The Smartphone Wars: Nokia’s Suicide Note

Stephen Elop has jumped his company off the burning platform, all right. And, I judge, straight into the fire.

No, the choice that seals Nokia’s doom isn’t the tie-up with Microsoft (though that’s problematic enough, and I’ll get back to it). It’s the way Elop has failed to resolve Nokia’s drift and lack of a strategic focus. Instead of addressing this problem, Elop plans to institutionalize it by splitting the company into two business units that will pursue different – and, in fact, mutually opposing – strategies.

After the brutal clarity of the “burning platform” memorandum, this is deeply disappointing. And not viable. One of my commenters voiced my very thought: the death spiral begins now.

The plan Elop has pulled out from under wraps effectively splits Nokia in two. The “Smart Devices” piece own MeeGo and Symbian Smartphones, and is expected to work with Microsoft on developing a portfolio of WP7 phones. The “Mobile Phones” part is expected to “leverage its innovation and strength in growth markets to connect the next billion people and bring them affordable access to the Internet and applications.” The vagueness of this remit is telling. Clearly “Mobile Phones” is expected to milk the Third-World market for Symbian dumb-phones as long as it can, but “affordable access to the Internet and applications” implies low-cost smartphones as well.

So not only does the new plan bless Nokia’s internal confusion by breaking the company in half, one of the daughter units (“Mobile Phones”) has two incompatible missions, one of which (the smartphone end) is at cross-purposes with the other daughter unit (“Smart Devices”). Another indicator of the those cross-purposes that both units have missions involving Symbian. So, which unit is going to own the Symbian codebase? Are they going to fork it?

Actually, the “Smart Devices” unit has confusions of its own. It’s expected to manage no fewer than three platforms – MeeGo, high-end Symbian, and WP7. Nothing has been resolved here! We’re looking at a plan that will scatter Nokia’s management bandwidth and engineering talent in four different directions, formalizing the existence of product-line and line-of-business silos when what the company needed to do was exactly the opposite – shoot the weak horses through the head, end the internal infighting, and focus.

Unspoken, but left on the table, is a strong likelihood that “Mobile Devices” is going to have to add a fifth platform to the mix (that is, after MeeGo, WP7, and two flavors of Symbian). They’re supposed to “bring affordable access to the Internet and applications”, and one of the pressures behind this reorg is that Symbian simply can’t carry that load. With MeeGo assigned to the other business unit, what alternative are they going to have other than to become an Android OEM?

In fact, the only level on which this dog’s breakfast of trying to do everything at once makes any sense is if Elop wants to preserve that possibility. Could we be looking at a clever scheme to collect transfer payments from Microsoft with one hand (“Smart Devices”) while the other hand makes the real running with low-cost Android smartphones? I don’t know – but one thing to keep an eye on will be relative staffing levels. If most of the talent and the bodies go to Mobile Phones, might be the actual goal is for Microsoft to be taken for a subsidy-sucking ride by Smart Devices, buying time and capital for the other business unit.

All the old reasons a WP7 commitment was a bad idea remain problems under the new order. WP7 has bombed in its first quarter; there’s actual evidence that it’s not competitive. This means that the alliance does nothing to address Nokia’s historic weakness in the North American market. Then, too, it’s going to take time to get WP7 to market on Nokia hardware; one of their press releases describes 2011 and 2012 as “transition years”, a pretty strong hint that Nokia thinks both business units will have to struggle through a valley of death and shrinking Symbian sales before the new plan starts to bear fruit.

(Would an Android port take less time? Yes. Judging by current product cycle times for Android handsets, port time for the handset makers has to be bounded above by 90 days. My bet is that Android port time is actually down to two weeks and change. History matters; the Android codebase is designed to be ported in ways Microsoft is probably culturally incapable of even imagining.)

And none of the problems with having someone else own the core software of your product have gone away. Elop is an ex-Microsoftie and can therefore be presumed to know all of Microsoft’s tricks for skimming the profit off that kind of relationship while laying the risks off on the hapless partner. If Nokia actually profited from the alliance it would be unprecedented.

Is Elop devious enough to think that “Smart Devices” can head-fake Microsoft into supplying the capital for “Mobile Phones” to make an Android play? That’s the only reading of this crazy plan that makes any sense to me; the alternative is that Elop simply capitulated to Nokia’s internal confusion rather than even trying to fix it.

But if that’s what Elop thinks he’s doing, he’s taking a hell of a risk. The reorg may dissipate Nokia’s people and energies into so many officially-sanctioned missions that it can’t execute on any of them – in fact I think that’s the outcome to bet on. It’s the company that’s burning now, not the platform; I would no longer bet on Nokia surviving another 24 months.

UPDATE: Nokia takes a hammering on the Helsinki stock exchange as investors react to lack of focus and failure to cut bloated R&D expenses.

182 thoughts on “The Smartphone Wars: Nokia’s Suicide Note

  1. My bet is that Smart Devices is simply a death house sold to MS. The Mobile Phones part will simply start to crank out cheap Android phones (or whatever they have lying around to sell phones and Android later).

    And why would they not make any mentioning of “Phones” in the Smart Devices part of the company. Why mention bringing “the web to the next billion” in the mobile phones part?

    And this quote from the press release:
    “Each unit will have profit-and-loss responsibility and end-to-end accountability for the full consumer experience, including product development, product management and product marketing.”

    That sounds as no cross-subsidies between the parts. Maybe MS did not dare to outright buy the Smartphone business from Nokia. But this looks very close to a buy out of the Nokia Smartphone business.

    On the other hand, I am a very bad gambler, and companies have been known to take stupid decisions.

  2. When I’ve read it in the news today, my first thought was that Elop might have confused Valentine’s Day with April Fools in the calendar: this just cannot be serious. Just cannot. There are technological failures that do make sense from a business point of view (Microsoft used to be good at these) and there are business failures that do make sense from a technological point of view, but this is such an incredible topping of the FAIL meter on both accounts that I just can’t wrap my head around it. Is it entirely out of question that the guy was somehow… bought?

  3. This is the most unstrategic unstrategy I’ve ever seen by a top-tier company. Even IBM couldn’t have come up with anything so … confused. Two days ago Elop looked like a saavy leader, now he just looks like he is sucking his thumb and rocking back and forth sitting in the corner.

    I feel sorry for their employees. And stockholders.

  4. I wonder how long it will take for the brain-drain to be complete. Surely their top talent in device and software design can see the writing on the wall.

  5. Any predictions on how long before this “strategy” undergoes significant revision? I don’t see how it could remain intact for more than 18 months at the outside.

  6. >I feel sorry for their employees. And stockholders.

    While you’re at it, spare a little sorrow for the entire nation of Finland. Heard of company towns? Welcome to the company country. Nokia accounted for a third of the market cap in their stock exchange in 2007 and ships a quarter of Finland’s exports by itself. If the company goes under, Finland probably returns to being a backwater with timber and wood pulp as its major exports.

  7. >Any predictions on how long before this “strategy” undergoes significant revision? I don’t see how it could remain intact for more than 18 months at the outside.

    I don’t either. If I were a major Nokia shareholder I’d be furious, and could be restrained from kicking Elop out on his ass only by the belief that he’s pulling a fast one on Microsoft.

  8. Google should open a new Android research center in Finland; what an excellent opportunity to pick up highly motivated engineering talent.

  9. If the company goes under, Finland probably returns to being a backwater with timber and wood pulp as its major exports.

    My first thought was to find out how strong the greens are in Finland. The first greenpeace resource(which was old) i clicked on alleged that they have a shortage of decent birch treas and so a lot of the timber leaving Finland is illegally logged in Russia. If thats the case, they may end up being just a backwater.

    the belief that he’s pulling a fast one on Microsoft.

    And maybe Microsoft is in on it. It’s the wrong culture for them but maybe the long term plan is one of “either we work together and everything works swimmingly, or alternatively we(Nokia) sell you(MS) the smartphone side and we part as friends”. Microsoft then attempts to clone Apple. They’ll almost certainly fail (considering there’s a plausible accusation that Apple is failing at being Apple right now) but it does give them a chunk of technology to work off of… they’ll be further ahead than they are today.

    They may even be trying to acquire smartphone related patents (presumably with corresponding perpetual licenses for Nokia) so they can go down with guns blazing.

  10. Google should open a new Android research center in Finland; what an excellent opportunity to pick up highly motivated engineering talent.

    Not the worst idea in the world and it would be a very “Google” thing to do.

  11. One clarification: they want to slowly kill off Symbian, and replace it with WP7:

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/11/rip-symbian/

    They can’t just kill it right now — to many products in the pipeline, and though Android just beat it in terms of market share, they *just* beat it — it’s still #2. A phase-out makes sense.

    Sounds like they’re aiming MeeGo more at something netbook or tablet-like going forward, which if they’re embracing WP7, kinda makes sense — there’s no tablet WP7 really in the works. Microsoft is stupidly thinking that desktop Windows is the way to go with tablets.

    I agree that it would make more sense to just pick a platform, and kill off everything else as quickly as possible to save on R&D. I think they would have been better served with Android as well, as it gives them more of a solution for low-end phones going forward (no reason you can’t pare down Android into a feature-phone — remove the market, replace the home screen with something much simpler and more fixed-function.

    This is actually potentially a big win for Microsoft. I think WP7 just became a little more viable. Nokia is a powerful global brand, and makes some really killer and borderline indestructible hardwere.

  12. The R&D expense has at its core a bloated middle-manager staff that was brought in during the early Symbian days when non-engineers were just picked up for having Symbian experience but no CS.

    They are not going Android and that from internal Google contacts that I have.

    Nokia needed to get rid of platform to take on WP7. The obvious choice if they could get low cost hardware out was Symbian as expense wise its 3/4ths of Nokia’s budget.

    Seems they are betting WP7 short-term to save Symbian. Witness the Software Engineering hires at the top..that is a Symbian move.

  13. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the value of the Nokia brand. Nokia might not be a household name in the US or Japan, but it is one everywhere else. They’re still #1, and sell more phones than #2 and #3 together. In Europe they have a quite loyal consumer base, people who wouldn’t even consider buying a phone that hasn’t “nokia” stamped on it.
    The average phone buyer doesn’t care about Android or IOs or Symbian or WP7. What he or she cares about is being able to read facebook while on the bus. Symbian still has some life in that market segment.
    (The high end buyer however does care about OS, and they buy iPhones. Half of all smartphones in Switzerland are iPhones for example…)

  14. > …failure to cut bloated R&D expenses.

    There’s nothing wrong with high R&D expenses as long as you can afford it and they deliver results that pay back the costs. In the smartphone business I’d be worried about the long (or even medium) -term future of any company that didn’t have large R&D costs.

    The problem with NOK in recent years is that their management seem to have wholeheartedly subscribed to the `million monkeys’ school of development, and it shows in their products. Microsoft may appear to be a very successful `million monkeys’ shop, but I’m quite sure that most readers here realise that this success is `despite of’, not `because of’. Nokia doesn’t have the advantage of a stranglehold on the market, so this partnership can only, in the end, work out for a maximum of one of the partners.

  15. “If the company goes under, Finland probably returns to being a backwater with timber and wood pulp as its major exports.”

    I don’t think so. Nokia accounts for about 3,5% of Finnish GDP. But Nokia isn’t just phones. And the company has reinvented itself several times already in its history…
    And even if Nokia goes under, the wealth of a nation doesn’t depend in the first place on the health of it’s enterprises. It’s the work ethic and skills of the population that counts, and there the Fins don’t have much to worry about…. If Nokia goes someone else will come to take advantage of all those highly educated engineers.

  16. My initial thought, once I got over the sheer disbelief that anyone would do this, is “Stephen Elop has just shown he could fuck up an anvil.”

