back to article What sealed Nokia's fate?

"Nokia and Symbian was the last of the European software business, it's gone overnight. That's depressing," an industry veteran told me on Friday afternoon. As I wrote several years ago, Nokia was a company that could set global standards for consumer electronics, and do so from a cold and remote corner of Europe, using its …

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  1. EddieD

    Not unpopular..

    "I'll offer another Unpopular Opinion here: that WP7 is really remarkably good already." - most commentators have reached the same conclusion. Having used it in a shop, I agree, it's nice, it's different, it works, it's intuitive (not that I was allowed to try anything fancy). Having used a relatively recent Nokia, it's a step forward.

    For me, as with the iPhone, the issue is not Microsoft, but the closed nature of the platform - sooner or later I'll sell my soul to the devil, okay, Google, and even though I don't want to turn Android*, it's probably going to be my fate - but it will be a reference model, I'm just waiting for all the new toys at MWC to drive down the price of the Nexus S.

    *Free banana** to whomever sources the quote

    ** Collected from Scotland after my banana tree has grown...

    1. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Up

      generally, yes

      OK things like "changing the microSD card causes WP7 to restore factory defaults" are double-plus-ungood, but you notice some of the opposition have no removable storage at all.

      I'm on record elsewhere as explaining that, no matter how good the code and UI might be in the short term, I have no faith in the long term, having been burned too many times before.

      What is surprising is that a company the size of Microsoft can take so long to come up with something that is only "remarkably good" and that it is "remarkably good" at doing only what everyone else is already doing.

      Surprise me, Nokia and Redmond. Think of something new.

      Remember that Black guy from "AD2000" who had a sony logo on his eyebrow? Built-in TV and cellphone? That would do for a start.

      Or if you want something simpler, look at my Jabra Stone bluetooth headset. I have to dock it with the battery to charge it up. Why can't I dock it with the phone? And the act of undocking it confirms the pairing?

      1. dogged

        You mean 2000AD

        Specifically, you mean Ramone Dexter from Sinister/Dexter.

        Also, WP7 is remarkably good at not making you poke through fourteen levels of shit to find out what you want.

        This is an improvement on both iOS and Android. A significant improvement.

        1. Robert E A Harvey

          that's the bunny!

          @dogged:

          >Specifically, you mean Ramone Dexter from Sinister/Dexter.

          You clearly have a better memory than I. A trawl through the character names on their web site does raise a smile.

          Ta.

    2. Andy B 1
      Thumb Up

      Here I go...

      The reference is from Brainstorm by Hawkwind and I claim my prize. I'm near Elgin - I can call & collect.

      Rev. Andy

    3. Gerry Doyle 1
      Thumb Up

      Standing on the runway, waiting for take-off

      'Brainstorm' from the best time of the best band of all time...

      Got my own banana though, thanks.

    4. Gerry Doyle 1

      Your Android replica is playing up again, it's no joke...

      and that's the Spirit of the Age.

    5. Mark Jan
      Flame

      Why do people always confuse OS and UI?!

      Symbian is custom built from the ground up as an efficient, purpose built OS for handhelds.

      The OS has never been the issue.

      People complain about Symbian v3 on the N8 for example, about how individual widgets can't be moved around or such other nonsense. However, download an "app" for £25 and the UI is transformed. Amazingly transformed. If a third party can so effectively skin the N8, then why can't Nokia at least give users the option of a sleeker UI for those who don't necessarily want the standard Nokia offering?

      It's staggering how Nokia saw the future 10+ years ago and began catering to it. They began to offer products ahead of their time. They saw the threat from MS and formed an alliance. And despite all that, it's equally staggering how they managed to cock it all up.

      1. Astarte

        N8 UI

        >Mark Jan,

        Tell us the name of the 'app' you're referring to for N8 UI?

        1. gmogmo
          Megaphone

          SPB mobile shell

          The SPB mobile shell transforms it to something useful. Same applies to winmobile 6.5 and S60 v5 devices.

    6. John Carter 1
      WTF?

      since when was Microsoft open?

      Most platforms are closed, perhaps they might be ubiquitous but that doesn't make them any less closed.

      1. Sirius Lee

        There's confusion over 'open'

        In this context, my interpretation of 'open' is tool that are easily available and easy to use and apps that are easy to create. Nokia may have scored on the first two but failed on the 3rd. Yes, in part it was difficult because the platform is relatively robust. But it was difficult because there's no high level framework so developers needed to complete an apprenticeship in Symbian development to have a hope.

        So productivity is low in that environment compared to others and that's the difference to me.

        Android, WP7 and iPhone are much more open in the sense they are accessible. If you've a choice between spending 12 months developing an app for one platform or the same 12 months and covering 2 or 3 what would you do? Developers of all stripe have voted with their time.

  2. Anna Logg

    It all went downhill from 2003

    Nokia started spending billions on share buybacks rather than investing in new products or markets in 2003; trying to appease major shareholders in the short term, whilst jeopardising the company's long term future. All downhill from there.

    1. Anton Ivanov
      Thumb Down

      Kind'a

      Bureacracy is not necessarily the show-stopper to innovation. IBM is a good example to that. It is a bureacracy on par with great bureaucratic states. However, it continues to produce innovative stuff till this day.

      Nokia problem lies elsewhere - it tried to graft an utterly foreign management culture (matrix portfolio management) on top of an existing traditional "we are not particularly commercial" R&D culture. As a result instead of getting a more efficient R&D and more efficient concept to market it ground to a halt.

      A donkey is not the nicest form of transport, but it can go at its pace and get to places. A horse will get there faster if you of course have one. A donkey with the front torso of a horse grafted surgically onto it is guaranteed to die regardless of the amount of immunupressants you stuff it with. The donkey body will be rejecting the "horse head" and vice versa. As a result you will have neither.

      1. Jolyon
        Paris Hilton

        So you are saying I might as well stop flogging it?

        "A donkey with the front torso of a horse grafted surgically onto it is guaranteed to die regardless of the amount of immunupressants you stuff it with."

        I wish you'd told me this yesterday.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nokia made plenty of investment during that period.

      In fact, Nokia's R&D expenditures were far greater, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of revenue than any of its competitors. Yet it still failed. So it's R&D is incompetent or its management is. The major shareholders should have kicked out the Finns and put in a real management team 10 years ago.

  3. Ryan Clark
    Thumb Down

    eh

    "Opinion here: that WP7 is really remarkably good already. If it wasn't called Microsoft Windows Phone 7, and had instead originated with a plucky startup more people would be able to appreciate it better."

    Opinion in my company where we have several win7 phone users is that it is rubbish. Missing major functions, drops calls, crashes all the time. They all want different phones, I am thankful I held off being one of the first wave to get the new OS.

    "And Apple had a bundled data plan, so trying it all out was risk-free."

    As long as you consider signing up for a 2 year contract at ~£50 per month which you were tied to even if you didn't like the phone, risk free.

    1. ThomH

      @Ryan Clark

      The Apple statement was comparative. Unlimited data for £35/month in 2007 (so, 30% less than you seem to think) was a good deal and the risks are compared to picking some other smartphone. Obviously that's more risk than subscribing to a magazine, less than buying a house. And the iPhone is on the same price plans as everyone else now.

    2. Alex Johnson 1

      Please.

      Have a whinge if you want but the iPhone came out with an 18-month contract at £35 a month. Whinge accurately if you feel you have to.

      1. Frank Bough
        Thumb Up

        That's the problem with the anti-Applers

        they ALWAYS get their facts wrong. They get them wrong because they've never bought/been given an Apple product and their whole outlook is a byproduct of that injustice.

  4. hitmouse

    Bureaucracy

    The bureaucracy within Nokia seems to have been known to everyone but Nokia itself.

    I was casting around for R&D jobs about 7-8 years ago, and a senior recruiting agency told me quite bluntly that the Nokia culture was so suffocating that they wouldn't even put it on a list for consideration. I would have been further depressed if I'd found myself working for the company that made the N80.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coffee/keyboard

      Oh, don't they know it

      It's not like they can't see the wishy washy focused-on-the-short-term management-by-spreadsheet layer for what it is. I'm not going to air any dirty laundry here, tempted as I am. Suffice to say, the best part is the same managers are going to be the ones left in the "new Nokia", while engineers get the boot.

      That's not coffee on my keyboard.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Corrections

    "But Nokia took so long bringing Qt to Symbian and Linux that the job was really finished even when Elop announced his revolution last Friday."

    Well, Qt already worked on Linux, even embedded Linux, as the Greenphone demonstrated back when Trolltech was independent and trying to get phone vendors to give it a shot, so maybe you mean "Nokia-sponsored Linux". And what does "the job was really finished" mean in the context of the sentence? That they had already completed the work - largely true, as far as I know - or that it was doomed?

    "Elop is correct in identifying Android as a mad sharkpool of manufacturers thrashing around in chase of a tiny profit, eating each other in the process. If he had to plump for an OS to license, of the two, WP was the better choice."

