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Why Nokia Is Toast

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the don't-forget-the-herring-spread dept.

Android 475

CWmike writes "It's hard to remember now, but there was a time when Finland was at the center of the cell phone universe. No more. Nokia is being killed by complexity. Along comes Microsoft with Windows Phone 7, delivering more complexity. My view is that Microsoft doesn't matter, writes Mike Elgan. Although Windows Phone 7 is a way better operating system than Symbian, Nokia's problem isn't Symbian, and the solution isn't Windows Phone 7. Nokia's problem is that it follows the losing strategies of the other losers in the market, and rejects the only two known winning strategies. There are way too many Nokia phones. This causes either choice paralysis, sending buyers screaming to Apple for relief, or buyer's remorse. Nokia should take the advice Steve Jobs gave to Nike CEO Mark Parker: 'Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.'" And maybe Nokia isn't toast at all: reader high_rolla points out an interesting bit of speculation that the Nokia-Microsoft pact is part of a grand plan "to become the exclusive manufacturer of hardware for MS phones and tablets."

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Sadly... (1)

iscy0 (1886458) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193028)

Long death to Qt...

Re:Sadly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193086)

I say the "poison pill" clause needs to be activated and either re-form Trolltech or create a foundation to manage the future of Qt.

I for one have lost all faith in Nokias ability to manage Qt

Re:Sadly... (3, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193164)

Qt should be fine, too much heavyweight software uses it, and in worst case scenario - it's LGPL, ex-Trolltech people could pick it up.

Still, sad - Nokia was in great position to say "want us to use winmob7? Allow Qt" ... but considering main negotiator, it's not surprising they most likely didn't (though I'm not sure how workable it would be anyway, considering Metro UI...)

Re:Sadly... (1)

satuon (1822492) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193484)

Qt should be fine, too much heavyweight software uses it

Yes, Skype for example uses Qt.

Way too many cheap quality phones (3, Insightful)

John Allsup (987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193030)

At one stage I was a Nokia user, then went over to Sony-E and am wondering about Blackberry, not liking the idea of a phone in my iPod, Windows in a mobile or the stuff that Sony-E is now coming out with.

first (2)

wisdom_brewing (557753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193032)

toast!

Yeah TOAST! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193064)

All around the country and coast to coast, people ask me what I like most!

Re:Yeah TOAST! (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193410)

Ah, another Heywood Banks aficionado. It's nice to attribute properly.

In that case, MS has failed beyond belief (2, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193074)

If MS not even essentially buying a company in a coup where, conveniently for MS, an ex-Microsoftie replaces their former boss [appleoutsider.com] will assist MS in competing with Google and Apple, and instead ends up killing the company, MS has failed in the mobile industry like few others. If that won't cause Ballmer to have to leave, I don't know if anything will.

Despite all the evil MS may represent, I'm sure MS don't want to kill Nokia. They clearly want to use them as a leverage for WP7 market penetration. However, the Nokia shareholders seem to be less than impressed to go from an independent company - to be designing and packaging hardware. What has Nokia stock dropped by by now? Last I heard was -14% with many leaving the company. I'm not surprised - I'd feel the same if I went from being a software developer to someone writing marketing material and trying to think up designs for someone elses product, and even have to tell everyone that it's the best software ever, after having dropped my own.

It's humiliation, that's all it is. Pure humiliation for Nokia...

A Microsoft Nokia bad-analogy award (3, Insightful)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193194)

Microsoft today most reminds me of a coral reef in the Caribbean.
Still standing there, huge, menacing, misshapen and barnacle-encrusted.
But dead. The environment has changed around it and it can't adapt.

Nokia is a huge ship battered by the storm coming in toward the reef
for shelter.

What do you think is going to happen?

Re:A Microsoft Nokia bad-analogy award (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193304)

It's fascinating how easily people can forget Xbox...

Re:A Microsoft Nokia bad-analogy award (1, Interesting)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193374)

The Xbox.... Xbox.... Is that the device which cost Microsoft's entertainment division over a billion in losses? Maybe it's a good thing people ARE forgetting about it?

And even now, teeny-tiny Nintendo is still outselling it 2 to 1.

Re:A Microsoft Nokia bad-analogy award (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193388)

Yes, in just another five or ten years, they just might be able to fill in that big hole of money they spent creating the product.

It Doesn't Matter if it's Humiliating (5, Insightful)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193206)

Nokia isn't leading, Apple and Android are doing very well, RIM still has solid market share and MS is going to fight like hell for WP7. There isn't room for 5 players and even 4 is a stretch. It doesn't matter what happened in the past, Nokia was in a weak position and needed to do something. Bottom line is that the stage is set for the phone OS players and Nokia is not one of them, so they have to change where they fit into the eco-system.

Re:It Doesn't Matter if it's Humiliating (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193354)

I wonder what upgrade path many (those who will want to upgrade) of the hundreds of millions of people reflecting, by far, most top handsets in Part 3 of this report [opera.com] are likely to choose... (also, note RIM there, et al that you mention)

Re:It Doesn't Matter if it's Humiliating (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193530)

I agree, but that's only likely to work out for Nokia if WP7 is, in fact, really damn good. So far I've heard that it's basically fine, but nothing earth shattering; when Android has a far bigger installed base (and thus greater app support and so forth) and better name recognition, I don't think MS's marketing team will be enough to swing things in Nokia's direction.

