back to article Dumb salesmen are hurting us – Nokia CEO

Stephen Elop got a pretty indulgent reception from analysts, and most of the press yesterday, after delivering some shocking results. Nokia turned a profit of €2bn into a loss of €1bn in the new boss's first full year; volumes are down by 29 per cent; sales of the new Windows phone are unremarkable (to put it generously); and …


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  1. Giles Jones Gold badge

    A mass market maker went with a unpopular (at least in market share terms) OS and have an unpopular product. I think the phrase "no shit sherlock" should come to mind.

    Symbian was the Android of the 2000s, it was on phones from more than one vendor. If Nokia truly wanted a lot of phones shipped it would have gone with Android. But of course their CEO is an ex-Microsoft guy (probably planted there by Microsoft).

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. asdf Silver badge

      blame the correct people

      M$ is just doing what they always do. Blame Nokia's incompetent board and clueless shareholders. Is indecision a big part of Finland's culture because I am pretty sure bureaucracy is.

      1. John Sanders


        Calling Micros~1 M$ is childish.

        But yes, Micros~1 will always be Micros~1 and will come to kill everything they touch, they are like "The Thing", by the time Nokia realizes that WinMo is going nowhere it will be too late.

        I foresee (the dear old' reg as witness) that Nokia will try to commercialize an Android device when they are on their dead bed.

        1. Silverburn

          Microsoft in decline

          Anyone who thinks MS are in decline need to look at recent financials. Record revenue per quarter last quarter ($20bn).

          Don't confuse diversification with decline; MS know they can't rely on their core products anymore, so need to get in to new markets. Some have worked, some have not, that's all.

          1. Giles Jones Gold badge

            Depends what you deem to be their successful product lines? As soon as people stop buying Windows and Office they're basically screwed just like Kodak was once people stopped buying film.

            Also, numerous clever important people have resigned from Microsoft and gone to work for Google and other competitors, working at Microsoft doesn't really look good on the CV now.

            1. Silverburn

              @ Giles

              Exactly my point - MS know this, thus their drive into consumer, mobile, cloud, business services etc.

              So far, it's working (with some notable failures), but I agree - these products aren't exactly setting the world alight. Maybe because the true innovators have left, as you suggest?

          2. Manu T

            microsoft = parasitic corporation

            "MS know they can't rely on their core products anymore, so need to get in to new markets. Some have worked, some have not, that's all."

            You mean 'diversification ' like turning into a pattent-troll. MS makes revenue thanks to their old tactics of intimidation (AKA Microsoft Tax). Every Android handset maker pays dividents to Microsoft for using Android while Google (whom actually made that OS) goes down.

            Where's the time when competing actually meant "making BETTER products then our competition"?

            The fact is that Microsoft have always earned money on the backs of others. It's a parasitic corporation by nature. The "industry" should have enough experience with them for now but it seems that there are still a bunch of naive CEO's around. It also helps a lot if you place a mole in your biggest competition. Not to mention that Nokia is today ran by a bunch of greedy suits and they welcome the billions of M$-dollars. What happens to the thousands of workers you leave behind is not their problem. I guess they think that the Bill_Gates_foundation will take care of them >:-> (Or working for Apple at the chinese Foxcon-factories surely will)

        2. Manu T

          @ John Sanders

          Oh for god's sake, man!! IT'S NOT WinMo IT'S WinPho!!!!!

          WinMo had FULL bluetooth transfer, Full multitasking, some models had inbuild 2-way callrecording, USB/bluetooth syncing with Outlook installed on home-PC/workstation etc...

          WinPho has NOTHING of that! No bluetooth file transfer, limited multitasking, no USB syncing... it's all cloud this and cloud that.

          like the first poster wrote. No shit, Sherlock!

          As for Android. Nokia should steer away from Android as far as they can. As a hardware vendor it wouldn't matter since they'd be paying Microsoft too (just as any other Android handset maker today does). So whether going for a full M$ WP7.x license or a 'cheap' Android license and paying microsoft tax on every device sold (for whatever idiotic reason) makes no difference financially. It's probably cheaper just to go with the WP7.x license.

          Secondly Nokia can't diversify itself enough between the ultracheap chinese crapdroids and ubergeek galaxy's/Experia's. Hence would drown in anonimity as yet another Android handset-maker.

