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Android Businesses Cellphones Handhelds Microsoft

Why Nokia Is Toast 475

Posted by timothy
from the don't-forget-the-herring-spread dept.
CWmike writes "It's hard to remember now, but there was a time when Finland was at the center of the cell phone universe. No more. Nokia is being killed by complexity. Along comes Microsoft with Windows Phone 7, delivering more complexity. My view is that Microsoft doesn't matter, writes Mike Elgan. Although Windows Phone 7 is a way better operating system than Symbian, Nokia's problem isn't Symbian, and the solution isn't Windows Phone 7. Nokia's problem is that it follows the losing strategies of the other losers in the market, and rejects the only two known winning strategies. There are way too many Nokia phones. This causes either choice paralysis, sending buyers screaming to Apple for relief, or buyer's remorse. Nokia should take the advice Steve Jobs gave to Nike CEO Mark Parker: 'Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.'" And maybe Nokia isn't toast at all: reader high_rolla points out an interesting bit of speculation that the Nokia-Microsoft pact is part of a grand plan "to become the exclusive manufacturer of hardware for MS phones and tablets."
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Why Nokia Is Toast

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  • At one stage I was a Nokia user, then went over to Sony-E and am wondering about Blackberry, not liking the idea of a phone in my iPod, Windows in a mobile or the stuff that Sony-E is now coming out with.
  • by wisdom_brewing (557753) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @01:56PM (#35193032) Homepage
    toast!
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:03PM (#35193074) Journal

    If MS not even essentially buying a company in a coup where, conveniently for MS, an ex-Microsoftie replaces their former boss [appleoutsider.com] will assist MS in competing with Google and Apple, and instead ends up killing the company, MS has failed in the mobile industry like few others. If that won't cause Ballmer to have to leave, I don't know if anything will.

    Despite all the evil MS may represent, I'm sure MS don't want to kill Nokia. They clearly want to use them as a leverage for WP7 market penetration. However, the Nokia shareholders seem to be less than impressed to go from an independent company - to be designing and packaging hardware. What has Nokia stock dropped by by now? Last I heard was -14% with many leaving the company. I'm not surprised - I'd feel the same if I went from being a software developer to someone writing marketing material and trying to think up designs for someone elses product, and even have to tell everyone that it's the best software ever, after having dropped my own.

    It's humiliation, that's all it is. Pure humiliation for Nokia...

    • Microsoft today most reminds me of a coral reef in the Caribbean.
      Still standing there, huge, menacing, misshapen and barnacle-encrusted.
      But dead. The environment has changed around it and it can't adapt.

      Nokia is a huge ship battered by the storm coming in toward the reef
      for shelter.

      What do you think is going to happen?

      • by sznupi (719324) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:42PM (#35193304) Homepage
        It's fascinating how easily people can forget Xbox...
        • by Nossie (753694) <IanHarvie@4Devel ... t.Net minus city> on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:45PM (#35193780)

          are they making a profit yet from R&D?

          I bet some people within Microsoft are trying to forgot XBOX and cant.

      • by exomondo (1725132) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @06:28PM (#35194838)

        Microsoft today most reminds me of a coral reef in the Caribbean. Still standing there, huge, menacing, misshapen and barnacle-encrusted. But dead. The environment has changed around it and it can't adapt.

        So what about the XBox? It's a phenomenal success in console terms (given the console business model). Just look at the commercial services available through XBox Live. And Kinect has been doing brilliantly, a device that hackers are loving just as much as gamers.
        Also WP7 has only been on the market for a matter of months so it's too early to come to a conclusion on that yet, Windows Mobile (which is of course in no way related to WP7) was a failure, but then again it was never meant to compete in this environment, it's over a decade old.
        Then there's the enterprise software like Exchange and Sharepoint.

        Sure MS aren't in the consumer gadget business, but that doesn't make them dead.

    • by raftpeople (844215) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:20PM (#35193206)
      Nokia isn't leading, Apple and Android are doing very well, RIM still has solid market share and MS is going to fight like hell for WP7. There isn't room for 5 players and even 4 is a stretch. It doesn't matter what happened in the past, Nokia was in a weak position and needed to do something. Bottom line is that the stage is set for the phone OS players and Nokia is not one of them, so they have to change where they fit into the eco-system.
      • by sznupi (719324)
        I wonder what upgrade path many (those who will want to upgrade) of the hundreds of millions of people reflecting, by far, most top handsets in Part 3 of this report [opera.com] are likely to choose... (also, note RIM there, et al that you mention)
        • by 21mhz (443080)

          You mean there was an upgrade path between Symbian devices, beyond "migrate your data and take pains installling your favorite applications"?
          Oh, and these are top handsets using Opera Mini, quite a skewed metric. There are no "hundreds of millions" of users there, in fact they celebrate one hundred million total in Part 1 of the report you refer to.

