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Nokia Plan B Was Just a Hoax 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the break-out-plan-c dept.
suraj.sun writes "There's been a lot of chatter about a 'Nokia Plan B' over the past 48 hours — the site was put up by nine young investors who outlined an audacious plan to rally shareholders, get themselves elected onto Nokia's board, and radically change the company's direction by firing Stephen Elop and committing massive resources to MeeGo. There's just one problem, though: the nine young investors don't really exist — according to the last tweet on the @NokiaPlanB Twitter account, it was all a hoax perpetuated by 'one very bored engineer who really likes his iPhone.' Ouch. That explains why the now-defunct site abruptly gave up the cause this morning after just 36 hours of existence."
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Nokia Plan B Was Just a Hoax

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  • by Warwick Allison (209388) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @09:09AM (#35230890) Homepage

    It was well-informed and humorless. Very Nokia.

    • by piripiri (1476949) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @09:37AM (#35231082) Journal
      Fortunately the press validated the information before publishing. Oh wait...
      • by h4rm0ny (722443)
        Slashdot was too eager to stir up some more flamewars to look into it. Really, it only took a moment to look at the article and see that there were things wrong with it. Sadly, few people did.
      • If by "press" you mean "bloggers" (as is becoming more common these days) -- well, who's surprised? Too many want to claim privileges of press, and too few the responsibility.
    • It was well-informed and humorless.

      Speak for yourself. I was highly amused by this dry humour. Even better if the troll might inspire a real shareholder revolt, but if the institutional holders don't bother to make the effort to stick up for their rights then they deserve whatever happens to them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Engadget has been the ministry of truth for Microsoft during this episode. I don't think they should be taken seriously.

  • ...there was a Plan A (other than corporate suicide)?

    • by naz404 (1282810)
      Of course. -> http://NokiaPlanA.com [nokiaplana.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KiloByte (825081)

      The plan is working as intended. Elop doesn't hold a single Nokia share, but is one of biggest shareholders of Microsoft -- trashing the company will make him lose nothing and get a nice severance payout once the investors finally get rid of him. All of his efforts go towards increasing Microsoft's stock.

      • Re:You mean... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:10AM (#35231366) Journal

        And what EXACTLY were they supposed to do otherwise, hmmm? For all the big talk here nobody seems to want to accept reality. Nokia is bleeding to death, dumb phones are going the way of 8-tracks (even the third world is starting to have home grown smartphones which all predict will kill the dumb phone), android is beyond saturated, MeeGo is a turd, and Apple and HP won't sell iOS and WebOS respectively.

        So where EXACTLY does that leave them an alternative? They need a product RIGHT NOW this very minute, they don't have time losing share as quickly as they are to dick around for who knows how long to get MeeGo up to snuff, and NOBODY like Symbian for anything other than dumb phones.

        so lets hear it...where were they supposed to go? I'm sure the militants here would have rather they simply close their doors rather than make a deal with "teh evil M$!! ZOMG!" but where EXACTLY could they go? Nobody wants another android, hell there is so many droids on the market now it is frankly saturated. MSFT was willing to spend BILLIONS with a capital B to have Nokia be their hardware division and frees up Nokia to concentrate on hardware, so where EXACTLY is the bad here, other than the usual fanboy "teh evil M$!! ZOMG!!@" bullshit?

        It wasn't like the company was hearts and flowers and then MSFT came along, the whole reason they got a new CEO was the company was bleeding out. You know, once upon a time /. was actually NEWS FOR NERDS not conspiracy theorists, and we had long discussions on the merits and disadvantages BASED ON THE TECH. Now the site is becoming Boycott Novell where everything is one giant conspiracy by Gates secretly running Redmond from a large tower that looks suspiciously like Mordor. More and more I'm starting to think the tech guys have been run out of here and been replaced by thousands of these guys. [penny-arcade.com]

        Disliking WinPhone 7 because of the tech is one thing, from what I've read they still have several niggling bugs to iron out and app switching is hit or miss, but the ZOMG M$!!! ZOMG!" bullshit really is getting old. Is this /. or Boycott Novell?