  17. Actually Nokia’s low-end phones use Series 40, which is not based on Symbian. I guess the ‘Smart Devices’ department will get all the Series 60 telephones, which are Symbian-based, and will eventually phase them out and replace them with Windows Phones. And the “Mobile Phones” department will continue to sell Series 40 devices, until the market for low-end devices from relatively expensive western brand-names has finally disappeared (because the cheap Asian phones get better at the very low end, and Windows Phone hardware will become cheaper and eventually replace the more expensive S40 models).

  18. Sounds like Nokia is about to turn itself into the donkey that starved to death between two^H^H^Hfour piles of hay.

    With regard to the idea that Elop may be trying to pull a whizzer on Microsoft…I will simply note that it’s a little like trying to become the Kwisatz Haderach: many companies (run by people smarter than Elop) have tried…not just “tried and failed,” they tried and died.

    Would Nokia have tried this strategy if a Finn had been in charge of the company? I don’t think so. Elop may have just proven that he’s lacking in sisu.

  19. Like one of the other commenters here said, Nokia is a household brand name in countries other than USA. So honestly, I don’t think that the decision of splitting dumb phones and smart phones is the most disastrous one. What could be potentially disastrous if they don’t phase out Symbian on their smart phones. About WP7, I am waiting to see. :D

  20. What Jay Maynard said…

    This is ridiculous. Elop may be a M$ fucktard, but this imbecility beggars belief.

    I am so disgusted…I may go buy a top-shelf Android device right now, and mail the shit-smeared shattered remains of my N900 back to Nokia

  21. Let’s consider why this might be advantageous from Microsoft’s perspective, and how it might actually make some short-term economic sense. At the end of 2010 Microsoft had an estimated $28 Billion outside the US. Repatriating this money would trigger a 35% corporate tax hit. But, if Microsoft can find some way of offsetting this cash with losses (i.e. forgone WP7 licensing fees) then it can repatriate the money tax free.

    According to this link, roughly 385 million Symbian phones have been shipped.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbian_OS

    Let’s assume that Microsoft intends to “give” Nokia enough licenses 77 million smart phones (roughly one fifth of all Symbian phones). This is not as crazy as it sounds. Remember, Nokia ships a lot of phones. Having the license for the phone does not mean they need to use it. We saw Microsoft pull a variation on this theme back in the day.

    Let’s also assume that Microsoft charges $100 per WP7 license. At 77 million smart phones and $100 a license that comes to $7.7 billion that can be used to offset the $28 Billion in expatriated cash. At the 35% corporate tax rate that comes to a $2.7B savings. Divide that by the number of Microsoft shares outstanding (8.4 Billion) and you get a $0.32 per share return. And that’s for doing nothing.

    This deal may not make a lot of technological sense, but it could make a lot of economic sense. From that perspective, Microsoft may not even care if Nokia pushes Android in the low-cost international markets, as long as Microsoft gets to “sell” them a license for the Android phones. At the end of the day Microsoft will get to increase their market share and save some money. Nokia will get a rich uncle to subsidize them while they attempt to catch up in the smartphone market.

    I don’t think technological decisions should be driven by these kinds of economic factors, but I can see how the magnitude of the numbers involved make it very tempting.

  22. @Rob:

    I don’t think a “forgone license fee” counts as a loss under any accounting system.

  23. @Patrick

    My point is this may provide Microsoft with a way to repatriate a bunch of cash. Since I’m not a CPA, lawyer, or any other such professional I don’t know the details of how this would be accomplished. What I do know is Microsoft has a shit-ton of money sitting outside the US and that US companies are engaging in a variety of tactics to repatriate money.

    I believe the actual system under which this would be accomplished is far more complex than just treating the license fees as a loss. Let’s not pretend this isn’t possible just because a hack like me can’t describe exactly how it might be accomplished.

  24. “If the company goes under, Finland probably returns to being a backwater with timber and wood pulp as its major exports.”

    Finland also makes the world’s best icebreakers.

  25. >Finland also makes the world’s best icebreakers.

    Heh. In retrospect, I should have listed as major exports timber, wood pulp, and Linus Torvalds.

  26. > If the company goes under, Finland probably returns to being a backwater with timber and wood pulp as its major exports.

    Finland is still a bit more than Nokia. The major exports before telecommunications products were paper and heavy machinery. These days the timber to even local Finnish mills tends to come from Russia, at least if their government hasn’t come up with a new surprise tariff on any given week. I found the 1995 GDP numbers expressed in 1987 dollars at http://combusem.com/WORLDGDP.HTM . At the time, Finland was recovering from the severe banking system crash of 1991-92 and the simultaneous loss of bilateral trade with the Soviet Union. Nokia was about to take off, but unemployment was still high. People were starting to buy their first GSM phones. The per-capita income in those 1995 numbers is

    23,295 Norway

    20,698 US

    19,373 Sweden

    18,167 Finland

    Finland ranked 30th in the world in total GDP after Norway (28.) Saudi Arabia (29.) and it did this with zero oil wells in the country. Nokia has had several near-death experiences in its 146-year history, and as I mentioned, Finland itself has a near-Iceland-type monetary system crash in living memory from 20 years ago. Nokia’s phone business’s impending suicide is not going to be fun, but it’s not the end of Finland by any means. The software industry (not just Rovio) has been picking up recently and having trouble recruiting people. I guess this might solve that problem, depending on what kind of people are the first to go at Nokia.

  27. Their shipbuilding in general is top-notch, they make more than icebreakers.

  28. Looking at it backwards; assume Elop is not deranged. Why do this?

    There’s one reasonable option that hasn’t been mentioned upthread; maybe he realizes (as the Nokia tech staff don’t) that they really, really can’t compete with the Asian vendors in a commoditized Andriod market.

    If so, there aren’t any good options. They got into this mess because Symbian was early, and designed for phones seriuosly lower-spec than the current state-of-the-art. Projects to properly adapt it to higher-end hardware have crashed and burned, while the idea of leapfrogging Android and iOS to even-higher-spec phones with Meego is stalled at best. Right now they’re afloat because of brand inertia, and because their S40 OS gives them a line of sort-of-smartphones with lower hardware requirements than Android. But once Android can run on a $50 phone with decent battery life that niche is gone…

    In this case, his plan could be rational – ditch Symbian, switch to winphone7, and hope that somehow Google screws up Android development (fragmentation?) long enough for you to grab the lead at the next technological disruption (thus the keeping Meego around as research project). It’s a long shot, but if Android wins they would be screwed either way…

  29. >In this case, his plan could be rational – ditch Symbian, switch to winphone7, and hope that somehow Google screws up Android development (fragmentation?) long enough for you to grab the lead at the next technological disruption

    I think your scenario isn’t entirely crazy…except under those assumptions, how does WP7 help in any way at all? It’s not like it’s going to, er, sell phones. The more rational way to execute under your assumption would be to ride S40 until it drops dead, praying you get either a tech disruption or a Meego port that works, first.

  30. >I don’t think a “forgone license fee” counts as a loss under any accounting system.

    Yeah, there’s no way the IRS would buy that. MS has been able to get massive write-offs by giving away copies of their products to schools and charities, but I don’t think NOK counts as a charity yet.

  31. There’s one reasonable option that hasn’t been mentioned upthread; maybe he realizes (as the Nokia tech staff don’t) that they really, really can’t compete with the Asian vendors in a commoditized Andriod market.

    They don’t need to.

    They can can add market differentiation by retaining Symbian compatibility through emulators — you said it yourself: Symbian was built for lower-spec hardware; that makes it an ideal candidate for virtualization.

    They can further build market differentiation by innovating on the hardware. Add stuff other phone manufacturers don’t have yet, build the support for it in Android, and there you go.

    I don’t see what’s so hard about this. They’re Nokia. They spend more on R&D in a month than HTC spends all year.

  32. Re: Finland’s prospects, I don’t buy the idea that NOK’s demise means that the country goes in the crapper. If the organization disbanded tomorrow, there would still be a very large talent pool available for new ventures. Cell phones came out of nowhere in the early 1980s, and there are plenty of other industries ripe for major innovations. Maybe Finland becomes a world leader in machine tool technology. Maybe they develop robotic farming equipment. Maybe they become a world financial center. There’s all kinds of things they could do.

  33. >They spend more on R&D in a month than HTC spends all year.

    Elop’s previous employer has proven many times that R&D spending doesn’t mean you get results.

  34. >A nice blog analysis with some additional points not mentioned here is http://www.quirksmode.org/blog/archives/2011/02/the_nokisoft_fa.html

    Hm. I think he’s probably right that Mobile Phones will get S40 and Smart Devices will get the rest of the stranded Symbian junk. That may answer the question of who owns what codebase. But damn does it make Smart Devices look like a morgue, what with two dead Nokia OSes and a dead-on-arrival Microsoft one as its properties.

    Interesting point about no devices being announced. Product strategy, err, what product strategy? I suppose it’ll be to sell S40 phones until Android eats that market, hoping that some miracle occurs on the WP7 or MeeGo front.

  35. Heh. Someone on twitter just mentioned that Nokia has just become SGI. Come to think of it, history is littered with companies that basically killed themselves by grabbing for a MS life preserver that turned out to be an anchor.

  36. @Some Guy

    I used sloppy language there. I doubt it will be anything as simple as giving to charity. How this might be accomplished is a minor point. I encourage you not to get hung up on it.

  37. Does this remind anyone else of the Sun-Oracle merger?

    Major, unfocused hardware company on the verge of being commoditized into irrelevance adopts open-source culture, hopes that crowdsourcing platform development will be a huge win. Realizes “oh shit, we forgot to you know, make money“, gets into bed with first money-grubbing, evil (but positive balance sheet!) megacorp that comes along. Say goodbye to that open-source culture and those hackers you worked so hard to recruit.

  38. Heh. Someone on twitter just mentioned that Nokia has just become SGI. Come to think of it, history is littered with companies that basically killed themselves by grabbing for a MS life preserver that turned out to be an anchor.

    SGI would’ve died anyway. High-end proprietary Unix graphical workstations were doomed to go the way of the Lisp Machine. Graphics professionals want something like Windows or Mac.

    Nokia had a chance to save itself and burnt it.

  39. Hi,
    another point of view – people involved (employed) in MeeGo development . Im afraid that in max one year (probably less) they would be shifting programmers from MeeGo to W$ phone … maybe lot of people don’t care, but me and bunch of other “linux” guys, we’re not going to work with windows (if there is any other choice). So in simple words we are in really deep s**t, most companies in Poland (if they are by some chance involved in some kind of lower level linux stuff) its MeeGo. I would probably looking for a (linux based) job soon so if anybody … ;)

    Fortune for today “Start digging into winapi or die” :)

  40. > Major, unfocused hardware company on the verge of being commoditized into irrelevance … etc.

    Change that to “software company” and you have Novell + Microsoft. How well did that work out?

  41. > Re: Finland’s prospects, I don’t buy the idea that NOK’s demise means that the country goes in the crapper.

    Yes, and the country pretty much was in the crapper, a couple of steps from an IMF intervention, in 1992, just before the Nokia boom.

    I meant to add earlier that esr’s comment about becoming a “backwater” is totally clueless in a cultural sense. In many ways, Finland has been transformed since the 1980s. President Kekkonen stepped down in 1982 after a 25-year term. (No comparisons to Egypt, please. Kekkonen was democratically elected several times, but also the preferred candidate of the great eastern neighbor, which did its best to wield an influence.) As one small example, the first private radio station, independent from the state broadcaster, started in 1985. At the time, nobody thought that the Soviet Union might fold. If you’d told people then that 10 years later, the Soviet Union would gone and Finland would be a member of the EU and on its way to holding the rotating EU presidency a few years later, people would have thought you were delusional. Nokia, apart from making money, definitely had a part in making Finland more open, cosmopolitan and better known in the rest of the world, but there was very much a deeper change going on. It’s not going to be rolled back by the failure of a handset business.

  42. >I meant to add earlier that esr’s comment about becoming a “backwater” is totally clueless in a cultural sense.