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        I agree, but that's only likely to work out for Nokia if WP7 is, in fact, really damn good. So far I've heard that it's basically fine, but nothing earth shattering; when Android has a far bigger installed base (and thus greater app support and so forth) and better name recognition, I don't think MS's marketing team will be enough to swing things in Nokia's direction.

        It's something of a shame, actually. Nokia make some very nice hardware - I still think the 8910 & 1100 are by far the nicest 'basic' phon

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      If their goal is to kill Nokia off so that it can't dabble in Linux any more, then their actions make perfect sense.

      • If their goal is to kill Nokia off so that it can't dabble in Linux any more, then their actions make perfect sense.

        Hadn't thought of that. The mobile market is huge, and if Microsoft can't own Nokia's share they sure as Hell don't want it going in Android's direction, and Ballmer, Hell & Co. aren't above deliberately destroying another major corporation to get their way.

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:44PM (#35193778)

      Despite all the evil MS may represent, I'm sure MS don't want to kill Nokia.

      Like most companies, MS is only really interested in how the Nokia deal serves them. They really don't have Nokia's best interests in mind. When they get all they can out of the deal, they'll screw over Nokia like so many of their former "partners". I'm guessing that is what the investors are reacting to at the moment. Nokia could have done other things: (1)Push Meego. (2)Push Symbian. (3)Adopt Android. (4)Develop their own OS. But instead they went the choice with the fewest benefits.

      There are many that would argue that going with Android would have made Nokia another "me too" phone manufacturer and less distinctive. I would argue how is going with MS any better. MS has already put some massive restrictions on WP7 so that one phone model really isn't very distinctive from another model in terms of UI. With Android, Nokia would have more the ability to customize it to their own purposes.

      • by 21mhz (443080) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @04:08PM (#35193916) Journal

        Nokia could have done other things: (1)Push Meego. (2)Push Symbian. (3)Adopt Android. (4)Develop their own OS.

        (1) Tried, it's not ready enough yet.
        (2) That platform is a zombie walking around asking for more brains... I mean, R&D budget millions to gobble.
        (3) Join the race to the bottom, compete in services with Google who happen to control your platform. Feel the fragmentation.
        (4) What? Create another R&D sinkhole, while MeeGo is still around? Just what Nokia needs now.

        • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday February 13, 2011 @04:40PM (#35194130)

          Nokia could have done other things: (1)Push Meego. (2)Push Symbian. (3)Adopt Android. (4)Develop their own OS.

          (1) Tried, it's not ready enough yet. (2) That platform is a zombie walking around asking for more brains... I mean, R&D budget millions to gobble. (3) Join the race to the bottom, compete in services with Google who happen to control your platform. Feel the fragmentation. (4) What? Create another R&D sinkhole, while MeeGo is still around? Just what Nokia needs now.

          True, but making a deal like this with Microsoft isn't a viable No. 5, when you get right down to it. Pact with the Devil and all that. And the GP is correct when he says, "like most companies, MS is only really interested in how the Nokia deal serves them." And that's okay ... the question is, is Nokia's leadership interested in how the deal serves Nokia, or just in how it serves Nokia's leadership? Something smells here, but I can't put my finger on it.

      • by Rob Y. (110975) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @06:34PM (#35194892)

        Could it be that with Nokia dependent on MS for phone software, the biggest holder of smartphone related patents is no longer a threat to Microsoft? Apple and Microsoft have some kind of patent sharing deal, which is good for Microsoft, but does Apple no good against Nokia's phone patents.

        And Google's pretty much on their own. Maybe Motorola's got some protection to offer Android, but I personally don't like the idea of an emboldened Microsoft waving bullshit UI patents as a threat to Android with nobody left to countersue.

        • That's the MS business model now. Why innovate, when you can litigate?

          From groklaw.net:

          NOKIA: Here's Why We Jumped Off The "Burning Platform" Into The Frigid North Sea
          Nokia’s history of innovation in the hardware space, global hardware scale, strong history of intellectual property creation and navigation assets are second to none....

          There are other mobile ecosystems. We will disrupt them.

          [PJ: Hmm. I wonder if there's a connection between those two sentences. This isn't about patents, by any chance...?]

  • Preemptive conclusions?

