back to article Invasion of the Brandsnatchers: How Nokia and BlackBerry inhabit the afterlife

Early next year you should able to buy Nokia phones and BlackBerry phones, two of the giant names of the Noughties. None of these phones will be made by Nokia or BlackBerry, and all of them will be Android phones. The famous brands will inhabit new bodies, with the licensees hoping to rekindle some nostalgia both giants once …

  1. James 51 Silver badge

    The passport and the priv are excellent phones and do what they were designed to do. I wish that I had held off a week on buying my S6 and I could have bought one in the sale.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    How ironic that back in the days of burning platforms the one thing that was excluded from Nokia's strategy was Android, not even as a temporary measure while it looked for someone who could tell it the difference between its arse and its elbow.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Burning Platform?

      Maybe the idea was to burn MS and get out of phones. Which they did, MS paid maybe $1 Billion before Nokia sold phone division, then Billions to buy the phone division, BUT NOT *ANY* IP nor the Brand! Then MS has cost of closing the factories and making all the developers etc redundant!

      Brilliantly played, Nokia. The phone division probably couldn't be saved as the rot was terminal and dated at least to about 2002 or so (killing Crystal, S80 and internal competition)

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Burning Platform?

        > MS paid maybe $1 Billion before Nokia sold phone division,

        MS paid Nokia up to $1billion a _year_. Allegedly this was to cover the cost of WP licences so it may have been a decreasing amount as their market share dropped to below the margin of error.

        And still Nokia phone division did not make a profit.

      2. Daniel B.

        Re: Burning Platform?

        Nokia's last pre-Elop attempts were actually gaining traction. The few handsets that were released after the Burning Platforms memo still sold pretty well, despite the platforms being declared a dead end. Symbian Belle got rave reviews.

        And they still were #1 in global market share, and an army of developers interested in their ecosystem. Elop just set it all on fire to sell the whole thing to the mothership.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Burning Platform?

          Without a doubt the Meego-based N9 (and N950 keyboard variant, which I owned) were the best devices ever made by Nokia, both pre and post Microsoft. They really could compete with the best Android and iOS devices at the time.

          Too late now of course, but back in 2010 Nokia had an absolute gem of a homegrown platform in their back pocket (with an upward migration strategy for Symbian) combined with a market opportunity - Android wasn't at the time as dominant as it is now - only for the idiot management to fail to recognise the potential as they only had eyes for the "safe" option of Microsoft (which, predictably, turned out to be anything but).

          Given what Nokia had available to it, it's still hard for me to believe Elop legitimately came to decide on Microsoft as the best option after much consideration. I can't help but believe he went into Nokia with the sole intention of selling out to his chums at Microsoft in one form or another, regardless of whether Nokia had a homegrown and competitive iPhone beater or not.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      They found someone, that someone was Elop (who it turned out couldn't tell his arse from his elbow). He decided to kill Meego (N9), Symbian, and Meltemi and go with WP until it became clear that MS wasn't going to buy Nokia. Then he gave the order to make an Android phone and went back to MS and they bought Nokia's phone division. Then he got a fat bonus for selling to MS as stipulated in his contract.

      Then MS fired everyone from Nokia and buried their unwanted and unloved mobiles. Current Lumia users are only beta testing the OS for future Surface Phone users. I'm sure Surface Phones will fix everything, after all it was the hardware that was the problem and not MS' management who have never got mobiles at all.

    3. Timo

      I expected things to turn out differently

      I estimated that Google would continue to screw over their hardware "partners" by turning the hardware into a bottom level commodity product, which would send hardware vendors running into the arms of Microsoft. Back then Microsoft was a more competent company than they are now, and less evil than Google. This was probably 6-8 years ago.

      Now Android and its apps have become a security and bug problem on all fronts, but Microsoft has decided to opt out of mobile for a while so they they figure out what they are doing.

  3. 0laf Silver badge


    A Chinese built BB running Android can't see any government having any problems with that noooo none at all.

  4. Alfred

    As an aside on Nokia the actual company...

    They're making profits and paying dividends. They have been an absolute star of my haphazard portfolio for the last few years, outshone only by ARM who have latterly been snaffled by Softbank.

  5. m0rt Silver badge

    I loved the passport. Just that I couldn't do some things, like watch sh*t on Amazon video, or netflix (acutally I could on netflix..) when I was away from home. The form factor, the scrolly keyboard, the build, the voice quality, the battery life, and the square screen! So useful.

    I haven't had an Android Blackberry but my next Android phone will be. I am not a fan of Google. I hate their integration. However, at least regular updates on a phone that has, at least, an SD card, if not a removable battery also, is something.

  6. Mage Silver badge

    How many phones has MS killed?

    The original CE ones.

    The Danger / Kin

    The hybrid Zune GUI on CE

    The Nokia ones

    The NTified ones

    The ARM surface

    I'm not sure how to count them, and I expect MS to either completely rebrand phone or buy another phone to kill or get out of phones in the next year or so?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: How many phones has MS killed?


      The CE ones ran for years (way longer than the likes of earlier Apples and Androids)

      Nokia - They were only allowed to use the branding for a short while.

      The NTified ones - No idea what the hell you are on about for that one.

      The ARM surface - They haven't even launched the surface phone yet.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: How many phones has MS killed?

        > The CE ones ran for years (way longer than the likes of earlier Apples and Androids)

        I think he is referring to WP7 phones which were killed stone dead by announcing that WP8 _required_ dual core and no WP7 had that so they were 'Osborned' months before WP8 phones came available.

        Of course prior to that WP6.5 had been killed by the WP7 announcement. There was no compatibility at all.

        > The NTified ones - No idea what the hell you are on about for that one.

        I think he is referring to WP8 and W10M in this article:


        Sep 28, 2016 at 12:22 GMT

        “Windows Phone” is truly dead as Microsoft pivots away from all the things that made the original Windows phone special in a move away from the consumer market."""

        > The ARM surface - They haven't even launched the surface phone yet.

        And may never do so.

      2. Daniel B.

        Re: How many phones has MS killed?

        Pretty much most of the smartphone manufacturers that chose Windows CE (later Windows Mobile) died due to that decision. The poster child for this would be Palm, but they weren't the only ones.

        Nokia is the outlier, as they were able to offload the Microsoft infested parts off to Microsoft itself.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: How many phones has MS killed?

      > I'm not sure how to count them,

      Don't forget the WebOS ones. MS waved the 'loyalty' discount on all products and pointed to 'Windows on ARM' (later Windows RT) and told HP "it would be a shame if you had to buy Windows for all your PCs at retail prices".

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Blackberry screwed it up

    That should have had cheaper Androids with Android versions of BB apps to get mind and marketshare and BB10s with Android compatibility to get enterprise space. At the same time.

    Pick your price/security level and one BB ecosystem running on both OSes.

  8. Mike Allum

    No surprise there then!

    To be fair to Mr. Elop Nokia's problems started about 10 years before a little village in Canada posted up a "Wanted: one idiot" sign; the headline act of Kallasvuo and Olilla need to step forward and take the lion's share of rotten fruit.

    We'll never know if it was pride, dodgy deals, extreme risk aversion, laziness, complacency, or just plain incompetence but the Nokia we knew and loved has gone. No amount of wheeling and dealing (buying other companies, ruining them, and selling the remains at a loss) can disguise the fact that the family silver is Missing Presumed Frittered Away. All they've got left to sell is the brand.

    When we hear the "Gran Vals" as a doorbell we know where to send flowers.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019