        • by jabuzz (182671)

          Port the Android UI over the Symbian kernel. Much as I like Linux as a kernel for a phone it sucks.

          • by shallot (172865)

            Port the Android UI over the Symbian kernel. Much as I like Linux as a kernel for a phone it sucks.

            Have you actually tried using a Symbian kernel in a similar setting? I used a Nokia E72, and its OS behavior seems worse than what I see on a Froyo phone - the whole thing rebooting without warning is pretty much a regular occurence with non-trivial use. And that's with a much smaller app selection. I honestly can't imagine it would magically improve if subjected to the breadth of apps from the Android Market (which is a major part of "Android UI" the way most people use it).

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Define sucks, seems to be working great for me. It also is already used in a huge array of embedded devices.

          • Why? Apart form Symbian's own obvious shortcomings, what is wrong with Android's kernel? I fully accept some of the android Apps (most obviously the first party ones like Gmail and Market) are below par, but the rest of the OS is amazing. Proper IP tables based wireless tether, all forms of VPN, strong per-app security (not Symbian's all or nothing permissions), flexible filesystems support..
        • If I had points I'd mod you up. But since I don't take solace in the fact that I'll be very sad when you modded down into oblivion.

          People 'round these parts don't much like being asked to contribute positively where Microsoft is involved.
          • People 'round these parts don't much like being asked to contribute positively where Microsoft is involved.

            Perhaps because they tend to have a spine.

        • Re:You mean... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Greger47 (516305) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @11:08AM (#35232076)

          So where EXACTLY does that leave them an alternative? They need a product RIGHT NOW this very minute, they don't have time losing share as quickly as they are to dick around for who knows how long to get MeeGo up to snuff, and NOBODY like Symbian for anything other than dumb phones.

          And how does a panic switch to WP7 help them now? Since it's a totally new platform to Nokia you can count on it taking them at least 12 months to get their first Windows phone out the door.

          And with Symbian oficially declared dead you can count on their smart-phone market share dwindling even faster reaching exactly 0 in the mean time. Talk about loosing market traction, getting any market for their WP7 phone is going to be a uphill battle.

          With MeeGo they have the device in the works ready within short, who knows it might even be ready as promised since November last year and Elop delayed it for tactical reasons to make his switch to WP7 seem even more justified.

          /greger

          • With MeeGo they have the device in the works ready within short, who knows it might even be ready as promised since November last year and Elop delayed it for tactical reasons to make his switch to WP7 seem even more justified.

            Not according to Engadget [engadget.com] which actually played with a Meego tablet as opposed to breathlessly copying the press releases. Looks pre beta to me, not something ready to jump out the door.... Yeah, that's a tablet but I haven't seen an Meego phones in the wild. I guess there are some early prototypes [electronista.com] available but no one has actually used one and lived to tell about it.

        • by Astatine (179864)

          Err, Slashdot has always held a "ZOMG M$!!!" attitude. More so in 2001 than in 2011 in fact, I think...

          • Well now that it has been revealed that Steve Jobs is actually the secret Sith Lord, some attitudes are starting to change a little around here.
        • Re:You mean... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ladoga (931420) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @11:28AM (#35232316)

          And what EXACTLY were they supposed to do otherwise, hmmm? For all the big talk here nobody seems to want to accept reality. Nokia is bleeding to death, dumb phones are going the way of 8-tracks (even the third world is starting to have home grown smartphones which all predict will kill the dumb phone), android is beyond saturated, MeeGo is a turd, and Apple and HP won't sell iOS and WebOS respectively.

          Nokia is a world market leader in mobile phones. They were doing not so well, but bleeding to death is quite far from it.

          Certainly they were not doing badly enough to warrant outsourcing whole software development out of coutry to Microsoft. By this Nokia has reduced itself to mere commodity hardware manufacturer, no different from LG, RIM and others.

          And how to you think that WP7 helps Nokia to keep their domination of low end markets? It doesn't. a) WP7 won't run on such hardware. b) licencing fees are too expensice when every dollar counts. Android however without licencing fees is a viable option to Chinese manufacturers of cheap feature phones and will slowly begin conquering low end markets from s40. Symbian could have been possible contender at low end, but now it is dumped alltogether.