    Yes, but unless the Android manufacturers do nothing to differentiate themselves at all (and market themselves to punters as "ANDROIDS IN UR FACE" just to wind them up), they'll always have something to offer that's different from the others. Motorola offers their MotoBlur stuff, for example. And doing the work on Android is going to be a lot easier than haggling with Microsoft all the time.

    1. Anton Ivanov

      Exactly

      If you want to differentiate with Android - you can.

      Example: Sony Ericsson

      Started with a number of rather not particularly inspiring Xperias - Mini, Mini-Pro and the X10. Exactly a shark in a shark pool. Now that shark has clearly outgrown the pool. The Arc and the Play are frankly in a league of their own compare to the HTC/LG/Samsung lookalikes.

      I do not salivate often over a gadget, but looking at either the Play or the Arc I catch myself thinking on what my gadget budget is for this month.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exactly

        "If you want to differentiate with Android - you can."

        Indeed. All these people saying that "Oh! WP7 is different from Android, and Android is the same as Android, so WP7 is the only way to differentiate!" are precisely the kind of intellectually-vacant management drones and market analysts that stick superficial labels on things and come to their feeble conclusions without ever having to bother themselves with the important details that actually matter, like the details of the hard work that has to be done to get a product to market. After all, the hard work is done by the little people who are apparently expendable, while analysts see the "big picture".

        Anyone who has had anything to do with analysts and the kind of people who patronise them know very well what charlatanry it all is.

      2. John 62
        Jobs Halo

        OS updates?

        good luck with that!

    2. Lewis Mettler
      Go

      u don't avoid Android by going MS

      It may be that bringing yet another Adroid phone to market has competition. And competition can limit your proift potential. But, neither Microsoft, RIM nor Apple avoid that competition.

      A WM7 phone is not in a different market just because it is not based upon Android.

      They all compete for the likes of consumers. And it matters little how similar or dissimilar the Android phones may be. WM7 phones still have to compete against Android phones. Same with Apple. And RIM.

      Avoiding Android absolutely does not assure any competing product of success. It may be different in some ways. But, you still have to compete against all of those Android phones. They do not go away just because you do not use the same OS.

      Simply put, not coming out with an Android phone is no solution to the competition that Android phones bring to the market. The same market you are trying to sell your WM7, IOS or RIM unit.

      Another way to look at it, not using Android does not assure you that your margins will be high. You still compete against phones that have lower margins and most likely lower prices for consumers.

      The other big mistake that Elop has made is that helping out Microsoft in adopting the WM phone does not help Nokia. It may be true that customers might benefit from 3 or 4 strong competitors but such a fact does not mean they will by from Nokia. Customers evaluate products not the decisions by vendors trying to level a compeitive field.

      Nokia is making a big mistake now by not coming out with an Adroid based phone. And a WM7 phone if you insist. Or, not doing a better job with their own. But, the thinking coming from Elop only proves he is still working for Microsoft at the expense of Nokia.

      That kind of thinking will do in Nokia. Probably beyond recovery no matter what they may do 6 months down the road. Or, a year?

      Putting your head in the sand and ignoring your competitors will kill you off every time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Question

        Would I buy a Nokia running Android? Yes.

        Would I buy a Nokia running Windows? No.

        Simples.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Megaphone

          @AC 22:13

          "Would I buy a Nokia running Android? Yes.

          Would I buy a Nokia running Windows? No.

          Simples."

          Having owned many Nokia phones over the years and 1 Android phone. I would definitely own a Nokia again, I'm not so sure about owning an Android again. The only killer app I get on the Android is work and home e-mail on the same device. The rest of it is meh. And just over a year after getting it, the weaknesses in the OS are showing through. I'm probably going to have to factory reset to get the responsiveness back. I never in my life had to factory reset a Nokia. I might give a WM7 Nokia a go - seriously.

    3. Snarky
      Stop

      The differentiation is there, btw...

      Playing with the Atrix and having tried the Xoom I have to say that Motorola is taking the topic of differentiating seriously. Quite impressive if you've known Motorola since the HT200 days.

  6. John Doe 6
    Flame

    One word

    Elop. He is just on a mission for Ballmer to save Microsofts mobile platform. Thats what happened to Nokia.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Horns

      That is also a mission approved by large institutional shareholders

      Which have investment in... Counting once... twice... thrice...

      Both Microsoft and Nokia. And probably more in Microsoft.

    2. Lewis Mettler

      absolutely

      There is no question that Elop is trying to save Microsoft by throwing Nokia under the bus.

      His logic makes no sense from the viewpoint of Nokia. And is clearly something that Ballmer would like. Making Microsoft happy (he still holds a huge amount of Microsoft stock) while driving Nokia into the ground can get you shot.

      The only way to save Nokia is to immediately can Elop. Then hire a CEO that will act in the best interest of Nokia not only Microsoft.

      The industry does not need WM7 to be in the top three. If it can even get there. RIM, Android and IOS will be fine. RIM is closed. IOS is closed. Android is open and fully available for customization, differentiation and innovation.

      Elop thinks that if you ignore the best choice it will go away. Android will eat Nokia's lunch.

      Nokia needs to be OS agnostic. Clearly if it wants to compete against other handset mfgs. RIM controls their own OS. Same with Apple. Nokia is trapped and controlled by Microsoft. There is little or no chance for any success for Nokia.

  7. Gilbert Wham

    IOS/'Droid/Symbian/WinMob:

    My choice with these four was simple (WP7 I ain't tried yet): the one that connected seamlessly to *whatever computer I happened to be at*, without making me install idiotic software so it could 'sync' (god, how I hate that word) and/or make me want to punch myself in the face with frustration throughout the entire process, and I am looking VERY HARD in your direction here, WinMob.

    I used to love Nokias, till they became buggy, unusable blobs. I'll reserve judgement on WP7 till I've had a go of someone else's whose been crazy enough to gamble on one.

    1. Levente Szileszky
      Thumb Up

      RE: IOS/'Droid/Symbian/WinMob

      "My choice with these four was simple (WP7 I ain't tried yet): the one that connected seamlessly to *whatever computer I happened to be at*, without making me install idiotic software so it could 'sync' (god, how I hate that word) and/or make me want to punch myself in the face with frustration throughout the entire process,"

      So now you must be happy with your Android now - enable auto-mount USB first time and forget it; easy as 1-2-3, right? :)

      1. Ocular Sinister
        Troll

        I don't know about Android....

        Symbian is pretty good at this too: plug my EricSony W995i into any computer and it appears as a USB disk. It can also appear as a digital camera (you only see photos), and when in that mode it works seamlessly with DigiKam. All of the above on Linux, I've never tried Windows but I doubt it would be an issue - just don't bother installing all the crap software on the CD that comes with the phone.

        Have a troll in memory of the Qt guys now wondering about their future.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    The REAL Unpopular Opinion

    "Elop's problem is that historically you can't really take a large bureaucracy and expect a lean, mean fighting machine to emerge. You usually just get a smaller bureaucracy."

    The is that Elop is not alone in his delusion. It is shared by executives in most (if not all) big companies around the world. It is this single delusion that is the reason they fail.

    1. asdf Silver badge
      Flame

      unless

      Barry Obama rides to the rescue and nationalizes your car company for a few years first. Long live government motors.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      bureaucracy

      "...You usually just get a smaller bureaucracy." ... "...Elop is not alone in his delusion. It is shared by executives in most (if not all) big companies around the world. "

      True. Compare IBM, where Gerstner thought he'd chopped the heads off the bureaucracy and made the elephant dance, but ten years later the bureaucracy has grown new heads and is back to full strength. (I don't work there any more.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Gerstners Bureaucracy

        The only decent thing Gerstner did was hack off some of the breathing-but-dead bodies running IBM. After that, his flaccid management style resulted in many billions of dollars in losses-- the bleeding continues today although tailing off, but is swamped by higher performing management. G left before the wheels fell off again, at least he (or his handlers) realized he was a mental minnow in shark infested waters.

        Back then, no lawsuits for such huge losses... different now. Elop will escape that potential fate, as everyone (that is, everyone with financial weight...) thinks he is doing the right thing.

    3. Snarky

      He knows...

      Look at it from Elop's POV. He's offered a nice package by Nokia to come in and try to do what the investors know needs to be done. It doesn't even matter if it is possible or not. Make the package big enough, the umbrella heavily gilt, and hand him the Don Quixote suit. In three years he's away on his next adventure with plenty to pay for the twins college.

      The whole Microsoft plant notion, while amusing, makes little sense unless someone can point out the compelling payoff. Loyalty? Please. He'd barely arrived at Microsoft.

      I applaud his divestiture of MSFT but what was he thinking buying NOK? Geez...buy BIDU and AAPL...give the conspiracy nuts something to work with!

  9. Conrad Longmore
    FAIL

    IMHO

    IMHO, the point at which it all went irretrievably to the dogs was the point twelve months ago where they effectively killed Maemo and the N900 successor to tit around with Intel on MeeGo which produced exactly nothing. You can't spend a year doing nothing in this business.