    Was thinking economics, not culture. I don’t know much about Finnish culture, except that it involves steamrooms and a lot of drinking :-)

  43. Note to Finns and others: The U.S. has a large enough Finnish-descended population (notably in Michigan and Minnesota) that “what Finns are like” is part of our national folklore and has been for over a century. Finns are expected to be tough, stoical, hard-working, prone to excessive drinking, and right bastards in a fight.

    My observations of Finns in the wild do not suggest that this stereotype is far off the mark. :-)

  44. > Elop may be a M$ fucktard

    No, it is only a trojan horse. Nokia weaks. Microsoft buys Nokia. Microsoft, at last, “is a leader” in MP market.

  45. ub,

    Pretty sure that some Android shop would love to have someone like you. Shop around and don’t give up hope (yet) :)

  46. >did Elop work for Xerox PARC?

    I was thinking of the outfit that spends more on R&D with less to show for it than anyone else in the world.

  47. >I meant to add earlier that esr’s comment about becoming a “backwater” is totally clueless in a cultural sense.

    Was thinking economics, not culture. I don’t know much about Finnish culture, except that it involves steamrooms and a lot of drinking :-)

    Compared to China, the entire West is on the road to economic backwater status.

  48. He said clearly that their main OS will be WP7. How much clearer can he be?

    (And going for Linux would be suicide. Linux is NOW more competitive but it’s a hell of a dog and it’s NOT as advanced as WP7 will be. Since Microsoft is behind WP7.)

  49. > with two dead Nokia OSes and a dead-on-arrival Microsoft one as its properties.

    Seems like it’s my job to play devil’s advocate, so…

    Yes, WP7 has so far failed in the market. But the question is: Why did it fail? Was its failure necessary or was it contingent, and if it was contingent, on what?

    Yes, MS was late to the party. But it wasn’t an obviously pathetic first effort. It had a decent feature set, some novel ideas, decent marketing, shipping on decent hardware. Seemed like “a good start”. It wasn’t just an also-ran iPhone clone. So what went wrong? Microsoft lacks the credibility of Apple. When MS enters a market, customers and developers don’t trust them to stick around and fix the product. When Apple ships without copy/paste or 3G or a GPS chip we buy it anyway knowing they’ll get around to fixing it, which gives Apple the resources to keep fixing stuff. When Microsoft shipped with various flaws people saw what was there rather than what it could become, not trusting Microsoft’s vision for the platform. So not even the “early adopters” bought it, and so Microsoft doesn’t get the feedback it needs to figure out what needs fixing or the revenue stream to pay for fixing it, vindicating those who didn’t trust it. Two “closed system” companies, but Apple’s in a virtuous cycle and Microsoft’s in a vicious one.

    WP7 has no existing critical mass of users and there’s no customer base for which WP7 is the natural upgrade path. It’s hard to predict if or when it might catch on with customers. Therefore developers aren’t interested, so there are no exciting apps to attract customers, so…goto 10.

    But Nokia has a HUGE existing customer base who are happy with their low-end phones but might be persuaded to upgrade to Nokia’s higher-end phones. If Nokia can make moving to WP7 seem like a smooth and sensible transition, they can bring WP7 back from the dead. That’s their hope. Nokia looks at WP7 and sees flaws that might be fixable. They think WP7 could have been a success with the right partners, a little more market clout, and the right team of support engineers. They don’t see it as dead-on-arrival.

  50. Android enabled commoditization of ALL smartphone hardware. Nokia will be forced to compete on price regardless the OS they use. There are news reports that Apple might release a cheap iPhone to compete against Android phones. If almighty Apple is feeling price pressure, what chance does Nokia have with WP7?

  51. > If almighty Apple is feeling price pressure, what chance does Nokia have with WP7?

    It’s worth noting the PC revolution, complete with commoditization of the PC occurred with Windows as the dominant OS. Yes there are differences, but just because the OS costs a little bit doesn’t mean you can’t still compete, especially if you have other advantages. The question is, does Nokia have other advantages.

  52. > Was thinking economics, not culture. I don’t know much about Finnish culture, except that it involves steamrooms and a lot of drinking :-)

    You might start by learning the difference between a steam bath and a Finnish sauna :)

    Re: economy, the perennial complaint in the bad old times always was that Finland was too dependent on paper and the metal industry and needed a ‘third leg’ to stand on for exports. Then we got the third leg, and then the complaint was that we’re too dependent on telecommunications. Oh well.

    As a matter of fact, the exports have become much more diverse since the 91-92 crash and the country is fundamentally a different place both economically and culturally. This is what I was referring to earlier. Finland may have been a backwater before the first GSM phone call (it was advertising itself as a high-tech advanced economy in the 80s), but there’s absolutely no going back to the way it was. Still, Nokia is a very large company in a small country. Today’s news are full of stories about Nokia’s workers starting the weekend very early and anticipating news about layoffs. The government has been negotiating with Nokia to make arrangements on finding jobs for the soon-to-be-unemployed. Nobody seems too shocked, though, since organizational upheaval has been practically the modus operandi for Nokia and tons of people there are used to reapplying time and again for jobs internally. Also, they laid off people a couple of years ago when Nokia Networks merged with Siemens. That part seems to be doing reasonably well now.

    All this makes me wonder where the Nokia brand may ultimately end up. When I was in secondary school, they had Nokia-brand 286 PCs there, and most of the kids wore Nokia-brand rubber boots for a rainy-day outing in the forest. Of course, Nokia started by making pulp in a Finnish backwater (no joke, but that was in 1865).

    Anyways, the future is obviously full of Angry Birds. Rovio is looking for 30 new people with a big banner across their front page.

  53. >Anyways, the future is obviously full of Angry Birds. Rovio is looking for 30 new people with a big banner across their front page.

    Right. Timber, wood pulp, Linus Torvalds, and angry birds. The birds, no doubt, actually POd because all the good birch trees are gone.

    Or you could export consonants. You’ve got an excess of those. And so few vowels you frequently have to double up on them to make do. You should consider trying to intensify trade with Hawaii, though I really don’t know if there’s that much of a market for knotty-pine surfboards.

  54. Anyone knows how the Manufacturers’ use of Android works? Licensing/contracts or something? What liability Google has with respect to android? i.e: if a bug starts crashing random phones all over the world, what legal actions could be taken against Google?

    I _think_ google can’t be sued for Android malfunctions. Is that so?

  55. tmoney, the difference there is that Windows, during the rise of the PC, was a cost everyone paid equally (well, more or less), while now, there’s an alternative available for zero dollars. The playing field isn’t level any more.

  56. All the negative vibe here seems more like a kid whining about loosing a candy or more like Nokia fans whining about loosing symbian or meego or Google fanboys crying for not picking Android. It is a fact that both Symbian and Meego couldn’t bring the spark needed in this case. Them being good or better is a different story all together. End of the day Nokia is a hardware company (with some good software skills). For them to survive the iPhone and Android onslaught (irrespective of their inferior feature set) they needed to refocus, to stem the flow. Going with Google is not a good option at this point (one obvious reason is due to the glut in the market), in which case WP7 makes lot of sense (with its wide reach and fast building environment). It is a mutually beneficial deal, WP7 gives Nokia standing room in the biggest market in the form of North America while Nokia brings WP7 to the emerging markets with solid hardware. Combining the best features from both companies is a bonus.

    This is just an announcement on their future approach, did you expect them to present a detail bullet point agenda of their future plans. The split into two divisions (if I can say that) with end to end accountability makes absolute sense, cuts down on internal bickering and brings them out of their own way. Allowing each to focus on their markets and play to their strong points. As for the confusion regarding which way they are headed with four different options is also blown out and is more in your head than theirs. After investing so heavily (financially and emotionally) it is not easy to just throw out something in one single swipe.

    Think of Motorola adopting Android, they had both been decimated and in a far worse situation than Nokia and WP7. Look at what that brought around, agreed that several other factors played in their success. It is only fair to give this logical union a good and fair chance instead of presenting your one sided opinions (more like wishes) of its impending failure.

    So back off from predictions of an impending doom and try to see the positives and the immense potential that each bring to the table. The opportunity is there, discussions on if it pans out or not at this point is pure speculation.

  57. > It’s worth noting the PC revolution, complete with commoditization
    > of the PC occurred with Windows as the dominant OS.

    No, the PC revolution happened even before Microsoft was creating operating systems.

    In the old days, things moved so slowly that Microsoft was able to make a business out of selling clones of Apple technology 5-10 years later. For example, the 1985 MS-DOS is the 1980 Apple II (without color), and the 1993 Windows is the 1985 Mac, and Windows 95 is the 1990 NeXT, complete with the World Wide Web coming in right after.

    Today, Windows Phone 7 is almost the 2007 iPhone, without the HTML5 browser. Microsoft even makes the excuse for no Copy/Paste that iPhone did not have it in 2007. But things move much more quickly today. The user’s expectations of what a phone does has changed quickly, and people don’t want something that is 4 years out of date, especially not when it costs as much or more than the original.

    All the phone hardware is commoditized. An ARM SoC is a commodity. Apple’s phones are made in China. Apple is maintaining the technology lead and the lead in exploiting manufacturing economies of scale. Copying Apple is no longer a viable business unless you can do it psychically, a few years ahead of time. You’re not going to hide the state of the art at Apple from your customers thanks to the Web and Apple Stores and so on.

    So in short, the 21st century phone market is becoming the 21st century iPod market, not the 1980’s or 1990’s PC market.

  58. Mikko,

    Hmm. Nokia sounds like a Finnish riff on the idea of a keiretsu. Kinda like how there are Mitsubishi cars, Mitsubishi stereos and… Mitsubishi tuna fish?!

  59. wow .. of all the reactions today I think yours is one of the furthest from understanding…

    Smart devices .. focus a efforts on WP7. It is Nokia sole premium OS long term.

    Mobile phones deliver the existing features in S40 at low pricepoints.. S40 is a capable smart(ish)phone OS these days. Tried it?

    MeeGo is now just a research project. A platform for just one of many “disruptive” projects bubbling away.

    S60 is a cash cow to be milked, to death.

    ‘Droid .. no way.

    So 5 OS .. what rubbish! Its a clear two OS strategy from 2012 on, only the transition is painful

  60. MS has spoken. Seriously, “wide reach”, suggesting iOS *and* Android have an “inferior feature set”, “standing room in the biggest market”. What exactly does “end to end accountability” mean when you break your company into pieces with conflicting goals, anyway?

    We have been graced with a PR release.

  61. > The birds, no doubt, actually POd because all the good birch trees are gone.

    This is strictly not true. The trees are fine, we’re feeding the mills Russian birch trees (and there more where those came from). The birds are angry because it’s fucking cold.

    > Or you could export consonants. You’ve got an excess of those.

    What are you talking about? Typical usage of Finnish has proportionally more vowel sounds than many other European languages, English included, I think.

    > And so few vowels you frequently have to double up on them to make do.

    No need to be mean! Finnish has more vowel graphemes than English. The double vowels are pronounced as longer sounds, and the distinction is frequently crucial. ‘Hääyöaie’ is a word, ‘häyöaie’ is not. ‘Sika’ means a pig, ‘siika’ a species of fish.

    > You should consider trying to intensify trade with Hawaii, though I really don’t know if there’s that much of a market for knotty-pine surfboards.

    Stranger things, such as flutes, have been made of carbon fiber in Finland.

  62. Joining the dots? … Nokia owns Qt. Qt is what a lot of F/OSS desktops run on. MS gets Qt run aground and weakens a free ‘competitor’, Linux. Almost for free, too.

  63. >The double vowels are pronounced as longer sounds, and the distinction is frequently crucial.

    Actually, I knew that. I find descriptive phonology interesting, and the kind of phonemic vowel- and consonant-lengthening found in Finnish is an unusual feature. Also, by the way, one that tends to be unstable over historical time, like the /th/ phoneme and vowel dipthongs in Germanic languages; I’ve idly wondered what it will evolve into in a few centuries. I was trying to be funny, sorry if it clanged.