It's something of a shame, actually. Nokia make some very nice hardware - I still think the 8910 & 1100 are by far the nicest 'basic' phones out there, and my E71 has done a fine job for the last couple of years - and it's true that I probably wouldn't buy another Symbian phone (two years ago, when I got the previous one, the Android offerings were still sparse, expensive and somewhat clunky) but I've had enough bad experience with MS software that I'm very unlikely to go for one of their new models either; it'd take some bloody good reviews to change my mind.

On that note, does anyone know of any Android phones that are roughly comparable to the E71 in terms of build? Hardware keyboard isn't a deal-breaker, but the thin, robust metal construction and decent battery life seem hard to find amongst the rather cheap-feeling plastic that tends to dominate the market.

What's wrong with toast? (0)

Noam.of.Doom (934040) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193076)

I love it. Especially with butter and baked beans on top.

Re:What's wrong with toast? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193208)

I love it. Especially with butter and baked beans on top.

What? Why don't you try toast with spam, baked beans and spam on top?

No spam? Bleh!

This feels familiar. (2)

Ambvai (1106941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193078)

Preemptive conclusions?

"No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

Re:This feels familiar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193326)

define:preemptive

# designed or having the power to deter or prevent an anticipated situation or occurrence; "a preemptive business offer"

wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

# Of, or pertaining unto, preëmption; Enacted with the intention of preëmpting an anticipated enemy strike; Intended to mitigate or nullify an anticipated detrimental future event; Intended to interfere with an opponent’s bidding

en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pre%C3%ABmptive

At least they won't be using Symbian (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193082)

I'm glad they'll be using WP7, as opposed to Symbian, which is a slow and bloated half-assed unpolished amateurish piece of shit software written by a fuckton of sweaty Indians with no degree. Just like truly open source software (except they're written by fat virgin neckbeards).

Re:At least they won't be using Symbian (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193502)

I for one would rather my software written by fat virgin neckbeards than pretty much anyone else. If a geek has nothing to do all day - no other source of self-esteem even aside from kudos for writing sharp, secure, functional code - then it stands to reason that the programs he produces will be good.

Underpaid sweatshop coders, on the other hand, aren't coding because they like it - they're counting the minutes until they can go home to their wives and kids. Unless they're driven to get promotions or take an interest in their work, the code they produce will be the minimum standard needed to get to the next milestone. And really, who can blame them?

m$'s 8th largest individual shareholder is happy (5, Interesting)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193084)

He loves it when a plan comes together [dailyfinance.com]

Re:m$'s 8th largest individual shareholder is happ (2)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193166)

He loves it when a plan comes together

That list is interesting in that apart from the top handful there's not a lot of money there. What happened to all the "Microsoft Millionaires"? Did they all cash out?

Re:m$'s 8th largest individual shareholder is happ (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193414)

Well, a bunch of them have been killed in incidents involving chairs.

what about ericcson (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193090)

if Nokia is toast, then what is Ericcson? I used to have one of their phones long time ago (yes i kept a Swedish implement in my pocket) but donno what happened to them

Re:what about ericcson (1)

cpicon92 (1157705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193122)

Ericsson merged its mobile phone division with Sony's as a result Ericsson phones are now labeled Sony Ericsson. They are relatively successful, too. I have one in my pocket right now.

Re:what about ericcson (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193128)

The handset part of Ericsson died and their soul went to Sony.

The provider side is doing quite fine, AFAIK, with some interesting LTE/4G products in the pipeline.

Re:what about ericcson (1)

Hellasboy (120979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193148)

Ericsson and Sony formed a 50/50 partnership: Sony-Ericsson. That's in regards to cell phones. Ericsson still manufactures hardware for cell phone companies (just as Nokia does).
SE did pretty good for a while but 2006-2009-ish were pretty bad years for them. Although, they've seemed to turn it around this past year. They're introducing several more Android handsets and it's rumored that they have a WP7 phone in the works.

Re:what about ericcson (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193570)

Although, they've seemed to turn it around this past year.

Not really, apparently they are (barely) in the clear mostly thanks to firing large part of R&D and via accounting tricks (not counting ~half a billion or so "loan" from parent companies)

(though, regarding SE & especially Android ... choice of TFS icon seems misplaced)

Re:what about ericcson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193162)

Ericcson never made real money with the phone, they made (and make) it with the rest of the GSM Ecosystem.

Re:what about ericcson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193196)

In the time it took you to type that comment, you could have looked them up on wikipedia.

This is way over the top (5, Interesting)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193092)

I'd be shocked if Nokia were "toast". They're still one of the biggest handset makers in the world, and their name recognition alone is worth billions in the market. And while guys like Steve Jobs are going "simplify!", there are millions of customers going "Really? This is all you've got? Where are all the choices?". Just because Apple's strategy is good for Apple doesn't mean it'll be good for Nokia, just like Mercedes isn't going to pursue the same strategy as Ford. They're both still going to make a lot of money.