    If Nokia had kept up the momentum from when the N900 hit the streets 15 months ago with another more polished and faster Maemo device then it would have a chance.

    Maemo was a skunkworks that wasn't allowed to reach its full potential. Perhaps it would be interesting to see another skunkworks project working with Android.. after all, all the other major WP7 shops also have Android devices.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    It didn't need to end this way...

    Agreed that the bureaucracy has been the problem at Nokia. And rather than fixing the bureaucracy, Elop has neutralized what competitive advantage Nokia had and destroyed the company in the space of a week.

    Regardless of the technical merits of any of the systems, Symbian (and emerging Qt) had a larger "ecosystem" than WP7, and a good migration story to Meego. Qt developers could develop for Symbian, gaining access to the huge installed base, while being assured that their investment was future-proof thanks to the cross-platform nature of Qt.

    Now nobody is going to invest in Qt development - so Symbian is finished. But there's no reason to invest in WP7 either, since there's no installed base. If the platform does take off in a year or two, then you can always hire developers then to port over your apps. In the meantime, the risk is too great.

    What kind of an idiot kills off his existing platform while he's still a year away from having a successor?

    [Posting anonymously because Nokia is a huge client of my company. They were nice people - sad to see them go.]

    1. rurik bradbury
      Megaphone

      Qt pipedream

      There is a lot of fantasy behind the Qt migration story. The UI for a multitouch, capacitative touchsceen is very different from an old-school resistive Symbian smartphone screen (just as it is very different from a mouse/keyboard app on a traditional PC). The idea that you could code once and run elegantly on both without major rework was wishful thinking. (Another reason Elop was right to finally call time of death on Symbian.)

      1. David Beck
        Thumb Down

        Most S60 devices didn't have touchscreens

        I don't suppose it matters but most S60 devices and AFAIR, all E-Series, do not have a touch screen of any sort. The reason I bought and still buy the phones. (I'm building a small supply to last for a while.)

        Oh, and these folks that keep saying WM7 is a good OS, the phrase you are looking for is "WM7 works a lot like the original iPhone". The design rule is simple, if you make a UI for idiots you either make a feature understandable by idiots or don't put it in the product. Explains the lack of features, which explains why the UI is so simple, no decisions left to the user. Just think of all those folks that watch 4:3 TV at 16:9 and why an "aspect" button started appearing on the remote. Now if they could just teach them what "aspect ratio" means.

    2. Lewis Mettler
      Go

      if not your own

      If Nokia is not going to focus totally upon its own technology then it has to compete with other mfgs that also go with multiple platforms. They are your competitors. Google is not.

      Coming out with an Android phone and a WM7 phone might make sense. Nokia could ride what ever wave shows up. If could even put the same front end on Android and WM7 (if MS would allow it).

      Jumping ship hoping to land on WM before you crash and burn completely is just stupid.

      Holding too much Microsoft stock killed off Nokia. The board should know better.

    3. Jeff from California
      Boffin

      What kind of idiot?

      What you're describing is known as the Osborne Effect (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect). I had direct personal experience with the original... and now feel like a pole is being stuck backwards up the posterior of all (former) friends of Nokia.

  11. David Webb

    N900

    The N900 is still the best phone I've ever used. It's a shame that Nokia kept going down the road of dropping support for devices, therefore alienating their key customers, the ones who'll always come back later, why buy from Nokia if PR1.4 isn't going to be released? Why buy into the N900 now which *was* going to have community supported Meego (and can run Android)?

    Nokia and Intel could have made Meego an amazing story, sticking it onto a myriad of devices from computers to GPS and having a mobile or tablet in the middle so you'd be able to start your work on your PC, relax on the sofa doing more work on your tablet before grabbing your mobile and finishing off your work on the train, a total solution, not anymore :-/

    1. wookiee2008
      Thumb Up

      Agreed

      I love my N900, shame Nokia didn't. The forums were clogged up with endless pleading for flash support considering that's what quite a few people bought it for... I wasn't that bothered with Flash, but the rest of the interface I've found great - robust, good quality hardware with a proppa keyboard, and jumping between multiple applications just flows really nicely.

      Sent via my N90... sorry, we have stopped supporting this function.

      1. Avatar of They
        Thumb Down

        There must be different N900's in the world.

        After reading the maemo forums and being an N900 owner I have to disagree. I can't send this via my N900 because it is a truly shocking piece of kit that won't connect to the internet and MicroB is too slow to waste my life watching it load up a web site, never before has anything been so appallingly built and sold. Whether it is lack of support from Nokia or commercial decisions not to do something (flash, MMS) it was flawed when made. Hardware reports on the forums also point to massive differences in manufacture, loose interior connections being the main one, many people for example (Me included) can't actually turn on the computer without first opening the keyboard and then closing it which must somehow register the OS to allow the on button to work. I have to try three different attempts to get it to turn on, each press does something different before it actually loads up, so software integration isn't upto much either. I mean so many people have had to overclock their phone to get a good response, yet not asked why they needed to overclock poor hardware and software in the first place.

        Even now 13 months on it still doesn't have anywhere near the support of a manufacturer that cared (OVI suite doesn't support it, there is no OVI store.) But with 3 people on maemo and 10 on meego it is any wonder? That is the problem with Nokia, pushing into an area and then changing their minds and not truly supporting leaving a lot of annoyed people behind, then moving too slow so everyother phone outstrips you.

        1. David Hicks

          You're right, there must be different N900s

          I guess I got one of the good ones, that boots up reasonably quickly, takes decent pictures, works well as a GPS, does flash fine, if a little slowly (yours doesn't?), and works brilliantly not only as a net device on its own but also as a 3G wireless modem for my linux machines.

          I'll agree that the manufacturer totally lost it though.

          Instead of incrementally developing the OS, adding stuff, making improvements and fixes and delivering them (the usual linux model), and then delivering improved hardware as and when they could, they ended up doing the same thing that killed Openmoko - "Oooh! Shiny! Let's ditch it all and start again!". So you end up with two years of no real progress, no released devices and no income. In the meantime the managers who weren't directly responsible for screwing up the maemo unit were busy screwing up the rest of the company and whoops, suddenly the 'next big thing' doesn't have the time to mature, despite the fact it's 7 years old.

          1. David Webb
            Linux

            Not just that....

            The N900 is beautiful because of what it can do. Mine is running Opera, but that is because it is on an IPV6 network, that's right, my N900 can access iv6.google.com, how many other mobiles do you know that can obtain an IPV6 address? You do need a different kernel for that to work however, but it means that the N900 in it's current form is future proof in relation to the internet.

            Because it does IPV6, it can be used as an IPV6 control centre, the possibilities for the use of the N900 are endless.

            I agree that the built in browser is a bit pants, but the N900 gives you choice, you can use that, or Chrome or Opera or any browser which can compile to the CPU, heck, you can set the N900 up to run as a webserver, you can make it part of your network, you can do anything with that device.

            The N900 had the possibility to be game breaking, it should have been seen as revision 1 of a Nokia strategy, revision 2 could have upped the hardware a bit, made it a bit thinner, run Maemo 6, things like that, they could have made it a consumer device for people who want buttons while keeping the underlying amazing core for tech happy geeks.

            Name one other mobile phone that can run a web server on an IPV6 network and which you can configure from your PC using SSH whilst having the mobile plugged into a TV for a larger display!

            That's my goal for today, to get my N900 hosting an IPV6 website and IPV6 mail server, wonder if MySQL works on the N900......

            1. Christopher Slater-Walker
              Thumb Up

              IPV6? My iPhone 3GS does.

              How do I know this? Because when I connect it to my wireless network at home, it receives an IPV6 autoconfiguration address; if I SSH from my iPhone (there's an app for that...) to my linux box, enter the "who" command, I can see my iPhone's IPV6 address right there.

            2. Snarky

              Another one of the happy N900 owners, but beautiful? No, Ugly.

              Having a 770, an N800 and N810, I was sorely disappointed with the N900. Not the functionality or software mind, just the device itself. If they had put the 3G into the N810 I'd have bought a dozen and passed 'em out at xmas!

      2. Neil Hoskins
        WTF?

        N900

        This is sent via my N900. What's the problem? Maemo 6 could have been a world-beater, but they just had to throw it all in the bin and go back to square one with Meego.

  12. Paul Shirley
    Flame

    Elop will be eaten by sharks regardless

    <<Elop is correct in identifying Android as a mad sharkpool of manufacturers thrashing around in chase of a tiny profit, eating each other in the process>>

    So what? Elop is incorrect in thinking that's not the future Microsoft plans for WP7. Microsofts business model is to tax every end user, regardless of middlemen. They want a ubiquitous platform and will sell to anyone to achieve that. Either WP7 becomes a niche market or Nokia ends up in a different pool but fighting the same sharks, for the same eroding margins.

    Elop recognises that smartphones are fast becoming a commodity item but doesn't want to play. You might get away with that exclusivity if you control your own IP. Nokia just abandoned its IP.

  13. Buzzby
    FAIL

    RIP Nokia

    After the 6310 no Nokia mob appealed to me, oh sorry the 8800's toughness seemed good, but the price!!! Jewelry.

