back to article Microsoft 'mulled Nokia buyout, ran away screaming'

Rumours of a Microsoft buyout of fallen phone champ Nokia have re-emerged, prompted by nothing more, it seems, than Nokia's sickly share price. Nokia shares recently hit a 15-year low, dropping 40 per cent in the past three months alone*. But well-placed sources tell us that Microsoft was given access to Nokia's books late last …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Someone still thinks it's got legs

    As Nokias share price is now $3 (from $2.70).

    Expect it to fall to $2.50 by the end of the day....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "What do you think?"

    I think if the management continue to exclusively produce Windows Phone devices, despite the complete commercial failure of the platform, then the executives behind the strategy should be taken out and shot.

    Or prosecuted for negligence, but I'd prefer if they were shot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "What do you think?"

      If I were a shareholder, I would be pretty pissed by the suicidal decisions that have been made.

      I mean what idiot would adopt a platform that was already on life-support. It wasn't like you couldn't see where Android was headed when they made that dumb Windows Phone decision.

      Indecently, I see Google are now activating 900,000 Android phones every day (and that number doesn't include other Android devices).

      You have to wonder how different the Nokia story would be if they had taken that route. They clearly could have been on the road to being a Samsung, a HTC or a Sony by now.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: "What do you think?"

        The official(ish) Nokia line is that talks were started with The Glooge, but they were asking too much and demanding too much. So Nokia didn't feel that Android was a possibility.

        Also, MS were offering a big pile of cash.

        This is not to excuse some incredibly inept management. But it does make the 'NokiDroid would have conquered the world' narrative a little less straightforward.

        Besides, the phone market is clearly settling down into the usual duopoly.

        The Glooge has nothing to lose by lettings its vassals fight it out until only a few are left. Apple will continue being Apple. And the rest are increasingly irrelevant.

        Nokia could have been a contender with a home-made competing OS that could have taken on the Droid and iOS.

        But the Symbian story proves that while Nokia had the talent, it didn't have the management to make that happen. WinPho is a poor alternative.

        I'd still lay odds on a break-up, with MS picking over the bones of the IP and then failing to do anything with it.

        It's interesting how *reliably* bad management has killed some of the leading IT corps over the last few years. MS, HP, Nokia, Sony, and others are all driving with no brakes into a massive crater of stupid.

        1. Thing
          Thumb Up

          Re: "What do you think?"

          'MS, HP, Nokia, Sony, and others are all driving with no brakes into a massive crater of stupid.'

          Thumbs up just for that remark.

        2. eulampios

          "gloogle and its vassals"

          So what precluded Nokia to go the Amazon's path? Take the code do whatever they want to do with it?

          Moreover, they could offer a more enticing choice of having two systems MeeGo and Android on-board that would be a good reason for a lot of people to buy from them.

          It is quite suspicious for a former MS employee to tack the ship to go with the Microsoft-only wind (or stillness) and consequently make it capsize. It needs not only a good deal of incompetence, but more of a criminal negligence.

        3. swschrad

          asking too much? for an OS code base?

          mon, you slay me. it's called "forking." download, change the name, go your own way. initial development costs of nothing.

          Nokia was truly in a world of hurt if "nothing" is too dear.

          then again, they were, and Microsoft paid them to be their demo vendor. we all know what happens to Microsoft demo vendors in a couple years.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: asking too much? for an OS code base?

            Download, change the name + improve it and add support for your fancy hardware while keeping compatibility for all the Android apps.

            You can drive on any road in a Lada but people are prepared to pay a premium for a BMW or Merc which still uses the same commodity petrol.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ TheOtherHobbes wuzRe: "What do you think?"

          That was the official line. The issue was that Google wouldn't allow them to really differentiate themselves from other android handsets so how could they retain, make market share and compete against cheaper phones?

          Microsoft did wave a lot of money out there. So that's why they flipped to build a Microsoft handset.

          But is Microsoft's Windows phone any better than an iPhone or a Droid? So the herd mentality falls in to place and Nokia dies a slow death....

          Microsoft won't pick them up.

          Apple? Apple may want to take Map and Traffic, but that's about it. Facebook? who knows. They may take the whole thing just to get in to the market.

          Either way, they will wait as Nokia burns through cash and then try and pick up the pieces at a fire sale discount. ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "What do you think?"

        They may be activating 900,000 Android handsets a day, but what's the picture behind that?

        Ask any semi-successful smartphone apps developer where their revenue comes from. You'll find that over ~90% is from iOS. Google gets search but little else. Apple is ditching Google Maps. WP has Bing maps, Nokia have Maps and Drive, Then of course there's the fragmentation and the fact that manufacturers and telcos make more money by keeping people on Android v. old.

        Oh noes :-O

        If I were a Google shareholder I'd be pretty pissed at the poor execution on Android. At least Nokia have a Micro$oft safety net.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "What do you think?"

          "Ask any semi-successful smartphone apps developer where their revenue comes from. You'll find that over ~90% is from iOS"

          Really - is that a "truth", maybe a few reasonable references wouldn't go a miss.

          How about Rovio and Angry Birds? 2011 50-50 IOS, Android Angry Birds Revenue From Android, iOS Now Roughly Even, Rovio Says

          "there's the fragmentation"

          Funny, I don't hear that said about Android much recently - especially not from people it actually affects. Is it because ISO is quite "fragmented" [tongue in cheek] with their various offerings or is it just that fragmentation was being used as FUD which never really materialised?

          "If I were a Google shareholder I'd be pretty pissed at the poor execution on Android. At least Nokia have a Micro$oft safety net."

