back to article Microsoft, Nokia and the sound of colliding garbage trucks

History, it is said, doesn't repeat itself – there are merely echoes through time. Listening to Microsoft's $7.1bn purchase of Nokia's phone and services, you'd have certainly heard an echo – the distant grinding noise of two colliding garbage trucks reverberating down the years. The phrase "the sound of two garbage trucks …


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  1. Rupert Stubbs

    One unified brand...

    Unfortunately, in the mobile world, they chose the wrong brand out of two.

    Nokia - as many commentators have noted - has huge respect around the world for its phone hardware. Robust, well-designed, works for years, great signal and sound quality.

    Microsoft - no respect in the mobile world at all.

    Yet MS are junking the Nokia brand. And for those who say they can use "Lumia" - that has virtually no recognition around the world either, apart from being mistaken for Panasonic's Lumix.

    1. HollyHopDrive

      Re: One unified brand...

      This is I suspect, as the article suggests, MS trying to stop Nokia trying to get out of the awful decision they made to be WP exclusive and thus loosing money hand over fist - we all know an android nokia would sell (in europe) like hot cakes.

      Nokia need to make a profit, and the MS partnership is not helping them achieve that goal and return to the old days that that everybody (corporate and personal) used to by a nokia if you had any sense.

      At least now MS are guaranteed that not everybody will pull out the windows phone market - though ironically I feel it will accelerate the exits of the other OEM's.

      Penguin - because its what Nokia should have done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One unified brand...

        Nokia could have just as easily failed with Android. It's a crowded market dominated by Samsung and they might still have only sold the same number of phones they did with Windows Phone.

        They simply can't produce the volume of phones they used to and bad supply issues would have caused havoc.

        1. Kunari

          Re: One unified brand...

          Sure there is no guarantee that Nokia would have done better going exclusively Android over Windows Phone. However, there was no need for them to go exclusive at all! They could have developed for both platforms as Android & Windows Phone both run on the same processors and hardware, Nokia had experience with Linux and was well known for creating good innovative hardware.

          I'm 99% sure that a 1020 running Android would have tripled the sales of the actual Lumia 1020 running Windows Phone. I know I'd rather have a Nokia android phone over a Samsung.

    2. Ramazan

      Re: One unified brand...

      Nokia is plural of Nokuim, the same's true for Lumia (cf. delirium/deliria)

      1. ChrisG13

        Re: One unified brand...

        Nokia is a town in Finland, near the Nokianvirta river and the city of Tampere, where Fredrik Idestam built a pulp mill in 1868. This was incorporated as the Nokia company in 1871.

        The word is Finnish, a Finno-Ugric language which has no relation to Latin, and is not a plural of anything. Your comment seems to be the result of delirium.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One unified brand...

          Nokia is the plural of nokium which an animal called the sable which is coloured black and can be seen on the coat of arms of the town of Nokia if you look that up.

          There is a school of thought that the animals in question were not actually sables but rather beavers which would be an appropriate name for a river with beaver's dams on it in the middle ages.

          Translating into English the town Nokia could be rendered as Beverley which has a similar etymology.

          1. Bob Vistakin

            Re: One unified brand...

            This unified brand was coined "NoWin" when Blamers puppet was first sent over there.

          2. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

            Re: One unified brand...

            "Nokia is the plural of nokium which an animal called the sable which is coloured black and can be seen on the coat of arms of the town of Nokia if you look that up."

            From the non-encyclopedia, on the Finnish town of Nokia:

            "The origin of the name "Nokia" is obscure. In modern Finnish, noki means soot and nokia is its inflected plural, although this form of the word is rarely if ever used. The most common theory claims the name actually originates from the archaic Finnish word nois (pl. nokia) or nokinäätä ("soot marten"), meaning sable.[6] After sable was hunted to extinction in Finland, the word was applied to any dark-coated fur animal, such as the marten, which are found in the area to this day. The sable is enshrined on the Nokia coat of arms. However, later research has appeared to indicate that sables never inhabited Finland in the first place, and the name nois may actually refer to the beaver.[7]"

            So the stuff about sables and beavers is more or less on the mark, but "nokia" is not the plural of "nokium".