    "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

  • by phonewebcam (446772) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:04PM (#35193084) Homepage

    He loves it when a plan comes together [dailyfinance.com]

    • He loves it when a plan comes together

      That list is interesting in that apart from the top handful there's not a lot of money there. What happened to all the "Microsoft Millionaires"? Did they all cash out?

      • by seifried (12921)
        They typically have options, not actual stock. And I suspect most are cashing out as their options vest since the stock price is flat (no point holding on to it).
  • if Nokia is toast, then what is Ericcson? I used to have one of their phones long time ago (yes i kept a Swedish implement in my pocket) but donno what happened to them
    • by amorsen (7485)

      The handset part of Ericsson died and their soul went to Sony.

      The provider side is doing quite fine, AFAIK, with some interesting LTE/4G products in the pipeline.

    • by Hellasboy (120979)

      Ericsson and Sony formed a 50/50 partnership: Sony-Ericsson. That's in regards to cell phones. Ericsson still manufactures hardware for cell phone companies (just as Nokia does).
      SE did pretty good for a while but 2006-2009-ish were pretty bad years for them. Although, they've seemed to turn it around this past year. They're introducing several more Android handsets and it's rumored that they have a WP7 phone in the works.

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Although, they've seemed to turn it around this past year.

        Not really, apparently they are (barely) in the clear mostly thanks to firing large part of R&D and via accounting tricks (not counting ~half a billion or so "loan" from parent companies)

        (though, regarding SE & especially Android ... choice of TFS icon seems misplaced)

    • by usul294 (1163169) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:15PM (#35193172)
      There's currently an unveiling going on covering Sony Ericsson's new products [phonescoop.com] , seems to be Android phones loaded with Gingerbread, the "PlayStation Phone" included.
  • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:06PM (#35193092) Homepage Journal

    I'd be shocked if Nokia were "toast". They're still one of the biggest handset makers in the world, and their name recognition alone is worth billions in the market. And while guys like Steve Jobs are going "simplify!", there are millions of customers going "Really? This is all you've got? Where are all the choices?". Just because Apple's strategy is good for Apple doesn't mean it'll be good for Nokia, just like Mercedes isn't going to pursue the same strategy as Ford. They're both still going to make a lot of money.

    • by sznupi (719324) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:10PM (#35193124) Homepage
      Indeed, look at top handsets in top20 countries of this report [opera.com]. Just look at them; beyond some probably fairly atypical (but vocal and visible) place. Curious way of being "toast"...

      Who knows... at the very least, this deal means a lot of Winmob7 phones pretty soon. With Nokia most likely dominating - other phone makers brought, what, just ~2 million of them onto the market till now? Now they might even shun the platform, they don't depend on it & so it's easy for them, if it appears like Nokia might be getting a preferential treatment (at the least keeping Ovi Maps to themselves, and certainly deals with carriers / mobile payments). Last year Nokia sold over 100 million Symbian phones, and growing... and since now they say there are plans for just ~150 million more, that means a pretty quick switchover. With, all things said, a pretty decent OS, and which will certainly have all the "required" apps - plus IMHO a very real chance to rapidly pick up steam in mobile gaming. Then there are hundreds of millions of people still loyal to Nokia, many will want to upgrade from their "feature phones", and since Winmob7 is supposed to be now spread across a spectrum of handsets at different price points...
      The "leaked" handset [gsmarena.com] (yeah, "who knows?") doesn't look half bad, too...

      Only the Windows logo is a bit disturbing / too bad it's still MS... ;/

      Plus, it's a company which succesfully reinvneted, reorganized itself numerous times... this shift is even quite minor in comparison.
      • by nofx_3 (40519) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:43PM (#35193766)

        "Indeed, look at top handsets in top20 countries of this report [opera.com]. Just look at them; beyond some probably fairly atypical (but vocal and visible) place. Curious way of being "toast"... "

        This data is wildly skewed. It's take from Opera mini/mobile use. For that reason alone you are unlikely to see phones with a good browsers (iphone/android) showing up on the list as folks with those phones simply won't be using Opera.

    • by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:18PM (#35193188)

      Nevertheless it IS impossible to pick a Nokia phone unless you happen to be a Nokia phone expert. Now that people are starting to buy handsets instead of just being grateful for whatever crap the phone company threw at them, this is becoming a problem.

      Getting down to two models is a challenge though; there is still a large market for "in-between" phones which have decent battery life and small size but still a reasonable amount of features. The Slashdot market may be divided between "I don't need no stinking texting" and "no can-opener? lame!", but the rest of the world is less black and white.