          If I was a Google shareholder I would be sitting pretty smug with the route Google has taken and managed to get themselves number 1 spot in the emerging smartphone market. If I was a Nokia shareholder I would be thinking "What to hell happened to the number one mobile phone company in the world to be at the mercy of Microsoft and be waiting until Microsoft have devalued it enough to give me a few pennies for my shares"

  3. Philippe
    Facepalm

    Nokia should stay the course and concentrate on Feature phones.

    The Nokia Asha range has a future.

    These devices have the right mix of price/features and market positioning. (if only they were available everywhere). They compete very well against the 60 quids Android running on 2.2 or 2.3

    Nokia could concentrate on those devices and drop everything else. (e.g. S60 makes no sense)

    Regarding the Windows phones, Nokia should just tag along and upgrades those, as MS updates the OS.

    There is no reason to spend so much, time, marketing dollars, and development resources on something people don't want, and operators don't care about.

    1. xperroni
      Thumb Down

      Re: Nokia should stay the course and concentrate on Feature phones.

      > The Nokia Asha range has a future.

      Those kinds of handsets may very well have a future, but not inside Nokia I think.

      Asha is the Symbian platform's last breath, before it's <del>cemented to a concrete block and thrown into the sea</del> outsourced to Accenture.

      Perhaps its feature/price balance may live on, in some other manufacturer, through some other platform – Boot2Gecko maybe? – but for Nokia it's too late, for better or (more likely) worse they're headed towards being a bloatphone-only company; for how long it's anybody's guess.

  4. Simon Rockman

    Core business

    The bit of Nokia I could see Microsoft buying is Navteq. It would bolster Bing's (excellent) mapping, and fit with Nokia's sell off and closure of non-core business like Vertu and Nokia Money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Core business

      I have to post this anon for obvious reasons.

      Navteq is now Nokia L&C (Locations and Commerce).

      Map business and Traffic. (Traffic.com is one portion of this biz).

      They could spin off and sell the Traffic business.

      They could also spin off and sell the Map business.

      Besides Microsoft, you could have Apple, and Facebook, both are large enough to be able to afford the asking price. This could cause a bidding war, except that both like Microsoft will wait until Nokia falls further down in price and market share.

      While I don't know anything, there are rumors that have been swirling around for a while.

    2. Ilgaz

      Re: Core business

      Bing maps? Never used since I own an Android which they don't release software for.

      So, is Bing a service of Ms or some kind of punishing other os users thing?

      You know what? I own a high end Android and I still miss google maps & youtube of my Nokia symbian e71. Knowing what kind of mess it should be to support symbian, they have my respect.

      Ms can't even separate a "service" from "operating system". They think people will give up Android for that windows maps thing. Believe or not, that is how their mind work.

  5. James 51 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    (the demand for Symbian in the past 12 months speaks for itself)

    If you break a horse's legs then it's not going to get very far. The pureview is the most interesting phone Nokia have released since the N9.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: (the demand for Symbian in the past 12 months speaks for itself)

      Symbian was just getting good when Elop broke its legs in a memo.

      Nokia then proceeded to shoot it in the head by deciding not to sell Symbian smartphones in the markets that can afford to buy large numbers of smartphones.

      - Have any Symbian smartphones been offered for sale in the UK?

      Given the above, rather a lot have been sold.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's only a matter of time...

    I agree that if Microsoft "walked away" from Borg-ing - sorry, "buying" - Nokia earlier this year, it was most likely because the time wasn't yet right. Granted, it had been a year or so since Redmond's placeman at the top of Nokia metaphorically smacked a patient with a head-cold all the way into intensive care, but Nokia was still insufficiently weakened, that it could still put up a modicum of resistance to being assimilated by its new "saviour".

    Eighteen months on from E-Day , and the poison is still doing its work. Give it another year or so, and what remains of Nokia should make easy pickings for MS. Don't tell me the latter isn't interested - Nokia's R&D and IP portfolio alone would make it irresistible, and even now, Nok knows how to "do hardware", in a way that most of its competitors should envy. Why should MS cough up more than it has to, when another 6-12 months may deliver it an emaciated bargain?

    I still hope the PureView 808 comes to the UK - one final great handset from a once-great company. It shouldn't have to end this way.

    1. A J Stiles

      Re: It's only a matter of time...

      "Why should MS cough up more than it has to, when another 6-12 months may deliver it an emaciated bargain?"

      Because Nokia could use their final, dying breath to dedicate all their patents and copyrights -- which are what Microsoft really want -- formally to the Public Domain. It would almost be worth it, just to see the looks on Microsoft's collective faces when they realised they had had one stuck up them .....

      1. JC_

        Re: It's only a matter of time...

        Because Nokia could use their final, dying breath to dedicate all their patents and copyrights -- which are what Microsoft really want -- formally to the Public Domain.

        Nokia is a public company with shareholders and it's pretty unlikely they'd go along with throwing away money; if it was your pension invested you wouldn't be happy, either.

        How does stuff this silly get upvotes? The same people that loathe Elop and accuse him of destroying Nokia seem rather irrational themselves.

        1. Brian Morrison
          Thumb Down

          Re: It's only a matter of time...

          Maybe it's because we don't like the way that patents and IP are used by the corporate world these days.

          Time was when patents were used to give the inventor time to launch something new and make money from it, but now they are used as a stick to beat your competitors with even if the patent is shaky and the IP that underlies it has no, or little, value.

          I don't like the thought of Ballmer in control of fundamental IP such as that which Nokia has developed, that can only lead to trouble.

    2. Philip Lewis

      Re: It's only a matter of time...

      At the current rate NOK are bleeding cash, and their junk bond status, the chance of NOOK as we know it surviving much past Q1 2013 is slim.

      Sad but true.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's only a matter of time...