Re:This is way over the top (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193124)

Indeed, look at top handsets in top20 countries of this report [opera.com] . Just look at them; beyond some probably fairly atypical (but vocal and visible) place. Curious way of being "toast"...

Who knows... at the very least, this deal means a lot of Winmob7 phones pretty soon. With Nokia most likely dominating - other phone makers brought, what, just ~2 million of them onto the market till now? Now they might even shun the platform, they don't depend on it & so it's easy for them, if it appears like Nokia might be getting a preferential treatment (at the least keeping Ovi Maps to themselves, and certainly deals with carriers / mobile payments). Last year Nokia sold over 100 million Symbian phones, and growing... and since now they say there are plans for just ~150 million more, that means a pretty quick switchover. With, all things said, a pretty decent OS, and which will certainly have all the "required" apps - plus IMHO a very real chance to rapidly pick up steam in mobile gaming. Then there are hundreds of millions of people still loyal to Nokia, many will want to upgrade from their "feature phones", and since Winmob7 is supposed to be now spread across a spectrum of handsets at different price points...
The "leaked" handset [gsmarena.com] (yeah, "who knows?") doesn't look half bad, too...

Only the Windows logo is a bit disturbing / too bad it's still MS... ;/

Plus, it's a company which succesfully reinvneted, reorganized itself numerous times... this shift is even quite minor in comparison.

Re:This is way over the top (3, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193188)

Nevertheless it IS impossible to pick a Nokia phone unless you happen to be a Nokia phone expert. Now that people are starting to buy handsets instead of just being grateful for whatever crap the phone company threw at them, this is becoming a problem.

Getting down to two models is a challenge though; there is still a large market for "in-between" phones which have decent battery life and small size but still a reasonable amount of features. The Slashdot market may be divided between "I don't need no stinking texting" and "no can-opener? lame!", but the rest of the world is less black and white.

Re:This is way over the top (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193340)

Well, here in Belgium people had to buy their own phones since the beginning, and it's never been an issue of "Oh My God i'm too stupid to pick one!" here, for starters, people can read the capacities of the devices on the box, and secondly, the shop personnel is capable of helping people decide when in doubt by showing them the phones & letting them fumble with them in store.

People aren't complete idiots (well, most aren't anyway), give them a little credit. The morons can go buy an iPhone.

Re:This is way over the top (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193386)

In some markets(think North America), Nokia is actually dumb enough to let carriers each have a different model, so they do not have to really compete on the Network quality/customer support aspect. Its also(I've spoken to grunt-level insiders) a token belief at Nokia that they will do badly in North America.

If Nokia actually tried to "lead", it would probably do some good, but it's more of a follower, and a slow one at that(it's too big to be fast).

It's mostly trying not to bite the hand that feeds it, but right now, it's been fed by everybody, but won't pick who to offend. It'll have to go hungry a while before this situation can get fixed.

Re:This is way over the top (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193406)

It is actually not too difficult to pick a Nokia phone on some of their websites (they have a phone chooser applet - either you or the salesperson can click on the stuff you want). For some countries though - prices aren't listed. That makes their phone choosing webapp a lot less useful to me.

I disagree with Steve Jobs' implication that a reduction of choice is a good thing. Just because Steve Jobs thinks it's crap doesn't mean the rest of the world won't want to buy it.

If you want a cheap durable phone just for calls, SMS, with a decent battery life and not too stupid a UI, Nokia has phones like that.

My dad is very happy with his Nokia phone that cost less than many iphone cases (and the sales guy even insisted on throwing in a free phone case ;) ).

If Nokia tries to be an Apple they may find the seat has already been taken.

Re:This is way over the top (3, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193346)

"They're still one of the biggest handset makers in the world"

The interesting thing is that the leadership at Nokia seems to have forgotten about that part of their business. With the hardware requirements of WP, Nokia is going to go from 30-something percent to, if they're lucky, mid-to-high single digit marketshare, unless they're planning to sell their handsets at a significant loss. Their margin will be pitiful.

They seem quite desperate to get into the segment of 'cool' smartphones to obtain the margins of other players, yet miss the fact that their main customer segment won't have that money even if they have a product, and the customers they're after wouldn't consider a WP based device 'cool' if it came with its own liquid nitrogen system.

A strategy worthy of that other Steve who seems unable to do anything but try to emulate whomever he considers cool guy of the week.

Just because you're caught on a burning platform doesn't mean sticking a shotgun in your mouth and blowing your head off is the best way to move forward.

Re:This is way over the top (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193450)

What makes you think they're abandoning most of those close-to-500-million-devices-shipped-annually of theirs? No seriously, what? Among the recent news was a desire to have clear focus on two main consumer product divisions, one of them being so called "dumbphones" or "feature phones", certainly still largely on S40 (because some lowest-end ones are on S30...)

It's understandable how the vocal pundits from atypical (but visible) markets focus only on their narrow perspective, but why would you assume Nokia ditches ~80% of their userbase?