          Nokia should just STICK with Symbian and secretly mature Meego as possible replacement. We see now that the N9 is a fantastic device with the ONLY real iOS contender in terms of OS functionality/ease-of-use. Allthough it's far from complete and put to market too soon. Also Symbian is evolving too in a very nice UI with the very best of technical features available today. It doesn't need the Dual/quad-core multi-GHz cpu's of Android devices to keep up. And it has NFC coupled with FULL BT transfer, full multitasking, call-recording, outlook sync over USB/BT including categories etc...

          these features are a testament to the what Symbian developpers have accomplished over the years. These should be applauded not Microsoft half baked attempt to revitalize its own failed portfolio that Windows Mobile/Pocket PC OS really was.

          1. Peter 48

            sticking with symbian

            that would be a guarantee for failure. At least with MS as a partner they have some chance. In this market where virtually all phones are highly capable devices, marketing is by far the BIGGEST factor in a phone's success. The only people to see that until recently have been apple and as a result they are reaping the benefits of such vast exposure. Over the last year Samsung seem to have finally cottoned on and are heavily promoting the Galaxy s2. The result, stellar sales at iphone levels in the UK for example. Now lets look at the level of promotion that MS and Nokia are doing . . . . . . . . . . . tumble weed . . . . . . . And they wonder why they are not selling? The same applies to tablet sales. When was the last time you have seen an ad for a tablet outside of specialist media that wasn't for the ipad?

            We live in such a media heavy world where we are constantly bombarded by levels of information and data that mankind has never experienced before. To stay relevant you have to be pervasive and Apple are the masters in that field. Just being good (or even the best) and relying on the point of sales forces to push your product is sadly no longer enough.

        3. werdsmith Silver badge


          Writing Microsoft as "Micros~1" appears as much puerile as <$ is childish.

    3. yeahyeahno

      Entirely predictable

      This debacle was entirely predictable from the moment the Microsoftie choose to put Nokias entire future entirely in the hands of Microsoft, a company which is in decline anyway, a mere shadow of what it once was.

    4. Bob Vistakin

      Microsofts victims over the past 30 years are sending them a message: paybacks a bitch.

    5. LarsG


      Nokia were still making phones!

      1. Robin Szemeti


        Making phones .. sure ..

        Selling phones? Ah, there you may have a point ;)

        I'll get my coat, its the one with a HTC in the pocket ...

    6. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      A fish rots from the head down

      A team leader blaming his team instead of taking responsibility for their performance is not a team leader. Nokia won't turn anything around as long as this guy is the CEO.

    7. Wize

      'A mass market maker went with a unpopular (at least in market share terms) OS and have an unpopular product. I think the phrase "no shit sherlock" should come to mind.'

      Not forgetting their poor hardware. They used to be solid products but the N97 and a few others around the same time) had some nasty build quality problems.

      And like any consumer, you get something bad, you stay away from them for your next few purchases. Which, with mobile contracts lasting 2 years these days, is going to be 4 to 6 years before those customers considers buying from them again.

    8. stylinred


      Symbian was still outselling android and ios worldwide up until Elops "leaked" letter and premature announcement of its death

      Since that moment sales began to shrink and fall while Androids/iOS continued to rise (platform jumpers?)

      Symbian is more than capable of keeping Android @ bay and Maemo (aka Harmattan found in the N9) is more than capable of surpassing even Symbian

      The problem is SElop and the incompetent BoD @ Nokia

      They could have easily picked up WP7 as another alternative until WP shows if it can be successful before announcing an end to your 2 successful OS's and worldwide #1 OS

      There would be no reason to pick up Android when Android is just a cheap copy of Maemo

  2. Jess

    Yes. I have

    But today I saw him with an iPhone. he'd returned the Lumia because it has to few apps to be any use to him.

    (The only good thing about the old WinCE was all the apps, if they are gone, then what is the point?)

    1. James Gibbons

      Dumb salesman

      And after the sales associate got done filling out all the paperwork on the return and got no extra commission for selling them a new Android, how do you think they would feel about selling another WP7?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Carphone Warehouse staff do NOT get paid commision. Just FYI.

        1. Marvin the Martian

          Nokia should re-name their salesmen.

          Nokia should officially title their salesmen "turd polishers", as it exactly describes the job and what's going wrong with the company.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And maybe the problem is

    1) You burned your loyal customer base and they sworn they would never buy your product.