          Nokia had a smartphone OS of it's own in Maemo, but they dumped it when it was almost ready and after releasing only one phone on it! Then about a year ago they went on to develop MeeGo instead. Either of these would have been far better choice than WP7.

          When publishing the Microsoft deal Elop said that the reason for switching WP7 is that MeeGo is not ready and Symbian is not competitive. How does WP7 remedy this, with no new phones in 2011? Atleast (and with limited resources allocated to it) there is supposedly one MeeGo phone coming out from Nokia this year. Instead of giving up software R&D and laying off thousands of software engineers (and hurting Finnish society in progress) they could have put all these resources to MeeGo and Qt. I think after two years they would have been far better off. Think about it. WP7 is still missing basic features like multitasking and cut & paste, while Google and Apple are actually pushing new concepts to the market. In 2012 when first Nokia phones with WP7 are out WP7 is still playing catch up. How do you think Nokia is going to maintain it's position or even stay as healthy company as their sales crash during in 2011? Afterall who on earth will buy Symbian phones when it's future is doomed and the new Nokia CEO is calling it junk openly.

          IMHO this MS deal is almost as good as suicide for Nokia.

          • Agree completely. Nokia cannot compete against HTC/Samsung on hardware alone--their labor costs are just too high.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            How does it help with the low end? Simple...WinMo 6.5. For all the MS hatred out there on low end devices WinMo 6.5 works pretty damned well, it just doesn't do any of the fancy UI and app switching gimmicks we have gotten used to in the west, but in the third world where they are just switching away from dumb phones WinMo with its huge number of apps already written and ready to go will be an easy sell. I actually have a cheap WinMo based pantec smartphone and you know what? it gets decent battery life, le

          • by bluemonq (812827)

            Symbian will still be used for low-end phones for the time being.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          ...is that despite all its resources, the company seems unable to release anything truly interesting.
          It's as though they are pathologically attracted to mediocrity.

        • Dumb phones do not get the press, but they are still outselling smart phones in numbers. Many people just want a phone. I thought nokia out sold all the smart phone combined world wide with their dumb phones? Unless that is pure bs put out by 5 different news sites?

        • They need a product RIGHT NOW this very minute

          Well they had Maemo 2 years ago and, quite frankly, it kicks ass. If they had stuck with that, they would have a product right now that could compete. But instead they dropped it for MeeGo, which, had they dumped resources into it back in 2009, they could have had right now. Instead, they dropped a product they had (a very popular product they had), waffled about a product they wanted to have, and, finally, sold out (in a very literal sense) to Microsoft. If you want to discuss technical merits, I would ha

        • My year + old Nokia running Maemo 5 (N900) is pretty nice and holds its own against my wife's 4G iPhone. The non-OSS app selection isn't very good, but neither is WP7. So Maemo 5 was decent over 1 year ago and it's going to take Nokia at least a year to switch to WP7. That's 2 years to work on Maemo. And when they're done, it's theirs.

          There's so many things wrong with the WP7 decision, but the biggest is this: Nokia will be relegated to just another WP7 handset maker. They can't differentiate themselves

        • by EzInKy (115248)

          And what EXACTLY were they supposed to do otherwise, hmmm? For all the big talk here nobody seems to want to accept reality. Nokia is bleeding to death, dumb phones are going the way of 8-tracks (even the third world is starting to have home grown smartphones which all predict will kill the dumb phone), android is beyond saturated, MeeGo is a turd, and Apple and HP won't sell iOS and WebOS respectively.

          They should have concentrated on further developing Maemo, which runs perfectly fine on the N900. A little

      • by Eskarel (565631)

        As opposed to the previous CEO who presumably owned an awful lot of Nokia stock, but at the same time seemed to spend his entire time on the job increasing the share price of Apple.

        Let's get this straight, the iPhone wouldn't be half the success it is if there had been any real competition. It would still have done well because it was a good phone but it did so fantastically well because there was not a single smart phone on the market which didn't suck. Nokia should have had that market, they had the brand

        • Actually, it's not at all clear that Nokia has the talent required to do what you suggest. Perhaps it is simply a management failure, but for years they've dedicated substantial resources to development of mobile phone OS, and managed to produce only slight tweaks to a mediocre platform (Symbian), and failed to deliver its successor (MeeGo).
          • it's not at all clear that Nokia has the talent required to do what you suggest.

