back to article Nokia's developers wait and wait for Windows Phone

One oddity of Nokia's bet-the-farm decision to move to Windows Phone is how much work needs to be done to bring Microsoft's software up to par with Nokia's existing platform. You remember, the Burning One. Today, developers are finding out. With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft took the Window CE kernel and built a tightly …

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  1. Sunkissedabroad
    Unhappy

    What I'm going to miss...

    ...is that font that Nokia's smart phones have. Not sure what it is, but it's something special. But who knows, maybe MS will hire some of the workers that Nokia's will lay off to tailor WP7 to Nokias. A little fragmentation to save a much-loved brand image.

  2. Gothicuk
    FAIL

    gothicuk

    HaHaHa, so from burning platform to Damp squid.. good article

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      A little fragmentation

      AFAIK WP7 has a set of compulsory requirements that are intended to eliminate fragmentation. All WP7 phones must be the same, though some extras can be added.

      If Nokia is allowed to differentiate (as Elop claims this is about) then this will piss off the other WP7 makers and they will dump the product. That is, if they don't dump it for other reasons, such as having shipped a couple of million and few have actually sold.

      The next problem is that now many who actually wanted to buy a WP7 will wait to see what Nokia offer. This will reduce sales until Nokia has one in the market, which may be 6 months, or may be next year. Meanwhile sales will stall (even from the current low point) making it more likely that current makers will drop the product. This will have the effect of reducing developers.

      In a year's time Nokia may have the whole WP7 field to itself, with a 4% market share that declines.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sigh...

      That would be "damp squib."

      Now what was that icon you used?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coffee/keyboard

        indeed, not even the icon text is spelt right ...

        ... clearly, it should've stated "FALL".

        And now, please everyone abandon the platform !

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      damp squib

      actually

      1. Gothicuk
        Grenade

        RE Damp Squib

        Yawn, my own online spell checker. Sorry Sir won't do it again.

        Why dont you get a life and i'll get a dictionary.

        I thought damp squid was more appropriate as he was jumping of a platform into the sea.

    4. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Headmaster

      Please move to the desk at the front of the class Jenkins!

      Most squid are damp already, living in the seas. You mean 'squib', which is a broken firework, adding the dampness makes it even more useless.

      1. Brennan Young
        Headmaster

        Pendant is as pedant does

        A squib is not a broken firework. It's a (non-recreational) firework, so dampness or not is a significant quality.

  3. Lewis Mettler
    FAIL

    both work for Microsoft

    I think it is very clear that both Ballmer and Elop work for Microsoft.

    It is certain that Microsoft needs Nokia. Not the other way around.

    Nokia had (and still has) the option to bring out an Android based phone if they no longer want to develop their own platform. Android is ready to go. WP7 is not even competitive. Certainly not from a technology standpoint.

    If Nokia wants to sell phones there is nothing to stop them from offering both an Android phone and a Microsoft phone when it gets up to speed.

    Focusing only on Microsoft now is the kiss of death. In tablets and in phones.

    Why not just claim you are going to take over the world with a Microsoft tablet. It is just as beleivable.

    The truth is that Microsoft is not ready to compete with phones. Baller knows that. Elop claims to be blind.

    1. Kevin Bailey

      Do you honestly think...

      ...that Nokia will release an Android phone with a MS bod in charge?

      You're right in that it would be a good option for Nokia - but common sense doesn't prevail with this type of person.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Symbian = Better performance and greater battery life on cheaper hardware

    This all seems to have been forgotten in the universal US centric Symbian-Bash (which really is just bitching over the UI- S60 - which is indeed in need of replacement) and Android bonk that pervades the US based press (I know El Reg is co.uk - but that's another story)

    Symbian is way way more efficient, has a smaller footprint, higher performance and simply requires less expensive hardware to run. Subsequently NOKIA can cut sosts on the CPU and provide a better camera (for example). Nokia have options that the Android handset makers dop not really have. The hardest part of owning the iPhone is keeping it charged - it is worse for Android machines according to my colleagues who carry them.

    NOKIA generates 100's of millions of dollars (maybe billions - I do not know exactly) of sales on Symbian based handsets, and exactly zero on Windows7. It seems somewhat utopian to believe that the balance will shift in a short timeframe, especially as windows7 is missing all the things mentioned in the title. Follow the money, this deal is not about technology or market, it is about the consumption by MSFT of a very big fish.