    I've been watching other manufacturers catch up & overtake them, yet all I wanted was phone, text & camera ( 5 - 8 mb ) oh and of course style that appeals to me. My 7610 & 6310 were brilliant.

    By by Nokia.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Nokia died when 3G came in

      Fact of the matter is that the seeds of nokia's demise were sown 7 odd years ago during the transition to 3G tech.

      Half a dozen iconic 2G handsets. 8x10 my favourite phones for a long time. 6x10 still going for decent money on eBay. 8800. 99% of their phones that came after were fugly designed by committee blandness personified.

      Elop has failed not so much for the MS link up - this would be quite clever if it was a multistranded strategy.

      What's unforgivable is that 1000's of hugely gifted techies are paying the price for almost a decade of senior management incompetence.

  14. bamalam
    Linux

    Nokia needed patience

    This is a depressingly good analysis. I'm glad that it brings up the point that this was software in huge sales of a consumer product that was done in Europe. I agree that it appears that the bureaucracy of Nokia is what killed them. Jumping onto the sclerotic and buggy arms of Microsoft is not going to help in this case. I just believe that with a little more patience they could have pulled MeeGo off. They had no new device at MWC but a tablet or handset running MeeGo could have been possible and placated investors enough. The scenario that has unfolded is very much because of Elop and the fact that he is a North American who had come from Microsoft.

    They had Qt which would have allowed them to take Symbian devs with them to MeeGo. It is all a great shame particularly when you see the tablets that Intel were demonstating at MWC. If Nokia had the patience that Apple had back in 1996 they could have looked back at this period as the start of something great with MeeGo.

  15. isaidright

    goodnight Nokia

    Well it was only time. Poor functionality and even worse software - E72 as an example and what do you expect to happen. Nokia spent too long with their heads in the sand trying to make symbian work, they should have read their own forum to grasp the feel of their customers. I for one will not entertain Nokia again - Windows 7 settles that one for me. HTC with Android just works

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    the problem is precisely Microsoft not just the name

    THE AUTHIR offer another Unpopular Opinion here: that WP7 is really remarkably good already. If it wasn't called Microsoft ,

    the problem is precisely that it is Microsoft not just the name

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Happy

      just imagine the thumbs up

      if that was in English and made some kind of sense!

  17. veramin
    Alert

    Finnish culture compounded with RoW politics

    Basically from working in Nokia I found Fins sometimes struggled to focus on actually getting something out the door. Some smart guy in Nokia named it as corporate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They spent so much time planning, replanning, redesigning, replanning again, re-specing, redesigning.. That in the end they never got anything finished. The N900 struggled to get out the door - that it did was a major positive - what did they do ? Instead of smoothing the rough edges and releasing new hardware they seemed to chuck everything in the bin and start again.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      There's a reason for this...

      In Finland, outside the door is a terrifying death by cold and ice and night, and possibly random wolves. If not that, then outside is freezing nudity and beating yourself with birch twigs in the snow before running back to the sauna for another hour. They'd much rather stay inside and have another drink. Maybe a knife fight.

  18. gautam

    It was in 2006

    After the last/best iteration in the form of N95 (8GB) it was all downhill. N97 was so hyped up (great hardware- mind you) but clinging to the dated and tired Symbian killed it for most users and there appeared to be this epiphany that all was not well henceforth. I tried SE Satio (but again felt let down by Symbian 60)

    In my opinion, apart from the bureaucracy, its this clnging to Symbian that did them in. The final straw was the collective ego in not having Android on their phones. (IOs was not an option. MSWIn7 was not yet developed fully). Meego and Maemo were just a fleeting idea in this collective, given a lukewarm reception ... and their blinkers were on for the threat from Android.

    The rest is history...........

    The mighty have fallen in the smartphones race. Its all over,in that area.

    1. Steve X
      Thumb Down

      N95 (8GB)

      If that was the high point I pity those with other phones. I'm just waiting for my N95 to die again, now it's out of warranty, so I can have an excuse to replace it. Nice idea, crap execution.

    2. Dinky Carter

      Symbian IS NOT Series 60 !!!

      There is no "Symbian 60." There is the sleek, efficient, feature-packed OS called Symbian with a huge steaming, flabby pile of crud called Nokia Series 60 on top of it.

      All the advanced features of Nokias stem from using a very capable OS. All the negative features of Nokias stemmed from sticking with the utterly out-dated, buggy, slow, flickery confusing, infuriating 'UI' called Series 60.

      Please understand the difference between the Symbian OS and the Series 60 UI. You're not alone, El Reg often gets it muddled too (with the exception of Mr Orlowski who knows better.)

      .

  19. Dave Wray
    Dead Vulture

    Eh?

    Is this the Nokia ive suffered for the last decade?

    Nokia's phones are shite. Simple. They have zero build quality, the firmware has bugs a 12 year old would by ashamed of and they exhasperate the issue by trying to manage a range of 183 phones while getting properly shafted by one.

    The phone in my pocket? A Nokia! Till I upgrade to a BB in a few months. My current BB (email only) has outseen four shiteias easily.

    The end

  20. asdf Silver badge
    Flame

    Bureaucracy?

    In a large continental European company you say? It can't be. Yes us yanks have bad examples as well like M$ but after working for Infineon and watching the slow and predictable German bureaucracy self hara-kari I understand what the Nokia folks are going through.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Betting on a stock price going down

      Here are some links to various ways that people bet on a stock price going down:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_(finance)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spread_betting#Financial_spread_betting

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Put_option

      (DISCLAIMERS: I am not a financial advisor, this is not financial advice; everything linked to here is extremely risky; make sure you know what you're doing)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Making Money

    It is possible to legally make money from the disaster that will befall Nokia over the next few years as a result of betting the farm on Windows - a way of betting on the share price plummeting and the company nearing collapse ?

    6310i - best business phone ever made. Can I ask my iPhone to go from mute to loud at 4pm -i.e. timed profiles ? It all went downhill from the 6310i

    1. asdf Silver badge
      Troll

      a troll perhaps?

      Ok fine I will bite google short sell for the answer to betting against a stock. I wanted to short sell SCO back when it was $15 a share but alas it not trivial to setup your investing account to do so.

      1. Adam Nealis

        Could have sold some OTM puts. Amounts to almost the same thing.

        "I wanted to short sell SCO back when it was $15 a share but alas it not trivial to setup your investing account to do so."

    2. Neil Charles

      Surely there's an app for that?

      There are loads on Android.

    3. Piro

      No App for that?

      My (admittedly low-spec) htc magic running the latest CyanogenMod has built in functionality exactly as you describe. Then again, I wish I'd got on the Android train a bit later, instead of being stuck with this, the main problem being lack of RAM.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tomi T. Ahonen's take on this

    A rather lengthy analysis here, read and weap:

    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Android sharks vs WP7 sharks

    "Elop is correct in identifying Android as a mad sharkpool of manufacturers thrashing around in chase of a tiny profit, eating each other in the process. If he had to plump for an OS to license, of the two, WP was the better choice."

    I'm not sure I follow you there. Did Nokia get exclusive rights to WP7? I didn't think so. How then (from a manufacturer's perspective) would WP7 be better (or even terribly different) than Android?

    1. 5.antiago

      Android sharks vs WP7 sharks

      "I'm not sure I follow you there. Did Nokia get exclusive rights to WP7? I didn't think so. How then (from a manufacturer's perspective) would WP7 be better (or even terribly different) than Android?"

      If your "manufacturer's perspective" was actually the perspective of the world's largest handset manufacturer, with an established albeit aging brand in Western markets and great presence in huge growth markets like BRIC and Africa (and a strong history of development of mobile infrastructure and innovation), then there is a slight chance that announcing the third-place OS as your exclusive platform would catapult you into the position as that OS's most important customer.

      Nokia is a more important partner with WP7 than Android.

      The Android brand could consume its hardware partners. In mobile, Nokia is a stronger brand than WP7, so customers might think: "Nokia, so it must be on WP7 right?" as opposed to the competition who might hear their customers saying "Android, oh this one is made by Samsung is it, whatever"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Megaphone

        @ 5.antiago

        >"the perspective of the world's largest handset manufacturer, with an established albeit aging brand"

        Yeah, but their only unique assets were engineering/design, engineering R&D, and Nokia brand recognition. The only one they'll be able to leverage to any advantage is the Nokia brand.

        >"announcing the third-place OS as your exclusive platform"

        Nobody ever gives the Canadians any respect. I'd put WP7 below RIM, myself.

        >"Nokia is a more important partner with WP7 than Android."

        More important for Microsoft maybe.

        >"Nokia is a stronger brand than WP7, so customers might think: "Nokia, so it must be on WP7 right?""

        Sorry, I thought we were talking about Nokia. You are correct though, this is a coup for Microsoft. If Nokia hadn't gone with WP7, Microsoft could forget about doing anything in mobile phones. Despite their many efforts MS have not fielded anything useful in mobile or embedded spaces. With this move they get one last gasp at gaining mobile market share.

