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Former Nokia Exec: Windows Phone Strategy Doomed

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the iceberg-ahead dept.

Microsoft 447

itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers will recall that back in January, Nokia CEO Steven Elop blamed the company's Windows Phone woes on commission-minded salespeople, who pushed phones they thought would actually sell. Now, ex-Nokia exec Tomi Ahonen is calling the Nokia's Windows Phone strategy 'a certain road to death.' He bases this grim assessment on UK market shares from Kantar Worldpanel: 'When Nokia shifted from "the obsolete" Symbian to "the awesome" Windows Phone, Nokia lost a third of its customers! In just one quarter!' Can MeeGo or Tizen save Nokia now?"

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First (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39428853)

Nokia is dead. Enough said.

Re:First (3, Insightful)

dintech (998802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428893)

Honest question, why didn't they just go with Android?

Re:First (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39428911)

Cause Microsoft paid them more than Google.

Damned Salepeople! (3, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429103)

Actualy posessed of such gall!

Selling what people want to buy! I can tell you, this does not bode well.

Re:First (5, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429213)

I know you're probably saying that as if it's bad, but in reality Google offers effectively no support to manufacturers who make devices for Android. Microsoft offers legal support to all manufacturers, and for Nokia they are offering technical engineering support and cash, which is a pretty good deal compared to what Android is offering.

So it seems to me Nokia had three choices:

  1. 1. Continue on their own with Symbian/Meego/Maemo or whatever they develop in house and try to carve out a niche for a 4th (or 5th depending on how you count) OS in an already highly competitive market.
  2. 2. Develop for Android and compete with all the other Android manufacturers with no support or partnerships to help in the transition.
  3. 3. Develop for Windows Phone and gain a partner in the OS transition who not only will help in support of your hardware but will work independently to improve the ecosystem

There are pros and cons for each option, so it's easy to argue all day about which is best. In my opinion they chose the one with the best risk/reward ratio. Option 1 is the riskiest, but with the most reward. Option 2 is the safest, with the smallest reward. Option 3 is risky, but not as risky as going at it alone. Although many here on /. believe Option 3 is doomed to fail, those who use the WP platform see it as a rising star, and obviously Nokia sees the same thing.

Re:First (5, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429361)

Microsoft offers free backstabing to all manufacturers, and for Nokia they are offering technical engineering traps and bait, which is a pretty good deal compared to what Android is offering.

There, FIFY. It is like C-people can't bother googling a company name before closing multi-billion dollar deals with them.

Re:First (-1, Troll)

CyberSaint (1376273) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429505)

and obviously Nokia *saw* the same thing.

FTFY... obviously Nokia's regretting getting in to bed with M$ these days.

Re:First (4, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429521)

Microsoft offers legal support to all manufacturers, and for Nokia they are offering technical engineering support and cash, which is a pretty good deal compared to what Android is offering.

That's lovely and all, but it's not working because they're not selling. That's death for any company.

1. Continue on their own with Symbian/Meego/Maemo or whatever they develop in house and try to carve out a niche for a 4th (or 5th depending on how you count) OS in an already highly competitive market.

2. Develop for Android and compete with all the other Android manufacturers with no support or partnerships to help in the transition.

3. Develop for Windows Phone and gain a partner in the OS transition who not only will help in support of your hardware but will work independently to improve the ecosystem

So the theory goes for some people, but even as a third-rate Android reseller they would probably be selling a hell of a lot more than the Lumia phones they have done. Microsoft is also not anywhere near proven as any sort of risk-free partner in the mobile sector. They've been trying for years and gained little, if anything other than Android 'licensing' fees.

In terms of applications and the 'ecosystem' Android is by far the better choice. It took Android some time to catch up with the iOS on the application front. I'm not so sure how well a second mobile OS behind that is going to fair.

Option 3 is risky, but not as risky as going at it alone.

They were already on their own with Symbian, and more successful.

Although many here on /. believe Option 3 is doomed to fail, those who use the WP platform see it as a rising star, and obviously Nokia sees the same thing.

Well, it's lovely that you have such faith but consumers simply are not buying it and if and when WP rises high enough Nokia will be bust. It's not turning out to be the least risky option.