    Dweeb

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ms

      If Nokia are joining with MS then MS should take Symbian and put the windows phone features on to that rather than vice versa! It'd be quicker and better in the end.

      But I guess the politics of it all will mean we end up with the worse of everything :(

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why, Andrew, Why? For God's Sake?

    Didn't you tell Nokia all this before they *bought* into the damned thing.

    I can just hear the groans and the slapped foreheads...

    Well... too late now...

    1. Marvin the Martian
      Pint

      It's no actual problem

      Just put in more processors, and they can each run WM7 and run a separate task. Seamless!

  6. xperroni
    WTF?

    Locked in Traudl Junge's dream

    You know, ever since last Friday I keep expecting to wake up and find out this was all a silly dream. "Of course", I picture myself thinking, "there was no way Nokia would dump years of investment in Qt (and lately MeeGo), just as it was all months away from paying up, and go back to square one with a half-baked platform from Microsoft!"

    It's not even that I am particularly influenced by Nokia's about-turn; it's just that the whole thing fails so badly to add up, and is getting so much more surreal so fast as it trudges on – I might as well question the reality of a world where such an absurd is purported to be the outcome of ponderous, lenghty consideration by competent professionals who know what they're doing.

    Just like in the words of Traudl Junge's character in Downfall, it all feels like a dream, only that we don't wake up, and instead it keeps going on and on...

    1. Spearchucker Jones

      It makes a lot of sense.

      Saying Elop is a trojan is (I think) short-sighted. So is calling it an about turn by Nokia.

      It smells of careful planning that started way before Elop's appointment.

      Think about it - Nokia's board is less than 25% Finnish. In fact it looks like many are American, and have MIcrosoft connections. My guess is that the board left Nokia with no choice. Once Elop was appointed I imagine the game had already changed. Elop's appointment was the challenge, WP7 was a forgone conclusion.

      If my thinking is right then this is a very, very clever play by Microsoft. And whoever thunk that one up has my respect. Sun Tzu couldn't have finnessed that one better.

      1. xperroni

        Re: It makes a lot of sense. [Except when it doesn't, which is quite often.]

        Until last week Nokia invested heavily in R&D, owned its software platforms, and was betting its future on a Linux-based platform.

        Now Nokia is cutting down its R&D investments, flushing its own platforms down the toilet, and betting its future on an OEM partnership with Microsoft.

        I don't know about you, but that sounds like an about-turn to me – whether it was long in the making or decided on a whim is another matter entirely.

    2. Schultz
      Thumb Up

      "competent professionals who know what they're doing"

      Hey, hey, you're setting the bar quite high ...

    3. Ian Johnston Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Mashup?

      Surely somebody must have done the obligatory twitchy-glass-removal Downfall mashup on this by now?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Where's Java

    It was pretty funny this morning at MWC with developers repeatedly asking for Java on Windows mobile 7. There are 100's of thousands of apps that won't be able to run on the new Nokia Windows phones because Microsoft has banned any non-Microsoft languages.

    Maybe they will be forced to give in and allow Java back on Windows mobile

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Understandable

      Given the way that Oracle has been going around randomly demanding money with menaces from anyone using Sun-created technology since it bought them, I'd certainly think twice about using Java for anything new at the moment.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Nokia made good handsets, but was a GSM company.

    My favorite phone still happens to be my unlocked N-80 Nokia. Not only was it light years ahead of its time, (3MP camera in the back with Macro, VGA in the front), VoIP, SIP, WiFi, and more. It also had two-way video conferencing. This was five years ago. I utimately upgraded to the iPhone after the N-80 (and am on my 3rd one now) because I had $5,000 worth of iTunes music, and to me, the syncing capability was worth it.

    If I recall, Nokia had trouble developing it's own CDMA chipsets. I think they had one phone, the Nokia 6185 that used it's own chips. Because it was so bad, they ultimately tied up with Qualcomm for CDMA spec SOC chips, and focused solely on the GSM standard.

    Nonetheless, it's a trip watching this play out.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Connect the dots

    So there's an imperial assload of work waiting to be done to get this shiny new rocking horse up to competing level with the freshly written off nokia hobby horses. Which is going to be boatloads of fun, "[...] for there's surely no company as inefficient as the Nokia engineering bureaucracy today".

    And to fix it, is up to the same people who made it a mess in the first place: "[...] don’t expect there to be further tranches of executive exits." -- from the "not a trojan horse" article.