      • Well, here in Belgium people had to buy their own phones since the beginning, and it's never been an issue of "Oh My God i'm too stupid to pick one!" here, for starters, people can read the capacities of the devices on the box, and secondly, the shop personnel is capable of helping people decide when in doubt by showing them the phones & letting them fumble with them in store.

        People aren't complete idiots (well, most aren't anyway), give them a little credit. The morons can go buy an iPhone.
        • by Shimbo (100005)

          People aren't complete idiots (well, most aren't anyway), give them a little credit.

          I don't think it's a stupid thing, it's a geek thing. When amorsen says "it IS impossible to pick a Nokia phone", what he means (I assume) is "given, a set of requirements, it's almost impossible to select the optimal Nokia phone for my needs". Which may be perfectly true but not something everyone worries about.

          • Sorry, i don't buy it (no pun intended).

            As a geek, i've never had any issue picking out a phone that suited my needs, be it Nokia or HTC (they too have plenty of models) or what have you, it's simple really, you define a set of features you want, and your price range, whatever fits those criteria are already good picks, you just have to further narrow it down to one by looking what the differences are and which is most important, Model A might be slightly faster, but model B has a slightly bigger screen f
      • by TheLink (130905)
        It is actually not too difficult to pick a Nokia phone on some of their websites (they have a phone chooser applet - either you or the salesperson can click on the stuff you want). For some countries though - prices aren't listed. That makes their phone choosing webapp a lot less useful to me.

        I disagree with Steve Jobs' implication that a reduction of choice is a good thing. Just because Steve Jobs thinks it's crap doesn't mean the rest of the world won't want to buy it.

        If you want a cheap durable phone ju
        • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:39PM (#35193738) Homepage

          It's been called the Paradox of Choice [ted.com] (TED video link). The problem is that when you are spending a large amount of money (such as on a cell phone), the costs of getting it wrong can be large (since, unlike a box of cookies, replacement isn't cheap). Having to choose between dozens of nearly identical models can be confusing or at least taxing.

          Steve Jobs gets this. When he came back to Apple he got rid of the dozens of similar products that were just slightly different (Performa 600, 610, 700, 720, 720CD, 730AV, 590HSBCPDBA, 617BBQFTW) and replaced them all with a handful of models. Things may not have matched your exact criteria as closely, but it was much easier to find something close to your criteria than it was before. Car companies can be quite guilty of this too. Mercedes sells 5 sedans/coupes, each in 4 or 5 trim levels. After that you get to options, and other companies are the same. So if you want buy a car, and price isn't a big object, and you want to look at Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, and Audio you could be looking at comparing 80-100 cars just to get a sedan, and thats without the individual option packages.

          There was a great picture on a gadget site a year or two ago. It was a picture of Sony's lineup of earbuds. Between different styles, ear loops, colors, etc there were over 100 combinations of products they were selling. There were just too many choices.

          This has always been a bit of a problem for Sony. Right now, their site lists 13 point and shoot cameras, 23 handycam camcorders, and 11 clock radios. They have at least seven different 46" TVs.

          Do you know why Flip video succeeded? They made a simple little video camera, but they made ONE. Right now they have 3. One with a touch strip, one with HD, and a smaller one with HD and a rechargeable battery. Easy to pick. With sony, you need to decide form factor, 3D, resolution, pop-out screen....

          • by Draek (916851)

            So if you want buy a car, and price isn't a big object, and you want to look at Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, and Audio you could be looking at comparing 80-100 cars just to get a sedan, and thats without the individual option packages.

            Or you could do as most people do, walk in their favorite dealership and have the sales guy deal with all that for you and narrow it down to two or three models.

            Exactly as normal people do with cellphones, by the way, and is how Nokia maintains a healthy share of the cellphone market in spite of uppity Apple and their glorious lack of choice.

            Honestly, this near-religious worship of Apple and everything they do is getting ridicuous.

    • by Znork (31774) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:48PM (#35193346)
      "They're still one of the biggest handset makers in the world"

      The interesting thing is that the leadership at Nokia seems to have forgotten about that part of their business. With the hardware requirements of WP, Nokia is going to go from 30-something percent to, if they're lucky, mid-to-high single digit marketshare, unless they're planning to sell their handsets at a significant loss. Their margin will be pitiful.

      They seem quite desperate to get into the segment of 'cool' smartphones to obtain the margins of other players, yet miss the fact that their main customer segment won't have that money even if they have a product, and the customers they're after wouldn't consider a WP based device 'cool' if it came with its own liquid nitrogen system.

      A strategy worthy of that other Steve who seems unable to do anything but try to emulate whomever he considers cool guy of the week.

