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After MS-Nokia Pact, Many Nokia Workers Walk Out In Protest 601

Posted by timothy
from the let's-enjoy-the-brisk-finnish-air dept.
Mr. McGibby writes "After the announcement of the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft this morning workers voiced their concern with the deal by walking out of Nokia facilities. It is believed that as many as a thousand workers marched out today (or took the day off using flex time) so that the company would know that they don't believe the partnership is in their best interest, even after CEO' Stephen Elop's startlingly frank 'burning platform' memo earlier this week."
Looks like many investors felt the same way.
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After MS-Nokia Pact, Many Nokia Workers Walk Out In Protest

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  • Re:Fuck Nokia (Score:2, Interesting)

    by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:14AM (#35183438)

    Ya, it doesn't seem very likely that people would continue to buy phones that reliably make phone calls when they could spend more than I spent on my first car to get a phone that drops your call if you accidentally hold it comfortably.

    Nokia makes good phones. Your prophecy will only come true if they completely ignore their workers and hold tight with Microsoft.

  • Alternatively, consider HTC - you know, the company that basically got started selling WinMo devices, and is now one of *the* big names in smartphone manufacture world-wide?

    I'm not saying this couldn't go sour for Nokia, because it obviously could. But it certainly isn't guaranteed to, and could in fact pay off very handsomely indeed.

  • Re:Well, obviously (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:44AM (#35183586)
    Just out of curiosity, what else were they going to do? Their current strategy of trying to rely on Symbian while transitioning to MeeGo is what got them into this trouble. Who knows when MeeGo will actually be ready or comparably polished to iOS and Android. Symbian isn't going to magically get much better than it is now, and where's it's at now has taken a lot of development.

    The only other move was to use Android, but that caries its own set of risks. They mentioned the possibility of commoditization, which doesn't ring true to me, but is a possibility. Worse is the ongoing legal dispute over Android with Oracle. Google doesn't indemnify anyone, so if things go in Oracle's favor it may be the manufacturers having to foot the bill. Another "big if", but it's not something a company can outright dismiss.

    It seems like almost everyone around here is heralding this is a horrible move. Does anyone actually have a suggestion for what Nokia should have done instead? A suggestion that doesn't include making different decision several years ago, magically making Symbian as good as Android or iOS, or somehow ignoring the mythical man month and getting MeeGo out the door in a reasonable time frame. It's easy to say a particular decision is crap when you're not expected to come up with a workable one yourself.
  • by Zenin (266666) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:46AM (#35183588) Homepage

    The Nokia execs and some tech writers make the case that Nokia thrives by selling very low end, but very robust phones in the hundreds of millions to the 3rd world where a modern smart phone wouldn't survive a day. They make the case that the Internet will be brought to developing nations via cell phones...low end cell phones, not high end smart phones.

    It's a failed vision.

    It is the vision of yesterday and today, but not of tomorrow. The "low end" of today won't exist tomorrow. Smart phones are advancing at such a pace that in the very near future none of the drawbacks they have today for developing nations (not rugged, very low battery life, high cost, etc) will still hold true. The market for low end voice/text-only cell phones will get taken over by low end smart phones....and chances are they'll be running Android, not Windows 7.

    Nokia will be dead in ten years, quite possibly five.

  • by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruising-slashdot&yahoo,com> on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:48AM (#35183600) Homepage Journal

    Just for the sake of clearing up this oft-repeated fallacy:

    Android is all about choice; you can either have no licensing fee, OR you can have "the extensive Android market." Those are mutually exclusive, though. Google charges for access to that market.

    In fact, the numbers I've heard indicate that OEMs pay more to Google for each Droid (or similar) than they do to Microsoft for each WP7 phone. It's still only a few dollars each way, but Android is only free if you don't include *any* of Google's services on it.

  • by NimbleSquirrel (587564) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:54AM (#35183638)
    MS want to go after Android. With an ex-MS man at the helm of Nokia, I'm not surprised they have pushed this deal through (especially since MS have managed to piss of their other handset manufacturers, and they have in turn jumped to Android). It may hurt Android market share very briefly, but I'll wager it won't be for very long before Nokia dumps WinPhone7 if this deal even goes through.

