Feb 11: Stephen Elop's Nokia revolution; what we should expect?

I’m hearing from a few of my sources that Nokia is readying a major restructuring that will be announced to the company on Feb. 11th. Analysts might already be getting briefed on the changes. I haven’t heard specifics yet, most employees, even executives, haven’t heard either other than they know something is up.

Which leaves us to speculate and guess what’s up.

As you know I’m no friend of Nokia’s lately. Been really bashing them, like in my note to Tomi Ahonen.

My bashing has largely been proven right. Nokia’s “head” has been cut off by Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android and now the world can see the evidence with layoffs and lower profits announced since I wrote that note to Tomi.

But a new sheriff is in town. Stephen Elop, who arrived from Microsoft.

The big question is still unanswered: can he get Nokia back into the super smartphone race that’s so dominated by Apple and Google?

Well, I’ve been talking to folks inside Nokia and here’s what I’ve learned:

1. He must flatten the structure at Nokia. One employee told me that the folks who do the work are seven to 10 layers of management from Stephen’s office. Funny, all Elop has to do is look to another Steven back at Microsoft to see what needs to be done. Steve Sinofsky, who runs the Windows team, flattened Microsoft’s structure from about eight levels to about four, which greatly improved morale and ability to get stuff done.

2. He needs to bet the company on a new OS. The folks I’ve been talking with inside the company are praying that Elop dumps Symbian and either picks the newer Meego OS, which is largely unproven and behind schedule in many places, or just goes and makes a deal with Microsoft and chooses the Windows Phone 7 OS.

3. He needs a team to work with developers. I’ve been hearing Microsoft has been very tough to deal with. Heck, Angry Birds is still not available on Windows Phone 7, which says volumes about how Microsoft has been executing on getting apps developed for Windows Phone 7. Elop needs to make Nokia execute way better than Microsoft in the app development space.

4. He needs to pull out all the stops on a cool showcase piece of hardware. Nokia still has great hardware developers. Get them to build the best hardware they’ve ever built and get them to ship it on time. That will help Nokia excite developers (aka my point #3).

5. He needs to simplify the product line so that everyone in the world can explain Nokia’s products to other people. Right now I’ve lost track of how many different devices Nokia sells and how they connect with each other.

6. He needs a developer tools division. See point #3. What will the folks working with developers need? Simple development tools for delivering ultra high quality apps. Meego or Windows Phone 7 OS-based tools will be fine, although I’m hearing from developers that Microsoft’s tools are more mature.

7. He needs a world-wide marketing message around Nokia’s top-of-the-line phone, which will communicate Nokia’s strategy and vision.

8. He needs to ensure that Nokia’s famous distribution system is reenergized and remains best in the business.

That already is a HUGE amount of work to do, is Elop up to the job? We’ll find out shortly after Feb. 11th.

What do you think? Can Elop and his team at Nokia make the sizeable organizational shifts, which probably include more layoffs (which are difficult to implement under Finnish employment law) in order to make this happen?

I actually am hoping they can. The more competitors that Apple and Google have the better off we all are, even those of us who probably will stick with either Apple or Google products.

Not to mention that Nokia owns a great deal of services, like Navteq, which just bought my favorite Trapster (lets you see where cops are hanging out on freeways).

Good luck to Elop, we’re cheering you on!

Comments

  1. Generally agree with your comments, and said some of the same things in my blog post a few months ago http://www.toddwarreninc.com/blog/2010/09/18/advice-for-steven-elop-at-nokia/ . There are definitely too many layers there. They lost some good people too, like Ari Jaaski who is now at Palm an ran their Unix efforts prior to the diaster they are in now. Ironically (since I used to work on Windows Mobile at Microsoft) the one thing I disagree with you on is adopting winphone 7. It’s not that its bad; its actually OK, I use a win phone 7 for the moment. I think Nok is big enough they should have their own OS; otherwise they are competing on speed of hardware execution like samsung; or on forward innovation like HTC. NOK has different DNA in that way. MOT is going to have a hard time getting back to the share position they once enjoyed since they are now playing the same battle as Samsung an HTC with a different cost structure and DNA; NOK would be in the same boat. Either way, will be fun to watch.

  2. Robert, based on the things you outline above that Nokia needs to do, I think Stephen might actually split the company into two following the Motorola example. Clearly, Nokia has failed to execute on the software front. Besides, if they don’t adopt one of the existing platforms, I am not sure there is room for another platform. I would think he has to be bold enough to realize that the company’s strength has been hardware and its distribution system. He needs to capitalize on that.