    So it's the minions that're going to bear the brunt again. You do know who walk first, don't you? I don't think Elop is making good progress with attracting or even retaining the people that can. He probably should make clear in the very near future how he's planning to try and pull that off, or it's a big fat sell on the stock exchange, and a flood of soon-to-be-ex-nokia CVs with the recruiters.

  10. Mark Jan
    FAIL

    Just what were / are Nokia thinking?

    A few months (days ago) ago, it would be hard to imagine Nokia's management being any more incompetent than they have been over the past decade or so.

    Developing / using what they've got: Symbian, Meego, Qt, Navteq etc and NOT pissing off partners would seem to be the way to go. Skinned, the N8 is a cool phone. Meego has lots of promise. Ovi isn't half bad now and has some very good stuff on it, without the 5000 iPhone fart apps. Symbian is a good OS. Just develop the UI Nokia - you don't need to sell your soul to MS!

    However, it just goes to show what a poor imagination I must have!

    Nice article by the way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The imagination you don't have is that Nokia was losing

      It doesn't matter how good the product was (though I've read many articles confirming my experience about the difficulty of programming with S60) if it doesn't sell while at the same time costing a fortune. Throwing good money after bad is not a viable proposition. Were you going to write an S60 app? No, probably not - and nor are many other developers.

  11. rhdunn

    Nokia Plan

    1. Aquire the Symbian platform

    2. Drop the Symbian platform to work on Moblin (which needs work to be competitive: ~1year away)

    3. Wait until Moblin is nearing completion

    4. Drop Moblin for MeeGo (which needs work to be competitive: ~1year away)

    5. Wait until MeeGo is maturing and nearing initial revision

    6. Drop MeeGo for Windows Mobile 7 (which needs work to be competitive: ~1year away)

    Net result: Symbian is acting as life support while Nokia spends years not having a viable replacement.

    Next:

    7. Wait until Windows Mobile 7 is nearing completion

    8. Drop Windows Mobile 7 for Android

  12. Richard Plinston Silver badge

    Nokia board

    It seems that the Nokia board was pressured into taking on Elop by some alleged investors. Elop may have made this decision by himself so it is not 'Nokia' that decided to go to WP7 but Ballmer+Elop.

    What are the chances of the Nokia board firing Elop and stopping this nonsense before they fail completely ?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    There is no phone

    a team in San Diego are working one now. It'll be crap.

    As for the font, the Nokia font was universally derided internally and externally, but it would have taken too long to change. Yes, you read that right.

  14. spaceyjase
    Gates Horns

    Conspiracy

    I can't figure it out at all and can't help but jump to the conclusion that it's all some crazy corporate conspiracy. It seems like Microsoft want everything Nokia have; telco partners and R&D patents. Oops, I mean 'partnership'.

    1. Allow ex-Microsoft, but loyal, employee join a potential victim.

    2. Partner with Microsoft.

    3. ???

    4. Profit.

    Trufax.

  15. Paul 117
    WTF?

    So...

    What exactly do Microsoft have to do to get a positive article written about them on The Reg?

    Having owned an Android and now a WinPho7 phone, I've got to say MS have done a good job.

    Just sayin'.

    1. Goat Jam
      WTF?

      You need to stick with Mary J Foley articles

      Besides, what exactly is it about this story that you think makes Microsoft look deserving of a positive article?

    2. Tzael

      Re: So...

      The handbag brigades are out in force, lots of shouting but nothing substantial - mere speculation pandering to the crowd that want to see MS burn.

      I'm with you, WP7 working nicely for me. Could do with a few refinements (some things involve one-too-many taps) but overall it's a nice change from my previous phones. Bunch of improvements demo'd at MWC that we can look forward to I guess. Watch out, I see a crowd with their down-voting pitchforks at the ready!

      1. David Beck

        Huh?

        The phone doesn't support , multi-tasking, copy and paste, VoIP, ... and you're upset about how many taps it takes. Have your every thought about investing in a bridge?

    3. Robert E A Harvey
      Gates Horns

      What exactly do Microsoft have to do to get a positive article...

      Innovate?

      Come up with a really good system? Windows 7 has not had a bad reception here, compared to Vista. Do things right and people will appreciate it.

      Stop anti-competitive and voracious business practices?

      Stop over-charging for development environments?

      Produce programmer's interfaces that remain stable through version upgrades?