      '...and even now, Nok knows how to "do hardware", in a way that most of its competitors should envy.'

      you're assuming the engineers who know how to 'do hardware' will stick around if MS buy Nokia.

      That might be a dangerous assumption on both your (and MS's) part.

      They'll get the IP, they'll get the R&D, I doubt they'll get the people.

      Classic asset stripping operation though, well played out by MS.

      1. Philip Lewis
        WTF?

        Re: It's only a matter of time...

        Stick around??? They have all been fired already, including several of my personal acquaintences.

  7. ratfox Silver badge
    WTF?

    Ecosystem == markets??

    That resolves to false in my compiler. The way I understand it, an ecosystem is a collection of developers, apps, content and users which is big enough to be self-sufficient. The market for smartphones is big enough for multiple ecosystems, so it is demonstrably not the same thing...

    Maybe I did not understand what you meant.

    1. Dummy00001

      Re: Ecosystem == markets??

      You of course forget that MS is after market domination. Or have you already forgotten the "embrace, extend and extinguish?"

      In their minds, ecosystem == market. As soon as they would control one established ecosystem, they would start pushing into neighboring ones, till they have them all under some control. Then they would be able to set rules, control manufacturers and limit access to the other players. Or something along the lines.

  8. David Webb

    My 2p worth

    Nokia is Nokia's own worst enemy. They held an amazing OS in their hands (Maemo) and decided to drop it and go to Meego, alienating people who had Maemo devices. After dropping Maemo they decided to drop Meego and go to Windows Phone 7.5, alienating people who invested in Meego (all 5 of them). You can't build a marketplace if you constantly switch around your underlying OS.

    Now with Windows Phone, Nokia can't screw about with the OS, they just make the hardware and leave everything else to Microsoft, although they do add their own stuff to the marketplace.

    I'm a huge fan of Windows Phone, I love the way it works, the way it looks, the way it presents information (but not the way it sucks your data allowance), it's a hell of a lot more better looking than IOS, not as tweakable as Androids UI which can display more information, but if people use WP then they will figure out that its bloody good. With Nokia using this and bringing out phones they can do what they do best, make phones, cheap mobile phones with WP, expensive phones with WP, compete in all markets.

    The best bit, Nokia never really broke in to the US market, the yanks preferring to use their own companies, like Motorola over vastly superior Nokia phones, along came Apple and look, a US phone they can buy! With MS, Nokia has a US partner so should be able to get traction in the US market, something they previously couldn't do (not even with a placement in Star Trek).

    The Lumia range is nice, gorgeous screen etc. so it can compete with the iPhones and Androids in it's price range and with MS as a promoter for the platform it can only be good news for Nokia.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: My 2p worth

      "With MS, Nokia has a US partner so should be able to get traction in the US market, something they previously couldn't do (not even with a placement in Star Trek)."

      IIRC, that ended up being driven off a cliff edge.

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: My 2p worth

      Oh yes, the Americans love their all American Samsung phones... oh, my mistake.

      The US market is hard to break into because as a market it's totally broken with no real competition between carriers, no real way to bypass them for phone sales and public attitudes to mobile years behind the rest of the world. Having an American hardware/OS partner matters less than having an American carrier on your side. And they're agnostic about where they get their wholesale devices, beyond the problems having cell systems incompatible with the rest of the world cause. Having systems incompatible with each other they like, that just traps customers.

      Also, in case you forgot, Google is an American company. If having an American partner mattered so much they might as well have gone with Google. Instead of fighting for the mass market they decided to be the biggest fish in a very small pool and wait for it to grow. Problem is they can't throw enough subsidies at users to make that happen and still survive, meanwhile Microsoft can just wait to pick off the IP.

      Most of us saw this coming when Elop announced the WP strategy. Nice that Orlowski finally caught up.

      1. David Webb

        Re: My 2p worth

        @ Paul Shirley - Yes, Samsung isn't American but as you pointed out, Google is (Google do the OS), so it has that all important American bit stuck to it.

        Yes, they went with Microsoft probably because Microsoft gave them a boat load of cash to go with them instead of Google, if there is a limit on how long Nokia have to stick with MS and not bring out an Android mobile then maybe we'll one day see Android based Nokia's also.

    3. Sam Liddicott

      Re: My 2p worth

      Nokia lost it when the Maemo was "not a phone"

    4. Schultz

      and with MS as a promoter for the platform...

      all we can do is run for the hills!

  9. GrantB
    Devil

    best discussion on Nokia buy out

    I always find Tomi's blog posts throw out some interesting perpective on Nokia and Microsoft:

    http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/06/quick-thoughts-on-nokia-as-takeover-target-samsung-facebook-microsoft-and-others.html

    His theory, (which makes sense to me), is that Nokia would be of little interest to Microsoft as it stands - they already got most of what they want via a friendly face in Elop, so don't need to buy it.

    Samsung might make the most sense, but I would love to see Apple sends some suits to visit Nokia. Even if they didn't buy the company (which would actually makes some sense for a complete product line including low end phones), just the resulting rumours would induce chair throwing in Seattle and help WP7 die a litle more quicker.

    1. Matthew 3

      Re: best discussion on Nokia buy out

      I agree that Nokia should try to engineer that meeting with Apple. But I'm less convinced by the idea that it would be a good thing to [sic] "help WP7 die a litle more quicker."

      Whether or not you're a fan of Apple/Android it's surely in everyone's best interest that there are rival products out there. I can't think of many duopolies where you can get the best product at a bargain price.

      WinPho (and BlackBerry too) may not be to everyone's taste but as long as they're viable and out there they exert an influence both on product development and the price at which it's sold. At a time when Apple and Android seem unassailable I don't think it's sensible to be wishing the competition away.