        2. That Awful Puppy

          Re: One unified brand...

          "The word is Finnish, a Finno-Ugric language which has no relation to Latin"

          True to a certain extent, but considering how long Finnish has been surrounded by Indo-European languages, there are (comparatively) very few words left that are truly Finno-Ugric in origin. That being said, toponyms are usually amongst the last to go, so your point is probably still valid.

          Finnish still has the distinction of being the angriest sounding language I've ever heard, apart from Scots.

  2. Real Ale is Best


    I think there's Nokia phones running Android right now in their labs. Microsoft are afraid that if Nokia starts selling Android, it will stop selling WP. It's probably correct. A Nokia modified Android phone to enhance it's low power and hardware would be a top selling point.

    The buyout is to prevent this happening. What Microsoft still don't realise is that not many people like WP, whoever makes the hardware. It's an expensive way to do business...

    1. illiad

      Re: Android

      I remind you that due to look and feel lawsuits, MS **gets lots of money** for *every* android sold!!!!

      - so why waste time doing 'MSphone running android' when that is the same as bringing your own beer to a 'free beer' hotel bar????

      1. Steve Todd

        Re: Android

        Microsoft has patents on things like the FAT32 file system, THATs what it is getting payments from Android manufacturers for (and before you start FAT32 is a fundamental part of SD/MicroSD so no, they can't do without it), not "look and feel". They are being paid for very real technology that the other manufacturers and their lawyers looked at before coughing up.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Android

          The patent is to do with reading/writing long filenames to FAT32 disks, not FAT32 itself which is incredibly simple and even the USPTO wouldn't patent.

          I can format SD cards as ext4 or UDF if I want, it's just they come pre-formatted to FAT32 by convention as all OSes will read them. However formatting SD cards as UDF is good enough, most OSes from XP onwards will read them.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Android

          Phones now use MTP to syncronise mp3s and other files.

          With such file system abstraction there's no need to use FAT or FAT32 in phones. The only reason to use it is if you wanted to provide USB mass storage support or be able to interchange SD cards between phones and Windows.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @illiad - Re: Android

        What lawsuits ? Where ? When ? Care to name two or three of them ? All I know if that all the patent deals were for unspecified patents so please enlighten us here.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: @illiad - Android

          The vast majority of legal wrangling over patents, copyrights and trademarks never sees the inside of a courtroom. For that reason, you will only see the vanishingly small sub .00001% of cases ever get into the news. Most of the time it's more likely to hear about new "strategic partnerships" forged between the two companies that form the sticking plaster and Neosporin to the festering scars left behind after the lawyers have had their little chat.

      3. Charles Manning

        Re: Android

        "so why waste time doing 'MSphone running android' when that is the same as bringing your own beer to a 'free beer' hotel bar????"

        Because the free beer is only a sip from every glass, but with your own you get to chug the whole glassful.

        Besides, the real issue is this: to get good licensing agreements it helps to show that MS's business interests are being harmed. For this to happen. MS needs there to be a solid brand selling Wphones. The only way to keep Nokia on-side was to buy them.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. tentimes

        Re: Android - EFLOP - Yes!

        I believe the plan from the start was to embrace Nokia, run it into the ground, then buy it cheap. Plan executed now.

        The trouble is, they won't sell any more Windows Phones.

    3. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Android

      "Nokia, meanwhile, was often reported to be open to shipping a phone running Android – the market's current number one mobile OS"

      That's only half the story, and it's slightly disingenuous to state it like that. Nokia were open to Android, yes, but wanted to preserve their considerable investment in mapping and location services at the same time (a division they'll keep after the sale of the handset business to MS). Nokia asked to use their mapping as the default location service on their phones, Google wouldn't consider it, and didn't negotiate any further beyond offering Nokia a pittance for Navteq.

      Nokia always had the opportunity of a generic Android, but it wouldn't have given them anything they needed. They needed that horrible word, an "ecosystem": a set of services that people already used on their PCs or laptops or at work. gMail, gTalk and gCalendar are the best examples of these around, and a they're a major reason to use Android - without these services, Android is just another application framework on another Linux OS. Nokia already had one of those, and with a better framework too.