Re:This is way over the top (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193424)

"They're still one of the biggest handset makers in the world, and their name recognition alone is worth billions in the market."
Yep. I have to have a Nokia, because I like that I have to click only 16 time to change a ring tone.
What I mean, nobody buys a phone because it's a Nokia or an Apple or whatever.
Either I like the actual phone or I don't, I don't give a crap about the brand.
There aren't any phones that nobody can afford, so the status effect is zilch.

Re:This is way over the top (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193432)

I'd be shocked if Nokia were "toast". They're still one of the biggest handset makers in the world, and their name recognition alone is worth billions in the market.

Being the biggest handset maker means nothing if you can't make money from your customers. As shown here [gigaom.com] , Nokia's share of profit in the mobile arena has dropped from 63% in 2007 to 22% in 2010. That is a huge drop in profit when compared to other companies. Basically, Nokia is selling tons of cheap phones but not many expensive ones where all the profits lie. Moreover, companies in China and India are gearing up to move into the cheap phones market also. This means that Nokia would be squeeze from both ends. At the high end by Apple and Android and the low end by the Indian and Chinese phone makes. Nokia's future is looking rather bleak.

Re:This is way over the top (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193598)

There's gotta be some happy medium. I agree with the author that visiting the Nokia website is hopeless; I did that a few years ago and came to the conclusion that Nokia makes 10 times as many models as they ought to. But they could make, perhaps, 4 models and have a broad customer base.

Emerging markets (1)

accessbob (962147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193098)

As far as I understand, Nokia's strength is in emerging markets, and has been for a long time.

Nokia does need to do something about its image, but it is building up a loyal customer base in Asia, Africa and South America where pricey smart-phone are still a tiny percentage of the market. If they can get a pubic perception of having some vaguely cool smartphones to help drive the brand, they have no problems really. And whilst Microsoft may be a busted flush in North America and Europe when it comes to phone OS, it is still a premium brand in Asia, Africa, and South America.

Don't write Nokia off yet.

Re:Emerging markets (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193234)

If they can get a pubic perception of having some vaguely cool smartphones to help drive the brand, they have no problems really.

...

Don't write Nokia off yet.

If they have a great 'vibrate' feature then the reports of their demise are definitely, um, premature?

Re:Emerging markets (1)

SnowHog (1944314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193272)

I agree, and I also think that a company can't be the largest phone maker in the world and "toast" simultaneously. I also don't understand how following a Microsoft strategy necessarily means following a losing strategy. I think this is a case of someone wishfully wanting to see the big boys fail.

Re:Emerging markets (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193612)

...like every holy home computer / console / platform holy war in the history of mankind.

It's not even "people use X because they want to see Y weakened", it's just "people would love to see Y lose because they use X". And since Slashdot supposedly serves mostly US audience, one of the very few places where Nokia hardly exists...

As much as I wanted Nokia to adopt Android... (3, Insightful)

cyberfin (1454265) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193102)

It pains me to say this is the a correct business move for both companies. Combined they have a much better chance of standing out in the crowd (other android-phone makers). Many will hate it, many will love it. A new Apple has been born.

Re:As much as I wanted Nokia to adopt Android... (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193228)

A new Apple has been born.

Ah yes, the old Citrullus colocynthis [wikipedia.org]

Just desserts.

Re:As much as I wanted Nokia to adopt Android... (3, Interesting)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193246)

Ten times better than no chance is still no chance.

Nokia could have saved itself by going with an Android + MeeGo strategy.

Microsoft's phone efforts are DOA. It doesn't even matter anymore whether they are technically any good; WP has the stink of failure attached to it. And that stink won't disappear by hooking up with a failing phone company.

Re:As much as I wanted Nokia to adopt Android... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193318)

Ten times better than no chance is still no chance.

Nokia could have saved itself by going with an Android + MeeGo strategy.

Microsoft's phone efforts are DOA. It doesn't even matter anymore whether they are technically any good; WP has the stink of failure attached to it. And that stink won't disappear by hooking up with a failing phone company.

Apple as a company had the stink of failure attached to it. Big time. Markets change.

Re:As much as I wanted Nokia to adopt Android... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193510)

You obviously mean Android+Symbian, MeeGo is also a linux-kernel based, it won't help them get lower-end phones.

Why would they want to compete with themselves?

Re:As much as I wanted Nokia to adopt Android... (2)

Znork (31774) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193446)

Doubtful. Microsoft has bought a little extension for the life of WP, but Nokias market share will be eviscerated.

Nokias best way forward would have been to simply acquire android capabilities for the meego platform to cater to the app crowd and run a mixed platform on the lower end.

Microsoft may gain a few more users due to the sheer clout of Nokias market presence, but it'll be one or two percent gain for every five percent that Nokia will lose. Still irrelevant, and probably not enough to save Ballmer. While Nokia will have a fraction of their market share today and even worse margin.

Nokia would even have been better off going with an all-out Android strategy. At least then their partner wouldn't have the trunk full of corpses from previous 'partnerships' pointing to the writing on the wall.