      1. You’re pretty dumb if you mistake Nokia for being Norwegian. Typical ignorant…

        You know nothing about MeeGo or the phone market outside America. Tomi Ahonen already put you in your place.

        You have no phone market in the US. You have a carrier monopoly market. You take whatever phones they shove down your throat. There’s no culture of buying a phone unlocked since the carriers don’t give you any discount for bringing your own phone (T-Mobile does but lol-t-mobile). US carriers have been blocking Nokia from your market because they didn’t want to cripple the US devices with less features than the global versions and bloatware.

        Nokia will not adopt another OS, especailly not WP7 with it’s 2million licences sold and lol no copy/paste or data mining Android. MeeGo is about to launch. Symbian’s new Qt UI is about to launch as well.

        People like you who have bet against Nokia/MeeGo are getting nervous weeks before MeeGo is due to be made public. I can feel you shivering in your boots all the way over here in Amsterdam.

          1. It does show your grasp of the company and its strategic options is very limited, and heavily skewed towards the things you know. I will leave a longer reply to your points below.

          2. No, it shows I made a mistake. I wrote that after a party, on jet lag, and I screwed up and fixed it within minutes. Glad to know you never misspeak or write something that is wrong. Nice to know such a perfect person.

  3. I have to say here. Meego should be chopped. Symbian is unpolished but performs bloody well. (then again does it really need bling to work properly?)
    make it look better and keep developing apps for it *QT* and we’ll see a vast improvement.

    But i do agree on the hardware making it good and getting it out on time. I wanted an E7 since nokiaworld 2010. and still not out.

    1. Sorry, the number of believers in Symbian just isn’t large, either inside or outside of Nokia. Developers won’t support it, at least not without a near complete redevelopment, which I don’t think Nokia has in it.

      1. “Sorry, the number of believers in Symbian just isn’t large”

        30 million sales last quarter disagrees with you.

        As for complete development, doesn’t the transition from AVKON to Qt for the UI count or am I missing something here? Or the move from pure Symbian development to Qt for app development?

        I think it does.

        Obviously MeeGo (or hopefully Maemo if they reabsorb it) will be the future and there’s a slim chance that Nokia may release a WP7 or Android set or two but I kind of think you’re underestimating Symbian. All it really needs is a pretty frock to wear after all.

        I mean if you want to debate the technical merits of the OS rather than its UI layer then let’s do that but I don’t think that the problem.

      2. People inside Nokia are just trying to blame Symbian for their own failures. Deal with #1 and watch as Symbian blossoms again. The company is a mess to work in, it doesn’t matter what OS they use – it’s not going to fix it.

        1. True, which is why what Elop really needs to do is flatten the organization and get rid of middle management that’s holding back the younger innovators who will turn Nokia into a software company. Too much “committeeism” at Nokia, I hear. Sounds familiar, that’s what was going on at Microsoft too.

      3. Sorry, the number of believers in Symbian just isn’t large, either inside or outside of Nokia: Utter BS

        Developers won’t support it, at least not without a near complete redevelopment, which I don’t think Nokia has in it: Facts disagree with what you think, so why don’t we call your opinion just that, opinion.

  4. This isn’t Gospel. One does’t need to ‘believe’ in an OS to work; one needs to support it and continue to polish it. As Paul said, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with Symbian ^3. Give the mules what they want; smoke and mirrors to make iOS users rosey cheeked.

    DRS

      1. Robert, if we accept that the UI is the lipstick can you tell us precisely why you think Symbian – as a mobile OS – is a pig?

        I mean it can’t be a true hog since it’s more efficient than Android or iOS so is it purely brand perception or is there some technical reasons you want to share with us?

        1. Because every Symbian device I’ve ever owned or used is a miserable piece of junk. Nice hardware, but the software is impenetrable as a user. I gave up on Symbian completely about 2 years ago. Perhaps it’s changed in the meantime. But, fundamentally Nokia doesn’t understand software.

          1. Right… so do you actually have technical reasons or are you just grandstanding? I mean if it’s impenetrable then why does it sell so much – unusable things simply don’t.

            And since you gave up 2 years ago you haven’t used S^3 so your point is kind of outdated.