        As a bonus, they may just be able to cause trouble for QT / KDE.

        Great move for MS, bad for Nokia and consumers.

        1. 5.antiago

          @anon

          I liked your reply, but I have a couple of disagreements:

          "Yeah, but their only unique assets were engineering/design, engineering R&D, and Nokia brand recognition. The only one they'll be able to leverage to any advantage is the Nokia brand"

          But what is the Nokia brand based on? People recognise the Nokia brand because previously they offered the best mobile experience, i.e. most intuitive software experience and most reliable hardware experience together. But brand perception is an ever-changing thing and what happens if a company stops offering the standard they are known for? The brand is based on their previous work on engineering/design side, which is now out-dated.

          "Nobody ever gives the Canadians any respect. I'd put WP7 below RIM, myself"

          We all love Canadians, eh, but this one is a case of brand positioning and "purpose" in the wider consumer markets. Why would you put WP7 under RIM? In absolute numbers of users, Blackberry has more, sure, but are they really playing for the same share of the "masses" as iOS, Android and WP7?

          ">"Nokia is a more important partner with WP7 than Android."

          More important for Microsoft maybe."

          Absolutely. Microsoft *need* WP7 to work:

          It's always been a key factor in this deal that Microsoft is going the same way as Nokia - insignificance in the market it used to dominate. Another poster said Microsoft is under fire inside the office because desktop applications are moving to the cloud and under fire outside the office because they can't force the mobile hardware makers to run Windows OS - I really can't put it better than this so I'll just borrow it. It's right though, hey? Microsoft are sliding and that's why they need WP7 to work, to have a share in our glorious mobile future. This deal with Nokia is massive for Microsoft, I agree with you there. Now they can chill out about the hardware (confident that Nokia can make a solid phone) and concentrate on getting the software right.

          Whether they can can do this quickly enough is the gamble that *Nokia* have taken, tying their colours to the WP7 mast so tightly. I think this is the crux of what you're saying. But what Nokia need is an OS that actually competitive; there was nothing in-house to offer this. Where do you think Nokia would have been in a year without this deal? I think they would have been in the market with a bog-standard phone that's running an OS that isn't cool. The 2011 Q4 sales figures would have been released and THEN the shareholders would have panicked for real.

          "Sorry, I thought we were talking about Nokia."

          By this point I'd moved on to talking about the synergetic effects of stamping two brands on one product. (I appreciate "synergetic" isn't a real word, but it gives an indication of my day job...). The question is what is the dominant brand on a product where the manufacturer and the OS are both strong brands in their own right? I'd argue that on an Android phone, it's Android that leaps to the front, but on a Nokia running WP7 it's Nokia that stands out, with the benefit that consumers also know what it runs (for better or worse).

          "Great move for MS"

          Agree

          "bad for Nokia"

          Possibly! I hope not, but what were the alternatives, really?

          "and consumers"

          No, I can't agree with this - why is it worse? My feeling is that before the OS market was Android vs iOS with Symbian and WP7 out in the cold scratching forlornly at the window, but now it *could* be a three-way Android vs iOS vs WP7 game.

  24. OrsonX
    FAIL

    They deserve to...

    I really love mobile phones and have been interested in them since their inception. To me it was always crazy that the screens were so small with most of the phone taken up by the keypad. Am I the ONLY person who used to wish for a screen that could temporarily show a keypad when needed? If I'm so clever why didn't I patent it, I hear you ask? Because I thought it was so f-in obvious! And lo, in 2005 (2 yrs before the iPhone), Motorola released the A1000 touch screen phone [the only reason I didn't buy it at the time was that it was on 3 and the "internet" was a walled garden affair]. BUT, I thought, WOW, this is what a phone should look like. I expected that 6-months later all the competitors would release a touch screen phone....., TWO YEARS LATER the iPhone arrived, with zero competition..., I thought I'd hold off because no doubt Nokia would unleash a technological marvel to trump the yesterdays tech in the iPhone....., by the 2nd iteration (iPhone 3G) I was tired of waiting,... and bought an iPhone 3G. It was still sometime later before Nokia finally released their resistive/plectrum toting offering (name?). This beggers the question:

    WHAT THE HELL WERE NOKIA DOING IN THE INTERVENNG TIME?!

    1. Piro
      Pint

      Drinking

      Probably drinking a lot. You have to keep warm somehow.

  25. Steven Jones

    What's wrong with bakelite?

    Not sure what the problem is - my 3310 is still going strong, albeit I've had to replace the battery. I'm told it even does texting, whatever that is.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A question for AO:

    After reading in detail here on el reg what it is missing compared to the competition, reading that "WP7 is really remarkably good already" brings up a question: What makes you say that?

    I'll remind you that you called symbian something similar yet now it isn't good enough any longer. I'll grant that ease of programming, where wp7 apparently beats symbian hands down, is fairly important. That can be worked around with yet another layer of software, like Qt, python, java, what have you. But I also expect my phone to /work/ and that, that isn't something redmond is very good at offering, historically and reading above comments, now.

    As a sidenote, Elop isn't trying very hard to kill the bureaucracy either. In fact he's made a few token gestures and left it at that.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I saw S40 running on embedded linux on a Nokia 3 years ago

    When I worked for Nokia lots of engineers, like me, were frustrated by the organisations' inability to share things (stream A could not use stuff from streams B or C). Internal competition and empire building seemed to be the order of the day.

    However, there were real developments going on - in an effort to show how S40 could be re-used on smartphones a clever little group (not me, I found out about it and wanted to use it) installed embedded linux, with QT, and managed to get S40 running on it. The whole hack made it look like a linux phone, but all the S40 stuff people liked did not have to be re-written or ported - it was taken as-is. Any new functionality was written for native linux, and the 2 sets of functionality co-existed seamlessly (well, fairly seamless anyway).

    I tried to push the Linux angle time and again, get it into a couple of products that would have got S40 anyway - see how it was recieved by users - but it never happened. Nobody had the balls to take the idea high enough, so all innovative ideas stalled once they got above engineer level.

    So many ideas, so many opportunities, so many missed chances. So many days of 'death by powerpoint' and full houses on buzz-word bingo.

    HTC have Win phones and Android phones, as have a few others, so why restrict yourself to only one?

  28. JohnG

    Nokia is still No 1

    Nokia still leads the world in cellphone market share, Samsung follows with about 10% less and LG is in a distant 3rd place. None of the rest, including Motorola, Apple and RIM, achieve even a tenth of Nokia's share. If Elop is on a mission to make Nokia like one of their American competitors, he will effectively be turning a successful world leader into an "also ran" - perhaps this is why some believe this guy isn't acting in the company's best interest.

    1. Conrad Longmore
      Coat

      Yes, but..

      Yes, but units shipped is not the same measurement as profit earned. There's really not much scope to make money on a €30 budget phone (which incidentally is the area where I think Nokia is actually strongest).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, but..

        Yes, everyone read that blog post about industry profit shares. But there's that other point about Nokia leveraging their brand and presence to convert existing customers into more profitable ones. Something that their new leadership seems to have punted on for a good year or more, if not indefinitely.

  29. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    Would you rather be inside Nokia or Palm

    Interesting to compare the demise of Nokia into the clutches of Microsoft with the demise of Palm into the clutches of HP. Which would you rather be working for? Of course it's too early to say now because we don't know how successful either regurgitation is going to be, but in a couple of years it will be interesting to look back and say I Told You So.

  30. Levente Szileszky

    Not unpopular but a simply FALSE (and stupid) opinion...

    ...but hey, you are not a professional writer, are you?

    "I'll offer another Unpopular Opinion here: that WP7 is really remarkably good already. If it wasn't called Microsoft Windows Phone 7, and had instead originated with a plucky startup more people would be able to appreciate it better. The Microsoft imprimatur ensures WP will never be cool - but does at least give it some assurance of backing."

    What a load of crap - Windows Mobile was downright horrible quality but at least had all the features on paper but its successor, WP7, according to Wikipedia, as of today LACKS almost EVERYTHING any half-decent smartphone OS supposed to have:

    *Windows Phone 7 lacks some features that were found in earlier versions of Windows Mobile. Among the features that have been confirmed to arrive in the near-future include cut, copy, and paste,[69] full multitasking for 3rd party apps,[70] and Adobe Flash.[71] Windows Phone 7 supports upgradable storage via an SD Card; however SD card memory is merged with the phone's internal storage, and changing the SD card causes the phone to reset to factory settings.[72][73] Windows Phone 7 does not support connecting to Wi-Fi (wireless) access points which are hidden[74] or have a static IP address,[75] tethering to a computer[76] (although it can be done via a hack on the Samsung Focus[77]), videocalling,[78] VoIP calling,[79] USB mass-storage,[80] universal email inbox,[80] universal search,[80] a system-wide file manager,[78] Bluetooth file transfers,[78] USSD messages,[81] or custom ringtones.[82]

    Windows Phone 7 devices only support syncing with Exchange ActiveSync[83] over the network. There is no support for syncing with Exchange ActiveSync using a cable or cradle.