      1. Ilgaz

        Re: best discussion on Nokia buy out

        While I hate the company, Samsung's Bada os is a hidden giant sits there with amazing amount of users.

        It is weird that even opera took their time to release mini for it.

        Now, what if Samsung makes it licensable without Nokia's mistakes?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft haven't run the price down enough yet. Another year or two and it will be cheap enough.

    1. Ilgaz

      Don't you forget something?

      Every kind of bad news for Nokia is also bad news for Microsoft as whole industry, nerds and even common people associate them with win phone now.

      I bet the market already talks about sendo etc.

  11. Shonko Kid
    Stop

    "a buyer for the smartphone wouldn't want the volume feature phone business."

    I think this is fairly short sighted. A much cleverer strategy would be to use their near ubiquity in some markets to deliver a branded, managed app platform to emerging markets, and the low-end in the west. Within a couple of years, they could easily take back the #1 spot on sheer numbers alone if they can capture and retain that segment of the market as the entry level device shifts upwards in power.

  12. David Black
    Holmes

    Eflop

    Couple of significant points being bundled together there incorrectly:

    "The shareholders thank Elop for his important work for stablising Nokia (the demand for Symbian in the past 12 months speaks for itself)"

    Err, Elop was the massive ahole that sank Nokia's most profitable division overnight... expecting the shareholders to be thankful is like expecting my missus to be thankful cause I've stopped shagging the next door neighbour.

    "Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone, simply by shifting to Windows."

    And I can halve my bodywieght by chopping my legs off... not quiet the same as a diet. Nokia now produce non-differentiated, run-of-the-mill devices that clone everyone elses, even the HW production has been shifted out of the proven centres into clone-land.

    Nokia has failed, the only mystery is why the remaining shareholders are still in the game at $3 a share. They'd be much better advised getting out now, there is no "climb-back". And the idea that a "crack" Windows Phone team exists in Nokia implies that someone is smoking crack. The value in Nokia is as a global trusted brand and a market share of 50+% in emerging nations, mostly on great featurephones. Just cause Nokia never figured out how to make this into a massive business doesn't mean someone else won't.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Eflop

      >The shareholders thank Elop for his important work for stablising Nokia

      It didn't say which shareholders - I imagine Apple's and MSFT's are pretty happy

  13. Benjamin 4

    Nokia's problem is they have no viable market left. Their expensive Lumias are lumbered with Windows phone, which no-one wants. Their basic range (C3-01 etc) are crap. Resistive touch screens should be banned, I had to set one up for a friend and couldn't use it. Their only hope is the new Asha range, but I don't hold out much hope.

    What they should do is stick ICS on the Lumia 900. Then it'd sell. It's good hardware, just no-one wants the os.

    1. Kristian Walsh

      Basic range is not so basic anymore.

      C3-01 is now nearly 2 years on the market (October 2010). A better indicator of where Nokia are going at the cheap end of the market would be the Asha 305 and 311 models.

      These phones are remarkably consistently designed, and fluid and responsive in use (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp0LiStHMCw&feature=related ). When your competition is Android 2.x on constrained hardware, these look very good. There's a a lazy habit of equating "runs on Android" with "provides Android as I, the tech journalist, experience it on my €500 device" - the cheap Android phones are very far from this experience.

      I have to say that killing Symbian was probably the best thing to happen to Nokia (I say this as owner of a Symbian phone, N8). For too long, the OS had been a sacred cow that hindered adoption of better technologies (like Maemo, or for that matter, like the new Asha Touch -- something that so obviously encroaches on Symbian's market would never have been allowed before). Nokia's user interface designers are second to nobody (and I include Apple here).. the problem to date has been executing these designs on a platform like Symbian, where even the smallest change request snowballed into a mass of unexpected stability issues.

      Also, there's the mysterious "Meltemi". Due in October, this is expected to expose a Qt native-app API for what is now Series40 (currently S40 supports only J2ME or Web-based apps). Doing that will make things very interesting, indeed.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone

    This could probably have been achieved without Elop. The problem was that (I can only speak for the Symbian side of things) a delay on one phone would turn the company into Panic Mode where developers were pulled from other devices to help ship the late phone on time/not too late. That would then predictably cause the other projects to be delayed too (Development on one device I was working on stopped totally for over a year due to the state of the N8 and vavriants). I heard that before I joined Nokia that they company had never ever shipped a phone on time, but in the early days it didn't really matter due to its dominant position. I can't prove how true that is but it wouldn't surprise me.

    Then there's the bureaucratic overhead of actually getting code submitted in Nokia. The tools and processes used were absolutely brutal and most sane people tried to avoid doing this altogether. All rumblings from the innards of the company about how crap it all was were continually ignored by the beancounters in Espoo. Construxt audited the processes and concluded that it would take 3 years for them to be brought up to modern standards... Nokia couldn't wait 3 years and so this was several nails in Symbian's coffin right there. It was easier to just let a company that took software development seriously do it. I hope no-one in Espoo/Tampere is struggling too much with Perforce.

    I haven't worked there for a few months now... I don't know why all this still grates me so much. Rant over.

    1. Shonko Kid
      FAIL

      "for a few months now..."

      It will likely still irk you every time you read an article on their slow demise, for years to come. Having been there, you'll know first hand that they could've still been #1, if it wasn't for the overwhelming bureaucracy and lack of direction.

    2. David Black

      Re: Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone

      I know why it grates you... it's because you know the failure was so avoidable. It grates all of us who watched the parent smother the life out of the child :(

      1. Chimombi

        Re: Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone

        I think the child was also a bit of a brat sometimes... ASBOs all round, basically.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone

      "Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone"

      Thats bull.