    MS is trying to play catch-up with Apple and Android, and is losing badly. Wasn't Elop complaining the other day that Nokia was stuck playing catch-up? How can throwing their lot in with MS help them? Unless Elop is playing this deal with MS, so he has a magic bullet against Apple, I can't see their market position getting any better.

    I do have to wonder if this deal is more about solving Nokia's legal battles with Apple. Surely MS will happily hand over patent licenses if Nokia is going to make WInPhone7 devices. Not only would this potentially void some of Apple's patent claims against Nokia, but even if Apple won in the ITC, the devices it is seeking an injunction against will not be around much longer. On top of that, MS would see a handy market boost if the ITC found in favour of Nokia and placed an injunction against the GSM iPhone. There is a reason Apple is trying to kill GSM and pick up CDMA: they probably see they aren't going to win the GSM patent lawsuits that Nokia have filed against them. In terms of the Apple vs Nokia battle, Nokia aligning themselves with Microsoft is an almost perfect match. I'd say that there is a whole lot more going on behind the scenes of this deal, in terms of patent cross-licensing, but Nokia won't reveal that until they get in a courtroom.

    Given the sharholder and employee revolt against this decision, Elop may not be around much longer to see it through.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2011 @01:04AM (#35183680)

    The problem to go with Android is that Nokia needs to compete with LG, HTC, Samsung, Motorola, etc. Those are already established companies. Nokia has no say in shaping its own future.

    Teaming up with Windows phone 7 has no such problem. It is an infant OS, with no established player. Besides, WP7 desperately needs a partner that has global influences, Nokia and WP7 are made for each other.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday February 12, 2011 @01:11AM (#35183706) Homepage Journal

    Firing someone in the EU takes an act of God, signed off by the Pope and Santa Claus.

    Not really. It's just that firing someone in the US is easier than anywhere else in the world. It's just one more way we're behind the rest of the world.

    Somehow, countries like Germany manage to be extremely worker-friendly and still lead the US in exports, and they don't need 20% underemployment to get there. By the way, that 20% underemployment we have in the US is by all expectations a permanent condition.

    Any first year econ student can tell you that labor always proceeds capital. It was only after that condition was reversed in the US that we began our 30 year decline.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @01:20AM (#35183752)

    The only thing Microsoft did to hurt FTP software was to finally include a TCP stack in windows, which was already standard in all the other OSes of the time.

    FTP software was mismanaged and had a very public downward spiral. To pin this all on Microsoft after the fact is absurd.

  • by dirkdodgers (1642627) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @01:28AM (#35183784)

    MeeGo apparently just wasn't ready to go. They had years to ready maemo/meego for the mass market with apparently little to show for it. Maemo SHOULD have been Android. Give up on C++/QT already guys. The clear path forward is a sandboxed, garbage collected environment for standard "app" development, with low level access for game development.

    Anyhow, I'll still get what I want out of it. They're going to put out a MeeGo geek toy by end of 2011. If selling WP7 to the masses is the price of being able to do that, then that's fine by me.

  • Re:Looking for Job (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @01:39AM (#35183820) Homepage

    Everybody can guess exactly what is going on. M$ is paying off Nokia to install windows in a desperate bid to gain market share. How this back hander is being managed to effectively reduce the retail price of Nokia phones, is anyone's guess. perhpas M$ will pay all of Nokia's marketing costs, perhaps M$ is going to buy a whole lot of Nokia gear http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia [wikipedia.org] at inflated prices, as they do more than just make phones.

    Of course M$ can't be telling it's shareholders that they have to pay companies to install their windows mobile platform as that is not going to assure people of the value of M$ shares, especially when a certain ex-CEO ex-Chairman is selling a whole bunch of them (could this be insider trading if that ex-CEO ex-Chairman is aware of the impact upon investors of the actual details M$ Nokia .agreement).

    Nokia of course will continue internal development of Android as a software platform for their phones and have an escape clause for when M$ deal goes tits up, they aren't that silly.