    In the enterprise, Windows Phone 7 does not support Office documents with security permissions,[84] IPsec security,[85] on-device encryption,[86] strong passwords,[75] or internet sockets.[79] While the older Windows Mobile phones supported the full range of Microsoft Exchange Server policies, Windows Phone 7 only supports a small subset of Exchange features.[87] The Calendar app no longer has a 'Weekly' view.[75] The list of past phone calls is now a single list, and cannot be separated into inbound, outbound or missed calls.[75]*

    It seems like a 'cool' thing to call WP7 'very good' in some pseudo-geek circles but in reality WP7 IS a half-baked, unfinished CRAP, not good at all.

    If Elop wanted to do a quick turnaround they could have started shipping MeeGo or even Maemo 5 or even Android within WEEKS, without wiping off 30% off Nokia in days and waiting 'til 2012 to ship their first new phone like with WP7.

    It's all BS - Nokia's panicking board picked a smooth-talking corporate sh!tkicker who never lead anything bigger than a self-determined department and only did it for a year or two until now... what kind of decision-making you can expect from an uttrerly clueless ex-MS beancounter?

    1. Tim Walker
      FAIL

      I wish I could recommend that post ten times over...

      "I'll offer another Unpopular Opinion here: that WP7 is really remarkably good already."

      No full multitasking for third-party apps? No cut/copy/paste? No Flash support? No hot-swappable MicroSD card support (and it factory-resets if you try removing the card)? No USB mass-storage (let along USB OTG)?

      Symbian has had most of the above for years... and that fool Elop scrapped Symbian in favour of this not-even-half-baked flan? I'd rather see Android on Nokias than WP7, and I say that as a satisfied Symbian user (yes, we exist, and no, we're not all "fanbois") who sees the events of the last fortnight as the sheep-like panicking of adherents of unreasoning groupthink.

      "Men and nations behave wisely once they've exhausted all other alternatives." If Abba Eban had met Elop, he might have seen the fallacy in that pearl of wisdom.

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Stop

        remember the iphone 1

        sold like hot cakes and was missing loads of features listed above.

        1. 5.antiago
          Thumb Up

          REPLY TO POST: REMEMBER THE IPHONE 1

          "sold like hot cakes and was missing loads of features listed above."

          What a brilliant comment.

          There's a reason why geeks don't run marketing departments.

          "Tell the developers to stop writing apps for our OS because we couldn't launch this product yet anyway, it has no cut and paste function"

  31. TheOtherHobbbes
    Boffin

    Oh, it's worse than that

    Microsoft - a company run by boring middle-aged people with no vision - is now going to pair with Nokia, which is also run by boring middle-aged people with no vision.

    Is Microsoft any less bureaucratic than Nokia? No, it isn't. When it comes to innovation, BallmerSoft is trailing along behind the rest of the industry like a rather dim dog chasing after a stick it has no hope of catching.

    Let's not forget that WinPho7 is - natch - the 7th iteration of Mobile Windows. And under its achingly edgy UI, it's still a pile of steaming badger kidneys.

    So what is to be done?

    For Nokia, not much, because it's already too late.

    For Nokia's engineers - I'd imagine there might be one or two who might be thinking about start-up funding for interesting new ideas that had no chance of being developed under the old regime.

    Someone with venture capital to spare could do worse than hint that anyone with good ideas would be welcome to have a quiet word.

    I can see that ten years from now, NokiSoft's carcasse will be rotting away under a pile of old PowerPoint slides - but there's a chance that a hundred start-ups could bloom in its place.

    And considering that some of those start-ups could easily have world-class hardware *and* software experience, the predicted demise of the European software industry may be slightly premature.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    I think

    you're too easy on Nokia.

    The writing has been on the wall for Symbian for years.

    Nokia were locked into the development snowstorm of hordes of new incompatible handsets.

    If one didn't work out, there be another in a few weeks.

    They didn't seem to see iphone coming, they didn't seem to recognise the implications when it did, they didn't seem to have a strategy for a long time, then, and here's your point about bureaucracy - took too long to decide what their strategy would be, and ended up with something that tried to be a little bit a this an a little bit a that.

    We've all been watching Nokia sink for years and expecting them to come up with something.

    While it looked like it was going to be maemo and Qt, it turned out to be a partnership with Microsoft - who will rip out the IP they want and retire the rest..

    Was this a shock? Who appointed Elop? Did they ask him where he'd worked before?

    I love my Nokias and have never been tempted elsewhere but the reports I've seen about Winphone don't sound encouraging.

    1. JohnG

      "We've all been watching Nokia sink for years and expecting them to come up with something."

      Nokia has by far, the largest share of the global cellphone market. All variants of Iphone represent less than 4%.

      1. 5.antiago

        Share

        "Nokia has by far, the largest share of the global cellphone market. All variants of Iphone represent less than 4%"

        So you're saying that Nokia are great and Apple is a failure?

        You shouldn't confuse global market share of *all* handsets with share of emerging sectors in key affluent local markets. In the emerging smartphone sector, the only growth market for mobile in western economies, Nokia's share is not flattering.

        All this fuss is about positioning for the next generation. Any director of an electronics company forced into concentrating on low-end products will tell you it's not a fun place to be

  33. Barry Lane 1
    FAIL

    Too many models

    Nokia's insistence that they make dozens and dozens of not-very-different models, many of them with precisely the same capabilities, is the nightmare avoided by Apple who make one chassis with a couple of variations available under the hood. Nokia's bills for design and tooling must be stratospheric. Why they never concentrated on getting a couple of forms spot on instead of going for the scatter-gun approach and making umpteen designs is a mystery to me and to many others. Fewer, better designers and a small group of the world's finest engineers working collaboratively would have produced better results, cut their overheads, improved their margins...

    I still use Nokia, having discarded my 5800 XpressMusic for the POS that it is and reverted to my 6500 Slide, which is still a fine and reliable phone after all these years.

  34. Neil Hoskins
    Coat

    Does anybody else...

    ...think that Steve Ballmer is the spitting image of Peter Boyle, the actor (the monster in 'Young Frankenstein)?

    1. John 62

      Frawnkensteen

      Now that you mention it...

  35. ob1

    Go chop wood.

    This is merely symptomatic of a much deeper decline ... Nokia has abysmal hardware quality assurance. My last 4 nokia candybar phones each had varying degrees of hardware failing just weeks after purchase. Keyboards. Power buttons. Speakers. My latest x3-o2 can no longer sense a headset attachment. The timber co needs to go back and chop wood 2c the trees again.

  36. gnufreex

    What sealed Nokia's fate?

    Microsoft mole Elop.

  37. Mark .
    Thumb Down

    Nokia's fate? Eh?

    "Nokia and Symbian was the last of the European software business, it's gone overnight. That's depressing,"

    Nokia != Symbian. Yes, Symbian is gone, and yes it's perhaps sad that as far as OSs is gone, there's no longer anything from Europe.

    But Nokia are still around. The fact that they change a technology they use is no different to when Apple or Microsoft or anyone who else do this.

    "For me, the most remarkable part of Nokia's decline"

    Okay, I stopped reading there. Nokia are still the number one phone and smartphone company. (Even with Android making number one in one quarter, that's split across several companies - Nokia are still number one.)

    There has also been no decline - their sales have rocketed. Yes, market share has fallen, but this is playing games with statistics - the market has massively increased, and more companies have entered the market. Would you rather be 60% in a tiny market, or 30% in a massive market?

    If company A sells 1 million gadgets, company B sells 1000 gadgets. Then the next year, company A sells 10 million gadgets, company B sells 100000 gadgets, company C sells 100000 gadgets.

    Company's A market share has fallen from 99.9% to 98%.

    The next year, company A sells 20 million gadgets, companies B and C sell 1 million each. Company's A market share has fallen to 91%. A shocking decline! Yet, company A is not only number one, it is increasing it's sales - with sales increasing higher than B and C.

    I'm sure that Apple's market share in tablets will decline, but will we hear doom and gloom about Apple? No, people will realise there it's inevitable as the market grows, and more competitors enter the market.

  38. Mark .

    Correcting a few myths

    "IMHO, the point at which it all went irretrievably to the dogs was the point twelve months ago where they effectively killed Maemo and the N900 successor to tit around with Intel on MeeGo which produced exactly nothing. You can't spend a year doing nothing in this business."

    Eh? Nokia have produced plenty of smartphones in the meantime. Not running Maemo or MeeGo, no, but so? It is a shame they never produced a successor to the N900, but it is false to say that Nokia haven't been doing anything.

    "Now nobody is going to invest in Qt development - so Symbian is finished."

    Was PPC finishing the moment Apple announced x86? Or when they went from classic Mac OS to OS X? Was XP abandoned when Vista was announced?

    Let's drop this myth. History shows us that development not only postdates the announcement of new technology, but even continues after the release, due to the installed userbase.

    "What kind of an idiot kills off his existing platform while he's still a year away from having a successor?"

