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Nokia's burning platform

Rory Cellan-Jones | 12:48 UK time, Wednesday, 9 February 2011

It is one of the most combustible and gripping documents ever to emerge from a major corporation. When I first saw the leaked memo from Stephen Elop, the Nokia chief executive recruited from Microsoft last year, I had some doubts about its authenticity. After all, it looked far too frank and well-written to have been penned by a corporate boss.

Stephen Elop

 

But now we've confirmed that the document first published by Engadget is the real thing - and that means Friday's event where the Nokia boss will unveil his strategy for the ailing mobile giant will be even more eagerly anticipated.

For the past few months, fans of the Finnish business and its phones have been insisting that its troubles have been overstated. They dismiss the idea that Apple or Google have transformed the mobile industry and say it would be madness for Nokia to ditch the Symbian operating system or the newer MeeGo project in favour of either Android or Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.

Now it is clear that Stephen Elop profoundly disagrees with that analysis. He tells his colleagues that their company is like a man standing on a burning North Sea oil platform and must decide whether to plunge into icy waters or perish. He is brutally frank about Nokia's failure to keep up:

"While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time."

Here he is on the challenge from Apple and Google:

"The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable."

Ah, but surely Nokia is handily placed to dominate the developing markets where its cheaper phones have been grabbing a hefty share of the market? No comfort there from Mr Elop either:

"At the lower-end price range, Chinese OEMs are cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, "the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation." They are fast, they are cheap, and they are challenging us."

So what's the answer - MeeGo? The CEO says the joint venture with Intel is an example of the great innovation still going on within Nokia, but it's much too slow to get products out - "at this rate, by the end of 2011 we might have only one MeeG product in the market." As for Symbian, the operating system which once ruled the smartphone universe, it is proving to be "an increasingly difficult environment to work in."

Which all begs the question - what is Mr Elop's plan to get Nokia off the burning platform, and does it involve climbing aboard someone else's rig? He does say that the new battlefield is not devices but ecosystems which bring everything from apps to advertising to developers together, and "we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem".

So does that mean that on Friday Nokia will announce that Symbian and MeeGo are dead and it will henceforth be developing phones using the Windows Phone 7 system - or even the open-source Android? That sounds far too radical - after all, huge amounts of cash and time have been poured into development work.

But now that the Canadian CEO has lobbed a hand grenade into the quiet, understated culture of Finland's mobile giant, all bets are off.

PS. I had mistakenly called Mr Elop American when he is in fact Canadian. This has now been corrected above.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    The only sane approach for Nokia is surely to stick to the Meego plan, but just hurry it up and stop making such a mess of their community relations. I've got the current N900 Maemo phone, I like it, and would be quite likely to move on to a Meego device at some point unless it's a total disaster.

    If instead I wind up looking at Android, either because Meego is a disaster, or Nokia themselves drop it and move to Android, then there's a much more level playing field and I can't imagine any reason to particularly favour hardware from Nokia over that from someone else (e.g. HTC).

    Open, general purpose computing systems tend to beat closed shops in the long run simply because they work better and frustrate their users less, but if Nokia ape the Apple and (to a lesser extent) Android strategy of a closed controlled user-hostile system, then they've got no selling points left at all.

  • Comment number 2.

    3 years and Nokia will be turning out the lights.

    I can't help but wonder if Elop has been deliberately put in charge of Nokia in order to drive down the price in order for M$ to purchase the company and finally get a presence in the mobile market.

  • Comment number 3.

    "it looked far too frank and well-written to have been penned by a corporate boss"

    Apparently, Rory CJ thinks that corporate bosses can't write well. I wonder what evidence he has to back this up or whether it is just prejudice.

  • Comment number 4.

    Burning oil platform? - unfortunate phase from an American.

    Symbian? - unfortunate platform for a mobile phone.

    Sorry Nokia, it's Android or die.

    ... and if you start shipping cheap handsets like they make in the back streets of China, you'll die all the sooner.

  • Comment number 5.

    "So does that mean that on Friday Nokia will announce that Symbian and MeeGo are dead and it will henceforth be developing phones using the Windows Phone 7 system - or even the open-source Android? That sounds far too radical - after all, huge amounts of cash and time have been poured into development work."