    So all in all, yet another cynical exercise in marketing by M$ to promote it's operating system and of course it's share price.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2011 @01:57AM (#35183884)

    You obviously have never used Qt. If you had then you would understand the potential that it has. Check out Qt and QtQuick. You can do amazing things in a few lines of code in QtQuick. There are lots of youtube examples, check it out. One example was a complete graphically rich game, samegame [youtube.com], which is one of the QtQuick examples. Length of source code: 300 lines. Runs on mobiles, windows, linux, not sure about mac. This was an early example, recent stuff is more jaw dropping.

  • Re:Looking for Job (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alambda (1851436) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @02:37AM (#35184012)

    Have you not read the news regarding the matter and yet care to comment? Yes, I must be new here...

    1. Windows wants to gain market share. Nokia wants to gain market share. Nokia would've been too late to jump on the Android bandwagon and thus chose to differentiate by "creating" an "ecosystem" of its own, with Microsoft. It was stressed time and time again yesterday that for Nokia to succeed in this regard, Windows Phone must prevail.

    2. It was explicitly stated that Nokia would pay royalties to Microsoft and that this would increase cost per sold unit, but at the same time it was stressed that they could make cuts in their own OS R&D, which is the biggest reason the people marched out: The locations mentioned in the news here are filled with thousands of Symbian developers.

    3. Also, Elop has said several times that the deal is not only one-way. While Nokia's phone's would be using e.g. Bing, powered by Microsoft, they expect that when you use Bing maps, you might see something of the sort Bing maps, powered by Nokia, for Nokia is at the bleeding edge of navigational software, thanks to Navteq. Thus the details of the deal aren't as simple as you make it out to be.

  • Shareholder suits? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @02:40AM (#35184034)

    I am wondering if there will be shareholder suits. Elop's action is clearly not in the interest of Nokia shareholders as graphically demonstrated by the trading results today.

    Even more interesting would be if evidence of breach of fiduciary duty was uncovered on Elop's part. Were bribes paid?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:48AM (#35184258)

    ... serves them right (posting as AC to not get into trouble).

    The 1000 people who staged a walkout in Tampere, Finland were mostly Symbian developers who are protesting/scared for their jobs. As someone who lives in Finland and works with mobile devices for a living, this makes me plain angry. Nokia has 1500+ Symbian developers in Tampere and 500+ in Salo, that's over 2000 developers working on Symbian. What the fuck have you people been doing for all these years? Where are the results? And now that finally the new CEO decided to shake things up before Nokia goes completely tits up, you are protesting? Gee, the bubble you've been living in bursting must've hurt - think of it, Symbian wasn't a good, user- and developer-friendly environment you've brainwashed yourself into thinking it was.

    It really was/is cringe-worthy, how out of touch you people were. Not 3 months ago, I was talking to some Nokia developers and they were keeping a straight face while touting the N8 as some kind of an amazing device and downplaying the Apple and Android ecosystem and talking how "Symbian added value to the user-expience". I kid you not!

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:50AM (#35184262) Homepage

    In the past, when we see company X do business with Microsoft, the only moaning we hear it limited to slashdotoid circles. This has got to be the first time I have ever seen where a body of employees and the stock market also agreed that doing business with Microsoft was a bad idea.

    I haven't read through all of the comments yet, but I'm guessing someone has already started asking questions about "acting in the best interests of the share holders" matter. Of course, as Nokia is not a US company I'm guessing that's virtually a non-issue.

    I hope the whole world is now paying attention to Microsoft's touch of death. Microsoft "partners" are usually just lambs lining up for the slaughter.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:52AM (#35184270) Journal
    HTC was a nothing company that got lucky making a deal with a big partner. They had nowhere to go but up, and nothing Microsoft could take from them.

    Nokia is a huge company that is selling its soul to the devil. I'm not talking about Microsoft: they've chosen the route of dying tech giants. They've refused Android because of their patent portfolio. It is one thing for a company to use patents while they continue to innovate, but when they give up innovation to focus on extortion, that's a death deal.