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429237)

CCause Microsoft paid them more than Google.

If that's true Nokias leaders should have the word "idiot" tattooed to their foreheads. The key to success is how many developers you can attract to your Mobile OS and how many apps they churn out. One can develop an app on iOS and deploy it on Android as well relatively easily even though Android fragmentation is a headache. Porting it to Windows Phone meant porting to .NET last time I looked and that ain't happening, too much effort. Nokia has pretty nice hardware, the Lumia series in particular are a nice looking phones but they need to realize that the route to success is making it easy to port apps from the two popular platforms iOS and Android to what ever mobile OS they settle on. Otherwise they are wasting their time and money.

Re:First (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429433)

Where did you get the impression that you can develop an app on iOS and deploy it on Android?

As for porting apps, other than the fact that the OS, frameworks, and toolchain is different, the leap from Java to C# is a pretty short one. I'd call the gap between iOS and Android development at least as big as the gap between either and .NET.

Re:First (1)

some1001 (2489796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429447)

I'm sorry, but you have to be kidding me. I may not be a developer by trade, but from the way I see it...

iOS - Objective C
Android - Java
Windows Phone 7 - .NET XNA/Silverlight

Is Java really so far away from .NET that you couldn't port the code halfway decently? I mean, my God, Java and C# have so much of the same syntax it isn't even funny. Objective-C has quite a bit different syntax than Java, and you don't even see that being a problem do you?

Re:First (4, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428977)

Because everyone and their mother is invested in Android. If they go with Android, they're just another manufacturer in an already saturated market. If they go with Windows Phone, they get financial and technical backing from one of the biggest companies in the world, and have the advantage of being the manufacturer with the best windows phone integration as a result. Further, if they go with Android they're probably looking at legal issues with Microsoft and Apple, without any help from Google, just like every other Android manufacturer. Honestly they're making a big bet, but if Windows Phone starts picking up steam it will pay off big time.

Re:First (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429043)

yes but windows phone is in the toilet and about to be abandoned aka zune.
financial and technical backing doesnt mean squat. micro$hit is a vampire who eats companies which partner with it unlike google.

Re:First (0)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429429)

windows phone is... about to be abandoned

Really?

Re:First (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429067)

Because everyone and their mother is invested in Android. If they go with Android, they're just another manufacturer in an already saturated market.

If they went android, they'd have a small slice of a very large pie. And then they could compete on price, or leverage their name, or simply be one of the many android phones. A small android maker is bigger than the biggest windows phone maker.

Yeah, they could go with Microsoft. And get lots of backing and no sales.

Re:First (0)

denobug (753200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429173)

I have friends who bought Windows phones. To them the non-savvy users the function of a Windows phone is convenient and little hassle for them. That's words taken from their mouths.

Re:First (2, Interesting)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429357)

I own a Windows Phone, as well as my wife and a few friends. It's just fun simple and easy. It's like the argument people have about making a desktop a tool, when nobody looks at their desktop, they have applications taking up the whole screen, either in shared space or singly taking it all up. I want to get to my app quickly and with no need for decoration I'm only going to see momentarily. Also, the tiles are able to provide complex information at a glance, with no need to open some apps, till more interaction is required. You reach a point in gui design, where you get tired of the constant progression to replicating the look and feel of a physical desktop at the sacrifice of usability and speed.

Re:First (1, Interesting)

Naffer (720686) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429467)

Also, windows phone runs really really well on middling hardware. The Nokia 710 is sold periodically by T-mobile for as little at $250 without a contract, and it is a vastly superior phone to most andriod phones in the same price range. Windows Phone is not a perfect OS but a generation of MS hate has really clouded people's ability to look at their products objectively. And lets be honest, Nokia wasn't going to survive by going the way they were going. They made a bet that they could team up with MS and produce phones people wanted to buy because if they hadn't they'd still be on the RIM path. This is very clearly visible in the bets that Nokia is making on inexpensive phones (Lumia 610) for developing markets. Not everyone wants to pay $800 for a phone off-contract.