      Just because you're caught on a burning platform doesn't mean sticking a shotgun in your mouth and blowing your head off is the best way to move forward.
      • by sznupi (719324)
        What makes you think they're abandoning most of those close-to-500-million-devices-shipped-annually of theirs? No seriously, what? Among the recent news was a desire to have clear focus on two main consumer product divisions, one of them being so called "dumbphones" or "feature phones", certainly still largely on S40 (because some lowest-end ones are on S30...)

        It's understandable how the vocal pundits from atypical (but visible) markets focus only on their narrow perspective, but why would you assume Nok
        • by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:45PM (#35193784)

          Because they got a stupid North American as a CEO who thinks his home base is the world. Only in NA is Nokia an also-ran. Because nowhere else is it normal to get the phone for "free" with your contract. Contracts which are preposterous in the first place.

          Because nowhere else are consumers ignorant enough and regulators lazy enough to allow that. So outside of NA, your iPhone is wayyy too expensive for what it is. Except if you are an asshole yuppie urbanite that is. Only is you care more about your phone looking "cool" (that is bough last month, or so) instead of having really good reception/battery life, will you buy the phones which are popular in NA.

          So based on the bizarre, twisted, wrong NA market, the CEO changes a strategy which is _working_ (ovi store is growing tremendously -- well was until Friday -- and Qt allowed development on the entire line of phones). He pisses off his entire dev base hoping to get a new one, presumably. Because replacing a world-class API (Qt) which is truly portable with a WP-only API which can only work on hi-power-low-battery-duration devices is _stupid_. Telling devs "you know those 500 000 000 devices you targeted? They're gone" is not good. And WP phone devs are probably not going to be so eager to replace their just-shafted colleagues... I guess he doesn't even understand why the stock of his company plunged 15% in a day...

          Because investors realised that the man knows nothing, and is more than just clueless: he is actively and destructively stupid.

          • by Andy_R (114137)

            The problem at Nokia is that the CEO only realised the company is in trouble very recently, when the signs have been clearly visible for years.

            Ask the average man in the street to name any current Nokia product, any feature that only Nokia phones have, or anything that Nokia phones are particularly good at, and you'll get blank looks. Every single Apple phone launch has been a bigger media event than every Nokia launch in the history of the company put together. Fundamentally, mobile phones are a product wi

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'd be shocked if Nokia were "toast". They're still one of the biggest handset makers in the world, and their name recognition alone is worth billions in the market.

      Being the biggest handset maker means nothing if you can't make money from your customers. As shown here [gigaom.com], Nokia's share of profit in the mobile arena has dropped from 63% in 2007 to 22% in 2010. That is a huge drop in profit when compared to other companies. Basically, Nokia is selling tons of cheap phones but not many expensive ones where all the profits lie. Moreover, companies in China and India are gearing up to move into the cheap phones market also. This means that Nokia would be squeeze from both end

    • There's gotta be some happy medium. I agree with the author that visiting the Nokia website is hopeless; I did that a few years ago and came to the conclusion that Nokia makes 10 times as many models as they ought to. But they could make, perhaps, 4 models and have a broad customer base.
    • by Weezul (52464) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:28PM (#35193654)

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

      Nokia has been amazing at undercutting all other phone manufactures's prices on the low end, yielding amazing sales in poor countries. Yet, now we're seeing Chinese companies who'll basically just copy all Nokia's products, and produce phone even more cheaply using almost slave labor, which'll obliterate into Nokia razor thin margins.

      We're entering a time when Nokia's western low-end phones will run Symbian while other low-end phone remain simply feature phones because Symbian requires less resources than Android, iOS, Blackberry, WP7, etc. I donno how long that bright period will last of course, well maybe it'll depend most upon the marketing for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, etc.

      In smart phones, Nokia could've easily run with MeeGo plus Andoird apps [youtube.com], giving themselves the largest app selection plus differentiation. It's dubious however that WP7 will deliver either the developers given that Apple and Android own the market currently, or the users, given that Android delivers all the choices you mentioned.