          2. I’ve had several execs bring me the latest Nokia N-900′s and other high end devices. They all admit they are way behind iPhone, Android, and WinPhone7 in usability.

          3. Why did you not answer the mans question:

            “Robert, if we accept that the UI is the lipstick can you tell us precisely why you think Symbian – as a mobile OS – is a pig”

            If there is a nice and shiny new Qt based UI on top of the Symbian OS, what would be wrong with that?

          4. I’ll believe it when I see it. So far what Nokia has done hasn’t come up to the bar. Will it? Just by putting a new UI on Symbian? I’m not so sure. But I’m willing to be convinced. Bring one over and we’ll play with it for a while!

          5. So, basically, you don’t know enough about the technical merits of mobile operating systems to have an informed debate?

            Ok then, fine. At least we know where we are.

          6. You still did not answer the question. You likened the OS to a pig, that even with a new shiny UI, “you are not so sure” if it meets your expectations, though everything you dislike has to do with the UI.

            What is piglike about the core OS? Is it the advanced networking technology? Power management? Or support for symmetric multi processing,? Graphics accelerated UI?

            Speaking of UI, I agree the Symbian UI can use some work. The fact it still is the way it is has loads to do with the technology Nokia has used untill now. With Qt & QML Nokia can finally do this.

            Take a look at this app. Forget the design, or the way it sits on top of two old school softkeys, just the fluidity of a simple app in Qt, on a relatively slow ARM 11 CPU @ 680 Mhz.

            This is made by Nokia. If the new UI is made with this tech, and works just as smooth, it will be a whole new Symbian.

            http://betalabs.nokia.com/apps/nokia-reader

          7. Symbian sells, simply because the handsets are cheap and affordable, bottom line. Nokia has given carriers massive discounts also (effectively buying market-share).

            Things will only get worse for Nokia, if they don’t react, and fast.

          8. Android sells, simply because the handsets are cheap and affordable, bottom line. Android has given carriers massive discounts also (effectively buying market-share).

            Welcome to America.

          9. I don’t think Android has given carriers massive discounts now has it? Given that it’s an OS, this would surely be down to the various manufacturers that are selling phones with Android on their phones.

            Nokia as a company is in a completely different boat (hardware/software company, much like Apple, only Apple are in a far better position from where I’m sitting). Nokia are wasting their time overhauling Symbian, no matter how much it improves, it will still be well behind IOS and Android.

            Ditch Symbian and adopt Android for now, and tinker with Meego until it can compete with the big boys. On the plus side, if Nokia adopt Android, handsets will ship on time, it’ll be a win, win situation for the consumer.

            Welcome to America? Hello from Scotland!!

          10. As we say in Scotland, ‘pish’.

            Android may not offer carrier subsidies; HTC, Samsung, etc most definitely do.

            As for Android… nah. I have a ZTE Blade as a back up and I just don’t find Android as good.

            Choice. Great, isn’t it?

          11. Lol, choice is great for the consumer.

            Your ZTE Blade, not as good why? Hardware? Software wise, surely better than anything Nokia has to offer at the moment?

            Had a look at the N8 great hardware wise, software “pish” lol, I think Nokia have been cutting corners, build quality wise as well.

            Initial problems with the first set of N8′s (refusing to power up when needing charged).

            My N97 refused to power up after a year, (was immaculate) I did get a new one though.

            Sold my mate an N95 which still works to this day. In my opinion the best phone Nokia shipped.

            It will be good to see what happens with the company this year. I hope they prove me wrong, if they do I’ll eat my words and sell my iphone and get the latest Nokia.

          12. “fundamentally Nokia doesn’t understand software.”

            Precisely. And why is getting rid of Symbian going to change that? Software is software. The only guys in Nokia who understand software are the Qt developers and look how great their stuff turns out.

          13. So you are saying you have absolutely no idea how lets say an N8 or C7 performs. And you also fail to distinguish between UI & OS. Thanks for your 2 cents.

  5. There are three components to the smart phone. Hardware, software (largely OS) and services. To be successful in this space a company needs to excel in two of the areas and be good enough in the third one. On the hardware front it is outstanding and on the services front it is great. All it needs is a good enough OS. Beyond good enough, the additional value from polishing the OS to be in the best of class is marginal. Instead it would benefit much more by focusing on execution/implementation.

