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Can Nokia Save Itself? 317

Nerval's Lobster writes "When ex-Microsoft executive Stephen Elop took the reins of Nokia back in 2011, he memorably compared the Finnish phone-maker to a burning old platform in the North Sea. 'I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform,' he wrote in a widely circulated memo. 'And, we have more than one explosion — we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fueling a blazing fire around us.' Elop suggested competitors such as Apple and Google had 'poured flames on our market share,' with the damage accelerated by Nokia's failure to embrace big trends. His solution: abandon Nokia's homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone. Nokia's Windows Phones managed to attract some significant buzz at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and early sales seemed solid. But now there are signs the situation could be deteriorating."
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Can Nokia Save Itself?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:28PM (#41742507)

    Short Answer:
    Long Answer:

  • I'm sorry, but you have two major players in the smart phone market, along with a third minor player, and you bet the bank on a non-entity in the market? That stinks of a hail mary. By itself, that is less than encouraging. Their choice of MS, given MS's history in the mobile arena, should immediately call into question the sanity of the decision makers. Or at the very least, their bias.

    Were I trying to save the company, I would have thrown my lot in with a line of android devices which had distinctive features. Maybe aimed at the mobile market. Hell, maybe I would have even approached RIM about developing a secure platform for corporate users to pair with my hardware devices.

  • Re:yes it can (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:28PM (#41742511)
    How well exactly is HTC doing releasing a series of "ME TOO" android phones? All the sales and profit in Android seems to be accumulating with Samsung, which is almost synonymous with the OS.
  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:29PM (#41742531)

    Oh come now, who wrote this crud a Microsoft Marketing rep? The market hates MS phones, and it showed after the first what.. 2 were released and sales of Nokia devices plummeted to single digits? Fan bois would buy it, but hell they also bought a Zune. bah...

    Look, the market has really 2 devices they are choosing from. If they want lock-in, they to with Apple. If they want cutting edge they go with a Droid. Everyone, and I mean everyone advised against dumping Symbian for another lock-in phone OS in Windows Phone. Those same people saw what happened to Blackberry, which was an exceptional OS and fully mature. It died a painful death, simply because of the 2 choices I started with.

    The only reason this deal ever went through is because.... well fuck it I'll be blunt.. look who Nokia hired to captain the ship..

  • They're pretty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rodrigoandrade ( 713371 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:31PM (#41742537)

    Nokia Lumia phones are pretty and the WP8 interface is a joy to use, but, when the honeymoon is over, we need APPS, which WP8 doesn't have.

    Until WP8 has a huge library of apps like Google Play and iTunes, I don't see the situation improving.

    This, in turn, leads to a chicken-and-egg situation: Consumers go for the phone with most apps, developers, developers, developers develop for the phones with most users. Ballmer throws chairs...

  • Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by advantis ( 622471 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:32PM (#41742559)
    "damage accelerated by Nokia's failure to embrace big trends". So let's embrace something else that isn't a big trend: Windows Phone. Yep... that would work.
  • Lumia looks good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:32PM (#41742567)

    My wife got a couple weeks to demo a spare lumia 800 they had at work this week, and likes it enough to be seriously thinking of switching to a 900 series when her contract is up.

    I looked at them hard myself when i upgraded earlier this year, i ultimately went with a galaxy s3, which i don't regret as the lumia's at the time are going to be stuck on windows phone 7.5, and I'm perfectly happy with the s3. It would have been a tougher choice had the lumia 900 series with windows phone 8 been out. (I upgraded from an iphone, but had no interest in the then unreleased iphone 5 given that it was pretty well known that it wasn't going to be a big leap forward from the 4S.)

    I also note that the pre-orders for the lumia 920 seem to be going well. I heard BestBuy is sold out online already of the quantities they put up for pre-order.

    Overall, I hope Nokia pulls it off. And i hope Windows Phone 8 succeeds. Its a good mobile OS, and competition is good.

  • Yes they can (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thammoud ( 193905 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:32PM (#41742569)

    Create Android phones. They have fantastic engineering talent that is being wasted by a dead platform.