    I disagree, I think it's just radical enough. It's true that loads of money has been spent, but that shouldn't be a factor. It's basically the "sunk costs fallacy" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_costs#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy), aka "throwing good money after bad". All that should matter is what is the most likely way to be able to get a good and competitive smartphone to market as early as possible? The money has been spent already; it's gone. Continuing to chase MeeGo doesn't reclaim that money. Going to WP7 or Android might well be an easier and more economic route based on the CURRENT circumstances.

    The main reason for this is the ecosystem. The iPhone doesn't sell as well as it does because of the hardware; it sells because of the software, and because of the apps available for it. If Nokia pursues MeeGo, it will end up with a smartphone OS with 300,000 fewer apps available than the iPhone has, and 240,000 or so fewer than Android. In this case, it might be best to swallow their pride, cut their losses and go for an existing platform. Obviously, without the full analysis that I have no doubt Elop has performed, I can't say, but it's foolish to say that one should stay a course simply because so much has already been invested in it.

  • Comment number 6.

    What #2 said...

    Nokia used to be an innovator and manufacturer of qualitt products. Now it's just a "me too" (not meego) company.

  • Comment number 7.

    '3. At 2:12pm on 09 Feb 2011, Duncan wrote:'

    Maybe a different Nokia-related 'boss' was uppermost in this reporter's mind?

  • Comment number 8.

    In related professional information sharing news, the core URL opening link to this story remains less than optimal, despite a few hints and a closing:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/12/rethinking_the_world_of_books.html

  • Comment number 9.

    NOKIA may have come late to the party, but they still make excellent phones and devices. The media is not helping NOKIA's cause at all, what with most reports stopping short of suggesting the Finnish giant is doomed to fail. There is still a great chance for the company to turn its fortunes around. For NOKIA's sake, I do hope Meego is a success. Keep going NOKIA! You can do it!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    Nokia need to do the one thing that they haven't had the courage to do up until now, and that is to kill off Symbian.

    If they'd committed to MeeGo (or its predecessor, Maemo) from the start, they could have maintained their presence in the smartphone market. Instead, out of fear of MeeGo failing, they've hedged their bets and continued to invest in Symbian. The end result is that they now have two failing platforms instead of one.

    If they want to continue to be in charge of their own platform, they need to put all their resources behind MeeGo and start shipping handsets quickly. The alternative is to go the Android and Windows Phone 7 route, and become yet another hardware manufacturer struggling to differentiate themselves.

    An out-there idea might be for them to partner with HP/Palm, a company with a killer mobile software platform struggling to come out with quality hardware to put it on. But I don't think such a thing could happen quickly enough to save Nokia.

  • Comment number 11.

    Anyone who has brought a nokia phone in the last two years be honest and ask yourself did you buyt it because of the software or hardware. The answer for most people will be they brought it for the hardware and nokia name despite the poor software. Now imagine the same nokia hardware with half decent software.

  • Comment number 12.

    Oh what a great vision of 2013 - A smartphone market formed entirely of iPhone and iPhone clones. And all of which will tend to crash twice a day because everbody is so busy trying to chase the market that they can't be bothered to test the firmware properly.

    Now where's that old GSM phone I had... The one that actually works...

  • Comment number 13.

    Its the very high price of the nokia high end phones thats a turn off.

    After my iPhone 2G - The N900 that I really wanted but was hundreds of pounds with a contract. Android phone hero - was free.

    Nokia screwed up by not wanting to undercut their cheaper phones that were absolutely terrible.

    Their N900 vs early android vs iPhone 3G could have turned out so differently with some decent marketing and a price cut.

  • Comment number 14.

    Having switched this week from Symbian to Android, my first comparative impressions?...

    Andoid is a bit chaotic and things don't always work as seamlessly as they might. My phone is comparable to the Nokia N8, in price but lags behind a bit in raw hardware.

    However, my decision to go Android was based on long term support. The ecosystem, if you like. As much as I loved my 2 year old Symbian phone, the support is just not there and I see little enhancement in the new devices to persuade me that this will change.