  6. Robert, You assume the sources are correct that they should cut a deal with Microsoft on WinMo7 which itself is in desperate shape at the moment. Recent stats on the blogs: last quarter Microsoft sold more smartphones with WinMO6.5 than their new WinMo7. FT said it best the other day: partnering with Microsoft would be like two drunks trying to prop each other up. No, they should figure out a way to partner with Android at all costs. Get over whatever issues Elop might have about making Google even more powerful and save his company.

    We all know that Android will dominate smartphones even more than they do today –33% global share v near 0% for WinMo7 (an effort that is three years too late). Let’s even assume a duopoly of Apple and Android. Hitching up with Microsoft in smartphones would be plain wrong.

  7. I’m not entirely convinced that Nokia have been failing over the last three years. Resting on their laurels, perhaps, but I’d say their drop in market share is more to do with Android and iOS upping their game than anything else.

    Outside of the US, and outside of the tech industry, there are a whole bunch of people who will continue to be ambivalent (or financially unable to care) about what OS their phone is, and will buy it based on
    1) price
    2) appearance
    3) how much their Telco pushes it to them.

    As long as Nokia doesn’t mess those three things up, they’ll be fine, regardless of corporate structure and OS.

  8. I thought Todd’s blog back in September was spot on. Robert, you also make some good points.

    That said, my advice for Nokia, would be the same for any incumbent handset maker.

    1. Nokia must break its incumbent handset mold that largely focused on the $US140 Billion handset market. Instead set it sights on the $3 trillion market represented by mobile in the form of media, advertising, location, social affinities and commerce.
    2. Identify key technology that create disruptive business intersections. eg. Social Networking/Mobile/Location
    3. Make access modality invisible. eg. broadband is broadband, not just wireless.
    4. Focus on the consumer experience
    5. Invest for growth in the North America, India and China.

  9. My first and only comment on this “post”

    Laughable…. TRULY laughable. You are truly clueless on matters unrelated to Apple & Google and thusly should leave your commentary there. Enjoy your week

  10. I don’t agree with you that Nokia is not able to do great device right now.
    One example is “Nokia Home Music HD-1″ radio which I owned for christmas.
    - It plays FM radio
    - It plays interenet radio
    - It plays music from USB
    - It plays music from my computer through DLNA
    - From hardware point of view it feels really solid – apple like hardware, and sounds rally nice
    - costs something like 170 EUR

    On the other side I agree that:
    - Nokia don’t know how to sell it, you must really know that you need it to find it. I found it only because I started my search on dlna.org site
    - Not even one Nokia employee in Poland had idea what am I asking for. I called them that I want to buy it, and after few phones (Nokia office, Nokia shop) I was forced to buy it from Amazon in Germany.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Home-Music-HD-1-Internet-Radio-Nokia/dp/B002SJFIMQ/ref=pd_rhf_shvl_1

  11. Nokia already has both a tools division and a team that works with developers, from this perspective working with Microsoft might just mean they have to stop these efforts.

    Good points on the structure of Nokia and giving the driving wheel back to people who do the work, but whatever the new OS choice they make it needs to be something they can apply their deep knowledge and patent portfolio on… not just a packaged OS.

  12. One thing to bear in mind: even selling mostly outdated versions of Symbian (and Symbian^3 is still currently waiting for the new UI), and using the least favourable Market Analysis currently available (Canalys), in the last quarter of 2010, Nokia on it’s own sold nearly as many Symbian handsets (~31% of smartphone market) as *all* the Android manufacturers put together (~33% of smartphone market) and that with close to zero sales in the US due to having no carrier relationships there… and rougly twice as many iPhone devices (~16% of smartphone market).

    1. I think most people the worry about Nokia aren’t looking at a single quarter. They are looking at the trend over the last year and a half.. it doesn’t look good.

      1. More like 2-3 years, which is one factor in the eerie similarity between Nokia and RIM, corrporate.

        It’s all about perspective. As delivered by Nokia, their numbers don’t look all that bad. And loyalists will offer defenses like, “Smartphone sales are up 36% from 2009!” or “Nokia’s still bigger than the next three combined!”…all true, of course, but arguably shortsighted. After digging down a bit, that’s when you can spot some truly disturbing, long-term trends.

        Scoble has posted a link to this excellent analysis of RIM (2010Q3), but it’s worth repeating.:

        http://mobileopportunity.blogspot.com/2010/10/whats-really-wrong-with-blackberry-and.html

        Again, not identical predicaments but the parallels are intriguing.