      • by sznupi (719324) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @06:12PM (#35194730) Homepage
        Part 3 of this report [opera.com] focuses on the EU; not exactly poor countries / Nokia still has the largest slice of the market (I wonder how it would look if iPhone models were listed separately... many Nokia handsets are also very similar)

        They rarely undercut other manufacturers BTW, people chose Nokia - for each of their devices, it was typically fairly easy to find a comparable but cheaper phone from other manufacturers. Those outsourcing everything to China are not exactly a new thing.
        (and S40 should remain for a long time on western low-end handsets)
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      I don't think it is too much over the top.
      Nokia has almost no market share in the US. The US currently the biggest single market in the world. China and India are growing quickly but they not there yet. I am talking about in amount of profit not volume.
      WP7 right now is a total fizzle. In the US Microsoft's home market they are on on carrier and have no real buzz going. I went to the AT&T store to see them. They where fast but no one seemed to care about them. I fear that Nokia using WP7 will do nothing

  • by cyberfin (1454265) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:08PM (#35193102)
    It pains me to say this is the a correct business move for both companies. Combined they have a much better chance of standing out in the crowd (other android-phone makers). Many will hate it, many will love it. A new Apple has been born.
  • On behalf of everyone who is developing software for Android smartphones or iPhone/iPad, I would like to thank Microsoft and Nokia for their support.

    I first heard about Microsoft and Nokia joining forces when someone told me the vaguest details, and I assumed Microsoft would be adopting Nokia's Symbian operating system for their phones. That would have made sense. You see, despite the appalling sales figures for Windows phones, the truth of the matter is that the devices themselves have been superb, and the

  • Exclusive ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zelgadiss (213127) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:09PM (#35193114)

    Nokia better come up with some exotic hardware that no one else can produce and tie WP7 tightly to it (so it's reliance on their hardware) if they want to do this exclusive thing.

    Else they are completely at the mercy of MS, where MS can dump them for another hardware manufacturer and they can't drop WP7 without losing their customer base who has invested heavy in WP7 applications.

    • Re:Exclusive ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @04:17PM (#35193992)

      Or MS can drain Nokia of any and all exotic hardware information they need, then dump them. Remember Sendo [wikipedia.org]? MS was supposed to deliver an OS by June 2001 and Sendo would supply the hardware. By December 2002, MS had not delivered the OS and Sendo alleges that MS purposefully sabotaged the partnership to force Sendo into bankruptcy. Part of the agreements stipulated the MS would get all of Sendo's technology should they go into bankruptcy.

    • Nokia better come up with some exotic hardware that no one else can produce and tie WP7 tightly to it (so it's reliance on their hardware) if they want to do this exclusive thing.

      Else they are completely at the mercy of MS, where MS can dump them for another hardware manufacturer and they can't drop WP7 without losing their customer base who has invested heavy in WP7 applications.

      Yeah, I think this is why Nokia's stock dropped so much. They didn't get anything out of the deal they didn't already have. They didn't get exclusivity, they didn't get control for the future, and they didn't get an operating system that is doing well already. They're really stuck with WP7 now, while they had Meego which could have given them a measure of control going forward. The costs to finish Meego and release products with it couldn't have been as bad as getting in bed with MS who have a history of tr

  • by pavera (320634) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:10PM (#35193126) Homepage Journal

    Both the "Nokia is dead" and "Nokia will thrive" articles say the same thing. They only differ in whether or not the authors think Nokia will follow the strategy.

    The first article says that Nokia should ditch everything and release 1 really nice WP7 phone. This article says its their only chance, but they won't do it because it is against everything Nokia has ever stood for.

    The second article says they will become the exclusive WP7 shop. Maybe they'll have more than 1 phone, but they'll be the only WP7 game in town, and they'll make really nice integrated phones that provide a slick experience (ala Apple). This is exactly what the first article says they should do, article #2 just says he thinks they will be smart enough to take this route.

  • I always thought that the best possible winning strategy would be an Android Phone with a completely redone UI using their QT Resource. Allowing them to both get the Android market love, and differentiate themselves with QT Slickness. Ah well...
  • I disagree. Even though Nokia has different models they all have been consistent in the user interface. If I had been a user of a relatively cheaper model, I will feel completely at home when I upgrade to a better model. With their different models, buyers are given some choices. Pick your own combination of features and the price. How can that be a bad thing?
  • http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-11/former-microsoft-exec-to-head-nokia-s-us-business.html

    Any questions?

    • By saying "being taken over by Microsoft" you are implying that this was Microsoft's move. I think it was the other way around. Nokia is screwed, they know that, and decided a while ago to dump their software and license WP7. The best way to do accomplish this is to hire somebody from Microsoft who knows and understands Microsoft. I'm certain they are getting a better deal and preferential treatment than any other WP7 licensee.

  • Im not sure if of models might be an issue but Nokia also has marketing problems as well, Nokia needs to create a single premium phone model and give it some sort of name, rather than a model number, and then only sell a single premium phone with that brand. A strategy is to sell the lesser, lower end phones under a different brand/company name from the premium high end model.