      I've been to both "old Nokia" in Oulu and "new Nokia" in Chenai and Dongguan and it's not really that different. The same old problems are apparent. The only difference, is they are now making shit hardware compared to decent hardware of yesteryear, but it's they are still using the bad old processes to make them.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone

        I suspect that the 'halving of the time' is not the manufacturing rate, but is the design and development time.

        That was easy for the Nokia 800, they just took the N9 and took out all the good bits and reduced the screen resolution to what WP7 could support.

  15. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Devil

    Yahoo?

    It struck me reading this that Yahoo might be the perfect buyer. They already have lots of services that could integrate - simply bring back Symbian, rebrand as "Yahoo! Mobile"... Asian markets love Yahoo already, there would be a HUGE user base out there. Yahoo would establish Symbian as a third "ecosystem" very quickly, and start on the read to profit again. Just make sure Yahoo Messenger was bundled on the phones and the jobs a good 'un.

    Of course it would annoy MS enough that Yahoo would have to start providing their own search results again, but that wouldn't be a bad thing either :)

  16. 20legend

    Without the trojan Elop on board, Nokia could turn to churning out some sexy looking droids and start raking a few quid back in without too much bother - Samsung manage to do it with possibly the most mundane looking range of handsets, and lets face it Nokia are past masters at it (only with mostly better looking phones)

    TBH if Nokia started to release Android handsets with the hardware quality of the N9 or high end Lumias I think they could comfortably kick Samsung in the nuts sales wise.

    1. Aoyagi Aichou

      More Android clones? Why? As I see it, if Nokia cannot make different phones, they have no reason to stay on the market and a gigapixel camera doesn't make too much difference.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Android clones? Did you mistype "WP clones"?

        WP7 'clones' I can understand, Microsoft have the spec so locked down almost all manufacturers can change is the size and colour of the casing. Over in Android land there's so much device differentiation no discussion can avoid the 'fragmentation' bogeyman!

        If Nokia wanted to differentiate their devices they picked the wrong OS and wrong OS partner. If they really have ninja hardware skills they could own the Android market. Owning the WP niche hardly compares.

        1. Aoyagi Aichou

          Re: Android clones? Did you mistype "WP clones"?

          Good point, although I haven't seen too much diversity in Android phones aside from installed applications...then again, I've never really looked deeply into it as I'm still (willingly) stuck with N95.

          Oh, and I'm not saying that WP offers some heavy customization, not at all. In fact, from what I've seen and had the personal experience with, Lumias are too annoying to be used.

      2. Schultz

        More Android clones? Why?

        Better batteries?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor Nokia RIP.

  18. ColonelClaw
    Black Helicopters

    Would this be an accurate summary of events?

    So, as I see it, this is the story so far...

    Microsoft wants into the lucrative smartphone business.

    Microsoft places one of their executives at Nokia.

    Said executive fucks Nokia in the butt repeatedly until it becomes worthless.

    Microsoft buys Nokia for peanuts (and possibly discards everything it doesn't want) giving it a lucrative smartphone business.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Would this be an accurate summary of events?

      ...just wondering where they're going to get the 'lucrative smartphone business' from?

    2. Davidoff
      Holmes

      No, it wouldn't.

      You ignore a few facts:

      - Nokia didn't need Elop to mess up. The Finns have already demonstrated that they are highly incompetent in managing a complex enterprise. Even before Elop Nokia had a ill-fated approach to software development which meant that products came out late, and more often than not in a completely braindead bugged variant. Nokia didn't need Elop to ignore that world & dog are going for touchscreen devices while Nokia was still developing non-touchscreen smartphones with the dreadful keyboard-oriented S60 user interface for Symbian. What's worse is that Symbian already had user interfaces developed for touchscreens (like UIQ/Quartz), just not from Nokia. In fact, Elop has removed a lot of the old crud from the company.

      - Microsoft has been in the smartphone business for a very long time (much longer than Google or Apple). MS has never been interested in manufacturing the phone hardware, and it's extremely unlikely they are interested in manufacturing the phone hardware now. What they want is a partner that doesn't cling to Google's lips and with whom they can expand their mobile platform. I'm not sure a unflexible behemot like Nokia was a good choice, though, but with most other manufacturers focussing in pushing out one new Android phone after the other there wasn't much left.

      The real problem is Microsofts tight grip on phone specifications. Apple can get away with the need for special software for syncing (iTunes) or the lack of an SD card slot but others can not. The real issue with Windpws Phone is that at the moment all manufacturers including Nokia are bound to strict rules which exclude multi-core processors (not really needed but still a selling point) or a display resolutions that are appropriate for a 2012 device. And the need for Zune to fill your phone with content is another hindrance in market accetance. And of course, the lack of any official statement re. upgradeability of WP7 phones to WP8 doesn't help either.

      Personally I wouldn't mind buying a Nokia Windows Phone device if it offered specs comparable with modern (not 2010's) Android devices, wouldn't require Zune, offered an SD card slot to expand the internal memory and came with a decent display (like 1280x720) and a decent camera (12+MP).

      1. JohnG

        Re: No, it wouldn't.

        "Nokia didn't need Elop to mess up. The Finns have already demonstrated that they are highly incompetent in managing a complex enterprise"

        Nokia has this year been pushed into second place (by Samsung) in terms of numbers of cellular handsets sold worldwide. Before Elop took over, Nokia had 36% of the global handset market - more than Samsung and LG together. Those Finns were so incompetent to have held the top slot for so long.

  19. Brangdon
    Thumb Up

    I'm bullish about Metro

    Most of the genuine complaints about Metro involve desktop machines. On smaller battery-driven devices like laptops, notebooks, tablets and phones, it makes sense. (And eventually in Kinect-driven devices like TVs and games consoles.) There should be synergies and economies of scale from using the same O/S and same UI across all devices. Nokia is now the best-placed company to dominate in the phone part of that. If they can hold on for a few years, they could do well. Apple will be happy to cream off the premium customers, and Android manufacturers are in a race to the bottom, so there is room for a third tablet/phone O/S.