Nokia and Microsoft join forces for combined FAIL (1, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193112)

On behalf of everyone who is developing software for Android smartphones or iPhone/iPad, I would like to thank Microsoft and Nokia for their support.

I first heard about Microsoft and Nokia joining forces when someone told me the vaguest details, and I assumed Microsoft would be adopting Nokia's Symbian operating system for their phones. That would have made sense. You see, despite the appalling sales figures for Windows phones, the truth of the matter is that the devices themselves have been superb, and the current version of Windows Mobile is actually very good -- it's just that nobody outside the business world buys Windows phones anymore because Microsoft isn't cool. People want cool. It doesn't matter that Windows Mobile is good if it isn't cool. No cool = no sale.

Of course my assumption was wrong. It's Symbian that is being ditched, and now Nokia phones will use a Microsoft operating system. Which isn't going to make much difference to Microsoft, but it's going to neuter Nokia's attempts to become any kind of relevant player in the smartphone market.

So it's just Android and iOS now. Hurrah! Well done Nokia -- you just achieved one of the most epic fails in computing history. You had a cool brand, and you've thrown it away.

Re:Nokia and Microsoft join forces for combined FA (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193534)

It's true that Microsoft is not a good brand. The company is successful because people need their main product.

That said, the XBox has done pretty well at market penetration. Part of this being that Microsoft made a very good product. Techy types are willing to forgive Microsoft for being Microsoft as long as the company comes up with a sufficiently good product. Whether they will manage this is the important point, and it will take something to be significantly better than both Android and iPhone.

Exclusive ... (3, Insightful)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193114)

Nokia better come up with some exotic hardware that no one else can produce and tie WP7 tightly to it (so it's reliance on their hardware) if they want to do this exclusive thing.

Else they are completely at the mercy of MS, where MS can dump them for another hardware manufacturer and they can't drop WP7 without losing their customer base who has invested heavy in WP7 applications.

Re:Exclusive ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193280)

they are completely at the mercy of MS, where MS can dump them for another hardware manufacturer and they can't drop WP7 without losing their customer base who has invested heavy in WP7 applications.

Yeah!

For those of us who have MS stock in our retirement funds with their nice dividend .....Bwahahahahahahahahahaha!

Whatever it takes so that I'm not eating dog food in my golden years!

Don't worry, I'll throw a few coins in the cans of the F/OSS boys that have the placards that say, "Will program for food."

Re:Exclusive ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193294)

Nokia better come up with some exotic hardware that no one else can produce and tie WP7 tightly to it (so it's reliance on their hardware) if they want to do this exclusive thing.

Didn't they have the exclusive right to customize the WP# experience? If that is true, they have the means to cull the product lines with a heavy hand and focus on margin. That's what MS is likely wanting as well. They are likely emphasising manageability and connectivity with the existing business systems and giving the posh CEOs and CIOs some MS relief and MS insurance, screw the industrial standards. It is more difficult to see what form the basic phone takes, especially as even in the "developing world" smart phones are the tool for business development and growth.

Else they are completely at the mercy of MS, where MS can dump them for another hardware manufacturer and they can't drop WP7 without losing their customer base who has invested heavy in WP7 applications.

I don't think the MS plans to commit a Mobile Harakiri(tm) any time soon. Their CE$ announcement of ARM Windows suggest that they are in it for the long term.

Re:Exclusive ... (1)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193436)

I don't think the MS plans to commit a Mobile Harakiri(tm) any time soon. Their CE$ announcement of ARM Windows suggest that they are in it for the long term.

Pardon me, but why would dropping Nokia be Harakiri?

Once they have market share, and Nokia has out lived it's usefulness, why restricting yourself to them when you can sell to all vendors (like they do Windows on the desktop) and force the price down (commodizing the hardware).

These articles say the same thing. (3, Informative)

pavera (320634) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193126)

Both the "Nokia is dead" and "Nokia will thrive" articles say the same thing. They only differ in whether or not the authors think Nokia will follow the strategy.

The first article says that Nokia should ditch everything and release 1 really nice WP7 phone. This article says its their only chance, but they won't do it because it is against everything Nokia has ever stood for.

The second article says they will become the exclusive WP7 shop. Maybe they'll have more than 1 phone, but they'll be the only WP7 game in town, and they'll make really nice integrated phones that provide a slick experience (ala Apple). This is exactly what the first article says they should do, article #2 just says he thinks they will be smart enough to take this route.

Androidish QT (2)

RazorKitten (948278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193130)

I always thought that the best possible winning strategy would be an Android Phone with a completely redone UI using their QT Resource. Allowing them to both get the Android market love, and differentiate themselves with QT Slickness. Ah well...

Choice Paralysis? (2)

thinktank2 (595484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193138)

I disagree. Even though Nokia has different models they all have been consistent in the user interface. If I had been a user of a relatively cheaper model, I will feel completely at home when I upgrade to a better model. With their different models, buyers are given some choices. Pick your own combination of features and the price. How can that be a bad thing?

Nokia is being taken over by Microsoft (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193150)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-11/former-microsoft-exec-to-head-nokia-s-us-business.html

Any questions?