    Part of what Nokia misses is creating the hype of creating the cutting edge visionary device. The idea of running a company selling l

  • by Zemran (3101) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:17PM (#35193184) Homepage Journal

    I find that Symbian does all I need and I am happy with it. I do not want a pocket computer, just a phone that has a few extras. If I want more I open my laptop. I am not sure which direction I will go in next as for me, the N97 is the most suitable phone but if it has Windows stuck on it, it will not even come close to meeting my needs. I do use GPS and am often out of cell range, therefore I do not want to need Google maps etc. I can use Nokia Maps in the mountains, far from the nearest cell and it has got me out of trouble a couple of times (I am a 4x4 nut). I like good music on my phone and a backup camera, that is all. After this merger, I will probably buy a real GPS for the truck and a dumbphone. I cannot see any reason to buy a load of stuff I do not want. I think Sony sound OK for me now; good music and a decent dumbphone.

    • by t2t10 (1909766)

      Nobody is forcing you to do more than a few simple things with iPhone or Android. Any of the modern smart phones can be used as very simple, easy to use "dumb phones" if you like.

      The problem with Symbian is that it's buggy and that its user interface is impenetrable for new users.

      (And the only reason you're getting Nokia Maps the way you do is because other phones pushed the envelope.)

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Any of the modern smart phones can be used as very simple, easy to use "dumb phones" if you like.

        That's a good idea. Let's pay 10x as much as a phone that just makes phone calls, and get significantly lower battery life too.

        Also, some of us aren't allowed to have 'smart phones' at work; finding phones without cameras for secure environments is already getting close to impossible.

    • Features are not simply check list items [daringfireball.net]

      There's some accounting for usability and polish. With Android, Symbian has nearly no advantages. Nokia played the emerging markets on volume, not profit margins. Now that they're being eaten on both ends of their product lines.

  • Qt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jelizondo (183861) <jerry DOT elizondo AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:19PM (#35193198)

    Funny timing, I'm uninstalling Qt and Symbian as I write...

    I think Nokia has fumbled too long between Symbian and Meego and now Qt; one can't get a clear sense of where they are going and thus, as a developer I must move to greener pastures.

    Goodbye Nokia! Hello Android!

    • I disagree with regards Qt; Qt has moved along beautifully to this point where QML really is the best solution to quick production of apps for devices as targets that I've seen and comes as a great SDK. The problem has been taking too long to commit to Maemo/MeeGo, if they'd thrown themselves fully at it two years ago the OS under Qt/Declaritive apps would perhaps be quick enough for the applications to appear as slick as Android and iPhone ones. The hardware and facilities on the N900 are as good an anythi

  • by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:22PM (#35193226)

    In the low end Nokia is going to get eaten alive by cheap Chinese phones. They won't be great phones, but they will be dirt cheap and will sell by the truckload in the developing world.

    In the high end, Nokia has to compete with companies like Apple and HTC. On one hand, Apple is super focused and dumps all their resources into a very small number of products and owns the ecosystem. On the other hand, HTC is small and nimble and willing to take chances. Compare this with Nokia -- which is a slow, conservative, giant and doesn't stand a chance against these smaller companies when it comes to innovation.

    What's left for them?

    I think Nokia brought in a former Microsoftie to run their company because they knew they were going to be licensing WP7. I'm sure they are getting a crazy good deal and plenty of promises from Microsoft. It's probably the biggest gamble that Nokia was willing to make and I think it's only going to prolong their descent into irrelevance.

  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @02:23PM (#35193230)

    While I agree that in general, the minimalist strategy works well for Apple, I'm not sure that Nokia could pull it off. Let's look at what Apple used to build the iPhone brand before there even was an iPhone.

    1.) OSX. Apple's penultimate desktop operating system, gain billions of fans for it's tight design and nearly flawless execution. When Apple merged it into the x86 platform it removed much of the pricing barrier that was keeping people off of Apple and wooed many more customers.

    2.) iTunes - At the height of the digital music revolution, Apple introduces the ultimate music software to go with it's ultimate desktop OS.

    3.) iPod - Right along with iTunes, completes the musical vertical integration pyramid, design is revised several times, paving the way for the iPhone's form-factor.

    All of the above led directly into the iPhone. Looking back at it it's almost obvious that this is where they were going, although none of us could see it at the time.