Re:First (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429491)

My boss has one and he hates it when he sees everyone installing awesome apps on their Android and iOS phones and tablets, and he can't install nearly anything that we have. Of course, we are software developers.

Re:First (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429469)

Maybe next time wait for them to assemble the words into a coherent sentence before you take them from their mouths.

Re:First (3, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429413)

As an investor/stakeholder in the company, what I'm hearing from you is that you plan on positioning Nokia as just another run of the mill Android manufacturer. You say compete on price, I say any random Chinese manufacturer can undercut you. You say compete on name, I say there are already HTC, Samsung, Motorola and other big names already in the ring.

I've seen a lot of business plans in my day, and my biggest gripe is when people come at me and say "The market size is X, which is huge! So if we only get Y% of X we'll make a ton of money!" It's such an amateur mistake, and the companies that make it have no appreciable competitive advantage over any other company. Nokia, for all its reputation, does not offer any real competitive advantage in the Android marketplace. Whatever brand recognition it does have, will simply be diluted among the other players.

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429073)

Wild idea, I know, but they could have worked on making better phones than the competition. You know, hardware. Is a phone maker a software company? I don't think so.

It can pay to be different, but you have to do at least one thing significantly better than the conforming competition, and I don't see that in Nokia's future. But I would like to see more of their new digital camera, though they should probably remove the phone functionality and drop the price a little.

Re:First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39428985)

Honest question, why didn't they just go with Android?

Because they are Americans. As Americans, they are all big fat and stupid so they could not do something that makes sense like what you suggest.

Re:First (2)

dosius (230542) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429023)

Pretty sure Nokia is a Finnish company...

-uso.

Re:First (4, Funny)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429097)

Are you saying they're Finnished?

Re:First ... Double Death in Recent Times (1, Funny)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429503)

Death of 2 known brands, MSWinPhone & Nokia, is underway.

The article's discussion of the facts is straightforward and looks like a death spiral.

Re:First (5, Insightful)

gwking (869658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429015)

That's an easy answer, and a very unfortunate one for Nokia. It's a classic trojan horse. The Nokia CEO was hired from Microsoft. And suddenly Nokia became very MS-friendly... eventually becoming Microsoft only. And that's the whole story. There was really little benefit to Nokia, it was more of Nokia taking a big risk to help Microsoft. Great for Microsoft with no risk; big risk for Nokia for questionable gain. Even a dual strategy of Microsoft and Android would have made sense, but nope, why go with Android that is a major market force with lots of backing and third party support when you can put all your eggs into the MS basket with 1.5% of the market and a tiny fraction of the third party support. It's a shame, I don't know if the shareholders could make a lawsuit stick, but I'd be really angry if I had counted on the exMS new Nokia CEO being there to grow Nokia.

Re:First (2)

polymeris (902231) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429113)

I, for one, would prefer there was an alternative to Android & iOS. Both those systems have a lot of problems, and a little competition could help everyone (the customers, mostly). Nokia's excelent reputation, justified or not, could certainly accomplish that.

What that alternative should be-- not sure. Apparently not WP, but Mer/Tizen, perhaps? Or are those doomed to remain vaporware?

Re:First (2)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429317)

Could it be because Steven Elop came from MicroSoft? Albeit MicroSoft Canada, which is little more than a renovated fur trading post.

Re:First (5, Informative)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429375)

Have you ever used maemo or meego?
Maemo is perfect for developers/geeks.
Meego is perfect for everyone else.
All the backends/insides are the same, BTW.

They didn't even need to change platform, just keep doing what they were doing already.

Re:First (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429417)

When a company switches platforms a large portion of their customers switch. That is the risk of changing.
Why?
1. People Don't like change.
2. When forced with a change, they will evaluate their other options.
3. After their options are evaluated they may no longer choose you.

For Nokia. For smart phone owners They have a few "popular" choice Get Windows Mobile, Get Android, Get iPhone. Being that Nokia only loss 1/3 of their customers is a good sign, logically if all product quality was equal they would have loss 2/3 of their sales to competitors.