    In addition Nokia seem to have a penchant for falling at every hurdle. Harware failures with the N97 and N8, do them no favours. Their OVI service is contracting in scope because they cannot compete. Their OSes are slow to improve (or to appear at all).

    Releasing Android devices might buy them some time - providing they release reliable hardware. Switching to Windows Phone is a gamble but one I suspect they may take.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have told people that they can shoot me if they see me buy a symbian phone again. There may be a husge number of Nokia smartphone users with Symbian but I wonder how many are unhappy with their choice but locked in to long contracts. I go back to Psion days pre. Symbian and something has gone very wrong with the software. The hardware is fine.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm pretty sure Stephen Elop is Canadian. Perhaps you're using 'American' to describe the continent or maybe he has dual nationality but you should definitely check and clarify this.

  • Comment number 17.

    I guess I'm a classic example have been loyal to Nokia for years. Last phone an N79 was so lousy with "mickey mouse" OVI that did not work or was expensive - imagine maps download by country rather than region!!

    This was the end I moved to Apple iphone4. Move back to Nokia? Are you kidding - no way.

    Nokia need to deliver Apple style apps store integration now. If not they will wither like Sony Ericsson and Motorola. Sad to see them go they used to have great products now they lack products and software.

  • Comment number 18.

    The new CEO is correct in that Nokia have not really put much effort into competing with Apple et al in the smart phone space.
    The bigger issue for them is the Chinese OEMs - these guys are really kicking Nokia where it hurts. Their dominant position in churning out dumb phones is what has funded these long term development projects - projects which have become too long-term for financial viability.

    Now with the squeeze on from both sides, the strategy to be announced this week is going to be make or break. Symbian is dead and MeeGo is going to have to start showing results very very soon. Hardware wise the product is still solid however, software functionality is becoming equally important - looking pretty needs to be backed up with usability.

    Could this be the start of Android on Nokia with a MeeGo UI (think HTC Sense) designed to smooth the waters until MeeGo is out there? Certainly that would pull Nokia closer to the opposition while not entirely undoing the MeeGo work. With the right marketing and Android compatibility, the slide over to MeeGo may be made less painful.

    Its either that or take on the Chinese OEMs on the lower end of the market and frankly who has the muscle to do that?

  • Comment number 19.

    "But now that the American CEO has lobbed a hand grenade into the quiet, understated culture of Finland's mobile giant, all bets are off."

    Stephen Elop is Canadian. He was born, reared, raised and educated in Ontario.

    Come on, Rory and the BBC, show some love for the Common Wealth.

  • Comment number 20.

    The fact is that Nokia can't keep existing customers happy so they keep losing market share.

    I bought their new N8 and the phone had nothing but issues, both software and hardware. Their phone was just like my 2 year old E72, but with lots of new bugs in existing software.

    Their lack of input and technical support made that issue unbearable. No one is to blame for their failure than Nokia themselves. They need to release products fit for market and not before. They need to innovate and they need fewer devices that appeal to a broader market. I speak only as a consumer.

  • Comment number 21.

    In my opinion, my N900 is in a totally different league to iPhones. If the iPhone is a smart phone then the N900 is a genius phone. It's still getting some pretty decent community support, so I can't see myself 'upgrading' any time soon as there is nothing available with the same or better capabilities. If Nokia can develop Meego to the point where there are advantages over my Maemo phone then I might be interested come contract renewal time.

  • Comment number 22.

    It's not the size of the Apps market, who can get 200,000 Apps on their phone! It's about the quality of good Apps. There are thousands of App developers out there that will "help" Nokia - BUT only if Nokia go "open" (and I don't necessarily mean Android). Nokia themselves cannot build enough Apps, they need to give the worldwide development community a hot hand shake - and very quickly!

  • Comment number 23.

    Nokia's problems are easy for me to summarize. Before getting an iphone I had a N79 which used a variant of the Symbian operating system.

    To access the alarm clock (probably the 3rd most used feature on any phone after phone and text) you needed to go to go through the phone settings and past 4 menus. This was the same for most features, an unending list of unclear menus and hard to grasp UI. It clearly demonstrates that nobody had sat down to think about basic functionality.

