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The Three Pillars of Nokia Strategy Have All Failed 409

An anonymous reader writes "'When all 3 legs of your 3-legged strategy fail, what do you do? You rush — run run run — to change your total strategy. But what would a madman do?' Ex-Nokia exec Tommi Ahonen's new article has a few suggestions. Is the Nokia board either asleep at the wheel, or incompetent, or in collusion with the incompetent CEO? Ahonen provides an insider's view not just of how Nokia's Windows phone strategy has failed, but how this has spread to other parts of the company's technology. He says the 'Elop Effect' has 'single-handedly destroyed [...] Europe's biggest tech giant.' He raises the question: Why is Nokia's board failing to act? We've discussed Tommi's articles before, where he was correctly predicting Windows Phone's market failure at a point where others were claiming that 'the Lumia line is, in fact, selling quite nicely.'"
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The Three Pillars of Nokia Strategy Have All Failed

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  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @04:19PM (#41643773) Homepage

    It's hard. Apple won't let them use IOS. Android is generic, so they have no edge over Chinese manufacturers. Blackberry has tanked. Microsoft looked like a good option.

    Nokia makes excellent hardware at a good price. Their gear tends to be much more rugged than Apple's fragile mobile devices. Their problems are more on the marketing side.

  • Re:What you do is... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tuppe666 ( 904118 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @04:20PM (#41643785)

    You call Apple, and say "Hey, I hear you have a maps problem. Guess what? We have lots of map data and experience."

    I could see how that would help Apple. I can see how it might get some short term money from Apple, but as they already get money from Apple, and still managed to burn through $10Billion in months how exactly is this going help Nokia. In fact other than promoting Maps on Nokia over Apple like they are already doing. I fail to see any benefit.

  • Re:How many more? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slackware 3.6 ( 2524328 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @04:27PM (#41643827)
    Yah well I have a Motorolla XPR 6550 @-way radio. Motoralla's radio products are awesome. The phones suck though.
  • by DMiax ( 915735 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @04:35PM (#41643885)

    Nokia had their own OS in development, which came out before Windows (and now we learn it was one year early since apparently WP7 was just warming up and only WP8 is the real deal). Different from Windows, Meego already had an SDK out and a migration path from Symbian, so that developers could have their apps ported on day one.

    We cannot say it would have been a hit for sure, but it had more than a small edge on Windows anyway. Why not give it a shot, along with Windows and then decide what was the best for the company? Nokia was full of cash at the time and could think long term.

    Why not do that? Because Elop did what was best for Microsoft, not Nokia and wilfully sacrificed all the assets of his own company to benefit his previous one. Why he is not being investigated for breach of fiduciary duty is beyond me.

  • Re:Nothing new (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 13, 2012 @04:42PM (#41643941)

    Symbian might not have been winning, and yet it was and still is - the bread winner for Nokia. Symbian sales did not drop because it was behind the times - but because Elop killed it - just a few months after launching a flagship device - and in that process also frittered away the brand loyalty. And all this was done in favor of WP7 which had no future.!! Had Nokia stayed with Symbian until WP8, they would have been in a much better position than they find themselves in today.

  • by tuppe666 ( 904118 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @04:57PM (#41644025)

    Apple sold 5 million [] iPhone 5s on opening weekend. As of 1 month ago, Nokia has sold 7 million [] Lumias. Total.

    The Lumia was introduced in November 2011, so that's 10 months of sales. Apple sold over 100 million iPhones last year.

    That is not the half of it Android activates 1.3 Million phones every day, and has a market share 4 times that of Apple, and Nokia could have had an Android product...and still had a Windows one if it really wanted.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @05:28PM (#41644293)

    Because Elop did what was best for Microsoft, not Nokia and wilfully sacrificed all the assets of his own company to benefit his previous one. Why he is not being investigated for breach of fiduciary duty is beyond me.

    I don't buy this argument, because I don't think Elop was a Microsoft mole. I think he is a Windows True Believer.