    2) People do not want your product. You can stand up there and say how great it is and how bad the retail world is, but is is the same world that Apple and Android are doing just fine in. I think most people know what phone (or least what line they want) before they walk into a store. Guess where WP 8 is on the list.

    Nokia picked the third place horse in a two horse race.

    1. Ocular Sinister

      No applications

      I keep seeing adverts for various smart phone applications on the tube - Kabbee, Hail-o, various dating sites, you know the usual nonsense. They all have iOS and Android logos. None have a Windows logo. I'm sure that Microsoft is pushing these businesses to make a WinPho version, but the attempts seem half hearted. Even when there are WinPho versions, they are not promoted in any way - after all, what's the point when no one has a WinPhone?

      This alone would be enough to make me discard it as a 'burning platform'. Or maybe two burning platforms colliding in the middle of the night, long after the proverbial boat has sailed.

    2. hewbass

      well actually they picked the 8th horse in 3 horse race. They are still being beaten by their own competition of Symbian, as it shambles, zombie like, off the great cliff of obsolescence.

      Lumia is still being beaten (massively) by RIM, Bada, and possibly even Meego/Harmattan (for extra irony) (it would be immensely funny if the Lumia sales do actually turn out to be behind both the two platforms Nokia have abandoned)

      (mines the elopcalypse)

    3. apleszko

      I am one of the previous fans that sworn to never buy it a Nokia phone again after they ditched Maemo just a few months after releasing N900. I did made that statement as an emotional reaction and maybe I could betray the promise if Nokia had been back on track.

      Then while I was pretty pleased with Android, I testify Nokia's continuous effort to burn all loyal base, both with Symbian and Meego platforms. Now with Windows Phone they think the customers and developers are magically coming back as nothing happened...

      Thanks Nokia for helping me keeping my promise!! I still don't see me buying a Nokia phone in the long term future even if Microsoft somehow manages to buy into the iOS and Android market, which is very very very unlikely (to use just a few "very's").

      1. Big-nosed Pengie

        If Nokia had had the brains to stick with Maemo they'd be wiping the floor with iOS and Android now. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

        1. Richard Neill

          ...and if they'd open sourced it *properly*

          I bought an N900 for development work. Resistive-touchscreen notwithstanding, it was a delight to use, and to develop for: it actually ran regular "desktop" Linux natively: Gtk, X, etc. You could even run X applications via SSH forwarding. The apps weren't all there, but it was so close: the next rev would have been awesome. It even contained neat hardware (IR and FM transmitters), and had a much better camera. Getting started with Maemo was really easy (Nokia made the environment and cross-compiler easy to set up), and it used Gtk rather than Qt (so apps ran quickly and could be written in mostly plain-C). The "Hildon" extensions to Gtk for the phone were actually rather good.

          BUT, it wasn't properly open-source: as so often happens, there are just a few nasty binary blobs that mean you can't really truly build the entire environment yourself. In my case, this was a killer: we needed to be able to simultaneously multitask the camera and telephone calls. But the camera app needed full access to the sound-card for the shutter-click, so would block during the call. I could very easily re-build a separate application which worked as we wanted...but here is the ridiculous part: only if I didn't want to make use of the proprietary blob used for autofocus. Yes, really: I could use the camera, but only by not implementing the unnecessary "focussing" feature !!

          So that was 200 N900s we didn't buy, and in the end we took a totally different approach. I wish companies would understand that open-source really means all-or-nothing.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            By "binary blob" I presume you mean "library"? These are relatively commonly found in the wild; I'm surprised you haven't come across them before, e.g. all of Windows is delivered this way. They usually have headers, etc. which allow you to use them.

            I presume you're complaining about the fact that you couldn't use the "binary blob" because they didn't document it or give you headers, rather than the fact it was a "binary blob" per se? Because it doesn't sound like you really needed to get in and hack around the auto-focussing code.

            I wish people would understand that in any sufficiently complex software system, you just can't have everything open source. The mentality that you can comes from the ancient practice of implementing everything in-house. These days some components are bought in - usually the more complex stuff that takes skilled people and costs real money per LOC to write.

            Always makes me laugh when companies bend over backwards to open-source as much of their codebase as they possibly can, then get flamed by the community for still using binary code delivery for the tech that they bought in and can't open source.

            1. Chemist

              "that in any sufficiently complex software system........everything open source."

              e.g. the Linux kernel Oh wait !