  • Comment number 24.

    Is it true??

    Nokia have dropped the N9??

    I smell a turn to the little green robot on Friday.
    I wonder if they will be serving humble pie at the launch on Friday?

  • Comment number 25.

    I've got an Android and I love it (exchange it with my wife who took the N97 mini) but it has its limitation (free apps with advertising, no spell checker, rubbish camera and others things. no too keen on Androids shop). I like my wife Nokia for what my Android doesn't have (see above) and Ovi suit is great. We sync our address book and both are fine. Plus used Window mobile a few years back.

    My point is that no system is perfect. they have their pro and cons. changing system might please some but not others so it's a loose loose situation. If Nokia were to go with Android/MS, if their user like it they will stick to Android/MS, regardless of any new platform (whenever ready).

    So it's a dangerous game Nokia is playing.
    in the meantime... should they offer MS? As less likely to be popular? or ramp up Megoo (terrible name by the way).

  • Comment number 26.

    At the end of the day only one mobile OS can really dominate. This is because developing for multiple platforms is not really viable in the long term. Most software developers will opt for the platform with the biggest market share and focus on that. This will of course have a positive feedback effect that polarizes the market. This effect can be seen in pretty much every hi-tech sector (The gaming industry being a notable exception, although I suspect the Microsoft X-Box will win out in the end, the balance does now seem to have started to tip that way). I can see no real reason why it will not happen with smart phones.

    From my standpoint, it is already pretty clear that Android will be the outright victor. Those phone manufactures, like Nokia, that think otherwise will probably not survive the long game. Of course there are exceptions, Microsoft have very deep pockets and could yet turn the game around if only they could see beyond the dinosaur that is Windows! And there will always be enough people that put style over substance to keep Apple afloat although there can be little doubt that the current iPhone bubble is going to burst sooner rather than later. (Got Apple shares anyone ?!?) The likes of Nokia and Research in Motion are just going to be the also rans unless they see the light very soon. Although, in reality, I suspect it is already too late for both of them.

    For me, as a developer, an Android win is good news. Android is a lovely platform to work with, and if it does becomes truly dominate, the sky will be the limit.

    I'd put money on the fact that Android will become synonymous with a mobile phone in the same way that Windows has with the P.C. Yes, there will be alternatives, but no one will take them very seriously.

  • Comment number 27.

    Rory, I don't think anyone has claimed that Apple and Google haven't transformed the industry. That said, it would be madness to drop Symbian immediately.

    All will be clear on Friday. I think they'll keep Symbian and MeeGo and perhaps go for a short term solution with Android or WP7 kind of like Samsung are doing whilst Bada gets off the ground.

    As for your confirmation of the memo... err... speech transcript... err... internal blog post, what is it?

  • Comment number 28.

    While this is all very interesting, especially some of the comments about the demise of Symbian, Maemo and MeeGo, it needs to be pointed out that MeeGo (and its predecessor Maemo) are full featured Linux operating systems.
    This makes the devices running them either niche handheld products or things like netbooks - but it provides a so-called "ecosystem" with a huge variety of software available already and also the most developer-friendly environment, by definition, as 98% of MeeGo are open-source - the 2% pertain to the propietary hardware. So, even if Symbian is axed after 20 years of existence (no joke, look it up), MeeGo actually represents a different project not directly aimed at _phones_, and most certainly will continue to exist for a while and who knows what gets developed for it in the future...

  • Comment number 29.

    I still remember the day (2 years back) when Nokia execs were gloating over how they managed to survive and "other giants" failed miserably. If only they could see what the future had in store for them. Android was still a "not so well defined" platform then. Everything in Nokia happens at a snail's pace. If only they were aggressive about Maemo. They still have some of the best mobile platforms (IMHO), just that things don't move fast in Nokia. Not to forget the countless internal re-organizations. Its time Nokia took some chances.

  • Comment number 30.

    Further to my previous post....

    ...HP have just issued their WebOS roadmap. I was nearly tempted by WebOS when it came out, but the hardware let it down. HP however have added the hardware to the beautiful looking software. This is going to be one heck of a year. I wonder if Nokia are going to bounce on to the fondleslab bandwagon?