    People talk about Steve Jobs and his Reality Distortion Field; but I've known Microsofties that believe just as strongly in All Things Windows. They truly believe Windows is the solution to everything, and everything else is an also-ran. They truly think that the world is just waiting for a Microsoft solution to any problem, and as soon as it's released by golly the world is going to flock to it in droves.

    I remember sitting through a talk just before Internet Explorer 7 was released. This was at the point (pre-Chrome even, IIRC) where Firefox was starting to seriously eat into IE's market share. The speaker waxed eloquently on just how great Internet Explorer 7 was going to be, and how Mozilla should consider just folding up shop once the final version was released because no one was going to use Firefox after that point. It wasn't hyperbole - he really believe that.

  • Re:How many more? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mabhatter ( 126906 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @06:22PM (#41644769)

    Microsoft invoked the Osborbe Effect ( on their own fledgling product. Even Mighty APPLE had to admit all the waiting for iPhone 5 (that they didn't even officially announce themselves!) caused an Osborne Effect last quarter.

    It's been almost SIX MONTHS since Microsoft started touting WP8 as the next big thing... And your WP7 apps don't get to come along.... So there is ABSOLUTELY no reason to buy a WP7 device, or develop WP7 apps, because it won't gain you anything. Apple gets flack for changing a CONNECTOR after NINE years...

    How are companies supposed to survive with no product to sell for SIX MONTHS? Poor Nokia is just doomed...DOOMED!

  • Re:How many more? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @07:50PM (#41645427) Homepage Journal

    wp7 apps run on wp8 - wp8 apps won't run on wp7.
    that makes the incentive to make wp8 apps very, very small for the time being. which is just as well since the wp8 sdk has been soo fucking late it's not even funny.

    MS spent a shitload of money to get apps on wp7 - and to metro store, this shitload of cash includes directly giving cash to hundreds of companies worldwide, cold hard cash as long as you had an app to develop for either platform that supposedly had an unique angle(this means that you didn't make an exact port to another platform of the features of your winpho or metro app right away).

    too bad they didn't do the things that would have taken no money and made more kinds of apps possible(because that would have been actual os sw development work and that's hard! wp7 is a shortcut design as far as an os goes, you'd think that it's made for a console, not for a mobile computer).

    Elops problem is that he's more interested in what WSJ writes than what happens on the company bottom line. it's likely that the stupid, stupid board made Elop's bonus matrix depend on two things: cutting workforce(expenses) and increasing USA marketshare - while increasing USA marketshare isn't that bad, nearly all companies that have focused on it have been totally fucked - that's how Nokia fucked over Samsung, Motorola, Ericcson and others in the olden days: by not giving a shit about one country where operators choose how to fuck up your phone and which has extremely diverse network situation. Even back then people were bitching that Nokia is dead because it wasn't dumping money to be on a market where every player was getting fucked up the arse so badly they all went down the toilet(Apple and Samsung are current day exceptions to this rule, but if Samsung didn't have a lot of cash from other businesses their phone biz would have been dead before they managed to get a hit with Galaxy line).

    they should have made Elops pay depend purely on yearly repeatable profitability(oh and the board was stupid, stupid, stupid or just didn't give a shit long before hiring Elop), in other words sales of profitably produced and sold phones. besides than that, Elop is a pussy ass - relying on bodyguards when laying off people in a nerd firm in a country where executives can shut down an entire regular industry plant and go drink their sorrows away in the same bar with the former employees while both parties kids go to soccer practice.

  • Re:How many more? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 13, 2012 @08:54PM (#41645873) Journal

    Wellll..and i'm sure I'll get hate for pointing this out...I really think Elop honestly didn't have a choice to make. i man look at the company he took over, they had no less than THREE noncompeting OSes, maemo, Java based Symbian, and the other one I always forget, but they had 3 different OSes, all trying to backstab and steal each other's thunder while losing share slowly but surely, they didn't have the money to pay the crazy price HP paid for WebOS and Maemo just was nowhere near ready and certainly wouldn't compete in the shape it was in, the only place they had real share was in dumbphones and the Indian and Chinese markets were already coming out with dirt cheap Android phones. So Elop made a call, frankly the only call i think he could have made, and it just...well it didn't work, that shit happens in business.