  64. one that tends to be unstable over historical time, like the /th/ phoneme and vowel dipthongs in Germanic languages

    This isn’t just true of Germanic languages. Old Irish had both ? and ð; today they’ve both been lost and have turned into h, and when speaking English, Gaeltacht natives tend to pronounce them as ?.

  65. I have no time and patience to read all the comments here. The issue seems a bit boring to me. Only skimming through all this comments may caused me to miss an important one but yet I find no mention of the most obvious explanation. In the real world out there… this Elop fellow cares about _his_ success not Nokia’s. Failing to find a strategy that wins for both himself and Nokia he opts for what will ensure short term cash for him and… well whatever comes first for Nokia. After all, he probably knows how to cut a deal with Microsoft.

    Admirable? Hardly. Beautiful? Less than. Obvious? Sure, it is…

  66. Not the first time the world leader in mobile phones misses the boat. 7 years ago they didn’t have clampshell phones which was the craze of the day. Now they have been sleeping again. We’ve had some of the high quality classic Nokia phones 10 years or more ago. Then in the last decade they started marketing a confusing array of ‘lifestyle phones’ with impossible ergonomics and keypads and the most messy menu system around – plus they were very poor quality lasting two years if you were lucky. They are now most famous for their cheap plastic phones. How can a market leading company come adrift like this? And now they misread the smartphone market completely. Simply amazing. Nokia should be leading the pack. I am afraid the MS deal will not work out – Nokia is on death row.

  67. Rewritten for those with fonts lacking IPA glyphs: Old Irish had both voiced and voiceless dental fricatives; today they’ve both been lost and have turned into voiceless glotal fricatives, and when speaking English, Gaeltacht natives tend to pronounce them as voiceless post-alevolar plosives.

  68. Sorry, grouping ambiguity: I meant “like the /th/ phoneme, and like vowel dipthongs in Germanic languages”.

    It’s possible (and I think it likely) that vowel dipthongs are unstable in other language groups as well, but I’m not conversant with evidence one way or the other.

  69. @Greg

    You obviously missed the point, all my points are more of a reflection on comments in this blog and my attempt at reasoning on the positives out of this (may not be the best in writing but there is point if you try).

    Yes iPhone and Android are inferior, feature wise, compared to what Nokia has offered. They are both only now catching up with what Nokia had to offer. Don’t just be in denial mode and do some research or try to get that head out of the dirt so you can see something beyond your iPhone or Android (which ever fan boy you are).

    You obviously don’t think much of Microsoft and its presence in the US, think of Microsoft as a brand and then maybe you will get a hint. You don’t think that can’t be harnessed by new ventures. Nokia with its almost nill presence in US it is a potentially huge market, what you make out of that opportunity is up for grabs.

    Yes admittedly I like WP7 more than the other platforms but PR release ?? In that case, I guess yours should be loaded with facts that contradict something that I said rather than being an iPhone/Android cry baby who just knows that every thing else is dirt.

  70. > I was trying to be funny, sorry if it clanged.

    So was I, apparently less than successfully :)

    The difference between colloquial and written Finnish is pretty impressive, so one can probably get pretty good idea of the features that are going to go next from the formal language. The length of the double vowel sounds doesn’t seem to be near the top of the list, though, now that I think about it. The length of the sounds makes a difference in meaning very frequently. There’s a whole bunch of other things that are clearly going to be lost, such as a large number of redundant inflections (many more words in a sentence are inflected according to case, number, person etc. than is necessary for retaining the meaning). Often you can look for worked examples in Estonian, which isn’t quite as ‘frozen in time’ as written Finnish is.

    > Hmm. Nokia sounds like a Finnish riff on the idea of a keiretsu. Kinda like how there are Mitsubishi cars, Mitsubishi stereos and… Mitsubishi tuna fish?!

    Nokia tissue paper! You may very well have blown your nose on Nokia tissue paper or possibly even wiped your rear end with Nokia toilet paper. They exported a lot of finer-quality tissue paper at one time, even to the US, I believe. I don’t know if the Keiretsu description fits… it was a sprawling industrial conglomerate and obviously this isn’t the first time it had an indecisive leadership that sort of dabbled all over the place. They tried to be one of the Finnish paper majors, but turned out to be too small, so the paper mills got consolidated into other companies. They had one arm making rubber products, including the boots and tires. The car and bicycle tires are still there, but the company has long since been spun out and a ‘n’ added to the end of the name, so it’s now ‘Nokian’ tires. Another part of the company made electric and telecommunication cables, and you can guess what happened to that. Their cable factory in Helsinki was the largest building in Finland at one time. It’s now a huge cultural center and a studio space for artists. The electronics business ventured into making PCs and television sets and computer monitors. The monitors were somewhat successful and they only got rid of them well into the GSM phone era, by which time they were making LCD panels.

  71. Somehow I have to work out a strategy for addressing vast quantities of extremely interesting commentary that is sort of relevant but at the same time rather unfocused and imprecise. Please excuse my experiment.

    The `death spiral’ comment was fundamentally based on the pocket calculator market of the 1970’s, where one could observe order-of-magnitude reductions in product prices in the space of three years. We’re not looking at an equivalent of the evolution of the PC market here; the mobile phone market today basically delivers pocket-sized lumps of plastic (with a bit of sand and metal embedded within) to millions of consumers. The physical limitations on the cost of product are, unlike computers in the TV-sized CRT and brick-sized disc era, as near as dammit zero. Simply stated, the hardware aspects of the future smartphone market are predetermined.

    The implication is that short of useful innovation in the functionality (i.e. software) of the device, it is practically impossible to gain a significant advantage in the market.
    And so we have to examine the area of useful innovation.

    Would anyone from Microsoft like to expand on the last sentence?

  72. Listen to all of the Android fanboys grousing over Nokia’s decision not to embrace their love child. Pathetic. Given that most of you live in your daddy’s basement working on free shit, your opinions on how to run a multinational corporation are, well, irrelevant.

  73. Tom Says> Android fanboys grousing over Nokia’s decision

    That’s not the way I read most of the commentary. Most of the concern seems to be that a fundamentally solid manufacturer (and I don’t think that anyone would call Nokia bleeding edge) is about to find out how bad life with Microsoft can be.

    You’re free to tell me I’m wrong in 2013.

  74. Tom,

    Instead of trolling why not make the business case that Windows Phone is a better deal — for users or developers — than Android. As it is, the apps ain’t there, not in the strength they are for iOS or even Android. For developers the vendor lockdown situation is dismal. Not even Apple crippled the developer APIs to the extent that Microsoft did. What has Windows Phone got that can woo users or ISVs in the strength it would take to pose a credible threat to Android? Exchange integration? In 2011 that’s not the slam dunk you think it is, and it’s certainly less relevant to smartphones — a very personal item — than it is to, say, business desktops or laptops.

    I’m not that much of a fandroid. I think iOS offers the overall best UX and app selection and will for the foreseeable, but seeing an open source solution “win” in terms of the numbers game is exciting. If Microsoft brings a better game than what they have been — APIs at least as accessible, powerful, and well-documented as Android along with more strategic deals like this Nokia one — then they have a shot. But as I mentioned in another thread, I don’t think Ballmer could pull it off. Gates could, but he’s too busy fighing malaria. Go Bill.

  75. I’ve been reading this thread with interest and appreciate the thoughtful commentary. Today’s events represent a radical change for Nokia and its employees. I hope for their sake that things don’t work out badly, but I think they are in for a rough ride. I am not optimistic that this relationship is going to work. I hope to be proven wrong, since I believe that competition is a good thing.

    The reinvention of Nokia will have two phases. The period between today and the introduction of Nokia/WP7 phones is the first, and the second is what comes after that. The first one matters most right now because if it is mishandled the second becomes irrelevant.

    There are several questions affecting it that are difficult to answer right now and will only become apparent over the next several weeks and months.

    (1) How long will it take to get Nokia/WP7 phones into the hands of consumers?

    Effectively, Nokia declared its entire smartphone product line obsolete today. Their decline in market share is going to accelerate as a result. How much the decline will accelerate and how long the accelerated decline is allowed to continue will determine what they have left to work with when the new products are introduced. My current bet is even money that Nokia’s smartphone share dips into the single digits before the new products arrive and can have an effect.

    (2) How will the Nokia/Microsoft relationship affect WP7’s other partners (mostly HTC, Samsung,and LG)?

    Will they increase or scale back their commitment to WP7 as a result? I suspect (unless MS pulls some rabbits out of their hat) that they will not appreciate playing second fiddle to Nokia and will redirect their resources elsewhere. WP7 has not lit the world on fire, and if it is still a niche player when the Nokia/WP7 products roll out, that will make acceptance of the those products more of a challenge. See question (3). Worst case, they abandon WP7 and it becomes strictly a Nokia show, which will be a disaster for MS and Nokia.

    (3) How will developers react to the new relationship?

    I wouldn’t anticipate a flood of Symbian developers embracing WP7 in the short run as a result of this decision. They will re-evaluate their positions and redirect their energies in the direction that will provide the best return. The other platforms will likely benefit from this…unless…MS can convince them that WP7 is a growing market worthy of their investment. See question (2).

    Bottom line is the Nokia/MS partnership has a rocky period of damage control to navigate before any turnaround materializes.

    Nokia has to minimize the time period in question and MS has to increase WP7’s relevance over the same time span. This requires rapid and well-focused execution by two companies whose recent track record at that sort of thing is not exactly stellar. I will be surprised if they pull it off.

    Disclosure: I am a former WM user, now Android. I am amazed by the innovation that is taking place in the mobile world, and respect the competition that stimulates it. I’d hate to see any OS become the “Windows” of mobile. I like ‘em all.

  76. Google should open a new Android research center in Finland; what an excellent opportunity to pick up highly motivated engineering talent.

    Not the worst idea in the world and it would be a very “Google” thing to do.

    Excuse me…but this is the worst idea ever…what do u think brought Nokia to where it is? The Finns are very diligent people but have no creativity and do not know how to write software !!!

    And on Nokia subject. I disagree with you guys. I think this is the best strategic decision that Nokia and Microsoft could have taken. I do not think they will get a huge market share, but at least they will be viable. Their biggest challenge is the integration, and as slow as Microsoft is….they are a rabbit compared to the Nokia turtle….

    Some people say that in this strategic move 1+1 = 0 , i would say it is 1 …better then 0

  77. Tom: I’m hardly an Android fanboy, but their decision simply makes no business sense to me.If you can explain how it does, we’ll be enlightened.

  78. > Here is an idea to think about: “Manchurian CEO”.

    Obviously a conspiracy-geek fantasy. Except this situation does recall the time when Silicon Graphics came to a decision point and their new ex-Microsoft CEO decided to bet the farm on Windows NT workstations. The result was epic fail and shortly afterwards, the new CEO returned to Microsoft.

  79. > Worst case, they abandon WP7 and it becomes strictly a Nokia show, which will be a disaster for MS and Nokia.

    Why should that automatically be a disaster for MS and Nokia, when a closed, one-vendor platform has been a success for Apple? Granted, Nokia alone is not exactly the software company that Apple is, they bungled with their app store thing for the longest time, and MS has demonstrated a boundless ability to make a total mess of mobile platform efforts, but theoretically, if it can be done with Apple’s resources, it should be perfectly possible for Nokia and MS to do together, too.

    I think that one big problem with Symbian was that Nokia was too worried about involving Ericsson and later Motorola in order to create a wider, ‘open’ platform, only to then go out of their way at every turn to differentiate their Symbian UIs from those of Ericsson and Motorola. Nokia could have done what Apple did later and just bought Psion’s OS outright and created a tighter, better integrated platform and an ecosystem around Symbian on their own, without all the scheming back and forth with the other consortium members. In perfect hindsight, the same goes for Maemo. Nokia had a proto-Android on their hands in 2005, but the management apparently didn’t understand this until the real Android was already selling like hotcakes.