  • Comment number 31.

    Kruisu @10 makes a great point: Nokia's hardware has always been at least serviceable, and sometime really good. Their inability to deliver a good touchscreen phone (the M8 ain't it) has been the spanner thrown in their works. They are crucified by the fact that decent hardware is hamstrung by Symbian - a system now well past its prime. Not just that, but their attempts to open symbian to the dev community were a bit of a disaster.

    One problem levelled at the HP WebOS (Palm as was) was the pairing of a great OS (and to me it's just as good, if not a little better than iOS) with really patchy, dull hardware. Licensing WebOS might actually work, if HP will let them. In the short medium term rolling out 7 or Android might work for them too, though I'd say Android looks a better bet for a whole load of reasons, not least of which is Microsoft's continuing ability to shoot themselves in the foot any time they wander away form the desktop (see Kin).

    Nokia are in real trouble, but the market needs them, So hurry up and come back to the party!

  • Comment number 32.

    "MeeGo actually represents a different project not directly aimed at _phones_, and most certainly will continue to exist for a while and who knows what gets developed for it in the future..."

    This is an important point - Meego isn't a purely Nokia project; Intel are desperate to start taking chunks out of ARM's dominance of the low power/mobile/embedded CPU market and Meego is their way to do it. Even without Nokia, there's going to be serious money and effort behind it. Nokia would be fools not to take advantage of that.

  • Comment number 33.

    As an IT professional who has bought hundreds of mobiles over the past decade I was always a Nokia man at work and at home.
    However I now own an Android phone, my work phone is a Blackberry and the last smart phones I bought from Nokia (e71 and e72) have had the worst reliability issues of any models I have ever encountered.
    If people like me are only recommending Nokia for old technology pay as you go phones, what hope do they have?
    Nokia needs to adopt Android now or buy RIM and own Blackberry. I see no viable alternative to prevent several more years of slide.

  • Comment number 34.

    I always said I would never have a Nokia, but then I got the N95 8GB while Sony Ericsson's offerings were poor. Not a great phone, but did a lot of things well if you had the time to set it up.
    Time came to upgrade. Reports of poor "talk" phone performance and basic cameras on HTC and similar handsets drove me back to Nokia - the N86 8MP.
    It's been a good phone. Does everything it should, clear sound quality, excellent pocket camera, push email, internet etc.
    I can't help feeling that only gadget-freaks can get the best from a Nokia, because they are not easy to use.
    My cousin has an N95, and freely admits to not knowing how to use most of the functions, whereas an iPhone is set up for technophobes to use.
    This is where Android and iPhone have already won the battle. Their phones might not do anything MORE than the latest flagship Nokia, but they do everything with considerable ease (for most users).
    Until Nokia address this, I don't think the superior A/V and photographic qualities of their handsets are enough to keep people buying their phones.
    If there's a decent camera+flash on the next Google phone, I'll be switching.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm glad you made your correction. Mixing up a Canadian for an American is unforgiveable and shows a hint of laziness and no attention to detail.

    Aren't you Welsh?

  • Comment number 36.

    @26 "At the end of the day only one mobile OS can really dominate"

    I don't see how you can make that statement then immediately undermine it by stating the gaming industry as an exception to the rule. It is also a bit odd considering the endless bickering on here between two (and a half) of the several PC Operating systems. Much like gaming I would expect the popularity of each type to wax and wane but the overall domination of one type with already entrenched fans on every side is less likely.

    If Nokia make a phone with the inherent usability of either of Android or Apple (haven't even seen an MS7 phone so can't comment) that has a battery life more than a working day and avoids the obvious restrictions of the iPhone, that I'd buy. Mindlessly quoting the number of apps is a total waste of time due to the vast repetition and even vaster waste of time that so many of them are.

  • Comment number 37.

    Know that his 'speech' is out and well known, will he re-write it? if i was going to give a speech on friday and the final version was already leaked to everyone heck i won't even bother giving the speech anymore.. I would say: "guys please refer to my already7known speech"..lol.
    On a more serious note why can't Nokia support both Android and WP7 and to some extent MeeGo? After all they have the most global smartphone sales and competitors like HTC already support both Android and WP7 (they did support previous versions)
    If Nokia supported both versions, then i would be more likely to buy a future Nokia handset

  • Comment number 38.