    They could have chosen differently: they could have decided to make both Android and WP7 phones, and even continue with Symbian (although Symbian is dying). Samsung makes beautiful Android and WP7 phones. If anything, this deal most resembles SGI, giving up on their own excellent OS to run (what was then pathetic) WindowsNT on their machines. Not long after SGI became a shell of a company, with nothing but a large patent portfolio. RIP SGI. RIP Nokia.
  • by toriver (11308) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @06:05AM (#35184710)

    One of the products FTP Software were to sell was Vermeer Technologies' Frontpage web page editor. But just as the boxes were shipping, Vermeer was bought by Microsoft and they had to put stickers on the boxes saying "Now Microsoft Frontpage"...

    (I worked at a company selling network software at the time, including FTP Software's products.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2011 @06:53AM (#35184900)

    I'll make you a prediction.

    Two/three years from now... Nokia will be gutted as a corporation and its patents end up being owned by Microsoft. All that will be left for them is selling cheap crap mobiles.

    Elop will end up back at Microsoft with a higher position than the one he left (maybe replacing Ballmer).

    It's a pattern that has repeated itself over and over again. Basically... Nokia just signed its own death warrant.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @07:36AM (#35185094) Journal

    I worked with Stephen Elop back in the Macromedia days, starting with him being my boss^2, in the late 90's. I've always found him a fascinating exec to watch. In the four years or so I saw him at Macromedia, I watched him:
    1. Come into IT, get the existing CIO kicked out, become the CIO, and fuck IT up[0]; so they promoted him and
    2. He came into the Andromedia purchase, ran that business group for about a week which was long enough to fuck it up; so they promoted him and
    3. He started a brand new business group (Internal name ... Whirlwind, I think?) for about three months which was long enough to fuck it up; so they promoted him ...

    This is exactly what corporate psychopaths do! It doesn't matter whether they are successful or not (they aren't as they don't have any actual business talent), they know how to manipulate people and will get promoted or get a better job. Even if they leave their previous company in tatters, they will find another job of equivalent level. And how do you recognize a psychopath? He/she leaves a trail of destruction after him/her.

    I wish the world would wake up to the fact that corporate psychopaths are running most of the publicly traded companies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2011 @07:36AM (#35185098)
    I must point that it was not Nokia who invented Symbian and they realized well how unwieldy it was and did quite a lot to make it more appealing to developers like the last effort making QT the default API. Symbian OS itself was rather an antiquated design even back in 1994 when it was shaped making quite unconventional design decision in the name of reducing need for multitasking or size of compiler generated code (what was often compensated with extra code written by programmers). So for those wondering why Nokia decided to use Symbian in the first place, ironically the answer is they, like some other manufactures or providers, were hell scared that otherwise Microsoft could come for them. And it worked at first when the expectation on the smart part of mobile phones were quite low and there was no serious competition. It also resulted in the rise of the huge ego culture at Symbian who were beating Microsoft in the domain of operating systems... But it only made them blind and things changed when the real competion came... and finally MS came for Nokia. I just wonder if Microsoft believe that if relation with Nokia might have sky risen Symbian it could work for them as well... Now it's time to walk my dog and go down memory lane of my days at Symbian in 2004-2005 and in one company writing applications for Symbian in 2007-2008....
  • by Weezul (52464) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @07:49AM (#35185142)

    In memoriam : Microsoft's previous strategic mobile partners [asymco.com] lol

    All immediately after the N900 gets Android apps [youtube.com] too, sad & stupid Nokia. If Intel's buddies continue pursuing MeeGo tablets, we'll maybe come back around to a MeeGo phone again, eventually.

    Ideally, Finland might provide startup funds for some ex-Nokia employees wishing to bring another MeeGo phone to market. A small tech company with less overhead could do so far more inexpensively.

  • Re:Looking for Job (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Weezul (52464) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @07:52AM (#35185162)

    Any chance Finland will yield up some venture capital for a small group of ex-Nokia developers to bring a solid MeeGo phone to market?

  • by Pecisk (688001) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @08:01AM (#35185192)

    I call it 'paradox of power'. Power is attracted by people, who wants power and nothing more. In fact, they want huge control over their lifes - and they are pushed by basic survival instinct. Problem with instincts that they are very primeval and without additional dose of intelligence will fail it's owner.