  80. > The Finns are very diligent people but have no creativity and do not know how to write software !!!

    But we have some very angry birds.

  81. @Mikko

    An exclusive Nokia/WP7 show will be a disaster for the same reasons that the exclusive Nokia/Symbian show was.

    Comparing MS/Nokia to Apple (as a model for innovation) is a non-starter for reasons I shouldn’t have to list here.

    Nokia had opportunities with Symbian. There were many things that could have been done different. They weren’t, and we’re here today.

    Since I have cohabited with a cranky Amazon parrot for the past 28 years, I can say that angry birds rule and mean it…

  82. K said:

    “The high end buyer however does care about OS”

    No, they care about the user experience (UX), which is increasingly abstracted from the OS.

    But to be completely honest, even high end buyers confuse the situation.

    Anyway: crazy move on Elop’s part. But– crazy like a fox, or asylum patient? I think the latter so far…

  83. They also said the TV will the Radio? Radio won’t be dying for long-long time.
    This is so stupid? Who wants a radio to watch the big screen? Who wants a dumbphone with 4G connection? Maybe their kitchen sinks should also connect to the internet too?

    Most people can have a TV and a Radio. So many people can have a Smartphone with a dumbphone. Hell most people can have as many as three dumbphone at a time with three free plan(pay only when calling). Who would want to pay for two data plan? Not many. Who would want 2 smartphone at time with two expensive plan? Not Many.

    Symbian will be here for tens of tens of years more…
    It is the best for what it does!
    They won’t die anytime soon…..Keep dreaming,
    and Nokia knows this.

    Of the nearly 500 million Handset Nokia sold this year,Well over 400 Million is Symbian. And Yes Nokia is still growing.Well over 90% are symbian and Nokia will sell more than 500 million handset this year without Microsoft help or not.

    Don’t believe the hype Nokia is dying, it is damn no Motorola. It is more Motorola(t Android hekp). would be dead now the Iphone4 is on Verizon. No more Verizon Money and Google won’t let you sell your own Maps.

    The Athrix will be their Athrax and the XOOM will become the ZUNE.

    They had no choices i guess, But after the success of Razr they should invest in their own technology not by going to Microsoft or Google. Even if the fail… at least their be company will to buy them. Now no one want’s a piece of Motorola, well maybe apple for their dumbphone patent.

    Nokia did the best thing in sticking with Symbian for their majority of phones, delaying but developing Meego and going for the Highend with WinPhone7 for the time being. They could go for a Hybrid Mixture but I guess Microsoft would object and not put any Money into Nokia. For this short period of time, it is Microsoft that is paying Nokia!

    Nokia oing with Googles Android is very expensive. Googles Takes more than they give.

    It is better to go hybrid (WinPhone+Android). Making Winphone7 is cheaper. everything is ready for you. There is a reference Model with only SnapDragon processor(for now) and then wrap everything up. Then pay a tiny fee when you sold your phone. Practically zero cost of development except for the external h/w part.

    While for Andriod, the Os is free but the developemnet is very high. Everything is not optimize except at the Googles end. So you need to make all the tiny parts and hook it to the Os part, And continuing test n optimize, test n optimize for every tiny part. That is why Android in Fragmented and less stable at every level not just skin or app level. Then develop your own skin(a must for high end) and add some more services.

    Off course there is a cheap way, Find a reference model created by someone else and the just wrap it up with your external hardware. But that will only work for the lowend smartphone market.

    Let’s compare what Microsoft can offer against Google.

    Microsoft will give free PC,servers and expensive Software, technical expertise, tested stable reference model, Investment in Machinery and Tools for New Nokia’s custom Model and invested additional machinery of all kinds. Those all are very Expensive and maybe one time thing for initial starting up.

    Then Microsoft Offers ,Additional Marketing Money, Access to US Market and Access to Microsoft Corp/enterprise/business Market. Joint software development and access to Joint data sharing, More freedom of own App development in Nokia phone, Revenue sharing for Ads and Apps, Owning own Media/Music stores, Owning own Payment scheme and initial discounted license fee.

    Google offer is a free OS with restrictive and mandatory goggles services, under strict term of services. Great support from Open source community OS part is Opensource but the rest of Goggles’ service is close. Freedom of own Marketing and development but No Favoritism from Google so no Marketing Money or Investment Money from them. No revenue or Data sharing from Google but Your data is theirs. Carriers can apply to you as Google will not intervene(unless its google services).

  84. (Still reading through the comments, sorry.)

    Glen Raphael’s analysis– or at least, his 1st post, I don’t know if he’ll have posted again when I refresh the page– was more or less what crossed my mind when I saw the headline. The kindest thing you could say about Windows Phone 7 is that it’s untested and it hasn’t yet caught on. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad product. If Nokia puts out a really nice product, it might catch on. Android has *already* caught on, so it might have been a less risky choice, but there’s the possibility that Nokia couldn’t compete as “just another Android dispenser.” So I was ready to conclude that Nokia’s plan was feasible at least.

    That was all before I read the details of the plan. I think the best word for it is “dissociative.”

  85. > The Finns are very diligent people but have no creativity and do not know how to write software !!!

    Uh, what? My kernel begs to differ.

  86. @Mikko

    >> The Finns are very diligent people but have no creativity and do not know how to write software !!!

    > But we have some very angry birds.

    Not to mention that Torvalds guy.

    Hmmm… Placid Penguins. Good name for a fun game, no?

  87. >The length of the double vowel sounds doesn’t seem to be near the top of the list, though, now that I think about it.

    No, you’re probably right about that. If we take the prevalence of a feature across a large sample of languages as a rough index of morphological stability, Finnish has a lot of potentially unstable features, many of them probably more so than vowel lengthening. One of them is gemination – phonemic consonant lengthening. Quite rare worldwide, though it does occur in classical Latin.

    Thanks for the tip about Estonian, by the way. I knew it was closely related to Finnish, but the suggestion that it is evolving more rapidly in the same general direction is new to me and interesting. How much mutual intelligibility is there? And, is there a dialect continuum between southern Finnish dialects and Estonian?

    Finally, can you recommend a good translation of the Kalevala into English? I’ve read portions of it but the translations I’ve run across seem rather leaden.

  88. >Open source guru Miguel de Icaza “psyched” about Microsoft/Nokia deal

    /me shakes head in disbelief.

    Miguel’s having another one of his…episodes.

  89. Open source guru Miguel de Icaza “psyched” about Microsoft/Nokia deal

    In other news, water still wet. Mr de Icaza is “special”. As in “bought for the low low price…”.

  90. “Was thinking economics, not culture. I don’t know much about Finnish culture, except that it involves steamrooms and a lot of drinking :-)”

    One thing that should be mentioned here on this blog is the popularity of guns in Finland. They do not follow their EU partners down the gun control drainpipe.

  91. > I knew it was closely related to Finnish, but the suggestion that it is evolving more rapidly in the same general direction is new to me and interesting.

    Now that you put it like that, I’m not so sure about the “same direction”, but Estonian is spoken by are a smaller population than Finnish and it has been subject to quite a bit more foreign influences (including long before the Soviet occupation). Estonian has lost the vowel harmony, for instance, and has borrowed noticeably more of its vocabulary from Germanic and Slavic languages.

    > How much mutual intelligibility is there?

    Some, but Estonian is not really intelligible to an uninitiated Finnish speaker. You clearly recognize a couple of words in each sentence, but even then you can’t be quite sure that they mean what you think they mean. That said, with some effort, Estonian is easy to learn for a Finnish speaker and vice versa. During the Soviet period, lots of Estonians living on the north coast of their country were able to watch Finnish television broadcasts and picked up remarkably good Finnish in the process. After the Soviet collapse, it was easy to find people in Tallinn who could speak Finnish. Not very many Finnish people study Estonian, though, since so far it’s been more in the economic interests of Estonians to learn Finnish.

    > And, is there a dialect continuum between southern Finnish dialects and Estonian?

    There are some relatively superficial similarities, such as vowels getting clipped from the ends of the words in Southwestern Finnish dialects (Estonian has lost a lot of those vowels entirely), but Estonian is not really any more intelligible to a person from Turku (the 750-year-old ex-capital on the Southwestern coast) than it is to someone from Kuopio (a center of Savonia in Eastern Finland).

    > Finally, can you recommend a good translation of the Kalevala into English? I’ve read portions of it but the translations I’ve run across seem rather leaden.

    No idea, sorry. Wikipedia has a section on them. Reading longer parts of Kalevala takes some effort for a native Finnish speaker, too. The original poems that Lönnrot collected were sung. Reading it on paper (especially when everything is said twice) gets a bit old pretty quickly, unless you have a rhythm and a melody to it at least in your head. I can only imagine trying to translate something like this and keep the meter in the process.

  92. > One thing that should be mentioned here on this blog is the popularity of guns in Finland. They do not follow their EU partners down the gun control drainpipe.

    Ah, that. After the Continuation War, there was a lot of creative bookkeeping and hiding of the weapons by the soldiers who returned home. People were preparing for a guerrilla war, which looked like a distinct possibility at the time. More or less everybody knew something about it, even though it was very much illegal and the amounts of weapons were strictly dictated by the peace treaty. Some people got prosecuted, but lots Finns had WWII-era guns at home for decades after 1944. That’s one part of the backdrop in Finland, and another part is that hunting is quite popular and there’s a very large number of guns licensed for that. There hasn’t really been much of a debate about gun control until recently, since guns were not involved in violent crimes very often. Finland is a violent place compared to the other Nordic countries (and very peaceful compared to the US), but the typical pastime is stabbing your friend or relative at the end of a drunken night, not to shoot them. Now, after a couple of major school shootings, there’s been a lot more debate about the licensing of guns.

  93. >You clearly recognize a couple of words in each sentence, but even then you can’t be quite sure that they mean what you think they mean.

    Thank you, that is illuminating. It sounds much like the situation between English and its closest relatives, Frisian and Dutch. In that case, the Old Low German root stock of the latter two languages is intelligible to an educated English-speaker without much difficulty, at least in written form (I once read with great enjoyment a collection of Old Low German folktales in the original). Is the analogous common ancestor of Finnish and Estonian historically recorded, or was the split older than literacy in that part of the world? (I’m guessing the latter…)

    >Reading longer parts of Kalevala takes some effort for a native Finnish speaker, too.

    I am relieved to hear this. I feared my inability to stick it out might indicate a flaw in my character :-)

  94. >(and very peaceful compared to the US)

    Be careful in making such comparisons. Almost all of the U.S. has a gun violence and general violence rate similar to that of Switzerland – that is, very low, possibly lower than Finland’s. It looks otherwise because our crime is heavily concentrated in a handful of large urban areas where attempts to maintain civil order were nearly abandoned in the 1960s and have never been reasserted very effectively since.

  95. One thing that should be mentioned here on this blog is the popularity of guns in Finland.

    They make very fine firearms, too.

  96. Miguel’s having another one of his…episodes.

    I don’t get that guy. He’s smart, very smart. And a very capable hacker. But he’s such a big Microsoft fanboy…my head hurts trying to reconcile the two.

  97. @Jeff Read:

    Compared to China, the entire West is on the road to economic backwater status.

    I am (just barely) old enough to remember that quote with Japan replacing China. By this time, I was supposed to be a salaryman of a Japanese keiretsu. And I’m not…

    I’m not going to say it couldn’t happen here – but I don’t believe it’s likely to any time soon. There’s too much of “creative destruction” embedded in our national mythos. When and if that changes, I’ll worry more.

  98. @esr
    All soundsystems are “unstable”.

    What you are probably thinking of are crowded sound system with a lot of phonemes. Such systems have to use special measures, like length an diphthogization, to keep the different words intelligible. As these special features complicate speaking and listening they are prone to simplifications. Such simplifications then cause the introduction of new features elsewhere.

    So is the reduction of consonant clusters in classical Chinese seen as responsible for the introduction of tones.