    Can anyone imagine a world with hundreds of millions of virus infected Windows 7 mobile phones each storing its owner's on-line banking details and proximity payment systems?

  • Comment number 39.

    Nokia's core problem is not about technology or design as that can be fixed. It is about weak leadership for a number of years. In those years self promotion, a lack of decision making and nepotism have weakened the company to a
    the point of collapse. Elop has to be bold and sweep out much of the senior management and replace with people who are prepared to accept accountability. Previously if you failed to deliver you were moved to another management position so there was no accountability. The general workforce are some of the best people I have ever worked with both on a professional and a personal level. It really has been the case of "lions led by donkeys".

  • Comment number 40.

    In my opinion, CEO Elop is spot-on when he says that .. the new battlefield is not devices but ecosystems which bring everything from apps to advertising to developers together, and "we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem".

    The 'phone' as such in the traditional context is almost irrelevant.

    In the 'smart' sense, it is just a very versatile comms endpoint.

    Elop now has to choose the strategic direction of the business and it will literally make-or-break Nokia as a major player.

  • Comment number 41.

    As someone who has lived in Finland, sauna, steam-room and spa are not synonomous: I hope the rest of this report is more accurate.

  • Comment number 42.

    I don't see why people think a switch to WP7 is a viable alternative. It will take about a year to design the new hardware required for WP7 and to get the software running on it in a stable enough form to ship to consumers and to set up the Nokia support channels and... Well, if MeeGo being late and only having one MeeGo phone this year is a problem, what would delaying for another whole year be? That's assuming some serious technical issues with WP7 and its eco-system can be overcome.

    The other issue with WP7 is it means Nokia then has two eco-systems (legacy Symbian and WP7) with no common services or support channels increasing their costs, and no migration path for developers from one to the other, thus either driving devs into the arms of Android instead, or losing them to the MS eco-system and thus being at MS's mercy (the age-old MS strategy). At least with the Qt strategy there was a single eco-system and migration path for the two platforms, and a big enough market share for a dev to find it worth targeting.

    Nokia's big issue is a failure to deliver on their strategy due to internal politics and bad coordination between the software and hardware sides. The solution is not more delays by changing horses yet again, but to take an axe to the deadwood, improve coordination, put Symbian on EoL support and commit 100% to the Qt strategy. Here's hoping Elop sees this, otherwise Nokia will head the way of Motorola.

  • Comment number 43.

    _Ewan_ wrote:

    "Open, general purpose computing systems tend to beat closed shops in the long run simply because they work better and frustrate their users less,"

    Obviously that isn't the case with Apple.

    And whether you disagree or not Apple is not a "closed" environment. The fact that so many developers have developed more apps with Apple proves just that.

    "but if Nokia ape the Apple and (to a lesser extent) Android strategy of a closed controlled user-hostile system, then they've got no selling points left at all."

    So you have determined, all by yourself, that the millions of happy iPhone and iPad users around the world are the subjects of hostility from Apple? All those people are either very stupid or you are a genius, not to mention a mind reader.


  • Comment number 44.

    thomasf2811 wrote:

    "I'm pretty sure Stephen Elop is Canadian. Perhaps you're using 'American' to describe the continent or maybe he has dual nationality but you should definitely check and clarify this."

    The "continent" is called **North** America.

    His nationality is Canadian. His neighbors in the south are of American nationality since that also happens to be the name of their country.

  • Comment number 45.

    DibbySpot wrote:

    "Nokia need to deliver Apple style apps store integration now. If not they will wither like Sony Ericsson and Motorola. Sad to see them go they used to have great products now they lack products and software."

    Motorola is doing just fine, especially in the American and Canadian markets. Their Droid phones are excellent, and that's coming from an Apple fan.

    Motorola is years ahead in going in the right direction and in building real smart phones that people really want.

    Nothing against Nokia but I think it is now too late for them to survive much longer.