            Their hardware engineering is brilliant, software less so.

          • by Eskarel (565631)

            They have manufacturing plants, aren't Microsoft, and are European so the EU will leave Microsoft alone about any whiff of vertical market so long as they don't buy them outright, the expertise to design hardware is icing on the cake and I doubt that Microsoft has any real desire to hire their Symbian or Meego teams for Windows.

      • The plan is working as intended.

        I doubt it was intended that this stratagem should knock 4% off Microsoft's share price. Clearly, the investing public sees no great success for Microsoft, only yet another distraction and use of resources.

      • As long as we're talking conspiracy theory, Elop was quite possibly sent over from MS in order to acquire nokia as a partner in manufacturing . And no, of course I don't have facts to back it up. What kind of lame conspiracy theory would that be?
  • Three horse race (Score:4, Informative)

    by j_l_cgull (129101) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @09:20AM (#35230962)
    Elop described this partnership as making the smartphone market a three horse race. It is starting to be more like a three legged horse race.

    With the first Nokia/WP phones slated for 2012, there is ample time for one (if not two) updates for iOS phones and a boat load of Android (especially low cost) devices to hit the market. With no meaningful transition (for both customers and developers) from Symbian to WP, why would anybody buy a high end Symbian device today ?

    There has been a lot of chatter about a cheaper iPhone being able to penetrate emerging markets. I suspect unless that device can work without requiring a computer, this will be a non-starter. Android devices have the edge in this regard.
    • >>>With the first Nokia/WP phones slated for 2012

      Why so long? Surely it isn't that difficult to take an existing Nokia phone and port Windows phone 7 to it. Aim for September release so you can take advantage of the coming Christmas spending spree.

    • by ADRA (37398)

      iPhone is defacto a non-starter in -developing markets- because they require a PC/Mac for key features of the platform. This is absolutely non-viable for developing markets where cell phones are often used over wired telcos because of poor power & wired telephone coverage. A cheap iPhone being 100 and 100% wireless updates / sync support have a chance, but that's about it.

    • With no meaningful transition (for both customers and developers) from Symbian to WP, why would anybody buy a high end Symbian device today ?

      Why would anybody have bought a high end Symbian device a month ago? I doubt most honest responses include "meaningful transition to next OS"

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @09:43AM (#35231128) Homepage Journal
    Fake or not, this plan wouldn't even have been feasible in the US were the SEC has completely dismantled shareholder rights. According to the SEC, shareholders have 0 say in what the CEO and board gets paid or even who is on it.

    When Obama actually tried to introduce an SEC that would allow shareholders to have a NON-BINDING vote on CEO pay the Republicans screamed bloody murder. Apparently according to Republican philosophy you only have to work hard and actually earn your keep if you aren't already rich. The people who have gotten to the top(often times not even on their own merit) are allowed to plunder the company as they see fit. CEO pay is increasing 2x as fast as the S&P 500 and there isn't a damn thing we can do about it. At least it seems in Finland shareholders have SOME power.
    • by dwater (72834)

      Feasibility in Finland would be more interesting, I think.

    • by ErikZ (55491) *

      What do you mean? Shareholders already have a say in what the CEO is paid. They can buy and sell the stock.

      CEO pay is part of the value of a company. If you think he's being overpaid, don't buy it.

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        What if you think he is overpaid, but still think that even with that extra unneccesary cost the stock is still the best investment choice for some portion of your money?

        I'm pretty sure every stock I own is for an entity that does at least one thing I disagree with.

        • then their not overpaid. If they can retain employees, have decent growth, and still pay exorbitant salaries for CEOs then it's okay, QED. Whether my personal opinions follow this concept, or investors are allowed to become aware of breaches of common sense due fraud is a something else, but the logic is clear.
          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            So because a business is doing well overall that means that there is no single part of it that could be improved? Doyou ride unicorns to the fields to frollick with the fairies in your world by any chance?