      2. garyc2011
        Thumb Up

        mee too

        I have not seen ONE WP phone and I work in IT

        Your story is so similar to mine, I was one of the first to buy the n500 in the UK, £500 sim free it cost me............

        I also swore that was me and Nokia finished, and i remember posting on the maemo board along with others that Nokia was arrogantly tossing these vital first adopters aside like trash.

        They dropped maemo like a brick, and left it full of bugs, so I dont feel one bit sorry for them. The Chickens have came home to roost.

      3. Piro

        This is it, really

        I remember before the N900 came out, I absolutely wanted nothing else.

        But then the delays came, and came, eventually it hit, but then they decided to abandon the whole platform.

        Wow. N900 should have been the template on which Nokia should have carried on from. Instead, they tossed it all in the bin, well, with the small exception of the N9, which actually looks alright, but it lacks a lot of the nerdy features of the N900. But then they definitely threw it in the bin, kicked dirt in its face, and started fellating Microsoft round the back of the bike sheds.

        1. Lance 3

          More amazing is that the N900 traces it roots back to the 7710 (S90) device. The GUI was carried on to Maemo. If Nokia would have actually used S90 on more phones, things would have been far different today. Amazing how they went from a phone, to a tablet and then back to a phone (N900) and had delays putting on what essentially was taken out.

          The N9 is quite impressive and is where Nokia should have been headed. Symbian was getting there as well for the mainstream; this is where Belle really comes in. The jump to WP was made in haste. If you look at sales, there were shipping more and more Symban phones every quarter compared to a year ago. Sure they were losing market share, sales were still going up. If that is a burning platform, I would hate to see what they are going to call WP.

          1. Goat Jam

            The jump to WP was made in haste

            No, the jump to WP was deliberately implemented by an MS stooge who was considering the best interests of Redmond and their desire to embed WP into a huge hardware manufacturer.

            It was no accident and all other options were completely ignored.

          2. Martin Harnevie

            Belle is growing 4 times faster than WP

            You're perfectly correct.

            Furthermore, take a look at Elop's sales figures. Belle is growing 4 times faster than WP.

    4. Lance 3

      @AC Posted Friday 27th January 2012 16:41 GMT

      "Nokia picked the third place horse in a two horse race."

      That isn't fair. That picked a 6th placed horse. Symbian still outsells WM and WP combined by a large margin. MeeGo (N9) has has even outsold the Lumia line. BlackBerry sells more than WM WP combined as well.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It never stops to amaze me...

    When there is something going wrong in a big(ger) company its never the CEO or board of directors, but always the "working floor" which is to blame.

    Yet when the company is coughing up some big profits then its "remarkable leadership" which has been the cause.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The mouth piece of anything talks itself up in basically any situation.

      For example, its clear what gives someone a fantastic singing voice. But on occasion, if done right, a burp can be passed off as a fart.

    2. TheOtherHobbbes

      Never mind

      the ineffable levels of HR genius needed to get on a platform and make a speech that's going to mightily piss off the people who are selling for you.

      Where did Nokia find this troll? (Yeah, I know. Microsoft. Spiritual home of the IT Troll Lords.)

  5. Andrew Stevenson

    I'm pretty sure that pushy sales people will not fix the problem.

  6. spegru

    I wonder if

    The biggest WinPho problem is its stupid name!

    The UI looks pretty nice from what I've seen in my local phone shop

    But harking back to the Windows PC is probably beyond pointless - into harmful

    Why don't they call it something more distinctive - oh I don't know even ZuneOS would be better!

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      You've got a point there

      Windows Mobile is a very toxic brand - almost* everybody who has ever used it dislike if not outright hates it.

      Windows CE was pretty much "meh". Nobody cared about it, barely anyone really noticed it. (Although they're pretty much the same thing)

      So MS rebranded the new one as Windows Phone.

      Unfortunately the memorable part of Windows Mobile, Windows CE and Windows Phone is the "Windows" prefix, not the suffix.

      So the rebrand isn't working - at my workplace, the only person who knows that Windows Phone isn't the same thing as Windows Mobile is me, and that's only because I'm about as pedantic about terminology as it's possible to get and still meet people.

      So nobody wants to even give it a try.

      *Everybody I know hates it. It's possible that someone, somewhere that I've never met might not.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge


        WinMob was a pretty decent stab at a phone OS. I had 4 handsets in a row and functionality wise it was comparable with a blackberry of the time plus it was second only to symbian in available apps.