Re:Nokia is being taken over by Microsoft (2)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193252)

By saying "being taken over by Microsoft" you are implying that this was Microsoft's move. I think it was the other way around. Nokia is screwed, they know that, and decided a while ago to dump their software and license WP7. The best way to do accomplish this is to hire somebody from Microsoft who knows and understands Microsoft. I'm certain they are getting a better deal and preferential treatment than any other WP7 licensee.

Low end identity is destroying Nokia (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193152)

Im not sure if of models might be an issue but Nokia also has marketing problems as well, Nokia needs to create a single premium phone model and give it some sort of name, rather than a model number, and then only sell a single premium phone with that brand. A strategy is to sell the lesser, lower end phones under a different brand/company name from the premium high end model.

Part of what Nokia misses is creating the hype of creating the cutting edge visionary device. The idea of running a company selling low end, plain, boring cell phone products and creating an image of that does not work. Nokia has come to represent stale, bland, aging technology. There is a market for simpler older technology but the brand definitely should not be defined by this cheaper, older technology. That Nokia seems to have the idea it can sell cheaper older technology and neglect creating a premium cutting end brand, and this will result in more people buying the phones is a massive error.

  In many ways, Nokia has similar problems as GM, which produced for years poor quality or low quality vehicles and damaged many of its brands as a result, assuming that people would always buy their stuff, and losing a differentiated high end. Again creating seperate brand names for the lower end stuff and having using a brand for only the high end top of the line visionary cutting edge phone may be a good plan.

Nokias problems are due to management arrogance, that is the company thinks it can sell phones as some cheap run of the mill commodity and that the cheaper phones could make the company, that stale technology would go over well with people, and that the cutting edge visionary work of apple or google is not important. It is obvious that is a major error.

It is clear that Apple and Google etc are providing a better product and if Nokia can even keep up it is survival of the fittest,.

Nokia will be Microsoft's HW div? Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193156)

Nokia is already pasting their brand on any chinese slave-labor garbage that will have them... Why should Microsoft pay Nokia (and dilute their brand) when they can pay the Chinese directly?

Re:Nokia will be Microsoft's HW div? Um... (1)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193186)

SSSShhh! That's the plan once the rape is over. Ask anyone from Sendo [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Nokia will be Microsoft's HW div? Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193492)

Except Sendo ended up raped, lonely, discarded, and didn't even get a reach around.

Re:Nokia will be Microsoft's HW div? Um... (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193342)

Nokia is already pasting their brand on any chinese slave-labor garbage that will have them

Cite? Nokia's low-end phones are still produced in the company's own factories and in places like Romania and South Korea. Indeed, the company has called "Chinese slave-labor garbage" their major competitor in the low-end market.

Symbian is good enough for lots of people... (2)

Zemran (3101) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193184)

I find that Symbian does all I need and I am happy with it. I do not want a pocket computer, just a phone that has a few extras. If I want more I open my laptop. I am not sure which direction I will go in next as for me, the N97 is the most suitable phone but if it has Windows stuck on it, it will not even come close to meeting my needs. I do use GPS and am often out of cell range, therefore I do not want to need Google maps etc. I can use Nokia Maps in the mountains, far from the nearest cell and it has got me out of trouble a couple of times (I am a 4x4 nut). I like good music on my phone and a backup camera, that is all. After this merger, I will probably buy a real GPS for the truck and a dumbphone. I cannot see any reason to buy a load of stuff I do not want. I think Sony sound OK for me now; good music and a decent dumbphone.

Re:Symbian is good enough for lots of people... (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193284)

Nobody is forcing you to do more than a few simple things with iPhone or Android. Any of the modern smart phones can be used as very simple, easy to use "dumb phones" if you like.

The problem with Symbian is that it's buggy and that its user interface is impenetrable for new users.

(And the only reason you're getting Nokia Maps the way you do is because other phones pushed the envelope.)

Re:Symbian is good enough for lots of people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193352)

You could use an iPhone the way you use a dumb phone or a feature phone but you wouldn't get some of their advantages: longer battery life, lower cost, size...

Re:Symbian is good enough for lots of people... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193546)

Any of the modern smart phones can be used as very simple, easy to use "dumb phones" if you like.

That's a good idea. Let's pay 10x as much as a phone that just makes phone calls, and get significantly lower battery life too.

Also, some of us aren't allowed to have 'smart phones' at work; finding phones without cameras for secure environments is already getting close to impossible.

Re:Symbian is good enough for lots of people... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193372)

Features are not simply check list items [daringfireball.net]

There's some accounting for usability and polish. With Android, Symbian has nearly no advantages. Nokia played the emerging markets on volume, not profit margins. Now that they're being eaten on both ends of their product lines.

Qt (4, Insightful)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193198)

Funny timing, I'm uninstalling Qt and Symbian as I write...

I think Nokia has fumbled too long between Symbian and Meego and now Qt; one can't get a clear sense of where they are going and thus, as a developer I must move to greener pastures.

Goodbye Nokia! Hello Android!