            • no, you are using the extreme example. What i'm saying is, if the company makes (long-term!) investors happy then what other measure can there be? not that i personally approve of this sort of lack of morality, but if you think an investment is "a good investment for me, although the CEO is paid too much", those are two separate statements! If the CEO pay affected the soundness of the investment, then you would not invest. Q.E.D.
              • by nedlohs (1335013)

                Which was my exactly my point. Did you read the thread?

                If the way for me "have a say" in the the CEO's salary is by not owning the shares then I can't do that because there are other reasons to own them that outweigh the pay of the CEO. Hence claiming that gives me a say is just plain false.

                • Ah im with you then, except that I'm saying, in your example, the CEO is NOT overpaid! If he was, it would not be a good investment. You are saying it's a good investment AND he's overpaid, which I am logically rejecting.
                  • by nedlohs (1335013)

                    And I'm saying it's possible for him to be overpaid AND for it to be a good investment. I can't see how those two things could possibly be mutually exclusive, the CEO salary is likely a tiny portion of the expenses of the company it being a bit larger than I think it optimal is unlikely to shift the company as a whole from being a good investment to a bad investment.

                    What is your logical proof that an overpaid CEO implies a bad investment?

                    • i'm not dude - we're on the same page. it DOES NOT imply that a CEO being overpaid is a bad investment. Listen closely: what i'm saying is if overpaying a CEO affects the value of the company then THAT IS BEING OVERPAID. i'm not saying they are mutually exclusive, i'm saying that you can't have a company that is a good investment with an overpaid CEO, since if he WAS overpaid, then that would affect the capital of the company and ability to execute business. if it's a good investment, he's not overpaid. i
                    • by nedlohs (1335013)

                      No we don't agree.

                      I think that a company can still be a good investment even though it is not perfectly optimal in its resource allocation.

                      I'm also not placing some arbitrary restriction on the definition of "overpaid". It merely means "paying more than the thing is worth". I overpaid for coffee yesterday, that doesn't mean I've doomed my finances to destruction it just means I paid 50c more than I needed to. Overpaying the CEO doesn't mean paying him so much is "affects the value of the company", it means

          • by gutnor (872759)
            The logic is flawed:

            The share is not a product, it is actually a part of the company itself. As a (standard) shareholder, you actually own a part of the company. That is normal, and actually is your responsibility to look after how it is managed. eg: they could be more profitable by not paying the CEO that amount of money.

            Even if you do not care about managing the company you just bought a share, there is a very important difference with being a client (like when you put money in a bank account) or a d

    • by molecular (311632)

      I saw this report about a japanese CEO that rides a bus to work, eats the same food as the other staff and even decided a paycut for himself.

      This kind of legislation has to have some effect at some point. Bad exensive decisions will pay out in the long run... for the competition ;)

      • by molecular (311632)

        oh forgot to add: then all the whining will beginn and the US will plunge right into another useless war.

    • I'm sorry to interrupt your outrage baiting that you've gotten a +5 Insightful on, but do you have a cite for when you say "shareholders have 0 say in what the CEO and board gets paid or even who is on it."

      Shareholders' main right is to set who is on the board of directors.

      Furthermore, one of the board of director's main rights it to determine what the CEO and board gets paid.

      Traditionally, a corporation is like a representative republic. It's true, shareholders don't get a direct say in how much the CEO ge

  • An oxymoron (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kludge (13653) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @09:47AM (#35231154)

    'one very bored engineer who really likes his iPhone.'

    An engineer who is
    1. bored
    2. likes iPhones?
    Does not sound like much of an engineer.

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Not really. I know plenty of so-called engineers whose work suggests that they must have found their degree in a Happy Meal.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Probably a Coder who thinks hes a "Software Engineer". I wish they would separate the two into different colleges, like Computer Science = Pure Science College (like math/physics), Software Engineering = Engineering College (like electrical/computer/mechanical engineering), and Coder = Technology College (like information systems).
      • can you list the type of position each of those would have that are orthogonal? I think the real-world positions are much more cloudy then you suggest.
        • by anethema (99553)
          Until the software 'engineer' is legally responsible for his code and problems resulting of his code, he isn't an engineer. He's just a programmer.
        • Ok.