    Now, what to Microsoft and Nokia have? Well, Microsoft has a desktop OS, but has said little to nothing about integration. No solid music apps beyond Windows Media Player, and that's just a mess. Nokia? Well, they have plenty of phones, but no design ethos or personality. Basically, both MS and Nokia have the same "scattershot" approach to business. They try to take a little from every area, resulting in generally mediocre products with a few bright spots. Not a winning strategy.

    right now, of the non-Apple and Google players, I think that HP is positioned best with RIM a close second. If HP can seriously deliver both on the consumer and business ends, they will knock RIM out (particularly if they can deliver the kind of centrally-controlled enterprise handset encryption that RIM specializes in). Regardless, the Nokia-MS merger isn't likely to make much of a difference, even IF they take the advice offered in TFA. They just don't have the right pieces in place or the right corporate attitude.

    • by Candid88 (1292486)

      OSX - penultimate? Billions of fans?

      "When Apple merged it into the x86 platform it removed much of the pricing barrier that was keeping people off of Apple"
      Guess they forgot to inform my local Apple store where the cheapest comps out-price the most expensive PCs of most other shops around town.

      iTunes is "the ultimate music software"?
      Yeah, and Internet Explorer is "the ultimate web browser".

      Have you just returned home from the local Apple store's Sunday morning sermons or something?

  • Why should Nokia care ? The guy seems to think he's still working for MS ! Having proven they can't pout together an mobile OS, Nokia should try and leveraage their installed base into an ecosystem. They should go the HTC way and have their fingers in as many OS pies as possible, as long as all those pies are gateways to the OVI store.

  • How can a big multi-billion company web site fail in such an obvious way? This is simply unbelievable.

    On a similar tone, how can a geek site (slashdot.org) have such an obvious html bugs. The comment text spills out the right side of the window when you increase the font size.

    Who controls those things. Morons?

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:29PM (#35193666) Journal

    To become the one and only maker of MS hardware? That is a position NOBODY wants, EVEN Foxconn is NOT that stupid. Because that is exactly what Nokia would become, a mere factory stamping out goods at FINNISH prices. Look at how nice it is to become the sole supplier for a certain Redmond based company when it comes to graphic chips... Nvidia, oh oops ATI. Loyaltie? MS knows none.

    Have people really forgotten WHY Symbian came into existence? Do they not know WHY no other phone makers WANTS to be a MS only shop? Because the phone makers like most in IT KNOW what it means to be a MS lapdog and sought to escape it.

    What kind of deranged mind thinks that ANY company would of its own choice consider becoming the next Dell to be desirable? Oh and that is NOT the Dell of the desktops where MS software is the near absolute ruler but the Dell of Windows ME, Bob, Vista! Dell by the way that is outsold by Apple which does NOT sell MS Windows.

    It would be as if HP be loosing out in desktop sales and go all for the massive Linux desktop market to save its fortunes... might work... but not bloody likely.

    Windows Mobile 7 is not some price that is hard to get either. Everyone phone maker out there can make a WM7 phone. MS is going to chance this when it has so much trouble getting any of its phones to markets already? It is a bottom feeder. The consumers have said countless times they simple do not want MS software on their phone. This is after all their Xth attempt at it, people have made their choice.

    To be clear, Nokia used to have a higher market share then MS ever had. So it is trading what made it unique for a smaller market share?

    Oh but maybe with WM7 it will create some great phones? Unlikely because it has failed to do so before. Nothing stopped Nokia from making the next or indeed the first iPhone itself. What both Apple and Google have shown is just how silly easy it is to create a new phone + OS and make it in the market. For that matter, so has Rim. Nokia didn't fail because it didn't have access to MS software, its competitors didn't and did very well despite OR because of it?

    And here is the real irony: PC makers believe that unless their hardware comes with MS software it just don't sell. Apple doesn't count in this bit of logic. See the swift end of linux on the netbooks.

    But on the mobile phone, this just ain't true. The OS makes VERY little difference in peoples choice. Even if it did, the sales figures clearly show that putting Windows on it will just chase people away.

    Nokia had to either re-invent itself, possible with Linux as a base OR become one of the many hardware makers using an existing OS... and it did the latter with the least selling OS.

    A brilliant move? Maybe for some MS stock owning CEO, but I think Nokia's slide to the bottom will only be hastened by this move. We shall see within the year.

  • Wrong reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:42PM (#35193760) Homepage Journal
    The #1 reason Nokia is toast is that Elop is still CEO, after what did last friday. The rest is secondary.
  • Nokia is fucked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki.cox@net> on Sunday February 13, 2011 @03:59PM (#35193862)

    If this quote is accurate... [engadget.com]

    Elop doesn't know what the fuck he's doing. He needs to steer the company back towards growth and away from the rocky shoals of loss.

    Taking on Android is like trying to stop a train by standing on the tracks and putting your hands out and asking nicely to stop. Android's going places because the OS is usable and free.

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