      1. Arctic fox

        @Kristian Careful, any suggestion that Mountain View...........

        .............screwed any chance of Nokia coming onboard will not be taken kindly by the usual suspects.

      2. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Android

        > They needed that horrible word, an "ecosystem"

        And two years ago they would have went on how wonderful Ovi was and how it was the future. Cue trombone wah wah.

      3. W. Anderson

        Re: Android

        These statements about Nokia not being successful without "all" the Google Services in Android are not absolutely true, since Amazon have done exactly well with core Android and their own services.

  3. DrStrangeLug


    Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, the android powered Lumia 940 is taking market share away from the Samsung Galaxy.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile....

      And that's what so criminal about all of this.

      Microsoft put their shill into Nokia to force them onto their burning platform, rather than the obvious Android road ahead.

      Had Nokia gone Android two years ago, they would be jostling for 2nd place, not picking up scraps off the floor....

      1. tentimes

        Re: Meanwhile....

        But we all knew this. Every sane human with any techincal experience knew it. People borrowed millions to short sell Nokia when they heard.

        I think it was a setup, run Nokia into the ground then buy it.

    2. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile....

      Yes, and an Android powered Communicator would have wiped Blackberry of the face of the earth.

  4. stu 4


    Ok, if we are doing analogies/similies how about:

    Elop = Jobs (both steves so that bit is easy)

    Jobs/Elop leaves apple/MS, starts nextstep/nokia(ok..breaks down at that bit)

    Apple/MS goes down shitter with crap machines/windows8

    Jobs/Elop returns and does reverse take over of Apple/MS

    Jobs/Elop moves Apple/MS to completely new operating system (OSX/symbian)

    Yes... I predict we will all be using symbianOS in 5 years time.....

    1. Julian Taylor Silver badge

      Re: Analogies

      Except that Jobs dramatically increased his company's sales, profits, product quality and just about every other aspect of Apple upon his return. Elop however was pretty much always the Trojan horse brought in to lower Nokia's stock to make way for a cheap purchase by Microsoft. Bear in mind that it was only last May that Nokia shareholders called him to account over the disaster he was presiding over and the 85% drop in share value.

      As for that awful Ballmer-speak "Stephen Elop will run the group and will take the appropriate steps with Julie, working with Stephen, to figure out appropriate integrations." I do feel sorry for Elop now: Julie Larson-Green will make him wish he was stuck between the 2 charging garbage trucks, which, I hazard, is where the rest of MSFT will want him to be in 2 years time.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Where Microsoft need Elop

        Elop delivered a massive coup for Microsoft. The day he Trojanned, Nokia were selling more phones than Apple and Samsung combined - at a hefty profit - with their market share increasing. Nokia had a Linux phone in development that later beat Apple for ease of use and features. Elop destroyed all that. If it were not for Elop's outstanding efforts, Nokia would be in first place, and all their phones would be Linux. The place Microsoft really need to put Elop is CEO of Samsung. Elop has demonstrated the abilities required to turn Samsung around and regain the bulk of the Windows Phone market from Nokia.

        1. Schultz

          "Elop delivered a massive coup for Microsoft."

          Indeed, he managed to radically shrink a world-class company, crash the company earnings and profit and to deliver the brand to his former masters. But he didn't do it cheaply, he burned through billions of Nokia cash reserves and additional billions of cash supplied by MS. How he can be considered as a good manager is beyond me, it would be interesting to see how he would burn the even greater cash pile of MS if he ever got the opportunity....

          Burning platform ... somebody should remove all those burning paper bills.

          1. tom dial Silver badge

            Re: "Elop delivered a massive coup for Microsoft."

            Possibly, as was speculated when Nokia switched to Windows Phone, he was an outstanding manager, and met all the goals he brought from his previous job.

          2. Charles Manning

            Re: "Elop delivered a massive coup for Microsoft."