        Unfortunately MS threw all that good stuff away when it went to winpho.

        1. Eponymous Cowherd

          Re: Actually

          ***"WinMob was a pretty decent stab at a phone OS"****

          I have two phone on the desk in front of me. An HTC Sensation (Android) and an HTC Touch Pro 2 (Windows Mobile 6.5).

          There is *absolutely* no comparison with regard to general usability. Windows Mobile is just so clunky, awkward and unfriendly.

          Windows Mobile was a half-hearted stab at a phone OS bodged from a PDA OS. As the operating system for an early "noughties" PDA, it did the job. As the OS of a 2010+ "smartphone" its frightful.

          As a smartphone OS, Windows Phone is actually very good, but, in the light of the momentum of iOS and Android, it is *way* too little, *way* too late.

      2. Manu T

        "everybody who has ever used it dislike if not outright hates it."

        Actually I didn't hate it. I hated Samsung (my last foray into windows mobile) because of their dreadfull after-sales support. And because in their great vision removed most o/t features that I required from their Omnia 1 out of the Omnia 2.

        I went Symbian since then after I encountered that a Symbian device could do exactly the same as what I expected from my Windows mobile 6.1 smartphone. Namely, syncing with outlook including categories, 2-way callrecording, full bluetooth transfer including syncing, full multitasking and all the 3rd party apps that I would need where there (even freeware/cracked/hacked versions).

        It's not that I wouldn't want an nice shiny Android device (I once had my eyes set on an Experia Neo and LG 2xSpeed but ditched them because o/t the lack of 2-way callrecording) especially since i now know about some (affordable) software to sync with outlook over usb/bt.

        The problem is that Android isn't any better. There's a well-documented bug in the OS that prevents most devices from standard native full 2-way callrecording coupled with the unwillingness from handset makers to provide info/documentation/source-code for various bits and pieces. This makes that while the stream of useless (fart-)apps keeps growing, the lack of really usefull or even essential apps eventually will kill it off. The same with iPhone.

        Another thing you shouldn't forget. Current iOS (teenager-crowd)buyers aren't brand-loyal! Just see how they turned from Blackberry (which isn't even for their market anyway) into iPhone fanboys/girls. They'll adopt tomorrow the next shiny thing without substance.

      3. Richard 12 Silver badge

        So, it turns out that two people like WinMob

        Good to know - thanks for the downvotes!

  7. dotdavid

    It's all about the apps

    I had a look at one of the Nokia Windows demos, and was impressed with the speed of the handset (although Androids of a similar price perform similarly well). I thought the tiles thing was a UI I could get used to. I also like the idea of getting timely OS updates without idiotic manufacturers and operators getting in the way.

    But then I thought "what about all the apps I've bought?". I suspect a lot of Apple/Android users think the same way. I also like the customisable nature of Android and the Nokia seemed pretty one-size-fits-all.

    I'm ambivilent towards Nokia, having never really tried Symbian after getting frustrated with their dumbphone software and moving to Windows Mobile. I disliked Microsofts attitude towards the WinMo community though, basically ignoring them, creating half-assed Windows Mobile updates and then dumping them by moving to a locked down Windows Phone 7. So I (and loads of others) moved to Android and have been reasonably happy ever since.

    So who is the target market? The cheap handsets are mainly Androids. The desirable ones are mainly top-end Androids and iPhones. The ex-WinMo enthusiasts tend to get Androids. The ex-Nokia enthusiasts hate Nokia's guts now. Who are they pitching at?

    I'd like there to be three strong players in the smartphone market but I can't see Nokia/WinMo being the third.

    1. M Gale

      If you like the UI...

      Launcher 7, from the Android Market. I have the donate version. It's okay to be different but I still find myself sticking with ADW Launcher EX.

      Even lesd reason to get a Windows Phone!

  8. jai

    i've seen one!

    Someone in the office has one, it's the only one I've seen. And I work in the IT dept, so you'd think there'd be a higher percentage of people in this dept that would be willing to try out the new platform. And from the quick glance i got of it, and brief demo, it did look quite interesting.

    However, he's getting annoyed by it. Too few apps and some really annoying UI decisions that mean you have to take several actions when the intuitive step would be one. But that's a windows UI problem, not a Nokia one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "But that's a windows UI problem, not a Nokia one."

      ...which is now the same thing, that's just it.


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