    Now I ALREADY know what the fanbois are gonna scream, "Why they could have went with Android!" but they are wrong, they could NOT have went with Android and here is why: Not only were they not up to speed on Android which would have taken time they didn't have but more importantly they already saw that Samsung and HTC do Android better than anyone so their higher end hardware would have meant nothing as again, Samsung and HTC already do that better than anybody with Android. it would be like coming out with a HyPhone and wondering why you can't gain share against the iPhone. Duh! Apple has the buzz, they do that style better and people are already familiar with the brand. Go to any Android website with the wayback machine to that time period where Elop was first hired and you'll see it was Samsung this and HTC that, so by the time they got their half ass Android on the market it would look like an expensive also ran, just pointless.

    Do I wish Elop could have made another call? Absolutely, I thought WebOS and Nokia would have been a perfect fit, great OS meets great hardware for great products, but they couldn't afford to just toss money like HP did so that just wasn't on the table, Android as I said done better by rivals, and Apple sure as fuck wouldn't license them iOS, so that pretty much left him only TWO choice: Either put everything on Maemo and hope to God they could get the bugs fixed and the OS ready to compete while bleeding share, or take an already finished product and actually get paid for taking it...I'm sure it seemed like a no brainer at the time, but what Elop didn't realize is tying the Windows brand onto a non X86 device is just retarded and doomed. So he made a bad call but honestly I just don't see what other call he could have made that would have turned out ANY differently for Nokia. They were backed into a corner and he had to make the call, the only call he really had.

  • Re:How many more? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 13, 2012 @10:30PM (#41646339)

    you're joking right?

    Elop took over in 2010. iPhone and Android handsets started shipping in 2007, and that's - coincidentally - just about the time that Nokia's stock price, revenues, and profits, began to collapse.

    Any "industry leader" standing Nokia still had remaining by 2010 was based on:
    1) Inertia - they were successful up until they were blindsided by iOS and Android;
    2) Feature phones - an extremely low profit segment of the market;

    Elop took over a company that was in a nose dive. The alliance with Microsoft has changed the plummet from free fall, to a slightly shallower trajectory. It's debatable whether or not Nokia was salvageable - period - by the time he took over, but Microsoft was their best option. Jumping into the collapsing-profit Android market would have been a recipe for disaster (see: HTC's recent profit reports), and they simply didn't have time to continue hammering on their three platforms to make them credible alternatives to iOS and Android - they were being left behind, and didn't have the money or time to catch up.

    Nokia was not a "successful company" that Elop took over and ran into the ground; Nokia was a "quickly failing company" that Elop has been trying to wrestle out of a nose dive. He may not be equal to the task, but frankly, this bullshit about "they should have just doubled down on Maemo/Meego/Symbian and made it work," is fucking stupid - that strategy had already failed by 2010, and refusing to change it would have simply meant Nokia would have gone into bankruptcy and probaby been acquired by an Android manufacturer, or Microsoft, in the bankruptcy proceedings.

  • Re:How many more? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kenorland ( 2691677 ) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @02:22AM (#41647265)

    Wow dude. You almost make it look as if Nokia is already bankrupt and is NOT the one finishing the sexiest Windows Phone 8 device

    That's kind of like talking about "the sexiest transvestite hooker" around.

    Who was the latest refusenik OEM again, Motorola Mobility? Their new owner company, what was it? Must be evil.

    Being acquired by Google seems like a good thing. Google looked at Nokia and passed on it...

  • Re:How many more? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @02:36AM (#41647335)

    Who modded this garbage "Interesting"?

    Elop took over a company that was in a nose dive.

    [citation needed]

    Jumping into the collapsing-profit Android market would have been a recipe for disaster (see: HTC's recent profit reports)

    [citation needed] - (see: Samsung's recent profit reports)

    ...they should have just doubled down on Maemo/Meego/Symbian and made it work," is fucking stupid...

    [citation needed] See the ratio to which the N9 completely outsold the Lose-mobiles. Without marketing, and being excluded from the major markets by Nokia.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.