power saving - the glance screen uses the light sensor to display information (say) when removed from a pocket, making it more viable as a watch replacement too. The information is only updated when required and the OLED screen uses minimal power. It also stays on when charging so is always available at night for instance (as a useful bedside clock).

I suppose the Nokia Beamer app - which only works with this update - is also useful since it now allows *any* screen on the phone to be transferred to any HTML5 capable device, anything with a decent browser basically. Very cool to see working, very useful for showing pics and powerpoint type stuff.

And I might find the driving mode useful too - I have yet to see it.

More stable? possibly but my phone hasn't crashed in a year that I can recall.

The point is that WP *is* already excellent, I don't want it cluttered up in an Android way, I don't want apps to have more and more control of the basic functions, I want them to be bullet-proof. I don't want the UI design to be compromised with widgety crap that differs from the core design and I don't want the excellent battery life compromised by more and more complexity.

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Free to compete?

They should do Android-with-Privacy.

Android, mail client, their own maps and Store, where you can pay for apps (or add a bit to your monthly phone bill) in return for zero advertising and no data slurping. Any app caught slurping gets kicked for a year and an email to customers telling them what the deal is.

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Nokia 6300 was my first works phone, indestructible. Currently using a N9 with the intention of changing the OS to Sailfish if the important bits can be made to work, as it's a community effort I doubt it.

I'd like to see Nokia purchase Jolla and keep it going, I think they'll need investment to get their sales up. Hopefully the Nokia of tomorrow would be free of the current management and be able to get back to what they use to be good at.

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What does Kantar say

So, Nokia reports smartphone sales down on the last quarter although Kantar was recently gushing with Nokia's impressive growth everywhere. hm, who should we believe?

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Microsoft haven't lost out with their $1 billion payment to Nokia to scrap their own smartphones.

looking at the figures here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone#By_operating_system

It looks to me like Symbian was doing quite well (even though Android was growing much faster). It was growing the couple of years before the platform burning, and even that took quite a while to kill all its sales.

As far as I can tell, Android (mainly Samsung) took most of the lost Symbian market, (of the N8 users I know, I still has it, 2 now have Samsungs and 1 has a Sony, admittedly too small to be very representative, but it fits in with these figures.)

If Microsoft got 200 million extra Android royalties of $5, then their investment has broken even. Looking at the figures, they could easily have gone well past past that. (And that is ignoring any brownie points they got from the NSA for removing a non American controlled smartphone platform from the world, and majorly setting back its planned successor).

And then they get to buy Nokia's phone division at a knock down price. (Taking over another previously non American owned phone platform).

I think the Nokia situation is a big win for Microsoft. (Not as big a win as if the Windows phones actually sold as well as Symbian did, of course.) The losers are of course Nokia (self inflicted I think), all the Symbian and Meego users, and Microsoft's corporate ego (which will be crying all the way to the bank).

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