    Microsoft see this as part of their PC business, so they no more want to be a phone manufacturer than they want to make PCs. They will keep Nokia alive until their platform succeeds and has momentum, and they will also try to get other manufactures to use Metro. If this works, rather than buy Nokia they will drop them, but by then Nokia will probably be able to survive on their own anyway. It's not like XBox at all. If Microsoft want other companies to use Metro in their phones, they can't get too close to Nokia. (Cf Google both pushing Android to phone vendors, and also competing with said vendors by building their own hardware. They have to be careful.)

    They may fail, but it is premature to try to evaluate this strategy before Windows 8 comes out and we see what it is like on new form-factor tablets. Even then, actual success will be several years away. Microsoft have a vision that will take 5-10 years to achieve (starting from 2-3 years ago). It's based on ideas like "dark silicon" and the notion that the decline of Moore's Law will make phones nearly as powerful as desktops, with the real heavy-lifting being done by the cloud, so having the same O/S and UI everywhere will be both possible and desirable. It will lead to the biggest developer/customer ecosystem or market or whatever you want to call it.

    If Microsoft don't grab that omnipresent role growing from desktops down, Android will grab it by growing from phones up. Tablets being the no-man's land in the middle. It is worth Microsoft sacrificing corporate in the short term in order to prevent Android stealing their lunch in the long term. They are in a fight for survival here, and, unusually, they know it.

    Whether or not you believe in Microsoft's vision, I think it's what persuaded Nokia to adopt Metro. It will persuade other companies, too. So it will happen, despite all the other people here who don't get it, who think short-term - many of whom also didn't get tablets, some even today think the iPad is style over substance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Metro on the desktop

      > Most of the genuine complaints about Metro involve desktop machines

      Yes, that's true. Mainly because of the negative comments I was a bit hesitant to try the Win 8 Release Preview. But I have to say after using it for a while on my laptop and my desktop I start to wonder what all the fuzz is about. Yes, Metro is clearly made for tablets, but if you treat it as a full-screen Start Menue then there isn't really that much difference to the 'old' (Windows 7) look and feel, especially for standard Windows applications. I'm not saying it's perfect but now I can also see some advantages of Metro on the desktop. There still are some rough edges but if MS fixes them then Windows 8 will be a worthy successor to Windows 7.

      I guess it's the same effect with Vista where everyone 'knew' it was crap without even having used it properly. Any change has a difficult time is prejudice is prevailing.

      1. tirk
        FAIL

        Re: Metro on the desktop

        > Most of the genuine complaints about Metro involve desktop machines

        Yes of course - but that's where MS make their money, now and for the foreseeable future. There's no margin for MS on phones and tablets, as they are only profitable as hardware. I think that just leaves ganes consoles as a revenue stream for MS, assuming they stick with Metro or bust.

        Good luck with that!

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Metro on the desktop

        If you update Vista to SP2 you do get something that's Windows 7-like, otherwise yes it is crap. The other great problem with Vista was hardware support which was fixed by waiting a year and a bit after launch.

        Do we really need a full-screen start menu with completely different design and interaction and invisible hotspots? Not quite seeing the advantage over Windows 7.

    2. Schultz
      Thumb Down

      synergies and economies of scale...

      "There should be synergies and economies of scale from using the same O/S and same UI across all devices."

      And here I through Apple had disproved the economies of scale thing once and forever. As a newcomer to phones, it started with a single decent product, crushing all competition simply because their product was good. If I buy a phone, I want it to work and I don't want it to be part of some world-domination scheme of The Evil Empire.

    3. Richard 12 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: I'm bullish about Metro

      "There should be synergies and economies of scale from using the same O/S and same UI across all devices."

      No, there are not. And here's why:

      The user interface that's great on a 10" touchscreen tablet is hideously painful on a single, high-res monitor with a trackpad (laptop).

      It's also very annoying on a multi-monitor desktop.

      The different physical UIs need different 'software' UIs.

      There might be some synergies in the OS, but probably not as much as you're thinking and it may even be more complicated anyway as cross-platform dev is hard.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A few things to clear up

    The reason Nokia didn't succeed in the US previously was because it didn't want to play the Operators games, in the US network operators have all the power.

    Windows Phone has over 100K Apps now. It is clearly going to take third place from RIM. Anyone knocking WP should take a look at it actually working. Android is a mess and consumer feedback (especially at the lower end, perhaps not at the Samsung S series level) is very poor. Slow devices with poor UI. This is feedback from the users that make up 99% of the market, not technical ones. Yes I'm sure they are activating many hundreds of thousands of devices a day but how many customers will be back when they refresh their phone?

    From a developers point of view Android really is a non-starter. Unless you can get an ad supported model then it doesn't make sense.

    Quite clearly Microsoft will buy Nokia at some point, just when the deal makes sense.

    I don't work for Apple, Nokia, Microsoft, Google or anyone else involved in the Hardware/OS side of mobiles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      "Anyone knocking WP should take a look at it actually working."

      The same FUD again? Come on, I've refuted this crap so many times it isn't fun any more! If you have an android phone and force yourself to use the incomplete, fugly, jumbled crap that is WP7.5, you'll hate it with a passion after less than a week. I can post all the reasons why again, but why bother? Just google for "101 reasons not to buy windows phone", and you'll find why it isn't worth it. I don't agree with some on that list, but others reflect my experience with WP perfectly.

      I understand you might defend WP if you spent your money on it, but this "try it and you'll like it" is just microsoft propaganda.