    2. Nokia would like for everyone to believe it’s been just the past quarter or two, when warning signs have been available for two or three years.

      Increasingly, they’ve been re-selling (multiple units) to the existing base while growing market share mainly by offering carriers heavy discounts on already low-margin ‘feature phones’. Obviously, both practices are unsustainable. Even long-time Nokia booster Tomi Ahonen admitted as much, in several of his recent commentaries — like this one, from 29 January.:

      http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/01/sherlock-holmes-hounds-of-the-nokiaville-why-did-nokia-market-share-crash-dive-i-may-have-an-answer.html

      Ahonen also acknowledges that Nokia has made a series of awful miscalculations, presumably in response to – or, more precisely, in knee-jerk reaction to – the iPhone’s success. Among the mistakes he points to are seemingly senseless design trends, abandonment of their flagship model-lines, plus a nasty habit of annoying even their most loyal customers…for no particular purpose.

      http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/01/undesirable-at-any-price-what-happened-to-nokia-who-invented-the-smartphone.html

      Money quote from that last article.:

      “Now even the most loyal Nokia fans, whenever they write about their newest Nokia phones – write about one disappointment after another. This is the problem the new CEO, Stephen Elop needs to address. Else it will continue to lose customers – and unfortunately, the phone replacement cycle is far faster than that for cars, the demise of Nokia could happen before Mr Elop gets a chance to retire.”

      See what I mean? Takes more than a few months to screw things up this bad. ;)

  13. As a Nokia enthusiast since the late 90′s, I have to say Robert, given your global position, and reach, you really need to do your homework before posting such a rant/post as this. You are very ill-informed, and out of the Loop when it comes to Nokia, and its Ecosystem.

    I have nothing more to say on this matter.

      1. Stick to your social networks.

        You have no understanding of the technologies behind Nokia’s current Symbian/MeeGo Qt ecosystem strategy .

        Try reading up on Qt then come back with an article stating why Android or WP7 is better than Nokia’s Qt strategy. I would love to read that. Seriously, I would.

        1. Having looked at the Qt api and toolchain; it’s better than the old S60; but that’s not saying much since everyone in the industry talked about how hard the learning curve was for that and how it expensive it was to hire programmers for. Seemed quite procedural; very C oriented. No visual tools. The best toolchain right now is Android IMHO. It’s Java; which lots of people know (though I don’t think its as nice a language as C# or ruby, but more that good enough; and not a completely closed bizarre combination of C and smalltalk like objective C). The way “activities” are designed is really excllent for sharing bits of applications, and linking them together. You see this in using twitter clients on android vs. iOS and Winphone 7 It’s multitasking (though that is a problem too…hurts overall reliability). The common controls aren’t as “pretty” as winmo7; but they are nice; and unlike the piglike silverlight they picked a nice, relatively light weight markup. Silverlight does a stunning amount of things, has a super toolchain; but unfortunately it’s not clear in the end picking silverlight was any better than just a proprietary markup like android used; which is more performant and easier to control.

        2. Having looked at the Qt api and toolchain; it’s better than the old S60; but that’s not saying much since everyone in the industry talked about how hard the learning curve was for that and how it expensive it was to hire programmers for. Seemed quite procedural; very C oriented. No visual tools. The best toolchain right now is Android IMHO. It’s Java; which lots of people know (though I don’t think its as nice a language as C# or ruby, but more that good enough; and not a completely closed bizarre combination of C and smalltalk like objective C). The way “activities” are designed is really excllent for sharing bits of applications, and linking them together. You see this in using twitter clients on android vs. iOS and Winphone 7 It’s multitasking (though that is a problem too…hurts overall reliability). The common controls aren’t as “pretty” as winmo7; but they are nice; and unlike the piglike silverlight they picked a nice, relatively light weight markup. Silverlight does a stunning amount of things, has a super toolchain; but unfortunately it’s not clear in the end picking silverlight was any better than just a proprietary markup like android used; which is more performant and easier to control.

        3. I think the problem lies not with the comparison between the underlying technology but with the release schedule. Quite a few people I know in the open source community dislike the amount of control google has over android. But, the upside of that control is that Google is currently maintaining a dev pace and release cycle like nothing ever seen in the OS scene. At this point it looks like no one is going to be able to match their pace.

          If Nokia really wants to play on this level really the best they can hope for is to fork android and piggyback on googles efforts.