          Computer Science : Research in actual computational algorithms, numerical analysis applications to computer science, etc. Think a mathematician that specializes in computation. Sure, it sort of exists in mathematics i.e. computational mathematics, but computer science used to be much more mathematics based. Imagine computer science guys theoretically designing quantum algorithms right now for research.

          Software Engineer : As someone said below, an engineer legally responsible for output. Someone who desi

    • An engineer who is
      1. bored
      2. likes iPhones?
      Does not sound like much of an engineer.

      Very intelligent people get bored when not tackling mentally challenging tasks, and they are usually paid a lot of money when they are, which is not all the time.

      That's just my definition of a very intelligent person, which I am assuming most engineers are. I'm really curious what your or the moderator's definition of engineer is.

      "Never bored because they all have Linux on their cellphones"?
      See, you've confused Linux fanboys with engineers, that's your mistake.

    • I think it would be great if we knew for sure it was a Nokia engineer on his iPhone

    • I would argue the other way. We have a non-engineer describing an engineer as bored. Engineers can appear bored to people who don't have that mindset, because they're so interested in everything. Furthermore, I would be more likely to trust 'one bored engineer' than 'nine young investors'. That said, I have no retort to the iphone comment.
    • by owlstead (636356)

      You cannot hack all of the day (at least not at my age). I can write meaningless stuff on the internet all day though. It takes a lot less concentration and you can consume alcohol while you are doing it. If I would start programming now, I would be debugging the applications for the next couple of weeks.

  • If it was a hoax, the perpetrators could be charged under SEC rules with trying to manipulate the market. That would not bode well for them. Another alternative is that it wasn't a hoax, but Nokia made them an offer for their shares they couldn't refuse or if they were employees a severance package they couldn't refuse.

    What's more likely, a group perpetrated a hoax and publicly admitted it knowing they could now be charged in the legal system or it wasn't a hoax and they were bought off?

  • It wasn't a hoax, and they were bought off / silenced.

    • Or, it was an attempt at capitalizing on stock manipulation and they got paid off that way already. Think about it, short the stock when its high, release this information, wait awhile, buy back in double (so now you have a long) and release that it all was a hoax. Now you just made a killing on the short, and got Nokia stock back at a cheap price. Maybe even skip the long part, you still made money.
  • Is the some way to get the comments of nokiaplanb.com back on line? The site was hosted by GoDaddy and I would presume it would have to been bought for 1 month. So why did it vanish?
  • That's what he did them for.
  • The new Nokia CEO is apparently one of the top ten largest single stockholders of Microsoft shares (I think he weights int a # 7). So he has probably more incentive to care about Microsoft's performance than he may have regarding Nokia. Under that context his push for WP7 makes total sense, since Microsoft has much more to gain for such a move than Nokia does.

    If I were an actual Nokia stock holder, I'd be asking a lot of questions to the board of that company right about now. That is a very serious conflict

  • Who the hell uses facebook to stage an investor's revolution. I would've been more scared if it was legitimate.

    • I imagine it will become more common and more successful as the boomers begin selling stock in large quantities to finance their retirements but the C-suite remains primarily boomer and unresponsive to their new constituency.

  • The final text of the copyright of msqt.org's main page [msqt.org] contained this text at the very beginning (and still has it):

    This is a satire, for the real Qt website go to qt.nokia.com.

    The domain itself is registered by a random Finnish individual as registered through joker.com, a consumer-grade DNS reseller.

    I find it hard to believe that anybody took it seriously and that anybody in the industry couldn't do the miniscule amount of homework to confirm what should have been everybody's initial suspicion: it's a freaking joke. It was never intended to mislead.

  • I was ready to move to a Nokia Meego phone (from an iPhone 3G), but I have no interest in WP7 phones whatsoever, it doesn't matter if they have the best call quality, camera, GPS, screen, keyboard, whatever. Nokia is dead to me now. So from my point of view, Nokia looks incredibly stupid. But I know I'm not a typical customer and perhaps they can pull it off as I see plenty of people praising WP7 (and plenty lambasting it). But their stock value seems to show a lot of investors don't have the confidenc

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