  • Comment number 46.

    @42 odysseus_nz: Most of this makes very sound reading. The only contention I'd have is about the amount of time needed to get a stable hardware/WP7 configuration going. I's bet that there must be some internal work on this already within Nokia. Also, WP7 is designed, unlike iOS, to be broadly hardware agnostic to allow for the horizontal integration strategy that works for Microsoft on the desktop. As long as the hardware broadly meets the reference spec, they should be broadly ok as most of the rest of the problem is essentially driver-based.

  • Comment number 47.

    I`ve just read that Nokia are linking up with Microsoft for their software, that`s what happens when the new CEO has been brainwashed by MS. The man is a MS mole & if this link with MS is true I won`t be buying another Nokia. I`m still using my well made N95, ok it wasn`t easy at first to what some consider to be a complicated phone but it is still going well & at the time I bought it it was the best smartphone on the market.
    All the cheaply & shoddily made (expensive) goods coming out of China will fall apart & go wrong as I`ve found to my cost with my Sony VAIO.

    I want to buy Nokia because it`s well made but I don`t want MS software. I would never consider the iPhone.

  • Comment number 48.

    So now M$ and Nokia have formed a strategic alliance... two fumbling companies trying to lay a golden egg.

    Yeh, good luck with that.

  • Comment number 49.

    Alas Nokia nad Microsoft have eloped. It will work out i believe but i had wished that she would have entered into a polygamous marriage with Android:)

  • Comment number 50.

    So this Canadian has called in his old friends at Microsoft, a place where he did nothing except keep the lights on.
    Is this guy capable of forward thinking? This is now way to catch google or apple.

    Android would have saved them cash and the jibes (and I don't like android!). But floppy can only stick with what he knows :(

    I now have 2 reasons not to buy a Nokia.

  • Comment number 51.

    Obviously that isn't the case with Apple.

    Curiously enough, it is. For all that people (including me) grumble about Apple's policies the iOS platform is actually considerably more open than what went before. Apple's big innovation was to wrest control of the handset away from the networks. That was a huge step forward for users' freedom. It's not as free as it could be, and when people see the concrete benefits of platforms that are even more open, they will choose them instead, as is already happening with Android.

    So you have determined, all by yourself, that the millions of happy iPhone and iPad users around the world are the subjects of hostility from Apple?

    Apple tell them what they can and can't do on their own devices, what apps they can and can't spend their money on, and forces phone bricking updates specifically to avoid people having control over their own hardware. That simply is hostile.

  • Comment number 52.

    I'm currently an N900 owner. I love the phone, and the fact that you can make it look totally different to the next guys N900. The only giveaway being the shape and Nokia logos.
    I was completely miffed when Nokia discontinued development on Maemo 5. The community brought us all the missing features, and would like to bring us more by making adjustments to some of the closed source Nokia components (if Nokia feel the need to open them up), but that would probably jeopardize Nokia's copyright battles with Apple.
    I'll be keeping my N900 for some time, just to see how things play out.
    As for the future, I don't know. WebOS sounds good, but I certainly don't fancy jumping on the Google Android Spamads Machine. (Just check out the roadmap and see how many Adware companies are clamoring to get on-board). "Two turkeys don't make an eagle" indeed. But who wants a Google Vulture for Christmas.

  • Comment number 53.

    Oh, and back to the point - this is a bad move for Nokia, but not altogether surprising considering Elop's history. Nokia have been dithering over OSes for ages, first pegging Symbian along well past its sell-by date, then developing Maemo before ditching a lot of that work to embark on Meego, and now going for Windows, but still keeping a hint of an open door for Meego for 'future devices'.

    As someone once said, the key to a sucsessful platform is "developers, developers, developers, developers, developers"; Nokia had just about a workable strategy with the Qt API allowing developers a clear way to target Symbian right now, and easily port to Meego in the future. Now, those developers are more or less cut off, and even if anyone did want to follow Nokia they're looking at an OS that just broke compatibility with its previous versions (so can't be trusted not to do so again), and a hardware vendor that keeps changing strategy every year (so can't be trusted not to do so again).