          1. “I think the problem lies not with the comparison between the underlying technology but with the release schedule. [...] Google is currently maintaining a dev pace and release cycle like nothing ever seen in the OS scene.”

            Excellent point. Say what you will about Android, but Google are now running at less than 7 months (!) between major releases. And, remarkably, the pace is accelerating.:

            http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/chart_android_updates.top_.png

  14. Point one I do agree with, but on point two, hold on, I have a copy/paste macro set up:
    “Why on earth would Nokia cede a third of their core strategy – services – to their biggest competitor – Google – and go with Android?”

    1. Because Google and Nokia simply aren’t competitors. Google is only pushing android to make sure that they don’t get shut out of the mobile ad business. Something I am sure they believe would have happened if Microsoft dominated the segment. Hell, I am sure Google would love nothing more than to partner with Nokia same as they have with the king of WinMo phones HTC.

      1. “Because Google and Nokia simply aren’t competitors.”

        Not true. Google and Nokia compete in mobile services, including their respective app stores. I assure you, this is nothing to ignore.

        Notably, Android users get unique access to Google services. Not only are the Android app-versions often simply better, but only on Android are those services seamlessly linked together…no need to invoke them separately. You can use Voice Access to call up an address in Maps and automatically you get instant access to Navigation, Places, Click-to-Call, etc.

        More to the point, both Nokia and Google advertise these integrated features as competitive selling-points for their phones. In fact, Google seem to be concentrating far more on enriching this part of their ecosystem (native applications), recently. I think this year and next will see them introduce some remarkable new services/features…maybe even a ‘killer app’.

  15. Point by point:

    1. He must flatten the structure at Nokia.

    True

    2. He needs to bet the company on a new OS.

    Absolutely insane. Perhaps, add a new OS for certain markets, if and only if they already know MeeGo will not make it. You are just assuming based on limited interaction and feedback that they should throw away the entire Symbian ecosystem, which by the way is several times as large as the one you are suggesting, WP7. Nokia already has Music, already has Mapping, big name developers like Gameloft & EA are already publishing their Games on Symbian. They need to go all out on a new UI which they are working on. They could sell WP7 Phones in certain markets, to gain acces, like Samsung tries with Android & Bada, bait & switch.

    3. He needs a team to work with developers.

    Nokia already is executing better than MS, and has a team doing this. Nokia should however double down on this, and make sure stellar versions of the 10 must have apps are available.

    4. He needs to pull out all the stops on a cool showcase piece of hardware.

    Absolutely true, though what has kept Nokia profitable throughout its history, in contrast to other manufacturers is a better grasp of BOM etc. You do realize all these Android device manufacturers are commoditizing themselves, like PC manufacturers, and are taking in short term profit trading for a long term absolute lack of differentiation potential. Thats said, N9 needs to be up there.

    5. He needs to simplify the product line so that everyone in the world can explain Nokia’s products to other people.

    No. Nokia should flood the market with umpteen different variations of the same device, just like Samsung & HTC are doing. Galaxy S, Captivate, Vibrant etc etc. What you are proposing will just cut their market share. Their market share in smartphones is as large as all Android manufacturers together, so it would be reasonable that the diversity in Nokia devices should be large. Not the same number as all other manufacturers combined, but certainly not less than they have now. They already did cut the number of models substantially. Mass customization can be one of Nokia’s strengths similar to the range of colors some models come in.

    6. He needs a developer tools division.

    Qt. And even if you are perhaps not too familiar with it, it is one of Nokia’s best assets right now.

    7. He needs a world-wide marketing message around Nokia’s top-of-the-line phone, which will communicate Nokia’s strategy and vision.

    Spot on. So much work to do there. Have you ever read this? http://mobilernr.com/had-apple-announced-the-nokia-n8/

    8. He needs to ensure that Nokia’s famous distribution system is reenergized and remains best in the business.

    True.

    In conclusion, you are missing the long term implications of your short term profit increase scenario. If they need to raise stock prices this year, yes jump on the Android bandwagon. If they want to make sure they can differentiate in the long run, they have to do something different than just using the soup du jour OS.

    1. “You do realize all these Android device manufacturers are commoditizing themselves, like PC manufacturers, and are taking in short term profit trading for a long term absolute lack of differentiation potential.”