Car analogy.
GM stops selling Pontiac, because they have many other cars similar to their Pontiac models.
Pontiac owners who need a new car but liked their old Pontiac will need to get a new car.
Because they need a new car they will take a look at all the options some that GM owns and also what their competitors have Ford, Toyota...
Some will choose GM products others will go with the competitors.

Former employee doesn't like old job? Fascinating! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39428861)

>who pushed phones they thought would actually sell.
Really?
Isn't news supposed to be impartial? This writer definitely has an angle they're trying to push. How'd this get through?

Re:Former employee doesn't like old job? Fascinati (3, Interesting)

gregarican (694358) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428967)

Now, ex-Nokia exec Tomi Ahonen, is calling the Nokia's Windows Phone strategy 'a certain road to death.'

There are two layers of bias. The first is the tone of the submitter. Then there is a the second layer with the ex executive. All we need is a Netcraft meme thrown in for good measure...sigh...

Re:Former employee doesn't like old job? Fascinati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429011)

"Former Nokia executive" would be meaningful if it were someone who left around the Feb 11 announcements, not someone who once upon a time long long ago worked at some random position at Nokia.

Ahonen is a nice guy but has an incredible way of spinning things around, and has been so violent in his statements his only options are to stick with them or stop blogging and lose all credibility. If the new strategy pays off he becomes irrelevant because he would have been so wrong. (Not that that stops idiots from listening to eldar). He HAS to spin everything this way, which of course does not take away from facts but it's like reading an Apple article on Gizmodo.

Nokia has been plenty stupid with their 11 feb announcement, but it was the original Symbian crowd in Nokia which strove to completely kill any other projects such as Maemo and later Meego, and that crowd had to be shot in the head. Boom. Now we can work on other projects. They'll be back.

Everybody in Slashdot already knew that (5, Insightful)

baka_toroi (1194359) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428873)

I think everyone who follows closely the industry was already aware of that fact. It was a shit move for Nokia, I'd go so far as to say it wasn't just a bad decision: the guys in charge should be prosecuted.

Re:Everybody in Slashdot already knew that (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429333)

Prosecuted for what?

Re:Everybody in Slashdot already knew that (5, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429415)

Breach of fiduciary duty. Elop's move only could benefit Microsoft, and would turn Nokia into a subsidiary of Microsoft, with no ability to compete independently. In other words, the CEO of Nokia abandoned his duty to make decisions that first help Nokia, and instead made decisions to first help Microsoft. Considering that Nokia was a mobile heavyweight until shortly before Elop came on board, I'd say that it's not an entirely unreasonable idea.

I'm so glad... (0)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428877)

I'm so glad I no longer work for them (Nokia).

Never Fear (5, Funny)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428887)

The royalties from their vibrating tattoo patent will keep them afloat...

Re:Never Fear (4, Funny)

kirkb (158552) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428925)

A vibrating tattoo that also improves buoyancy? Now that's patentable!

Re:vibrating tattoo that also improves buoyancy? (4, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429065)

The Rule 34 implications of that are immense!

It might even be enough to save Nokia.

Re:Never Fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429315)

The royalties from their vibrating tattoo patent will keep them afloat...

I have a tattoo on my buttocks, they vibrate often.
Am I now illegal ?

Android (5, Insightful)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428907)

Pretty much the only thing I see saving Nokia is Android. Make some awesome quality Android handsets and customers will return. Make them with a nice clean stock Android loadout instead of some dumbass custom crapware laden ugly UI and you'll stand out from the pack even more. (Geeks will embrace you too. Word of Mouth is powerful advertising!)

Re:Android (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429005)

Pretty much the only thing I see saving Nokia is Android.

And, given their commitment to make Microsoft-based phones, that pretty much makes them doomed.

Make them with a nice clean stock Android loadout instead of some dumbass custom crapware laden ugly UI

See above ... they may be too far along in the jumping of the shark.

I don't see a Windows based phone in my future any time soon. Though, I'm sure there's likely some hardcore fanbois who are salivating at the prospect.

Re:Android (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429051)

Yep. pretty much right there with you. I'm actually still on my webOS Pre- phone, waiting for the G-nex to come out on Sprint. I wish more companies would just make a quality phone with bog standard Android. A Nokia one would be great, they make such good quality stuff. But not if I have to deal with Winblows. Not gonna happen.