      1. Robert Grant
        FAIL

        Re: "Anyone knocking WP should take a look at it actually working."

        Fugly, jumbled crap? I think you may have got your two phones mixed up.

        Seriously though, your post is just as much FUD as what you're trying to argue against. You won't have "refuted" anything, you'll have just posted your opinion. You don't like WP7, fair enough. Don't pretend (and definitely don't write as though) it's the only logical choice. It just comes off badly: geekily arrogant.

        For my part, my opinion is that Android still looks terrible, as a barely cohesive, extended knock-off of iOS. It judders around, and the multitasking while a bit more theoretically elegant than the iOS/WP7 equivalent, just requires more phone management for probably not enough benefit. Also while I write Java for a living, I'm not dumb enough to think it's as nice as the MS dev tools for WP7. Obviously both are better than Objective C. I've been using WP7 for just over a year now and was extremely skeptical to start with, but have been won over by the 100% lack of crashing since I've bought it, the (I think) awesome UI and connectedness in the overall design, and all the little features that other phones require apps to achieve.

        That's my opinion, and because I've bothered to state it, you can choose to agree or disagree. To someone as singleminded as you this will also no doubt be autotagged in your brain as "microsoft propaganda", but don't for a second pretend that writing a comment saying, "things I won't say or link to prove that WP is rubbish" is itself anything more than pure FUD.

  21. the-it-slayer
    Paris Hilton

    True money is now in the app store...

    And where's Nokia's? Stuck with M$ now it's tied to it like hot sticky mud. During the period where setting up a stable smartphone was ever so important, Nokia totally missed the boat. Even if it chucked M$ back into the river, it would need big bucks to...

    a) Invest in one OS it can solely rely upon

    b) Lure programmers into making apps for it's new platform (not easy when 2s a company and entering the app market would be a crowd).

    c) Continually advertise/market their new phones until they get any major market penetration (18 months to 2 years in the current climate)

    Maybe Nokia should of stopped making phones every 3 - 6 months and created upgradable models similar to Apple's stratedgy. At the time of the original iPhone release, Nokia were more than capable of doing that, but with maybe 3 or 4 models on the go to entice a spectrum of low budget to high-end users. Now? Not a chance.

    Paris is still working out where it all went wrong, aren't you dear?

  22. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Thing
      Thumb Down

      Re: Nokia

      'they make chips for LAND MINES'

      No they don't - they make mobile phones. If you want to buy something that will kill innocent people you should buy american.

    2. David Black
      Trollface

      Re: Nokia

      don't worry about providing proof, evidence etc. a libelous claim is just grand

      added the troll icon for you

  23. hewbass
    Trollface

    "third ecosystem"

    The reality is that there probably is room for a "third ecosystem", but for Windows Phone to get there it has to get past another three incumbents:

    * RIM,

    * BADA/Tizen,

    * and hilariously, Nokia's own walking dead: Symbian

    Now Symbian is going down the toilet fast. RIM is not doing well, but possibly not out for the count. But the problem for Nokia/MS: BADA/Tizen is currently bigger than Windows Phone, and growing twice as fast.

    So: third ecosystem, yes.

    third ecosystem for Nokia/MS: No.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: "third ecosystem"

      > third ecosystem for Nokia/MS: No.

      And it seems that whatever position it takes (6/7th) it will be 'Nokia/MS' as most of the other WP7 makers seem to have ceased.

      With MS bunging Nokia 250million a quarter, plus directly paying sales staff to sell Nokia, plus an advertising budget, plus allowing Nokia to exclusively add features to WP7, why would anyone else bother until they get the same deal ?

      Anyway all WP7 phones are limited by decree, and OS capability, to single core, 800x480, and other items which:

      a) makes them very 'last year'

      b) makes them un-upgradable to Windows8/WP8.

  24. Robert Grant
    Windows

    Seems weird that...

    ...the major objection to WP7 is "no-one wants it". It's weird because I love it, and most people I know (or have read in comments etc) who have it also love it. "No-one wants it" is not a good argument - a few years ago MS could NEVER break into the gaming market because Sony had it sewn up.

    "No-one wants it" is how humanities graduates evaluate products - based on fashion, not merit. Isn't this a techie news site? :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      "no-one wants it"

      Ok, so lets take it apart on technical merit:

      - Still doesn't multi-task, only has a limited task switcher with some limited interfaces; apps have inconsistent behaviours when switched out, with some restarting when switched back, others freezing, and only a couple working "properly".

      - has a garish interface that is almost non-configurable, wastes 20% of the screen in a stupid black bar with an arrow on top, is based on a bad copy of android widgets that are not configurable and not as interactive as the original

      - has a idiotic single volume control; if you turn ring sounds down at night, you won't hear the alarms;

      - can't use regular mp3 as ringtone, needs editing and cutting;

      - doesn't have bluetooth file transfer;

      - doesn't have USB mass storage mode;

      - doesn't have support for interchangeable uSD cards;

      - has a nice screen, but stuck at a medium resolution, no way to have 720p;

      - speaking of HD, that is one thing that the camera can't make (at least on the "top of the line" lumias);

      - Can't save a draft SMS;

      Do you want me to continue explaining in technical terms why no-one wants it?

      1. Tim Walker
        Thumb Up

        Re: "no-one wants it"

        I'd add "doesn't have USB OTG (host) mode" (i.e. so you can connect USB devices such as keyboards, mice and mass storage devices - and yes, I do use this feature).

        A whole raft of reasons why I'm sticking with my N8 (or a PureView 808 if I upgrade) until it dies or I can't access the networks I want with it, and then I DREAD finding a replacement...

      2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: "no-one wants it"

        Hmm. My iPhone can't do USB mass storage, use MP3s as ringtones, bluetooth file transfer, use SD cards and has inconsistant multi-tasking.