      Stop behaving as though they own the world?

    4. hewbass
      WTF?

      ... is it as good as Symbian?

      Developing for Symbian (prior to Qt) may make coders want to stab their own eyes out with flaming chop sticks covered in red hot chilli sauce, but the fact of the matter is that it will take years of MS development time to bring WP up to parity with the features that are available on Symbian NOW, and for some features it will never get there (real time? Battery friendly? CPU friendly?). The only thing WP has in competition (apart from, prior to Qt, not causing developers to self immolate in frustration at the tortuous feats they must perform to get a simple "Hello World" to appear in a little window) is a fancy UI, that in the long term the majority of people might not even like.

      Now I understand that Symbian is not nice to develop, or develop on, in comparison to WP, and makes programmers kill their favourite cute puppies by stuffing semtex up their arses, half drowning them in sulphuric acid and then detonating the whimpering corroded doglets whilst feeding them into a wood chipper, but Nokia have just $X billion aquiring and developing Qt on Symbian.

      Alledgedly developing on Qt is serene like milk and honey, increases virility, reverses male pattern premature baldness, increases your attractiveness to the gender appropriate for your sexual orientation, increases stamina well past multiple sexual satisfactions and improves the milk yield in goats. Also you can make lovely UIs and applications with it for which your users will forever give you their love, devotion and hard earnt cash unto your wallet, not unlike being an Apple developer (but with less competition in the App marketplace right now).

      So: Nokia are continuing on the path of Qt on Symbian for the near term, and there is some risk unto their WP7 plans, not only from competitors such as Android, Apple and Blackberry, but from the very platform they have just killed off -- although note it will only be Nokia employed developers who are suave and hirsute, since all the third party lot will have buggered off for pastures that are not about to be napalmed and paved over to construct the WP7 Mega Mart to which no customers will come. And eventually the goats will stop making milk.

      Are the current Nokia plans coherent and deeply considered? Rather less than my own insane gibberings I fear.

  16. Average-Developer
    Thumb Down

    Resellers are to return Nokia phones?

    I have spotted today. For many phone-shops, they have absence of Nokia top - phones.

    Are they to give up sell the self-declared rubbush?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    face meets palm

    oh the irony, Nokia is supposedly sorting out its problem - that of falling behind the curve - by lurching at - sorry - "adopting" another platform that seems to be a bodged mess with crucial omissions and significant flaws. It seems what they really needed was an OS that was designed from the ground-up to run in resource and power constrained environments. Kind of like Symbian really ... oh noes ...

  18. AB
    FAIL

    Because I'm not a MSFT shareholder...

    ...I don't think they deserve a positive article written about them for this one, Paul 117.

    Assuming that you're not one of the astroturfers who have been working hard across Nokia Conversations and the tech blogs since Friday, what exactly is it that you like about "WinPho 7"? If it's noodle soup, I'm in. Otherwise, I remain to be convinced.

    @thdunn: Moblin was Intel's. Maemo is what Nokia promoted, mostly developed and then abandoned before merging with Moblin to form Meego (which they have now abandoned).

    @Mark Jan: I'm with you on this. Until Black Friday, I also couldn't imagine how Nokia's management could do more to prevent their own innovators from delivering a world-beating phone (N900 slipping through the cracks and onto the market notwithstanding). Now, thanks to Elop and Big Daddy Ballmer, I don't have to imagine it any more.

    Finally, for anyone who hasn't read it: http://www.siliconbeat.com/2008/01/11/microsoft-beware-stephen-elop-is-a-flight-risk/

  19. jmuir
    Stop

    Chipsets changed the game

    People get over it. Nokia had no choice, the packaged chipsets from qualcomm,metrotek etc were the disruptive technology circa 2005 and changed the game entirely, symbian instead of being a benefit became a liability, before these chipsets were available symbian was used to provide alot of the signal stack in software - thats why nokia was able to release a 3G phone 6 years(!) before apple, but this came with a large downside in that base porting symbian to diferent hardware was hugely expensive and difficult and also due to the nature of the OS being RT signal stack focussed made it difficult to focus on the UX.

    WIth these chipsets - you can run any OS, the chipset now takes care of all the difficult details but you are also constrained to what it can do. An easy analogy is is GPU acceleration of graphics, graphics were generated by the cpu before, now the cpu just passes details of what to do rather than how to complete this, so the cpu can focus on maintaining a great UX.