            "How he can be considered as a good manager is beyond me,"

            That's because you are looking at it from the wrong set of eyeballs. It is about power, not money.

            Ballmer has a Google obsession. Ballmer wanted to give Google a bloody nose, no matter what the cost. Though Elop failed at that, he gave it a good try. Elop is one of Ballmers elite hitmen/lieutenants.

            But now that Ballmer's got his pink slip, MS will likely be changing back towards looking at money again. Elop will no longer enjoy the protection of Ballmer and, no doubt, his days are numbered.

  5. Tim 11

    This could be the best thing MS has done all year

    Not that that's much of an achievement mind you :-)

    But Nokia is still a good corporate brand. If the combination of MS and Nokia can produce the kind of handsets and tablets that enterprises want and have them seamlessly integrated with windows apps, domains, group policy, and that kind of stuff, they could quite easily become the default choice for enterprises if not consumers.

    Compared to recent MS screw-ups, this one looks eminently sensible for both organizations

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: This could be the best thing MS has done all year

      if the MS and Nokia engineering teams are allowed to get together you could be right. Unfortunately I expect MS will let the Marketing and Sales droids in on the act and flush it all down the crapper.

    2. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: This could be the best thing MS has done all year

      I'm not convinced pandering to enterprise is in the long term going to save Noksoft (or Microia). Mobile phones are now such personal devices there is strong pressure to either choose their own or work with BYOD.

      The days of running two phones, one for work and one for home is behind us. Now even work phones are chosen on the same criteria as any other device. Beefing up the enterprise without improving the user experience is not going to help.

      (Nokia should know this. In the days of yore, Ericsoon went after the corporate market with it's very good but conservative T28. Nokia introduced a phone with replaceable covers and a in-built aerial and wiped the floor with it. As the song says "Whatever may come, the world keeps revolving, That it's all just a little bit of history repeating")

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: This could be the best thing MS has done all year

        I'm not going to put my personal phone in the hands of my company sysadmins who can decide what I'm allowed to do with it and wipe my company data and mine at their will.

        And if your company lets you use your phone with its data without taking control of your phone they are fool.

        Unless phones allow for two wholly separated storages, and ensure the wrong data can't go to the wrong storage, the whole BYOD is just a smart way for foolish company to save some money on hardware.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This could be the best thing MS has done all year

          I had an an engineering job at a company that had to go BYOD from under capitalization. When I left, taking my computer with me, I also had a hard drive full of proprietary software, hardware designs, test data and other company information. Whooops. This wan't a fishmonger's shop but a proper high-tech company where intellectual property IS the value of the company.

          I did delete nearly all of the data only saving the work that I did. The whole BYOD concept makes it quite easy to leave a company with a Snowden load of their data. While the employment contract had me make promises about keeping company data private, they would have to PROVE that is was me that leaked proprietary information in a court of law. That task could be very expensive.

          If some effort was made to partition a dual sim phone so that one side could be kept completely personal and the other side allocated for business could comply with some data security protocols run by the company, maybe that would work. The first question IT should be getting an answer for is WHY does this employee need smartphone access to the company system. Most probably don't and it could be a vast grey gulf for many more. "Is the risk of losing the data the company is allowing an employee to access from a mobile platform either continuously via wireless tech or via the ability to acquire the data and store it on their mobile device while in the workplace balanced by a significant gain in income?" How often are there stories about a laptop/tablet/smartphone being stolen that contains a load of customer's credit card numbers or sensitive personal information? I've never seen a valid sounding reason for the practice and can think of many nefarious plots in the negative.

          1. keithpeter

            Re: This could be the best thing MS has done all year

            "...a Snowden load of ... data"

            Excellently coined there. So much more fun than Kb/Mb/Gb. I have several Snowdens of music and about half a Snowden of photos of trains (guesstimates). I might manage to write a few tens of µSnowdens of text in November.

            I use RDP into my work machine from my laptop, thus keeping what is theirs theirs and what is mine mine.

            I'll have to get the other half a new candy bar phone before Microsoft stop making them. She doesn't like smartphones.