Re:Qt (2)

fuliginous (1059354) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193468)

I disagree with regards Qt; Qt has moved along beautifully to this point where QML really is the best solution to quick production of apps for devices as targets that I've seen and comes as a great SDK. The problem has been taking too long to commit to Maemo/MeeGo, if they'd thrown themselves fully at it two years ago the OS under Qt/Declaritive apps would perhaps be quick enough for the applications to appear as slick as Android and iPhone ones. The hardware and facilities on the N900 are as good an anything in the market but they put the wrong type of screen on it and the OS just isn't quick enough (compared to Android).

Irrelevance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193200)

I don't care about Nokia or Microsoft, it sounds like the perfect partnership to me.

Where can Nokia compete? (2)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193226)

In the low end Nokia is going to get eaten alive by cheap Chinese phones. They won't be great phones, but they will be dirt cheap and will sell by the truckload in the developing world.

In the high end, Nokia has to compete with companies like Apple and HTC. On one hand, Apple is super focused and dumps all their resources into a very small number of products and owns the ecosystem. On the other hand, HTC is small and nimble and willing to take chances. Compare this with Nokia -- which is a slow, conservative, giant and doesn't stand a chance against these smaller companies when it comes to innovation.

What's left for them?

I think Nokia brought in a former Microsoftie to run their company because they knew they were going to be licensing WP7. I'm sure they are getting a crazy good deal and plenty of promises from Microsoft. It's probably the biggest gamble that Nokia was willing to make and I think it's only going to prolong their descent into irrelevance.

Re:Where can Nokia compete? (1)

fuliginous (1059354) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193496)

I think Nokia brought in a former Microsoftie to run their company because they knew they were going to be licensing WP7. I'm sure they are getting a crazy good deal and plenty of promises from Microsoft. It's probably the biggest gamble that Nokia was willing to make and I think it's only going to prolong their descent into irrelevance.

I think they brought him in with the expectation that all roads would then lead to Microsoft. Rather than the way you put it; but the result is the same. Which is a sign Nokia are desperate.

Minimalist strategy not enough. (2, Interesting)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193230)

While I agree that in general, the minimalist strategy works well for Apple, I'm not sure that Nokia could pull it off. Let's look at what Apple used to build the iPhone brand before there even was an iPhone.

1.) OSX. Apple's penultimate desktop operating system, gain billions of fans for it's tight design and nearly flawless execution. When Apple merged it into the x86 platform it removed much of the pricing barrier that was keeping people off of Apple and wooed many more customers.

2.) iTunes - At the height of the digital music revolution, Apple introduces the ultimate music software to go with it's ultimate desktop OS.

3.) iPod - Right along with iTunes, completes the musical vertical integration pyramid, design is revised several times, paving the way for the iPhone's form-factor.

All of the above led directly into the iPhone. Looking back at it it's almost obvious that this is where they were going, although none of us could see it at the time.

Now, what to Microsoft and Nokia have? Well, Microsoft has a desktop OS, but has said little to nothing about integration. No solid music apps beyond Windows Media Player, and that's just a mess. Nokia? Well, they have plenty of phones, but no design ethos or personality. Basically, both MS and Nokia have the same "scattershot" approach to business. They try to take a little from every area, resulting in generally mediocre products with a few bright spots. Not a winning strategy.

right now, of the non-Apple and Google players, I think that HP is positioned best with RIM a close second. If HP can seriously deliver both on the consumer and business ends, they will knock RIM out (particularly if they can deliver the kind of centrally-controlled enterprise handset encryption that RIM specializes in). Regardless, the Nokia-MS merger isn't likely to make much of a difference, even IF they take the advice offered in TFA. They just don't have the right pieces in place or the right corporate attitude.

Re:Minimalist strategy not enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193364)

Do you even know what "penultimate" means? Or when to use an apostrophe?

Re:Minimalist strategy not enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193564)

No solid music apps beyond Windows Media Player, and that's just a mess.

Well, you haven't heard about Zune (software and hardware) then.

Simple Economics (1)

awestruk (1667899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193240)

Choice. Users generally like choice (especially when it comes to hardware). Why are there so many different kinds of cereal in the supermarket? Not to mention they are all owned by the same company. If Nokia didn't make all these different cellphones, someone else would

Girls like to have different cellphones.

Oblig car (industry) analogy: Nokia as Toyota (1)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193258)

From T(2d)FA ref'ed above:

My prediction is that this partnership will eventually turn Nokia into MS’s hardware division.

I agree.

I think that there is an emerging niche for "dumbphones" that would be roughly equivalent to the "compact cars" of the 1960's that eventually became Toyota and Nissan of the present.

If, on top of being a cheap, voice-centric device, by virtue of running Win7 those could do/buy "cloud" capabilities on the go as aftermarket, that might be a real iphone-killer (or at least induce worry-lines in future iphones).

Oxymoron alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193308)

"Cheap, voice-centric dumbphones" running "Windows7" and "cloud-based" applications? That's an oxymoron.

Re:Oblig car (industry) analogy: Nokia as Toyota (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193422)

I think that there is an emerging niche for "dumbphones" that would be roughly equivalent to the "compact cars" of the 1960's that eventually became Toyota and Nissan of the present.