        I agree these are nice things to have but clearly people don't make purchasing decisions on them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems weird that...

      Ok... Let me re-phrase that 'no one is buying it'.

      You may love it. You may take it home every night and hold it tight but until someone shows me the money that don't count for shit. Everybody I know thinks it sucks major ass (which is reflected in current sales) Maybe everyone you know loves it but maybe you just hang around with odd people (any evidence to the contrary will be welcome).

      PS: don't underestimate fashion (lit: a general term for a POPULAR style or practice). People who create fashionable products make money. People who create unfashionable products lose their jobs.

    3. Ilgaz

      We know them, that is why

      I get to choose my own hardware and I don't want to use any Ms os because I don't like the way they are managed. Yes, simple as that. I believe, with their current way of doing things, even if they hire Knuth, Linus, all Android team and Apple developers, their product will still be lame, under performing.

      If they live their own long deserved nightmare IBM lived in 90s and decide to act like a mature company, things will change.

  25. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    Fail...

    The lumia phones are overpriced and underpowered. The N9 was last-year's tech when it came out, and is now thoroughly outclassed.

    The ball was dropped well before Elop came along, but he's done nothing except make it all worse. Ditch all our leading products! Embrace Redmond's latest failure! It's sure to make us all rich!

    Poor nokia, they were the phone company everyone else wanted to be 10 years ago. Now they're just a sad example about what goes wrong when you sit on your laurels.

  26. Steven McAdam

    NOKIA: UPGRADE YOUR FEATURE PHONE CUSTOMERS TO ANDROID PHONES!!!

    Nokia still has a HUGE asset in their feature phone business (albeit decreasing). Those customers will upgrade to Android smartphones. Not MS (as it's a hard sell) and not iPhones (due to price).

    Nokia is good at making phones! If Nokia comes out with a kickass range of low cost Android phones (NOW!!!) to give those customers an upgrade path, they could at least get volume back, a higher average selling price, and buy time to work on the high end of the smartphone market.

    Think about it... it makes sense.

  27. asdf Silver badge
    FAIL

    wtf?

    I thought with success Ovi was going to be Nokia would be printing money by now. Jokes aside it sad to see sh_t managment seems to be a mostly worldwide problem as opposed to solely Finnish or American. I guess everywhere in the world got cursed with the worst generation the Baby Boomer virus. Even their own parents saw this coming.

  28. steeplejack

    18 months more of dwindle.

    Smartphones are a horribly immature market. Immature markets are unstable and virtually impossible for predictions of the future. Basically, in 5 years time a better, more usable, more user-friendly and adaptable kind of device will have emerged.

    What we can say however is that several things are dwindling. Microsoft is one. Another is the concept of proprietary anything, except Apple, and Apple aren't for the mass market.

    Signs of maturity and readiness to move forward are perhaps seen in Samsung, Google, and Android. But don't gamble on anything!

  29. etabeta
    Stop

    MS crapware

    I feel that the current Nokia strategy to produce their high end phones with WP (and a few others with Symbian) will eventually make them go the way of the dodo.

    They should kick Stephen Elop in the rear and send him back to where he came from.

    He is surely the culprit that prevented Nokia to jump on the Android bandwagon.

    Nokia is capable of producing some fine hardware, and if they would produce an extraordinary Android phone Samsung surely would have another rival.

    Elop is trying to force MS crapware down their throats and choking them to death!

  30. johnh3

    Microsoft apps.

    If Windows Phone have so much problem the app development should not go so fast:

    "More than 100,000 apps have now been published in the Windows Phone Marketplace and new content is currently being added at the rate of 313 apps per day. At the time of writing, 100,145 apps have been published. Of these, 26,493 were added in the last three months and 9,391 were added in the last month. These apps come from just over 23,825 different publishers."

    http://allaboutwindowsphone.com/news/item/14960_100000_apps_published_to_Windo.php

    And Windows Phone Apollo is around the corner:

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/04/microsoft-windows-phone-apollo-sneak-peek/

    And Nokia probably will have some interesting smartphones ready for it:

    http://www.concept-phones.com/nokia/nokia-lumia-evolution-runs-windows-phone-apollo-pretty/

    The apps to Apollo be the same as in the current Windows Phone to. So in my opinion they already got a third ecosystem. I think if Nokia and Microsoft hold out it be same as the Xbox in time. They will get profit from it.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      FAIL

      If we're playing the numbers game

      The Ovi (Nokia) store had 116,583 apps for Symbian as of December 2011.

      More interesting is that the Windows Marketplace has more than 100,000 registered developers, which implies that the majority of devs have published somewhere between zero and one applications.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft apps.

      > And Nokia probably will have some interesting smartphones ready for it:

      You probably missed that this has nothing to do with Nokia, it is merely people doodling to make pretty pictures:

      """This concept was created by Deviantart user LokiBartleby."""

      > http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/04/microsoft-windows-phone-apollo-sneak-peek/

      Apollo will make all current WP7 phones obsolete because they won't be able to update to it.

    3. A J Stiles
      FAIL

      Re: Microsoft apps.

      You are a spambot and I claim my £5.

  31. Jason Hindle

    Bearing in mind that quite a lot of Symbian handsets are still sold (and a likely hit in the form of the Symbian based 808), I'd have felt a lot better about Nokia's future had they continued to develop (and play catchup with) Symbian in parallel with their WinPhone efforts. Betting the bank on WinPho remains a very risky idea IMO.

  32. blondie101
    Holmes

    Will Google buy Nokia?

    Or at least make sure that the price is "right". Google might be interested because of all the IP Nokia possesses. I'm not sure if Motorola give them enough firepower....

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