  99. @esr:

    Be careful in making such comparisons. Almost all of the U.S. has a gun violence and general violence rate similar to that of Switzerland – that is, very low, possibly lower than Finland’s. It looks otherwise because our crime is heavily concentrated in a handful of large urban areas where attempts to maintain civil order were nearly abandoned in the 1960s and have never been reasserted very effectively since.

    In many senses (not just one demographic aspect, but almost all of them) the US needs to be compared to *all* of Europe, or at least all of the EU/NATO. The US is huge, in land area either the 3rd or 4th largest nation (essentially tied with China – it depends on how you count the disputed “chinese” territories), and contains multitudes of subcultures, not off of which are ethnically-related).

    I’m constantly surprised at how well the US Just Works…

  100. > Is the analogous common ancestor of Finnish and Estonian historically recorded, or was the split older than literacy in that part of the world? (I’m guessing the latter…)

    You’re guessing right, the split is way older (possibly by millenia?). Written Finnish wasn’t really established until as late as the translation of the Bible in 1642 by Mikael Agricola, who’d studied at Wittenberg under Martin Luther. Finland was a county in the Kingdom of Sweden until 1809 and a lot of of the (very limited) Finnish literature was in Latin or Swedish until the 19th century.

    > I am relieved to hear this. I feared my inability to stick it out might indicate a flaw in my character :-)

    Here’s a more palatable modern song in the Kalevala meter and with the meaning of each verse frequently repeated for a second time in other words. This is another example, also from Värttinä, which, while we’re on the topic, should probably qualify as a Finnish export.

  101. Let’s assume for a moment that Nokia gets WP7 for free from MS. It still doesn’t save them, because the driving factor in market development today is not in the handsets or the features of the OS. It is in the ownership of the developers and the customers.

    With Symbian the customer is owned by the operator. For an app to work (without tons of tedious warnings) , it needs to have a certificate signed by the operator. In exceptional circumstances you can get your certificate signed by the phone manufacturer, but most of the time this doesn’t happen, because the phone manufacturer wants to stay buddies with the operator and get him to subsidise the manufacturers phones.
    As an app developer you are stuck in certification hell. It is tedious and damned expensive.

    Enter the IPhone. The customer is owned by Apple. They will lease the customer to you on fairly decent terms. You no longer need to deal with hundreds of operators or manufacturers that see you as a threat to their business. This is a large part of the success of Apple in the market. It beats the pants off the Symbian model, because users can get the apps they want with any operator they care to use and the developers have one target to develop for. However, Apple charges a high price for the convenience.

    Google sees this and is also worried about being kept out of the walled garden with their ads. They put Android on the market, making it free and making the apps self certified. This casts the users free from the control of both operators and handset manufacturers. It makes the devlopers happy, because they are no longer under the control of Apple.

    WP7 wants to mimic iPhone in its control over the user, but the the barn door is open and the horse is already gone. Apple can survive for a long time because it has momentum. You can’t usher users into a an empty walled garden when there is an unwalled alternative out there. You can’t get developers to port and make apps for your empty walled garden unless you pay them to do so.

    I have an app that was developed for Symbian. We did this because Eastern Europe is our first target market and they don’t have modern smartphones. Our next step will be to go to Android, even though Iphone currently outstrips Android in our next target markets (Sweden and Germany). We will probably then do iPhone, but we will wait until we have strong revenues before going there. We might even consider porting to Blackberry. WP7 will not be in our plans unless we have a strong business case for going there. This means a dominant position in one of our core markets or getting paid to do the work.

    Nokia failed to see that the world has changed and I think it is only a matter of time before the mobile phones division gets bought by a competitor. Their hardware design process is outstanding and they can come out with new, highly polished models that are cheap to manufacture faster than anyone else in the industry. This will be of value to someone.

  102. @Winter:

    All languages are of course subject to sound change, but Eric is quite right to zero in on certain phonotactic patterns which are marked: that is to say, they are cross-linguistically less common, are acquired later by learners and are more likely to be lost. Gemination is an excellent example (it’s also interesting to see the bad penny effect it shows: it was already on the way out in Classical Latin, and is not found in most Romance languages, but it shows up in modern Italian and Catalan).

    Diphthongs are a bit different. They are less likely to be lost outright (though it certainly does happen). Rather, like all vowel sounds they tend to undergo qualitative changes that are often measurable from generation to generation. Unlike consonants, vowel sounds lack a defined articulatory reference point: for instance, you can learn that to produce an [f] you press your lower lip against your front teeth and push air through the constriction, but if you’re learning to produce an [e], for example, you just have to move your tongue and jaw around until you find the sounds you’re making approximate the acoustic target. This makes more potential for variation in the gestures involved as each generation’s production becomes the next generation’s target. And in a diphthong, you’ve got two gestures and a transition between them, so the potential for drift is commensurately greater.

  103. @Jacob:

    Interesting analysis. Setting aside the WP7 debacle, it is useful to hear of for-profit application developers who are targeting Android first. That pragmatic view of Apple as a useful, but perhaps no longer strictly necessary, stepping-stone on the way to full developer control will eventually figure heavily in platform dominance. Especially as more developers notice and understand the implications of the app store for the Mac.

  104. > Apple charges a high price for the convenience.

    I wouldn’t call it a high price at all. 30% is quite typical for what we had to pay to distributors back in the days of software in boxes on retail shelves, and we don’t have to deal with the cost of implementing a payment system, etc.

  105. > FWIW, Linus is an ethnic Swede.
    So? Unless he grew up in some kind of ghetto, he’s still culturally Finnish.

  106. >> FWIW, Linus is an ethnic Swede.
    >So? Unless he grew up in some kind of ghetto, he’s still culturally Finnish.
    Nurture doesn’t determine all, sorry. Exactly how much, I don’t think has been settled (thus my ‘FWIW’).

    To bring this back on topic, does anyone have any hints/clues as to exactly *how* much loot Nokia’s going to be squeezing out of MS?

  107. I wouldn’t call it a high price at all. 30% is quite typical for what we had to pay to distributors back in the days of software in boxes on retail shelves, and we don’t have to deal with the cost of implementing a payment system, etc.

    But we no longer live in a world of boxed software. These days most of us who do buy software do so online. That means the only middle men that are of any consequence are the credit card processors and the transaction clearinghouses. Why do we need Apple? Oh, I forgot, because they make us.

  108. >And in a diphthong, you’ve got two gestures and a transition between them, so the potential for drift is commensurately greater.

    Hah! Thank you, I’ve learned something today. I knew dipthongs were unstable as a matter of historical fact, but I didn’t know why. That makes perfect sense.

  109. >Why do we need Apple? Oh, I forgot, because they make us.

    And the examples of independent Android developers making their millions without using Android market place are…

  110. I can’t see the estimated BoM price for W7 phones at $100. That’s far higher than the quantity OEM license for Windows 7 64 for PCs. Even as arrogant as they are, Microsoft won’t price it that high. I think $10 is the max, and any vendor actually trying to use Windows 7 Phone System software, is going to negotiate a sweetheart deal to start, to offset the NRE costs of the port.

    Which raises a far more important long term issue for the Redmond boys: Its hard to see Windows Phone 7 System having strong brand value to justify charging much for it in the wildly competitive smartphone/pad/tablet space. Maybe they can charge a buck or two for the license. So if the fee for the license is nearly zero, what’s in it for Microsoft? Where is their revenue model? Its not like they can give away the OS and charge $200 for Office.

    Assume that we have three viable and robust OS and marketplaces. (Big assumption, but bear with me). Apple is getting a 30% cut of all “app” sales, and that is a lot of money. Its a classic monopoly price. How will MS keep that level of margin for their “me too” product? If they cut the commission costs, then they lose the revenue. If they don’t cut it, they won’t have any sales. Either way, I don’t see any revenue out of apps that will balance the huge loss of revenue from selling PC W7 and Office.

  111. @Greg,

    I’m an ethnic Swede too. Or half of one.

    My mother was all Swede, and grew up in North Dakota.

    Linus was named after an American, but was born and raised in Finland, and was there when he started Linux.

    As for Nokia: missed the Android boat, caught the Windows anchor.

  112. Here’s what Linus himself says about his languages:

    http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/open-sauce/44975-linus-torvalds-looking-back-looking-forward?start=6

    “LT: We speak Swedish at home, although with the kids going to regular English-speaking school all their friends obviously speak English, and it has become the stronger language for them, even if Patricia (our eldest) didn’t really hear any English at all until she was two or three years old. They don’t even know any Finnish – both me and my wife are of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland (“finlandssvenskar”) and in fact my English is much stronger than my Finnish. I went to Swedish-speaking school all the way to high school, and did 90 percent of my university studies in Swedish too. So to me Finnish was always a distant second language that I’d use mainly when shopping or something like that. My wife went to Finnish-speaking school, but spoke Swedish at home, so while her Finnish is rather stronger than mine, Swedish is her “emotional” language too.”

  113. @Some Guy: I wasn’t only thinking of the 30%. One steep price is forcing you to write the code in Objective-C. This means it is not portable to most other platforms. Then they require you to have every single version of your app approved by Apple and they won’t allow apps that have dynamically loaded code. It all adds up to being expensive to develop for the iPhone, especially if your market stretches beyond the Apple Walled Garden.

  114. >One steep price is forcing you to write the code in Objective-C.

    That’s the key benefit of working on iOS. I switched from the Mac to NeXTSTEP in 1989, and within a month, I was vastly more productive using Objective-C and the AppKit than I had ever been using any C or C++ GUI library. The only way I’d consider developing code for Android would be if someone offered an Objective-C or Smalltalk (maybe Squeak) development system for it.

    > Then they require you to have every single version of your app approved by Apple

    Which would be why customers aren’t afraid to install an app; they know it’s not going to fuck up their phone.

  115. >And the examples of independent Android developers making their millions without using Android market place are…

    How about any examples of people actually making a decent living on Android, let alone getting rich? Everything I’m hearing from other developers is that the Android business is pretty much like writing apps for Java phones before the iPhone: write once, debug everywhere, and try to shoot for a least common denominator because of the fragmentation.

  116. @Some Guy:

    Certainly, there are examples of people getting rich off Apple’s app store, just like there are people getting rich from football, from singing, etc.

    A lot of people make the assumption that paid apps are the way to go, because it’s easier to make good money with them than via advertising. That makes sense if the average developer can, in fact, make good money on the average app through Apple’s store.

    I haven’t checked out this guy’s assumptions or math or numbers, but he goes into great detail, and concludes that the median paid app in Apple’s store earns $682 for its developer.

  117. “I am (just barely) old enough to remember that quote with Japan replacing China.”

    I’m not the most knowledgeable US historian out there, but isn’t this basically the narrative of every generation of American intellectual elites going back nearly a century?

    Hitler’s Germany, Khruschev’s USSR, 80s Japan, now China?

  118. I did like the Värttinä links, Mikko. This is kind of my gold standard for Finnish-language music.

    My ex-wife lives in Vaasa, one of the main concentrations of Swedish-speaking Finns; all the street signs there are in both languages, she tells me. She lived in Kemi before that. The guy she married next (a young Finn from Kemi) introduced me to some of the Finnish metal scene, and that’s how I became a big fan of Nightwish and symphonic metal in general.

    It’ll be a shame if the bottom drops out of Nokia as a result of this whole fiasco. Before I went iPhone, I wouldn’t consider any cellphone other than a Nokia, because I believed that, when it came to cellphones, the Finns knew better than pretty much anyone how to do it right.

    With regard to Nokia’s lack of market share in North America…I’ve seen at least one comment that their real problem here was not having good enough relationships with the carriers, who dominate the mobile market here the way they don’t in Europe and elsewhere. Could there be some truth to this?