Re:Android (3, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429035)

How exactly would Android save Nokia in a marketplace that is saturated with Android devices coming out every other week? Sure they could make a great phone, but they'd be competing against Motorola, Samsung, HTC, etc. who also sell top of the line Android devices.

Re:Android (5, Insightful)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429111)

And how are they NOT competing against them now?

Nokia is in the Mobile Phone market. They compete against ALL other mobile phone makers. The OS the mobile phone runs is just one part of the overall feature set. All they have done by going with the crappy Windows one is hobble themselves unnecessarily by adding a rotten feature. Take the same exact hardware, put Android on it, and it would sell like hotcakes!

I don't see why removing a bad OS and replacing it with a good one makes them LESS able to compete for market share with Samsung, HTC, ET AL.

Re:Android (4, Interesting)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429225)

More true than you'd think. Early WP7 devices that weren't sold, are being rebranded, loaded with android, and sold in Asia. E.g. the HTC HD7, and probably most other early devices.

Re:Android (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429529)

I thought I had heard about that. Is it bog-standard Android or some custom Asian dealie? (Just curious. I can't get one anyway, being on Sprint.)

Re:Android (2)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429265)

Very simple. People don't dislike Nokia, they dislike the OS (Symbian) and don't believe in Windows mobile (as those handset sales show).

Samsung is competing on Android and sells almost as many smartphones as Apple itself. The reason for this is a quality lineup with a friendly UI (that the geeks hate but the laymen love).

If they did a good quality android set it'd sell 10x more than the Lumia line, I'm quite sure of this. Same with RIM. If you can't win, join them. The potential for profit will be lower, but you might survive (and Nokia needs to survive now and think about high margins later).

Android is even easier to customize, making it possible to differentiate themselves from the pack. Nokia clearly has some nice ideas, and their smartphones have been really well build lately (didn't see a single review criticizing the Lumia 800's hardware).

The windows mobile sales are a clear indicator that Nokia is on the road to destruction anyways. Why not risk it?

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429351)

How exactly would Android save Nokia in a marketplace that is saturated with Android devices coming out every other week? Sure they could make a great phone, but they'd be competing against Motorola, Samsung, HTC, etc. who also sell top of the line Android devices.

Right. Except, wait, how can Motorola, Samsung, HTC etc survive if they have to compete against each other and (potentially) Nokia? In fact how can anyone survive in ANY profitable market if they have to compete against others in the market? They're all doomed and will have to switch to a product nobody wants to buy - because then nobody will want to compete with them. Is that it?

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429087)

Right , this is the same saturated Android market where no one has really managed to do what you are proposing- the iOSification if Android. If anything what you are saying is an indictment of Android, since you are admitting no one has yet to build a clean crapware free interface. These criticisms make as much sense as the online geeks who think lack of a start button will ruin windows 8. Have you ever used a Windows Phone? My Lumia 800 is much cleaner and nicer than an Android device.

Re:Android (5, Insightful)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429325)

The flaw in your argument is, you can build a clean working interface for Android and differentiate yourself that way, while having hundreds of thousands apps available to captivate users.

No one denies the Lumia 800 is a good phone, but windows mobile clearly fails to captivate a user base. The only reason it isn't dead yet is that Microsoft can afford to keep throwing money at it. On any other company it'd be dead already.

Re:Android (2)

pjlehtim (679236) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429139)

I know we all love stock Android especially ICS but I don't think that would have saved Nokia. What I would think would have though if them keep making great HW and put Android on it with a skin that would feel familiar to Symbian users. Keep Nokia branding strong and make sure to port everything from Ovi Symbian store to Android. That would have kept the massive numbers of Symbian users happy with the next gen phones and also brought all the Android benefits to Nokia phones. That would also keep the differentiation Elop keep talking about.. Now the differentiation is one or two Nokia branded squares on WP interface. Bah...