    Its the cost ratio as well - this was going down the toilet, symbian was becoming more expensive due to its complexity, whereas the chipset hw as all hw eventually - is coming down in price.

    Nokia has spent $10B at least over the last 4 years trying to update symbian\meego. so much cheaper and less complicated to buy a chipset now. And a cheaper OS designed to run with one.

    The cost for Nokia to keep symbian is mind blowing, $2.5B per year for what maybe 5 separate phone classes at most?

    As one who still uses a Psion 5MX and N95-8GB, its sad they kept flogging it really, they should have stopped 2007, and gone for linux\chipsets hell for leather.

    1. hewbass
      FAIL

      People making that same mistake...

      Sure Symbian was horrible to maintain and horrible to develop on (until Qt), but it was not the cause of the $2.5B spend... That's how much it cost Nokia to do anything at all, and it is not apparent that Stephen Elop has actually fixed that problem... (and he still has to make Windows Phone work, as well as struggling to keep Symbian on life support after publicly pulling the trigger on it, all whilst his best brains flee the sinking ship leaving behind only those who can't get a job anywhere else, like the middle managers who were costing the company $2.5B in R&D a year. Only there will be less of them, so maybe they will cost less, and perhaps some of them can learn some engineering to take over from all of the talented engineers who will have left?)

  20. jamie 5

    aladdin

    Symbian is Nokia's Apple II. Hopefully it'll generate enough cash to keep the lights on whilst Maemo^W MeeGo^W WinMo7 matures.

    Nokia's E series are still decent handsets, specialised for what they do best, but how can Windows Phone 7 work on such devices. It's hard to see how Nokia's portfolio can avoid a radical cull in the transition to MS, they can't release 40 models a year that all have a plain black touchscreen and 3 buttons.

    Apple work by releasing one handset every 2 years.

    Nokia work by releasing 1 handset every 2 weeks.

    There should be room for both strategies, but I can't see how windows mobile lets them do it.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Look

    I know it's very sad seeing Nokia going the way of all Microsoft partners, but they did appoint an ex-microsoft exec.

    What did he say at his interview? What did they expect him to do?

    Why did they appoint an ex Microsoft exec?

    Have you got any dynamic ideas on strategic development that may draw upon your previous experience Mr Elop?

    Why is everyone so surprized/ What did anyone expect him to do?

    Still crap tho, Win Phone 7 and the end of Nokia as a strategic force in mobilephones

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Mee too 2?

    But first!

    Dear Andrew:

    Why no discussion on "Dissenting Nokia shareholders: Bring us the head of Stephen Elop"?

    I am surprised Nokia jumped the way it did - it seems to cut across the grain and how the Nokia got where it was. It seems to be an organisation that wants to lead rather than follow even if that means and has meant it lead for a time rather badly?

    Meego, Android, ... all of these seem better tuned to Nokia's way of doing thangs in the past.

    From Nokia to Mok-ia?

    From leader to usurped leader to follower in two easy steps?

    I can't imagine that going down too well at all really as it seems the kind of organisation that would rather succeed or fail by doing its own thang than being a crowd follower.

  23. mike panero

    Dissenting Nokia shareholders: Bring us the head of Stephen Elop

    I see no comments are allowed on this.

    Then I read: They write that Nokia must "avoid at all cost becoming a poorly differentiated OEM with only low margin, commodity products that is unable to attract top software talent and cannot create shareholder value though innovation."

    And I thought "I bet they said that in 2007 or earlier "

    I don't know about you, but when this XP desktop bites the dust...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ate Nokia's lunch with Android today

    They said to say hi.

    I just bought a Nokia cell to use as a prepay while traveling in Mexico.

    It's stunning to see how difficult to do simple contact backup, or get a largish digital clock onto the home screen.

    It'll go in the garbage as soon as I get a tablet.

  25. xperroni
    Dead Vulture

    Dissenting Nokia shareholders stop throwing toys from pram

    So I guess this is the end then.

    By the way, why aren't comments allowed on the newest Nokia posts? It isn't as if readers have been particularly mutinous on this or anything.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Dissenting Nokia shareholders stop throwing toys from pram

      A technical cock-up: Comments should have been enabled on both. Once it's gone live there's no way we can restore commenting, unfortunately.

  26. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Up

    Simple, and easy to understand

    I like explanations like that!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Hmmm

    Should we forgive or ... ?

    (Andre I mean)

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