    It's hard to see that being anyone's idea of a good situation to buy into when they can go for iOS and/or Android instead.

  • Comment number 54.

    I recently went to Nokia's UK head office and there was a great show case of all the new Nokia phones. Not one was of any interest, they were just boring. Most of ther new phones looked like poor copies of other companies offerings.

    Not one would tempt me from my current HTC. If I go to the their head office and nothing appeals what chance do they have fighting in the high street? Nokia need a real wake up call, perhaps with this Microsoft link up they have understood how bad their current product line up is..?

  • Comment number 55.

    ZTE is churning out a lot of those low end phones for the developing markets. One of the reasons they recently overtook Apple in phone sales.

  • Comment number 56.

    "Stephen Elop, the Nokia chief executive recruited from Microsoft last year". And now Nokia and Microsoft have formed a partnership to regain lost ground, by using the MS phone OS in their phones. I think they've just started digging their own grave.

  • Comment number 57.

    What is this two turkeys don't make an eagle? Is just a really bad analogy?

  • Comment number 58.

    As I predicted Nokia have joined forces with Microsoft. This is probably a pretty good move on both their parts. Windows phone 7 needs to get more developers on board and Nokia being such a world force in hardware production will give developers confidence to work on the new OS. Nokia need to up their game as Symbian is old and hard to use and Meego just isn't pulling in enough punters. Windows OS is a good one (Not my cup of tea but still) and so it is a good fit.

    What will be interesting is the attitude other manufacturers such as HTC and Sony will have. I can't see they will be as happy to offer a very wide choice of phones with Windows phone 7 on board if Nokia is receiving what will amount to special treatment.

    I believe the eventual shakedown will be Android will have the largest market share probably followed by windows 7 but neither will be as profitable as IOS for their manufacturers.

  • Comment number 59.

    As a developer the recent news that MS and Nokia have joined forces is music to my ears. I have developed websites and desktop and server applications for years using the .Net framework and C# language. The only thing stopping me developing for the Win Phone 7 was uncertainty of the platform going forward. This (in my eyes) makes things a lot more promising because of the commitment made by both companies to make it work. Nokia need to make it work for core business reasons. MS need it to work because they are investing millions more in Nokia subscribing to their framework. Nokia handsets have always been excellent and I think this is really promising. I may now give up my iPhone 3GS.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm trying to see where this benefits Nokia.

    ...

    Looking really hard.

    ...

    Nope, not seeing it. This is, for all intents and purposes, a Microsoft takeover. MeeGo will be mothballed after on experimental product and Symbian is being shelved (150 million Symbian devices is roughly 18 months sales), which, of course, means it's unlikely there will be any further R&D spent on it.

    Which means that the 'continuous stream of UI updates' we were promised and which were a major factor in our decisions to buy the new S^3 phones may no longer appear. Nice!

    The upshot of this is that my ZTE Blade is now my primary phone and the N8 is the backup. Nokia will have to do a lot to win me back.

  • Comment number 61.

    Well, I'm grateful to Mr Elop for his honesty. I'm thinking of buying a smartphone at the moment, and now I know not to bother with a Nokia.

    Although now they're tying up with Micro$oft, I think I'd have come to that conclusion pretty swiftly anyway.

  • Comment number 62.

    Ewan_ wrote:

    "Curiously enough, it is. For all that people (including me) grumble about Apple's policies the iOS platform is actually considerably more open than what went before. Apple's big innovation was to wrest control of the handset away from the networks. That was a huge step forward for users' freedom. It's not as free as it could be, and when people see the concrete benefits of platforms that are even more open, they will choose them instead, as is already happening with Android."

    Obviously nothing has been stopping most developers from writing apps for the iPhone and the iPad. It also isn't surprising that Android is gaining market share considering that it is available on so many more devices as compared to the single iPhone.

    What kind of freedom are you looking for? Porn? Malware?

    "Apple tell them what they can and can't do on their own devices, what apps they can and can't spend their money on, and forces phone bricking updates specifically to avoid people having control over their own hardware. That simply is hostile."

    You accused Apple of doing something to it's customers that **you** find disagreeable as if somehow it's customers feel the same as you. Obviously they do not.

 

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