I would totally buy into a phone with a super-size battery (or better yet, uses AAs) that simply sends and receives calls, nothing else. I truly do not need all the crap that is stuffed into phones these days.

cheap phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193262)

Nokia failed because their premise was that price drives the cell phone market.

Is it me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193302)

or is Nokia the only company whose employees actually care enough about the product to express dismay........I don't often hear of Chinese apple workers using their flex pay in protest.

Old saying comes true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193336)

Microsoft said once computers didn't need network. Ironically that's what's happening now. Nokia, Disconnecting People

Re: Nokia's new CEO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193368)

Most people have heard by now that he's ex-Microsoft. What most people don't seem to realise is, he's Microsoft's seventh largest shareholder. I don't know in what ways that could be considered insider trading, but Nokia shareholders better look into it, because Nokia shares have taken a massive hit (-15% in two days) from this deal.

As for being exclusive manufacturers of Microsoft phones and tablets, the question is what phones and tablets? Microsoft is a tiny player in those markets, even compared to Nokia itself -- Nokia can't expect to gain much from that exclusivity unless Microsoft magically increases its market share. But they've been struggling for many years now, and they still haven't made much headway in those areas, and I don't see how that will change any time soon.

Nokia is not toast (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193444)

Nokia is the largest cell phone manufacturer, and also has the most used framework Qt across all platforms. Qt is not going anywhere. It is an amazing toolkit that has no equal. Obviously, it is in Microsoft's best interest to partner with Nokia, and Nokia is obviously getting some kind of major benefit from the deal. The speculation that it is going to be exclusive manufacturing for WP7 on phones and tablets is wrong. The idea that Microsoft would kill their relationship with Toshiba is nonsense. Toshiba defaulting to a Linux based OS for their laptops, or some crappy proprietary OS they have in the works, scares Microsoft way too much. Every Toshiba system OS is already so bloated and customized software that it does not even resemble the original OS. Apparently, their Android Honeycomb wont have the Android Marketplace, and instead their proprietary crappy app store, but I have to credit them for their solid hardware, which is why I always buy Toshiba, though I doubt I will purchase a Folio tablet without the android marketplace. The speculation that Qt is going to become more focused towards Microsoft is also nonsense. The reason the Qt framework is so extremely popular is its beautiful appearance on every platform. Its a developers dream. To change it in any way would be ludicrous. Microsoft is clearly the winner is this deal, but Nokia is absolutely getting something in the deal. We will have to wait to see what is announced, and for now we only speculate.

Nokia has become a hot topic in Slashdot (1)

satuon (1822492) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193452)

I've never seen a single event get so many articles in Slashdot in so many consecutive days. And that considering Nokia supposedly isn't very popular in the USA, why do americans care so much what do they do? Or are there only europeans posting here :)

I prefer Nokia to Chinese junk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193464)

Here in Europe we prefer european Nokia to chinese junk (e.g. ifone) or korean junk (samsung). On my Nokias everything just works, I can't say the same thing about asian appliances.

Nokia's problem NOT SYMBIAN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193480)

Anyone writing that has obviously never used a recent symbian based Nokia.

Now, why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193500)

do I see the (an)droid as the topic of this article?

Just 2 strategies that can win? (1)

southlander (1130379) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193552)

RIM seems to be doing just fine as well. So then I guess they'd be in the Apple-strategy camp? Closed, and 100% control of the "experience".

Nokia's Elop:"our 1st priority is beating Android" (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193596)

Why should Nokia care ? The guy seems to think he's still working for MS ! Having proven they can't pout together an mobile OS, Nokia should try and leveraage their installed base into an ecosystem. They should go the HTC way and have their fingers in as many OS pies as possible, as long as all those pies are gateways to the OVI store.

this writer is ignorant of what Nokia is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193608)

and therefore cannot comment on what it will become.

Nokia is the biggest phone company in the world, with something like 50% of the entire global market for mobile phones. They are active in more countries and in more languages than most people know even exist.

This is their greatest strength and their greatest weakness - if you want to talk about complexity, that's the issue. They are in so many markets - and they cannot just give up. If you made many billions a year in these markets, with this sort of complex, difficult to manage yet ultimately profitable situation, would you still suggest throwing it all away to concentrate on something which is not your main strength and where you ARENT making money?

No, you'd suggest a shift to START making MORE money in those new areas without dropping the ball in the rest - and believe it or not things could be a lot simpler with winphone 7 in that arena. A clean break, a new start, but picking up, immediately, a global, vibrant growing group...the truth is it looks like they got a better deal than most people would have bet on. WP7 is late to the party, perhaps, but m$ do software pretty well (you may laugh, but wp7 shares more with that xbox doohickey than with your laptop, and they're close to ruling the heap with that puppy) and Nokia do great hardware.

It's going to bite them in the ass if they don't have a fallback plan (come on, seriously, win7 always and forever? welcome to being foxconn in that case!) but that's three to five years down the road to think about, three of those five at the very least with a working, mature and well-established modern mobile OS.

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