  • Re:yes it can (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:44PM (#41742695)

    You forgot "fire Elop and sue his ass off".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @01:50PM (#41742769)

    The talent has left the building when Elop booted all Meego/Harmattan en Qt-devvers. The development team left is only a shim of its former self. They pull some hardware stunts so now and then (PureView) but without a platform to really benefit from it... Android won't save them, as they still won't have the dev-team to adapt it to their needs.

    The N9 is the last great device they've released IMO.

  • Re:yes it can (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vlad_the_Inhaler ( 32958 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:04PM (#41742963) Homepage

    I started using Nokia phones some time around '95-97 and was happy enough to stay pretty much locked in. Early last year I wanted a new one and was trying to decide which Symbian-based device to buy. Then came 'The Announcement'. If they had decided to add a range of Windows Phones to their Symbian range (maybe even offering a choice of OS on a phone?) I'd still be a Nokia customer now.
    I held off for a year and now have a Samsung. I tried one HTC device but gave up after minutes because the touchscreen keyboard was simply too small for my fingers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:05PM (#41742973)

    "Windows phone?"
    "Why would I want that crap, my desktop has it and it's always full of viruses, needs defragmenting, etc etc etc."
    That name is tainted, Microsoft idiots.

  • Re:yes it can (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:08PM (#41743029)
    As if Elop made this decision unilaterally? The board of directors went along with him on this. Further, what exactly would you sue him for? Potential profits that maybe the company possibly could have made by going with Android?

    Microsoft offered them a very sweet deal: $1 billion, engineering support from Microsoft to help with the transition, and technology sharing agreements which lead to Nokia mapping technology being used in Bing, Windows 7/8, and Windows 8/RT. Not to mention the patent protection provided by Microsoft in all Windows Phone licenses, something that Samsung knows all too well Google does not provide.

    And Google was offering.... absolutely nothing. It would be pretty hard to show that Elop was being somehow "negligent" by taking the company in this direction, as it's not even certain that had they gone with Android, they wouldn't already be dead.
  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:09PM (#41743043) Journal

    Microsoft has a knack for getting it wrong several times before finally coming up with something that works. They are not, in any way, a visionary company, they are simply good at recognizing their mistakes early and dropping them.

    Look at their history going all the way back, it took until MS Word 3.x before it even compared to their competition. They suck at first, and always do.

    But now that Apple and Android have led the way, Microsoft is about to release the biggest update to their product suite since Windows 95. And this time, I'm rather certain they mean it. They are betting their farm on Windows 8, and have revamped all their products on a unified code base. This isn't Zune, this isn't Wince, (er, WinCE) this is serious.

    And it's about to launch. Speculating about the future at this stage in the game about the most useless endeavor imaginable. I'm willing to throw a few hundred in to buy Nokia junk stocks just because, while the odds of MS making Win8 seem scant, the payout if they do could be significant.

  • Re:yes it can (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:09PM (#41743047)

    So the solution is to jump into a super-saturated, undifferentiated market with reckless abandon.. With a worse product that's doesn't play in the established ecosystem?

    Nokia died the day it hired that hatchet man from MS. I said it then, I say it now.

    MS is there to rape and pillage Nokia's IP. They're using the company as a testbed for development, and will throw it's corpse in the ditch when they're done.

  • Re:yes it can (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcwop ( 31034 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:15PM (#41743107) Homepage
    Too late IMO. In fact, this is also what RIMM should have done, and they still cling to their OS fantasy. People are tied into the mobile iOS and Android ecosystems. Windows Mobile may have a chance, but it will be tough - especially with the iPad mini in the mix.
  • by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:31PM (#41743311)

    Nokia ditching the Meego stuff was something they should have done sooner. There are just too many mobile OSs around. App developers really only have the resources to target one or two platforms. I have heard people say that Nokia needed Meego to diffentiate, but I just dont see it, at best meego would have been no better than android and probably would have been worse, it would simply not be a selling point, and it was letting market share slip away at a rapid pace while it tried to develop its own OS. If it had gone with Android right away, it would have gotten the immense app ecosystem and an off the shelf OS that would be ready to go right away. It could have had a phone on shelves years ago. Nokia could then soup up Android in any way it needed to later on if it felt it needed improvement. The fact is Meego would not have been any better than Android could have been, and would not have differentiated Nokia, or it would have differentiated them as being worse. People don't care if it has a different OS, they want it to work and Android works. It having a different OS than Samsung would not sell phones. Period. End of story.