    So, in traditional corporation, you can climb to the top 1) using your brain and charisma or 2) using your survival skill, which borders with sociopathy. So you can work hard and try to present your results in positive light *or* you can lie and cheat and walk over dead bodies of units/other people careers.

    Problem with this setting is when true sociopath got their foot in this game, they can cause serious destruction and mayhem - and still get on the top. That's how they do - they play on other weaknesses, secrets, have no remorse or even sense of accomplishment. They just do things for doing sake. For aim sake. Because underneath it is all about survival. They will do absolutely anything - just to survive. I call it a survive instinct glitch.

    If corporation have been long enough in existence, top of it will consist of such "survivors", which will cheer on such guys like Elop. That's why they recognize their kind and promote it, thinking that it will cause survival of their company too.

    As for any paradox, it barely makes a sense. But that's how human mind is built.

  • by ProppaT (557551) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @08:16AM (#35185254) Homepage

    These were kind of my thoughts, but it's nice to see them reiterated by someone a bit closer to the situation. Symbian, as great as it was, has sat stagnant for years. I've often wondered what the development team was doing myself; however, when you put it into perspective of thousands of developers, it really makes no sense.

    I think the partnership with Microsoft could be strategic for both companies. Microsoft really needs a company to grab onto WP7 and bring it full force to the market. HTC is the biggest pusher of the OS at the minute and they're basically just making handsets to entertain the small portion of the market that sees the potential in the WP7 platform. Nokia needs someone to keep them on life support. WP7 really is a terrific platform, especially seeing how young it is. People like to write off Microsoft, but they've come a long way as far as modernizing their brand goes. I, personally, look forward to potentially using a Nokia WP7 device some day. It's the only platform, other than WebOS (my current mobile OS), that really interests me.

  • Re:Looking for Job (Score:4, Interesting)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @09:10AM (#35185488) Journal

    Yep.

    Nokia could have played the smart move and catered to the entire market since they're not linked to anyone (aka innovation), instead they took a stupid decision and sided with a single company. Nobody cares that HTC makes android and windows phones, and HTC simply wins whenever either sell phones. Nokia could have done the same.

    I can only question how much of this is related to Elop having worked for MS.

    Hell, a nokia hardware iphone? That'd be quite interesting. Instead, Nokia win7phone? Horrid.

  • by 68kmac (471061) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @09:44AM (#35185690) Homepage

    Nokia didn't invent Symbian, but it was their decision to use it. Back in the late 1990's, I was involved in a "top secret" project between Nokia and Psion, to bring Psion's EPOC operating system to a Nokia phone which was going to be the successor of the 9110 Communicator. The announcement of Symbian a few months later came as a complete surprise to us: "Oh, that's what we've been working on all the time?"

    I still think it made a lot of sense back then. They just lost contact with the market (or maybe reality in general, as you and the GP implied) in the mid-2000's.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2011 @10:20AM (#35185910)

    "What the fuck have you people been doing for all these years?"

    Good question.

    Of course the actual number is bigger than that, because there is development spread around the world.

    The same is true for Meego, with at least 1000 developers (in one site).

    It makes little since to the people working there either, if they are honest.

    (Ubuntu has 300 employees for example).

    The CEO asked "How many layers to have to go down before I stop seeing Power Point".

    While I agree with the CEO's assessment of the previous ineffective state,
    I'm not sure the step taken was wise.
    It seems like jumping from a "burning platform" to a sinking boat.
    (And the boat only has room for 1/2 (maybe) of the people)

    The questions that remain (that everyone is reacting too) are:
    What is the Qt story? (and how can that fit with Microsoft)
    What is the Meego story? (for Nokia and Intel)
    What is the Symbian story?
    Can Nokia (or any company) really add value on such a closed platform?
    What experience is Nokia bringing to developing on such a platform (I would guess very little).

    With the announcement, CEO seemed to forget about all Nokia developers (internal and external).

    I think there was a better solution than jumping off of the platform? Perhaps throwing those off that intentionally ignored the slow burning flames, then putting out the fires...

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