    So every other company that announces new technology in advance are "idiots"? And I guess Apple must be prize idiots then, by this logic, as we're always getting news about Ipad 2 and Iphone 5, or whatever the next one might be.

  39. D. M
    FAIL

    wrong number

    Look at the money.

    Company A sells 100 million phones, but only make couple of billion dollars before tax.

    Company B sells 2 million phones, but makes 20 billion dollars after tax.

    Which company you'd rather be? I know which one I'd choose.

    Don't get me wrong, in no way I'd buy anything Apple, or recommend Apple to anyone I know. But even monkey living under rock knows Apple absolutely dominate smartphone + tablet market.

    Nokia's fate is sealed because it went WP7 exclusive as its primary smartphone OS.

    In the past, Nokia had a very long time to get things right, but amazingly nothing good ever came out. Nokia always has too many "different" phones, each may have a thing or two good, but there has never been a single phone that has all the good.

    And everytime they have a half decent phone, they will throw it out of line, start over and release something worse. Just what the fuck they were thinking?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    WP7 may be nice...

    But as a business we're not going to touch it until it gets SQL Server CE.

    WM 5 and 6.x have it, why not WP7?

    All our in-house developed business apps require SQL Server CE, and until WP7 gets it we're looking towards Android instead.

  41. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Nokia had no vision

    Nokia failed to grasp the emerging market of touch screen phones.

    Nokia's iPhone killer should have been out in 2008. It should have been 3G, high res modern touch screen OS and 5MP camera.

    Instead they released the N96 with 320x240 screen, non-touch screen, 5MP camera. Basically a N95 mk2.

    Sure, at that time there will still many people not buying or using touch screen phones, but it was obviously where smartphones were going since mobile web browsing is incredibly unusable without a touch screen.

    R&D departments are supposed to be developing and seeing what the consumer will want in 12 months or more time. You can even get away with seeing what they are buying now and make a better/cheaper version of it if your name is Microsoft.

    Once touch screen Nokia phones started to arrive they were comparable to Windows Mobile and its stop gap GUI hacks.

  42. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Win CE

    It's not true that WInCE was bad. It was a quite good "cut down" NT concept with little DOS/Win3.1/Win95 junk. The stupidity was trying to make it have the same Branding and especially GUI as Desktop Windows.

    Zune was then the first decent GUI on Win CE for small graphical devices.

    After the Communicator N9200 it seemed downhill for Nokia. They should have turned Maemo into Consumer Phone in 9 months. Instead they choked it and then nearly killed it merging with Intel's Moblin to give Meego. The QT debacle also was poor as the article points out. Another good idea strangled. They'd have done better simply outsourcing to Trolltech.

    The open sourcing of Symbian was another great idea gone bad.

    So the choice for Nokia was continue as is and asphyxiate or adopt the now "nearly good enough" WP7 and hope for W8 x86/ARM for Tablets.

    It's probably too late. Unless there is a radical change in the way MS partnerships, maybe Nokia is doomed in 5 years as the Chinese eat the basic & Feature phone market and Android, RIM, HP and Apple eat the Smart phone/Tablet market.

    MS too needs major change or the next version of Windows Phone could be the last.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    We cheated on users

    I worked in a "mobile software development" company from 2003 - 2005. I can tell you all the company did was selling payable SMS subscriptions for users to download wallpapers and ringtones. It was very close to being a scam, users would pay around £10 a month, and 98% of them wouldn't download anything because they didn't even know they were subscribed.

    Worst of all - telcos would get immediate 50% cut, for doing practically nothing. We would operate on thin margins, and original content developers would get 10% of the market price. That's 10% only to the ringtone creator, artist or a J2ME developer.

    Further, any REAL app or game was impossible because Nokia and other OEM's were not giving anything useful, extremely difficult and fragmented development, so all you needed was remake same old games with slightly different skin, advertise it as something new and lure users into monthly subscription.

    Then iPhone came along and I purchased a Guitar Tuner app with cord library for £3, no monthly subscription and the developer got 70%.

    Nuff said.

  44. Richard Jukes

    RE Asdf

    Ig Index - sign up for them, its not really share trading - is is spread betting, but it is tax free. Nokia are already in my 'to watch' portfolio. As are Arm and TomTom (they have doubled since I started watching them!)

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nokia and MS

    While it's easy to bash Nokia's decision for becoming "just another boring clone WM7 phone maker", there's nothing to say that this is just what they have or will become.

    This is such a big tie in and partnership that the chance of Nokia not having input at a high level on the future direction of WM7+ ought to be pretty damn small. Seen from this perspective it's not such a crazy move, from either MS's point of view - where they currently have appalling market penetration and a lot of, in reality, pretty average phones and from Nokia's point of view where suddenly they get a phone OS that works (albeit not especially well, but well enough) and a partner that they have enough leverage with to steer the OS. Between them, new features and base line specifications can be decided upon and unlike the other WM hardware shops, Nokia will be ahead of the game because they helped to form the new baseline.

    Oh, and to get onto the bashing... I use an Android phone as my primary phone but am frustrated by the periodic instability of the thing. I'm techie so I know how to fix this (other than a power cycle) but it's a real downside to what's an otherwise great phone to use and, from the development point of view, a really nice system to program for other than the random phone incompatibilities aside, but we've all dealt with his on Win16/32 for years now and that's not an unsuccessful platform. This doesn't excuse the instability but it does show that in the end, it's not always a platform killer.

    I've borrowed an iphone for a couple of months to develop on and while they're slick, the pain of having to pay the apple tax and having the potential for your entire business ripped out under you at a momemt's notice is easy to see as too much of a business risk - and don't get me started on having to install the appalling itunes software to do anything with them...

    Which leaves WM7 - only used it for a few weeks now and development is annoying (iOS and Android are *much* nicer to work with) and while the interface presentation is ugly and seems to be aimed at kids (and definitely not professionals), it is admirably effective. It's a shame that without too much prodding you can revert it back to its WM6 roots and when it comes to it, the underside is pretty much that. Other than when poking hard I haven't had too many stability problems other than the odd dropped call and inexplicable crash, but there's always the inherent lingering fear of anything that's branded "Microsoft"... others have had no problems at all while some have been ready to microwave their phone after 3 days.

  46. VulcanV5
    Happy

    Me and my Nokia

    I'm a Nokia user. I have three of 'em. One is a mobile phone. It's black with a kind of gold finish trim that's still under its protective wrapping. It has a small greenish screen on which black text appears. I have no idea what its model number is. Perhaps a 9-something-something. I bought it new as a treat for myself in April 2003. It's been in constant use ever since.

    It makes and receives phone calls. If I can be arsed, it sends text messages. It also receives text messages. It runs on standby for up to 10 days. It powers up from flat empty to full steam in 45 minutes. It has never let me down and it has been all over the world.

    My other two Nokias are a matched pair. They're Nokia wellington boots. Nokia made boots before it ever made phones. My Nokia boots are green with black trim and the word Nokia emblazoned on them. I bought them in 1983. I wear them in the garden. They are still as good in 2011 as they were in 1983. In December's ice and snow, my Nokias kept me on the move when all about me, people were falling down. They are the best mobiles around.

    My Nokia boots will -- in the eys of some -- be technologically flawed because although they are a stable platform, they don't make phone calls. But that doesn't bother me because I have my shiny black and gold wotsit.

    So then. Before all the experts on here finish Finnish burying, could they kindly note:

    1) A lot of people use phones for phone calls and aren't remotely interested in pockets stuffed full of apples, blackberries, oranges, or whatever the hell else is out there;

    2) Nokia's expertise in making wellington boots was and remains far greater than Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung put together. It is perfectly possible for Nokia to return to its core business and make enormous profits.

    I hope that's set the record straight.

    PS: I have been trying to figure out how much my Nokia boots have saved me in 28 years of wear. Lesser boots fail rapidly, so it must be more than a hundred quid I've saved. I've also tried, though failed, to calculate what I've saved by never needing to buy another mobile phone since 2003. The black-and-gold Nokia cost me £205. Since then there've been almost eight years of mobile communication (talk-speak, message-speak) at an annual contract rate of £00.00. Must be £hundredss? £thousands??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: Me and my Nokia

      "Nokia's expertise in making wellington boots was and remains far greater than Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung put together. It is perfectly possible for Nokia to return to its core business and make enormous profits."

      Nope: Nokia divested their rubber and paper businesses a long time ago.

  47. Mad Frankie
    Headmaster

    Web OS anyone?

    Been following Nokiasoft story for a while. I have a genuine question that I don't know the answer to. Forgive me if I sound thick... why didn't they think about going with hp and web os? Come to think of it, why didn't they buy palm back in the day?

  48. JBowler

    A smaller beaurocracy?

    No, I think you get a larger one.

    I remember, back in 1993, when Nokia had the EO220 - the first smartphone - within the reach of its fingers a bigger beaurocracy; AT&T killed it. Meanwhile, another beaurocracy - the fruit company in question - was killing EO by promising something better tomorrow. (Hands up all those who still use a Newton, ha ha.)