      The operative word in all that is ‘potential’. And to say there’s an ‘absolute lack of it’ for Android licensees is demonstrably wrong. To many, the true beauty of Android is that vendors can do what they want with it. That’s potential. Sure, some build terrible phones but if a smart vendor puts together a slick Android model with class-leading camera and excellent multimedia capabilities, what makes you think that won’t sell?

      Years ago, I learned a hard lesson: listen to the customers; don’t force my personal preferences upon them. I’ve noticed that you defend Symbian on lots of websites; surely you’ve noticed that many posters say they’d buy an N8 running Android. Take a look around right now, if you don’t believe me. Whether or not you agree with their tastes, I think it gives unambiguous insight into the ‘potential’ of such a device.

  16. I had an N95 and loved it, forgave it’s initial bugs, and random crashes, resets. It did become a really good phone in the end, after many updates from the famed Nokia updater, if you lived in the right country (that is) what I loved about the n95 was build and speaker quality, camera, and video capturing capabilities, best app for me was the Nokia internet radio app. Loved the N95.

    Then a new contract later, I loved the N95 so much, I plumped for the N97, what a mistake that was. 32gb of internal memory hampered by stupid partitioning C: drive, very limited in memory under a 100mb I believe (by the time the Symbian operating system loaded and widgets etc, etc there was little system C: system ram left), the phone was clunky and awful, a lot of the software apps were complete rubbish, buggy, slow, or just plain refused to work. The only saving grace for me, and I mean the only saving grace app wise was, having Janole’s Gravity app.

    Facebook widget on the N97 was a complete joke (broken completely, wouldn’t load wall posts EVER) simply reported back saying I had no posts lol.

    Accuweather widget app was great at first, then guess what (that broke too, and was never fixed)

    Worse than that though, it didn’t come with Nokia internet radio…….my favourite app. No problem I thought, being an optimist, Nokia will get on the case, especially as the Nokia forum was filled with people asking the same thing as me at the time, where is the Nokia internet radio app? How did Nokia fix this for me? Well they just didn’t, they completely ignored the customer, I had been a loyal customer for years, so believe me I KNOW my Nokia’s and still keep an eye out for their latest offerings, N8? no thanks as that’s had it’s problems too.

    Sorry Nokia, loved you for years, but really, ios is vastly superior, and I just love my iphone 4 (sorry for sounding like a fanboy, but I really ain’t, only owned two Apple devices in my lifetime ipod nano 6gb & my current iphone 4 32gb, I’ve been extremely happy with both i have to say though, and the apps ALWAYS WORK )

    I agree with Mr Scoble on this though, Nokia need to drastically re-think strategy os wise, or they will be left behind, Meego will not save them, far to much damage has been done, they need to be decisive with os choices. Nokia are losing market share at an alarming rate as things stand currently.

  17. too many layer and too many people doing things inside that the rest of the company dont know. nokia is a big and distributed company around the world and they must work on make all those efforts on each country a common force, and stop waste money on doing things they know will change or doing it too late compared to the rest of the world, like launch in some countries a service and months later drop it, like ovi maps navigation licenses, ovi comes with music, and so on.

    The other thing is that Nokia dont have a commom world wide culture, the people inside nokia work on it because they are payed to do the work and thats is all, they dont want to do something for the company, the dont know the purpose of the company and dont feel part of it.

  18. > What Nokia need to do is to put an easy to use, gltzy looking application framework ontop of Symbian OS, so that the majority of devlopers never need see it

    Clearly you have completely failed to be aware of the existence of Qt and what exactly it is :) It has been doing exactly what you demand for some time.

    Re: your comments on Ovi Store, again clearly you are completely unaware of all the marketing, success, growth rate, money generated and developer testimony about Ovi Store.

    Looks like you have some reading to do ;-)

  19. > What Nokia need to do is to put an easy to use, gltzy looking application framework ontop of Symbian OS, so that the majority of devlopers never need see it

    Clearly you have completely failed to be aware of the existence of Qt and what exactly it is :) It has been doing exactly what you demand for some time.

    Re: your comments on Ovi Store, again clearly you are completely unaware of all the marketing, success, growth rate, money generated and developer testimony about Ovi Store.

    Looks like you have some reading to do ;-)

  20. I’ve been hearing this for years. Every year Nokia puts a phone in my hands that sucks compared to iPhone. Let me know when your new “super dooper Symbian” is here. I don’t really care what the code base is, just make it easy to use. All this arguing is just programmers arguing until it’s done. So far it’s not. Maybe next week at MWC? Bring a device over my house and let’s play!