          2. John 62

            Re: This could be the best thing MS has done all year

            My employer allows BYOD for remote working, but all remote work is supposed to happen on their Citrix virtualised desktop system that doesn't let you copy-paste to/from the host device. The company-supplied desktops and laptops are all supposedly full-disk-encrypted, so that information can get on, but never be readable when transferred off using mass storage. Dropbox and skydrive etc are all blocked.

    3. Tannin

      Re: This could be the best thing MS has done all year

      Tim 11 says "If the combination of MS and Nokia can produce the kind of handsets and tablets that enterprises want and have them seamlessly integrated with windows apps, domains, group policy, and that kind of stuff ....". It's an interesting view. The trouble with it is that Microsoft just went to a vast amount of trouble and expense to right royally bork the enterprise desktop by sticking it with the slow motion trainwreck sometimes called "Windows 8" but mostly called things I can't repeat here,

      And - here comes the key point - and the whole driving force behind this suicidally wrong-headed bet-the-company product is the Microsoft *phone* people. Yes, that's right, the very same people who are going to "seamlessly integrate" the phone with all the long-established enterprise infrastructure. Yes, you know the stuff I mean., the useful practical stuff all of us here use every day and get at from the old desktop ('coz Metro is too dumb have hooks into any of the techo stuff) or even from the command line ('coz the MS development schedule is schizophrenic and stuff gets neglected for years at a time, so you just do what works).

      Why would we think that the team and the mindset which just produced the worst Windows business interface ever made (yes, worse than ME or Vista) could suddenly turn around and start kicking goals on the enterprise integration front?

      Making all this even less likely, the Windows that runs on phones and tablets does NOT run Windows software. It only runs toy software from the Metro store, and even that has to be specially recompiled to run on a phone or a slab instead of an X86 computer.

      But thumbs up for Tim 11 just the same, 'coz he wrote "Compared to recent MS screw-ups, this one looks eminently sensible for both organizations". Just so. Nokia was on the way out anyway - that particular war was lost when they got into bed with Microsoft instead of going Android - so no harm done, and at least the shareholders get to salvage some value. And as for Microsoft, they've just wasted some tens of billions. So what? It's only money and they have plenty of money. Compared to what they did with Vista and the Office UI and especially the Windows 8 debacle, this is barely a flesh wound.


    4. Kunari

      Re: This could be the best thing MS has done all year

      MS and Nokia were already working together, they aren't going to do any better as "one" company as they were doing as "two".

  6. DrXym Silver badge

    Windows Phone was a fatal mistake

    Cutting themselves off consumers was a pretty dumb move.

    They should have moved to Android. They could have customised the experience six ways to sunday and still benefited from being part as the same ecosystem as the likes of Samsung. Customers could have been drawn to their phones by the user experience, offline satnav app & maps, symbian runtime layer, enterprise tools and so on.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: Windows Phone was a fatal mistake

      I'm not sure about the Android move. They were probably the only ones that actually had not one but three viable alternatives: Symbian (the Belle update), Meego and Harmattan. They had enough models to throw 'em out and see which one sticked, and I'm pretty sure at least one of 'em would've prevailed. They still were #1 in the market before the Elopocalypse.

      But yes, the MS deal only served to kill Nokia worldwide. So sad.

      1. Philip Lewis

        Re: Windows Phone was a fatal mistake

        Still happily using my N9, but then again I am not an app junkie. It gets used for phonecalls, sms, skype, whatsapp, music player via BT to the Jambox etc. plus FF for the web at a pinch.

        I guess there are some 3rd party apps on there - I just find I don't use them much.

        Still a great phone today IMHO

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Windows Phone was a fatal mistake

      The biggest mistake MS has made is being so late to the party. The top flight single malt is all gone and there's only the weak American beer on offer. After the holiday season we may start finding smartphones free in cereal packets. They are more and more an undifferentiated commodity where price is 90% of the purchasing decision.

  7. squigbobble

    It's almost as if...

    ...M$ sent Elop in to tie Nokia to M$ and sink it so it'd be cheaper to buy and have nowhere else to go.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: It's almost as if...

      Microsoft standard operating procedure, in other words?


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