    Your whole article comes back to that age old geek question, "why does good software get killed by bad software?" Beaurocracy is irrelevant. Apple has marketing and Microsoft has a company structure that just fixes bugs, bugs, bugs until the stuff actually works. Good engineering with lukewarm marketing cannot defeat good marketing of bad engineering, and simple dumb persistence will win over either. That's why I still keep my Microsoft stock, well, that and 10 isn't a bad P/E today (take a look at ARM Ltd ;-)

    John Bowler <jbowler@acm.org>

  49. ted frater

    Nokia never asked me!!

    Ive a box here with 20 or so different phones in it.

    None of which meet MY needs.

    Recently before Nokia sold itself to the devil, I tried to make contact with Nokia to as if they would make a phone for my needs, the money is here, and in my view there are thousands of folk world wide who would buy what i want too.

    What that is ill come to later,

    they were virtually impossible to get through to , and didnt even reply to a simple email, when i eventually found an address to write to.

    The only phone I can use for the simplest of tasks is their Communicator 9210i.

    Because its has the key spacing to suit my hands for texting. No other phone has.

    its a folder ie a side acting flip phone with a protected main screen, decent speaker when open on outdoor, so I can hear it when the tractor is running

    Im old, with big hands, tired eyes, and partly deaf,

    i work in a dirty industrial noisy and frequently wet enviroment.

    the phone will live in a pocket with other harware, nuts and bolts etc.

    So what would I want in aphone?

    a folder, to protect it when not in use.

    a kebboard like the 9210i

    a screen big like the E61

    a battery of 3000mah so it will last at least 2/4 weeks

    a clear and loud speaker

    solid METAL construction,

    Reasonaby waterproof and repairable.

    And screwed together , no plastc clips, proper o ring type seals on all joints etc.

    Size/ about the same as a HP Jordana ie 3in wide abot 4in long and it can be up to 1in thick.

    weight doesnt matter, a it must be on a strong lanyard .

    The sonim is agood phone but I cant use it, keys too small.

    they dont answer the phone on their uk no either.

    Perhaps I should get someone in China to make it for me and ill sell it and make a fortune!!

    Folk like us dont ponse around in offices with an iphone as a personal ego prop.

    It wouldnt last 5 mins in my life, and I wouldnt have one if it were free.

    If im concentrating on driving or plowing or whatever I dont need email on the go, or news feed or anything like that. For cthose needs i like to sit down infront of my nice IBM thinkpad with a decent screen and top quality keyboard to do emails ,letters etc.

    Ted

    in

    Dorset UK.

    Ted

    Dorset UK.

  50. Magnus_Pym

    when you get to the bottom...

    ... you find that corporate share holders are the driving force.

    A young or fast moving company (like Nokia was) appears to investors to have unlimited potential. A national lottery shot. Could loose a million, Could gain a billion. A mature one looks like 'safe investment with good returns', OK as long it gives a few percent above base. The share holder mix turns from 'go for it!' to 'what's the bottom line?'. Those that remain are not interested in the company or it's products. How can they? most of the money is invested by brokers on behalf of pensions and portfolio's on behalf of individuals worried about their old age. The brokers have no long term view only the second-by-second stock ticker. They just want to protect their investment and so protect their jobs.

    The board only has the power that the share holders give them. If the response to any question is 'will it give us a bigger dividend this year?' then how can a company think long term? How can a CEO make any rational plans when the real power is irrational and unthinking?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has Sendo been forgotten to quickly?

    I wonder if Microsoft is going to take what it can from Nokia and just give it all to HTC like it did with Sendo's crown jewels back in the Microsoft Windows Smartphone for Windows 2003 Mobile CE Version 2005...

  52. John Burton

    ipv6...?

    > how many other mobiles do you know that can obtain an IPV6 address?

    My android (HTC desire) for one using the standard untouched software.

    My network doesn't offer ipv6 so it doesn't get it on that, but on home on wifi it just picks up an ipv6 from my wifi and *just works* with it.

  53. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Grenade

    Yup...

    "Also, WP7 is remarkably good at not making you poke through fourteen levels of shit to find out what you want."

    Very true. Most V1.0 release of MS product are that simple. Then come the patches, upgrades, service packs and bloatware that add features few want, but no one can remove.

    That's OK though because WP8 will be more secure, have more user friendly features and be less buggy. At least that has been the MS mantra for the last 25 years. ;-)

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The finish of the Finnish?

    [I thought that was rather a good title but I am awfully self-centric]

    W7 on the Nok may be a short term necessity convenient to both parties.

    And who knows?

    Maybe W9 for mobile devices might give the Nok exactly what it wants without too heavy R&D costs?

    And by then other hardware/software/firmware developments might make for re-energising the Nok with W7 evolutions having to compete?

  55. BreakingWind
    Linux

    Breaking Wind

    Can anyone explain why it is it that most of Joe and Jo public love Apple - while most media writers are gagging for them to fail...???

  56. illiad

    Basically, it was speed and ability that beat nokia..

    And NO I AM NOT talking about programmer or geek features!!!!

    Basically, symbian has no support from adobe flash, so web browsing is not so good, as can be seen by the sink in marketshare of those phones without it... Anyone in adobe like to tell me why a newer system like android is supported, but not the older nokia symbian???

    when you go from the nokia, and try any android phone, it seems far faster, full 'PC like' web browsing, better resolution, faster UI..

    And .. Android DO NOT make phones!! If it did, there maybe some truth in all the hate...

    Good companies with experience, like HTC, SE, Samsung etc make good handsets... and they also sell them with a range of different OSes...

  57. illiad

    @N900 lovers/haters...

    N900 is 'very old' in the tech timescale... At the time of release, it was a great bit of tech.. BUT it was sold as a *linux* minicomputer, with mobile phone abilities... so all the geeks loved it...

    How many guys with linux, still have the original unmodified linux they installed on their PC 10 years ago??? those will be the ones that could not handle the work keeping it up to speed with the latest big needs of websites, media players, faster internet, to say nothing at all about gaming...

    The N900 lovers are those that have the ability to upgrade and change the linux to something a lot better, and the haters, well, their laziness led them back to something 'easier' eg the newer Phones/ PCs where the hard work has been done for them... It continues today, where some are complaining about the lack of a HDMI port????

    If you find a very cheap 10 yr old PC, you will soon find out why.. most of the companies making the video,card, sound card, even network card, are no longer trading!!!

  58. veramin
    FAIL

    Finnish culture compounded with RoW politics

    Nokia had a system for end user testing called TRUE whereby you got a phone to use and you entered bugs into a database. It worked on the principle of motivation by gifts - if you got into the top 10 reporters you got free stuff - or at the end you got to keep the phone. You got points based on whether bugs were accepted or already known.. Yada yada. However certain POS employees realised by dumping blocks of errors they would still get a point for each. Hence the databases got stuffed with utterly retarded reports such as 'phone does not make call' - unrepeatable problems. Couple that with the fact that nokias phone home fault system was utterly useless in helping symbian guys find the bugs within that crappy OS you had a receipe for fail.

    Most of the last symbian phones (N95 - aalto, N96, N97 - ivalo) where known to be real bug bags when finally released to the market.. But in Nokia people had literially lost all hope of decent phones - so the 'good enough' mentality meant 'just get it out so we can move on with our lives'

  59. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WP7 market failure???

      Failure? It's only been out since November!!! And you might want to consider that many smartphone customers are currently locked into contracts.

      I came out of contract in February, switched from an iPhone 3G to a htc WP7 phone and the overall experience of using it is definitely a step forward from where iOS is at the moment.

  60. S 10
    WTF?

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    The thing that puzzles me is that smartphone hardware is largely converging - there's not really much in it between different hardware manufacturers. Generally it's now the software and supporting services that make or break a device. It seems that Nokia has thrown away the ability to control the parts of their product that count.

  61. illiad

    OK, WP7 lovers..

    Is this the kind of phone you want??

    http://regmedia.co.uk/2011/02/23/toy_computer.jpg

    Nice and easy, no small fiddly bits you cannot see, big green buttons when you switch on...

    Seriously, is that what you want?? no need for cut & paste, its too complex... multitasking, customizing, why would you need that???

    These are my issues - Now, IF there is a WP7 user who know how to make their phone have a display like THIS when I turn it on (For FREE), then I WILL buy a WP7 phone!!!

    http://st2.gsmarena.com/vv/bigpic/samsung-galaxy-s-ii-ofic.jpg

  62. Jim Coe
    WTF?

    "Sequences shortened"

    To me. an old bloke with longsight an big shaky fingers, this is what gives me iphobia,apart from an 18 month contract with 3 (foreign) or O2 (foreign) at a price which assumes that I want to multitask whilst driving, shopping or sleeping

    I regard a mobile phone as an excellent portable device for calling Emergency, Home or a taxi.For OS and UI I have Desktops, Laptops.Netbooks and Media Centres,with achoice of Unix .Linux. Windows, Android, Chrome and what have you.

    But, none of this matters any more because Goldman sacks the World.

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