    1. What Android/iOS phone shipped with USB OTG in 2010?
      What Android/iOS phone shipped with free offline navigation in 2010?
      What Android/iOS phone shipped with HDMI-out in 2010?
      What Android/iOS phone shipped with a free video editor in 2010?
      What Android/iOS phone shipped with in-app payment in 2010?
      What Android/iOS phone shipped with carrier billing for apps in 2010?
      What Android/iOS phone shipped with the best battery life in 2010?
      What Android/iOS phone shipped with the best camera in 2010?
      What Android/iOS phone had not a single virus threat in 2010?
      What Android/iOS phone shipped with support for any video and audio format in 2010?
      What Android/iOS phone shipped with subtitle support for videos in 2010?

      What Android/iOS phone shipped with an NFC chip in 2010?

      The Nokia N8 has it all.

      1. Yes, but think of it this way: can the average buyer who wants a smart phone but has never even seen a Symbian phone pick up the N8 and get a really good, simple user experience on the first attempt? I know it has great specs and can do some very cool things. But can a total Nokia n00b do all of that, right out of the box? From what I’ve seen, the answer is no.

        If he couldn’t then how would you react? Many Nokia fans would say that’s not a big deal – he’ll eventually get used to it. Others would tell him to concentrate on the features that he already likes, then explain how how Symbian is improving every day – so just be patient. A few will be tempted to tell him he’s too stupid/ignorant/lazy and so he’s not a real Nokia customer anyway.

        If you don’t like Android or iPhone, would those arguments would work on you? If not, why expect them to work on anybody? I’m not saying the N8 is junk. I’m also not saying the OS is junk. But, assuming my experience holds true in most cases, then strikes me as naive to think Nokia is going to win new customers that way, especially in new markets.

  21. I live & work in Bulgaria (South-Eastern Europe), personal phone – iPhone4 (upgraded from the original), my work-phone is Nokia C7 – the company gave it to me three weeks ago.

    Pure and simple – Nokia sucks – the usability is nowhere to be found, the PC side of the software is so bad I can not transfer pictures from the computer to the phone. I had trouble synchronizing with Gmail…

    My previous ‘dumb’ phones were Nokias and I loved them – and for such types of phones Nokia is the best, but everyone around me who is making the decision about buying a smartphone is either going for an iPhone or Android.

    At the end it is not about the hardware, it is about the experience. Apple provides the best one for now (though the new Google Nexus with the latest Android looks very good).

  22. i think Nokia really needs to have a word with great developers! Nokia has been really a great option for people wanting mobile phones. I actually considered Nokia as a people’s phone. OS improvements would definitely do great.

  23. Robert, I think this one of the best road map proposal, what I hope CEO Stephen Elop
    could consider with all the other info set he has. Some of those whiners should read your
    list once again, and stop reacting without analysis.

    I have been involved with QT, and also MeeGo development, I think that MeeGo has lots of
    potential. To the point that it can compete against iOS and Android.
    My proposal would be that Nokia would really consider investing in QT and MeeGo, and create
    strong, competitive ecosystem with those. Let’s face it, Symbian is almost dead. Even it has
    been a strong platform for years, it lacks huge issues: a) not mainstream OS, b) already lacks
    behind several features, c) SDK should be way better for developers. Those Symbian favors,
    itäs like Microsoft would have been stuck on Windows XP, cause it is so great and nothing has to
    be done anymore. Sorry, world has changed, Apple and Google have changed everything in mobile
    business. It is utterly important that Nokia can have (once again) humble mindset, but also
    readiness to fight back, and to reinventing its own values/vision/mission.

    Flattening org and also generating a new mindset, great motivation plus spirit for Nokians
    is a must do. I am sure Mr Elop has seen most of these issues, but let’s wait Feb 11…

  24. This article does not really make sense in all the places…

    All about services and eco system, who is owning that? I would say that the OS owner is making the most out of the eco system.

    Stating you working for RnD and that Symbian is rotten, does that mean you are not a very good employee?

    If something would be easy to fix then it would be fixed already! Iphone came without several features…

    With your analytical skills I would suggest that you do not make predictions. If you would be any good at it I believe you would not started working for Nokia RnD?

  25. I agree except turning into Windows Phone 7 OS. So far It has been a total flop. It is even more difficult to use than any present Symbian OS.