    Going with Windows Phone was perhaps a mistake, compared with going with Android, but not nearly as much of a mistake of staying with the Meego platform, which would not have been seen as being any advantage to consumers whatsoever, at best it would have been equal to android and simply does not provide with a reason to buy the phone.

    Unfortunately for years Nokia killed it self with the not made here syndrome, wasting years developing an OS that would haev done nothing that Android could not do, and probably would have been worse and that people would not want anyway, With the solution staring them in the face with just taking off the shelf android and getting a phone in stores in a month, it really shows how thier ego and arrogance clouded their thinking, willing to bring their company to the brink of destruction than to touch Android because "its not made here".

    Nokia is getting what it deserves, just like RIM, because of such arrogance. I expect both companies to be out of business in a few years.

  • Re:yes it can (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:41PM (#41743425)

    I still actually to this day like a lot of Nokia hardware.

    If they released an Android phone with no extra shit, just plain old vanilla Android on their hardware I'd buy it, and I suspect many other old Nokia fans would.

    They could easily eat a healthy chunk of both Samsung and Apple's marketshare if they did this. It's so obvious, I just don't get why they fail to carry it out. Even if they didn't manage to regain the top spot, one thing is for sure, and that's that they'd certainly be in a much healthier position than they are now. They have the hardware to distinguish themselves in the Android market, so talk of fears just being another Android player is idiotic, especially when even just being another Android player is still a thousand times more profitable than being a Windows Phone non-entity.

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:43PM (#41743459)

    Yes, the market does hate MS phones. The same way they hate Blackberry phones. The sales numbers from the first release were bullshit, and it was reported on a few days after the "huge buzz (according to Microsoft and paid media)". The numbers they reported were numbers they "sold" to factories that hold the devices prior to purchase, and not what was sold to consumers.

    Developers have bitched since Microsoft released the APIs for WP8, apps suck, controls suck, it's too expensive, etc... So developers are not touching the Phone either. In fact the /. article referenced fart machines as the best application that could be created for the phone, which was validated by them having nearly 30 on the store compared to a dozen or so flash light applications. I just read another article a week ago where a development team just said "fuck-it" to developing even after dumping 50K in to MS licensing.

    Look, I'm sure it's a great platform.. for someone.. I work with a fan-boi that has one. He thinks it's great, but he can't do anything with it. Our T&M apps that run in Droid and IOS won't run in Win Phone, mail does not work, so if all you do with your phone is need a "phone" and "camera" I guess it's fine.

    And me implying that the person who wrote the article is biased, makes me biased? Did you RTFA? It's worded like WinPhone was uber awesome, and because Apple and Google are big meanies it will make Nokia fail. If the article is biased, how would you expect me to react.. like I didn't read the fucking thing?

    Now, am I anti-Microsoft? That's a loaded question. I never had a Zune, and thought it was a failure (damn, I was correct). I never had an X-Box, and refuse to get one. I won't be buying a Windows Phone either. I use MS products at work, some are okay. I think Visio was much better before MS bought them, but that's not an unpopular point of view. I use Office and despise the 2010 ribbons and bullshit like "font auto-preview" that makes doing something so simple take a long time. Excel is still a good app, but there again the ribbons make it inefficient.

  • Re:Meego (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frekja ( 982708 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @03:09PM (#41743789)
    Mod parent up! The decision to EOL Symbian sort of makes sense, though it was totally stupid to say so. The decision to axe Meego was stupidity in the extreme. The N9 swipe user interface is so transparently superior to WP7/8, Android, and iOS that this alone should have told Nokia to keep Meego alive. It also does all that normal back-end stuff (bluetooth OBEX push, actual multitasking, etc) that WP still doesn't do. And the N9 won loads of awards and tech blog / reviewer love. I'm not a developer, so don't understand if Qt makes it as easy to port things as Nokia implied, but if apps are the measure of the ecosystem, it's hardly better than WP.

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.