  119. So being that I’m in the market for a new phone, I decided to take advantage of T-Mobile’s cry of desperation and hit up their “Every phone free with contract, no matter the phone” sale this weekend. Still didn’t get a new phone, as none of the Android phones were enticing enough. I don’t know if Android demo phones are just loaded down with crap (I did reboot them, and check the memory management and it didn’t appear to be) but they just all seemed very poor in responsiveness. It does appear to vary depending on what screen you’re on at the time, but it was still once again noticeable (see my previous discussion RE the G2 and scrolling). I’m hoping someone can tell me that it’s something T-Mobile does to demo phones, because I can’t believe that the newest $400-$500 android phones like the mytouch4g can be that bad. Unfortunately they were.

    There was one phone that did stick out. I didn’t see it at first because I was too busy looking at the 4G options, but my wife found a phone, and she has me come look at it, saying that it’s faster than the other phones and it works better. Folks, she had picked out (the one and only on display) Windows 7 phone, the HTC HD7. And to tell the truth, she was right. The phone was faster, more responsive and worked better than any Android phone in the building. If (and it’s a big if to be sure) Microsoft can pull a developer community out of its ass (Visual Studio for phones would go a long way towards this), Windows 7 has the potential to be a very real competitor. Side by side, there’s no comparison, and the only reason I didn’t walk out with a windows 7 phone was because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to sell it down the road.

    I can’t say if it’s T-Mobile screwing up their demo phones, or if Android really is this poor and people are glossing over it, but something needs to change, because the more alternatives start showing up side by side with Android, the more the cracks are going to start showing.

  120. @tmoney:

    I’m hoping someone can tell me that it’s something T-Mobile does to demo phones, because I can’t believe that the newest $400-$500 android phones like the mytouch4g can be that bad. Unfortunately they were.

    Interesting observation. I wonder if it’s something as simple and stupid as being overwhelmed by transmissions from nearby phones (for example, processing every single radio message coming in at the wrong level of the protocol stack).

  121. @tmoney:

    Finally thinking about upgrading from my 5 year old LG flip phone, I spent some time yesterday bouncing between Sprint and T-Mobile and trying out the Android offerings. One thing I noticed was the HTC Evo 4G felt goddamn jittery compared to the less-powerful Evo Shift and the G2. The G2 and Shift both felt fluid and nice, once I killed all the crap people had put on them. And I say this as an iTouch owner who has never cared for the Android UI responsiveness. Point being, I was actually impressed. But I couldn’t get the Evo to perform, so I think months as a display model just took its toll.

    What I took away from the demoing experience was: don’t necessarily base your thoughts of UI responsiveness on the demo models, especially skinned models. And, if possible, reboot the phone before really playing with it.

  122. > Who wants to bet that litigation ensues?

    The story in the Finnish newspapers is that it’s so far been too soon after his recruitment for Elop (increasingly known as Mr. Flop around here) to buy Nokia stock due to insider trading regulations, since he was about to change the company’s strategy. He’s supposed to buy some as soon as the restrictions expire.

  123. I can’t say if it’s T-Mobile screwing up their demo phones, or if Android really is this poor and people are glossing over it, but something needs to change, because the more alternatives start showing up side by side with Android, the more the cracks are going to start showing.

    You keep banging on about this scrolling thing and I’m not seeing it. I think it’s either a T-mobile thing, a handset-model thing, or an intersection of the two somehow. My Epic is fast — like iPhone fast — with Android 2.1. (It will positively scream once CM6.2 with FroYo drops.) And both it and my Hero have an iPhone-style applications menu that stays in lockstep with your finger.

  124. >You keep banging on about this scrolling thing and I’m not seeing it. I think it’s either a T-mobile thing, a handset-model thing, or an intersection of the two somehow.

    I have a G-2 as well. I occasionally see what may be scrolling glitches on the apps directory page, but not the general problem he’s describing. And I never saw even the apps page jerkiness on by Nexus One.

  125. >Interesting observation. I wonder if it’s something as simple and stupid as being overwhelmed by transmissions from nearby
    >phones (for example, processing every single radio message coming in at the wrong level of the protocol stack).

    Possible, but that seems like a glaringly obvious flaw too. I mean, we’re not talking a huge store here, you’d probably have more mobile phones in a dunkin donuts than you would at the store, so I would think more people would be seeing this on a regular basis.

    >The G2 and Shift both felt fluid and nice, once I killed all the crap people had put on them.

    I couldn’t get the G2 to perform well. I was able to reboot it, but still seemed jumpy in places. That said, it was probably the better performing of the phones that were there.

    >You keep banging on about this scrolling thing and I’m not seeing it. I think it’s either a T-mobile thing, a handset-model thing, or an
    >intersection of the two somehow.

    It might very well be something T-Mobile is doing, unfortunately, the two problems I have are that a) I want a GSM phone, so Sprint and Verizon are out, and while AT&T is an option, I’d rather not pay their prices for crappier service and b) all the people I know with Android phones all have older ones so I can’t demo these phones outside the demo experience, and unfortunately the demo experience turns me off every time.

    >And both it and my Hero have an iPhone-style applications menu that stays in lockstep with your finger.

    Having more time and more phones to experiment with this time around, I did notice that some of it appears to be what particular screen you’re on. It appears to be at its worse (absolutely horrid) when you’re scrolling through the main apps menu or on any web page that loads any sort of multimedia content (video / flash being the worst offenders), other places like the settings menus appear to have less problems.

  126. It’s also possible it’s just one of these things that you don’t notice if Android is your primary or only device because that’s just the way it is. For example, when I sold macs, I always had customers complain about the default mouse speed and that even the fastest speed was too slow. Apparently a lot of windows users crank the mouse speed to “crack head on caffeine pills” and are used to moving from one end of the screen to the other with a twitch of their pinky. I never thought of the mac mouse speed as being too slow because I used it all the time.

  127. >And I never saw even the apps page jerkiness on by Nexus One.

    So am I just looking at the wrong devices? Is the general consensus that the last years worth of new Android devices, even though they are supposedly newer and better are not actually better? I guess I assumed that newer and faster phones would be superior, but maybe I need to look at older hardware from before everyone and their mother was making android phones?

  128. tmoney, the solution is simple, really.

    Buy a T-Mobile phone, crack root, and load a CFW.

    Not a generally workable solution, but you post here. You’re geeky enough. :)

  129. @Some Guy:
    Interesting datum that I hadn’t considered: http://imgur.com/3nN2k

    Wow. Everywhere I’ve worked owning $4M worth of shares in a company I adopted as a strategic supplier would be a serious conflict of interest. In the very least it would be grounds for termination. Perhaps the laws/customs in Finland are different but it is difficult to imagine how anyone can claim he clearly has Nokia’s best interests in mind.

  130. > difficult to imagine how anyone can claim he clearly has Nokia’s best interests in mind.

    Again, the excuse is that he hasn’t been able to buy Nokia stock yet since he’s an insider who was about to make a major change at the company. I suppose he could have sold his MS stock, though, or at least the majority of such a large amount.

  131. More details coming out — apparently Microsoft really is going all-in:


    Microsoft paid dearly for a ticket to ride, [Elop] said, eluding to billions that Microsoft paid Nokia “in real money” for the chance to be a major player. Nokia, he said, was the swing vote necessary to create the three horse race. Looks like Elop got there just in the nick of time.

    If Microsoft paid enough to make it worthwhile to bifurcate Nokia, perhaps Nokia can shed the MS portion and come out OK. Time will tell.

  132. Conclusion:

    Nokia sold their Smartphone division to MS in a way that would not trip up the anti-trust authorities.

    Nokia gets rid of their expensive software development teams without having to pay severance packages, which would like run in the billions in Finland.

    Nokia Mobile Phones division, Nokia for short, is free to milk Symbian for all worth left in it. After some grace-period to not develop Smartphones (say, until 2012), Nokia will start to sell Smartphones with some stock OS on it. Be it Android, WebOS, WP7 or whatever is available and convenient then.

    MS will use MSnokia Smart(?) appliances to put up a brave face towards their shareholders about their great mobile future. And they will use Nokia patents to harass other phone makers, especially, Android phone makers. In short, MSnokia will be used to inhibit progress in the market. If they could, MS would try to destroy the Smartphone market. Correction, they will try that anyway.

  133. In another thought.

    This MS Nokia deal seems to be extremely unpopular with the Nokia workforce. If Google would start a large Android development lab near the Nokia Symbian/Meego etc. facilities, they could bleed them dry of experienced developers in no time.

    That would leave SMnokia with an empty shell, and no WP7 phone for the next years.

  134. Elop was not saying that MS was pooring billions into Nokia Smart Devices, at least, not exactly it seems.

    But everyone thinks WP7 is simply a dud that will take quite some time to shoehorn into Nokia phones. If they can keep the demoralized developers from jumping ship.

    Looking at the market cap numbers, the future looks particularly dark for Nokia. Very dark indeed.

    After Black Friday, Nokia acts to halt share slide, Lock down the exits, quick
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/14/nokia_mwc_investor_assurances/

    What Elop actually said was that the “net benefit” of the strategy changes he announced would ultimately save Nokia billions. “The value transferred to Nokia is measured in billions not millions,” he said.

    ……

    Some investors are also waking up to the reality that Windows Phone 7 is much less advanced than many suppose. It is not a carrier-grade OS and lacks many of the tick-box features operators and users demand. In many ways it resembles Symbian circa 2001. It’s a long way from being “finished” (let alone “Finnish-ed”… yes) and it’s going to take a lot of work to reach parity with the competition – who of course, aren’t standing still. Nokia’s engineers know how hard this task is, having laboured to put them in Symbian (and lately into Meego).

    …….

    So Harlow talked last night about how Symbian will be “continuously renewed”. The only thing that can assure investors in the long run is great Windows devices, but they are some way away. And even after the latest press statements (and cynical leaks of hurriedly-drawn device mockups to Engadget), nobody knows when that will be.

    Bootnote

    It’s worth putting Black Friday in perspective. Nokia lost $8.7bn in value as shares slid, to value the company at $35bn. Nokia’s value in November 2007 was $148.5bn.

  135. @ Erbo

    > I’ve seen at least one comment that their real problem here was not having good enough relationships with the carriers,
    > who dominate the mobile market here the way they don’t in Europe and elsewhere. Could there be some truth to this?

    This is pretty much a fact. US carriers has their history with Nokia.

  136. Nokia is becoming the next Danger. Remember Danger? Okay, remember Paris Hilton’s T-Mobile Sidekick? Many of the principals of Danger left to found Android; the rest got absorbed by Microsoft and went on to develop that phone made of win, the Kin.

    If I were to guess I’d say that many of Nokia’s hackers will leave and take MeeGo with them. MeeGo will become some sort of tablet-device platform. The software folks who remain will have the unpleasant job of trying to port WinPhone to a handset no one will buy.

  137. Some perspective on ers’s comment about the hit Finland is going to take: in today’s Helsingin Sanomat, a labor union leader estimates that the worst-case scenario is about 5000 jobs lost in Finland at Nokia and its partners. Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks together employ 132 000 people, of which 19 800 in Finland. Finland’s population is about 5.3 million and the total size of the workforce 2.5 million. A loss of 5000 well-paid software developer jobs is going to sting and undoubtedly throw the local developer job market for a while. The number of lost jobs might be greater in time – some outsiders are throwing around numbers like 8 000. Elop himself has said that most of the ex-Symbian developers will be re-employed internally, but he hasn’t mentioned any numbers. Anyways, even 8 000 lost jobs by itself isn’t going to turn a “company country” into an “economic backwater” (I guess Finland might match someone’s definition of a backwater as it is). Nokia has moved their phone manufacturing out of the country nearly completely some time ago, and I’m sure that they’ve done their best to avoid paying taxes to Finland at every turn in their operations abroad. The worst part of the layoffs might be a major brain drain to abroad, the good news a seeding of some new companies in Finland.

  138. >Anyways, even 8 000 lost jobs by itself isn’t going to turn a “company country” into an “economic backwater”

    Certainly not. But losing upwards of a quarter of your export volume could do it, all right, especially when a large chunk of what’s left is resource extraction. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way rooting for this to happen…but the worst-case scenario isn’t 8,000 job losses, it’s the entirety of Nokia going under.

    The software engineers will do OK; Google has already tweeted that it’s ready to hire in Finland. It’s the people with less portable skills you need to worry about.

  139. > especially when a large chunk of what’s left is resource extraction

    Practically the only natural resource worth mentioning is timber. The paper and timber product exports are about 20 % and the paper industry has been through a significant round of consolidation and downsizing over the past few years, mostly because the growth markets for paper in the world are very far away from Finland. That actually hit some genuine company towns and it wasn’t pretty. The largest export sector is still metal products and machinery, and next to none of those metals are mined in Finland. Of course, big machinery, too, is a problematic business to be in during a global recession when the big investments are the first thing to go. E.g. many of the big cruise ships that sail from US ports in the Caribbean were built in Finland. The Finnish builders just lost the order of one of those to a German shipyard.

    > it’s the entirety of Nokia going under

    That’s a risk, but I wonder… There’s the Networks, which I doubt they’re going to be able to mess up as fast. Elop and Ballmer said that the deal with Microsoft is not exclusive either way. If the Windows phones are a total and complete dud, and a year from now things look only bleaker, I suppose Elop could get fired and some sort of a fix attempted. Then again, Nokia’s largest owners are American these days, and they were apparently the ones who pushed for Elop to be hired, so who knows what they’re going to do. The rumors say that Jorma Ollila was opposed to hiring Elop and doing the Microsoft deal, which I’m guessing he and the board knew was going to happen with Elop. Ollila won’t admit this publicly, because he was overruled by the board where he’s still the chairman.

    > It’s the people with less portable skills you need to worry about.

    Sure, but Nokia has already moved nearly all of those jobs to China, Eastern Europe etc. Even a lot of Nokia’s Finnish hardware suppliers have moved their electronics production to e.g. Estonia. Most of what’s left is R&D, software development and hardware design. As you can see from the numbers above, only about 15 % of the workforce of Nokia + NSN is in Finland.

  140. >If the Windows phones are a total and complete dud, and a year from now things look only bleaker, I suppose Elop could get fired and some sort of a fix attempted.

    You think that will take as much as a year? I rather doubt it.

    Nokia is carefully not claiming it can ship a WP7 phone in 2011. According to Elop’s plan as we see it now, that means no smartphone at all and Symbian devices hemhorraging market share, mostly to cheap Chinese Android phones. On top of this is the hammering Nokia’s share price is taking and obvious evidence of discontent inside the company. I wouldn’t be very surprised if Nokia’s board canned Elop before the end of Q2. A leading indicator would be more noise being made about Elop’s position as the 8th-largest Microsoft stockholder.

    I’ll be quite surprised if Nokia’s board tolerates continued deterioration in Nokia’s share price for as long as nine months. For Elop to jeep his job, something will have to turn around investor perceptions.

  141. > For Elop to jeep his job, something will have to turn around investor perceptions.

    I know it’s a silly keyboard based typo, but I like the sound of jeep as a verb. Elop is four wheeling it over some rough terrain, isn’t he?

    Yours,
    Tom

  142. > Nokia is carefully not claiming it can ship a WP7 phone in 2011. According to Elop’s plan as we see it now, that means no smartphone at all and Symbian devices hemhorraging market share, mostly to cheap Chinese Android phones.

    Yes, I was also wondering how he could propose going for a full year without a device with the new OS, especially when everyone was expecting a belated MeeGo N9 to be showcased practically on the same day. It might have made sense if they could have presented WP7 as some sort of an emergency fix that was workable immediately, but now it just looks like it’s farther off than MeeGo would have been. Also, Qt is an anathema to Microsoft, so Nokia can’t even offer app developers a transition from Qt on Symbian to Qt on WP7. There’s already an experimental port of Qt on Android, so Google could easily have the disgruntled Qt-targeting developers fall into their camp (which is where they’re likely to go anyway, of course). By the same token, whatever Elop’s strategy may have said about MeeGo, he’s clearly trying to kill it. Why would anyone bother developing for Qt on MeeGo, if Nokia’s primary OS doesn’t even support Qt?

    > I’ll be quite surprised if Nokia’s board tolerates continued deterioration in Nokia’s share price for as long as nine months.

    Agreed. I guess it remains to be seen if the stock continues to slide. There isn’t much in Elop’s plan that Nokia could show to put a stop to it, is there? New Symbian smart devices are just going to piss people off, if the perception is that Nokia is ditching the software platform and leaving the app developers high and dry.

  143. >Silver lining to the demise of Nokia: Qt is dead.

    Highly doubtful. It’s under LGPL, and popular open-source projects are quite hard to kill. Worst case is the KDE folks will take over maintaining it.

  144. > I’ll be quite surprised if Nokia’s board tolerates continued deterioration in Nokia’s share price for as long as nine months. For Elop to jeep his job, something will have to turn around investor perceptions.

    Some investors are already planning a mutiny: http://nokiaplanb.com/

  145. Angry Tux! Scary!

    Anyway. MS does not care about the mobile phone business really. They are doing this because of press/investor pressure and the “chink in the armor” thinking that goes with it.

    The computer industry over the years has shown that prices go down, not up, once a new platform appears and that networking effects take over around the 30-50% market share. This works against “differentiation” strategies. Only products that are given away for free, like OpenOffice/Firefox/etc. have a chance in this kind of market. Apple sells at a high price point to avoid commoditization. MS will have to essentially either sue everyone over patents or make their desktop software unworkable with Android/Blackberry to gain a huge market share.

    This kind of shake-out happened in the 1980’s with very similar players in very similar market positions, except back then no-one understood networking effects better than MS.

  146. QT’s licensing scheme is pretty cool. They get the benefits of a credible commitment to Open Source by releasing under LGPL, but they can also charge for a commercial license where LGPL would be too restrictive.

    Is that sort of hack possible with BSD type licenses?

  147. @Pete:

    > Is that sort of hack possible with BSD type licenses?

    No, that sort of hack only works for GPL or LGPL. The problem is, in order to be able to dual-license, you either have to do all the work (and not accept third-party contributions), or you have to get contributors to sign an agreement allowing you to dual-license.

    The problem is, GPL fanatics don’t like that because they’ll whine that the company can take their contributions private (never mind that the company provided the initial platform and they can still use it the same way), and BSD fanatics don’t like it because they would like to be able to use the software without having to pay in order to be able to distribute it without the GPL restrictions. So if you have a good product, you’ll have plenty of users, but a very vocal minority that hates you.

    Any company that thinks it’s going to make significant dough this way either has to stay on top of development (Aladdin GhostScript, MySQL, Trolltech with original QT, etc.) or run the risk of being the inferior fork that nobody would pay for in any case.

    The only reason the hack even works for LGPL is that the customer shipping an LGPL licensed library not only needs to provide source for the library, he also needs to provide objects to be able to link with the source so the customer can recreate the end product. A pain in the ass that few proprietary vendors would want to mess with, so for the purposes of generating revenue via dual-licensing, LGPL is almost as good as GPL.

    The real distinction between LGPL and GPL comes into play when linking with other free software, for example under a permissive license. GPL forces the combined work to be GPL; LGPL does not. But the whole forcing thing is a huge pain — that’s why GPL v2-only software can’t be linked with v3.

  148. > MS does not care about the mobile phone business really.

    I don’t think so. A lot of personal computing is moving fast onto smartphones, tablets and web apps. Microsoft absolutely wants to have a major share of the market for an OS of theirs that is closely integrated with desktop Windows.

  149. It’s easy to underestimate just how much _time_ it takes for a CEO to create a new strategy for a company. The announcement was not based on the market situation today: it’s much more based on the situation 3 months ago when they started working on it. Things may just be moving too fast for Elop to keep up.

  150. > I don’t know much about Finnish culture, except that it involves steamrooms and a lot of drinking :-)

    I happened to come across a well-known and oft-cited poem titled “Finn”, published in 1964 by Jorma Etto, and it occurred to me that it once again explains everything, including Nokia’s current troubles. The original goes like this:

    Suomalainen on sellainen, joka vastaa kun ei kysytä,

    kysyy kun ei vastata, ei vastaa kun kysytään,

    sellainen, joka eksyy tieltä, huutaa rannalla

    ja vastarannalla huutaa toinen samanlainen:

    metsä raikuu, kaikuu, hongat humajavat.

    Tuolta tulee suomalainen ja ähkyy, on tässä ja ähkyy,

    tuonne menee ja ähkyy, on kuin löylyssä ja ähkyy

    kun toinen heittää kiukaalle vettä.

    Sellaisella suomalaisella on aina kaveri,

    koskaan se ei ole yksin, ja se kaveri on suomalainen.

    Eikä suomalaista erota suomalaisesta mikään,

    ei mikään paitsi kuolema ja poliisi.

    My quick and unpoetic translation (this probably has been translated somewhere by a pro):

    A Finn is the kind that answers when no-one asked,

    asks when no-one answers, doesn’t answer when asked,

    the kind that gets lost, yells on a shore,

    and on the opposite shore yells another just like him:

    the forest resounds, echoes, the pine trees wuther.

    There comes a Finn and grunts, he’s here and he grunts,

    goes there and grunts, he’s as if in the heat of the sauna and grunts

    when another throws water on the stove.

    Such a Finn always has a friend,

    he’s never alone, and the friend is a Finn.

    Nothing can separate a Finn from a Finn,

    nothing except death and the police.

  151. The Real Nokia vs Windows Phone 7 Poll

    Nokia had recently conducted a poll where they “found” 9 out 10 current users of Nokia phones
    would like to have Windows Phone 7 operating system on their phones.

    As Nokia is now taken over by the Head of Business Development from Microsoft, there is a need for
    a new poll conducted by a third party with no secondary gains, apart from continued loyalty to a
    company (Nokia), who have stood up for the sake of end-users world wide.

    It would be a sad day indeed if over 200 million users of Nokia phones cannot have their views
    heard on the global stage in a transparent way.

    Why does it matter ?

    Because without a affordable, user-friendly, reliable and open-source-based mobile communications device, everything else fails.

    You have one vote. Make it count.

    Also, please feel free to copy and paste the following links so that you can share them with family and friends who are also Nokia users via tweets, facebook and email. You are welcomed to use the links in your posts in forums, blogs and websites.

    The Anonymous poll and results can be accessed at the following link:

    http://poll1.qualtrics.com/WRPoll/?mode=html&SV=&P=PO_9YpdRNOzoo3C9BW

    The question asked in the poll is:

    “Do you want Windows Phone 7 operating software running on your phone ? ”

    A more detailed survey (5 questions) is available at:

    https://qtrial.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_aeEg8P54MvHYuqw

    These questions are based in part on the real-time discussion at Nokia Blogs. They are as follows:

    1. Do you want Windows Phone 7 operating software running on your phone ?

    2. Do you want the Symbian operating system maintained and made available on future Nokia phones ?

    3. Would you buy a Nokia phone running on Windows software in the future ?

    4. Has Nokia phones in the past, serve you well in your daily life (e.g. in terms of making and receiving calls, waking you up for work in the morning, surviving falls onto the ground and free continuous software updates) ?

    5. Would you be devastated if Nokia phones, as you know it now, is no more ?

    The results of this survey will be published in full in real-time and can be accessed by the public at:

    https://qtrial.qualtrics.com/CP/Report.php?RP=RP_9Abj0J7Cvs3eHBO

    A download link for a PDF file of the current survey results is also available at the above link.

    For further details and real-time discussion on this topic at the official Nokia blog,

    See comments on the Official Nokia Blog at:

    http://conversations.nokia.com/2011/02/23/poll-results-looking-forward-wp7-evolution/#disqus_thread

  152. Pingback: Hook’s Humble Homepage :: Free Software & law related links 5. II. 2011 - 11. II. 2011

  153. Pingback: Scobleizer’s take on the Nokia/Microsoft alliance | The musings of max

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