Re:Android (1)

ddxexex (1664191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429149)

I have to disagree. First, people who buys Nokia are not necessarily the same people who buy Android phones. Additionally, 'anyone' can make a (high end) android phone, so there's quite a bit of competition. From the developer's perspective, Android has the advantage of it being a pre-existing OS where most of the hard work is done already, but Nokia doesn't really need something like that. They already have the windows mobile OS and Symbian. Switching again would mean retraining everyone how to develop for Android. So if Nokia switched to android, they'dhave to learn about the new (but similar) market,they'd have more competition, and there competition will be better acquainted with the technology. Overall, Although switching once was bad, switching again would be even worse.

Re:Android (5, Insightful)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429257)

See my reply to missing meter. Nokia is already in compettition with the Android handset makers. There isn't a separate "Windows market" and a "Symbian market" and an "Android market", as though changing OSes would be somehow entering a new market. There is simply "The Market". In this case the "Mobile Phone" portion of that market, which they are already very much in.

While I agree that having OS schizophrenia is a bad thing, if your Symbian OS is dying, and your Windows OS is DOA, why on God's Green Earth would you EVER stick with them? it makes NO sense. Put in a feature that your customers want, Android OS.

People aren't buying Nokia because Nokia is suddenly a bad handset maker. They aren't buying Nokia because they aren't Apple (iOS) and they don't have Android. It's really that simple. Give the people what they want and gain customers.

Re:Android (4, Insightful)

wanzeo (1800058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429299)

Perhaps 2 years ago, but it is far too late for that. I'm sure that part of their agreement with Microsoft was a clause preventing them from using Android. And even if they somehow could switch, it just means they have to compete with the asian companies, and I have serious doubts about their capabilities there (unless they charged at least iPhone prices).

If they would have stuck to their guns on MeeGo, I would have bought one. If I have to deal with Android as a consolation prize, I'm going to Samsung.

Re:Android (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429385)

Ideally, they should do what Nokia always did before, produce a dizzying array of phones for everyone, but mostly based upon Android now, except for Symbian phones for low end markets, and why not Windows for shits & giggles too assuming M$ does all the work. Yes, they'll need one high end Android phone to acquire geek affection, but that doesn't make them any money directly, it simply gets their name into the right circles.

Re:Android (4, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429465)

In a word: MeeGo.

Tizen? No (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428913)

And Meego is dead anyway. Nokia can, should, and probably will in some way develop Meego/Maemo Harmatton further, as they still seem to develop Qt further. But going with Tizen and dumping Qt -- and for what? -- would be dumb, and is unlikely to happen.

Re:Tizen? No (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429489)

Long term, I agree with Nokia on abandoning Meego. Short term this will result in lower sales especially with the Lumia. There wasn't anything about the Lumia that would make it stand out among WP7 phones much less smart phones in general that would attract customer. I however don't agree with Nokia choosing WP7 as their long term strategy. Unless Nokia can do something substantially different with WP7, it will be worse for them than if they were an Android manufacturer.

Adapt or Die (4, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428931)

Nokia seems to be taking the Blackberry approach to dealing with disruptive change.

Business partnerships with MS never go well. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39428933)

Nokia's Windows phones continue to tank, meanwhile sales of the 'dead' and most excellent N9 (which was killed to make way for Nokia's WP handsets) are doing well. People are clamouring for Nokia to reconsider its position on the N9. Will Nokia listen and respond in time? Probably not.

No, it's Mer (2)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428945)

Mer [merproject.org] is the Qt-based successor to Meego. Tizen is all HTML5 happy, without Qt.

Can MeeGo or Tizen, save Nokia now? (2)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428955)

No.

Nor can any other niche platform. Stop coming out with stupid new platforms that exist only to serve incumbent technology players. Phones and software are for people to use, not so Microsoft or Intel don't get left out.

Design something to help your customers rather than yourself. This means you Nokia, Microsoft, and Intel.

Re:Can MeeGo or Tizen, save Nokia now? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429203)

The problem is, Nokia did have a decent platform. The Symbian kernel is a great design for mobile devices. Unfortunately, pretty much everything above the kernel sucked (or, to be a bit more fair, was well designed for a set of requirements that no longer applied). Their solution? Replace the kernel with Linux. It's easy to see why the managers of the people who made such a decision thought that outsourcing their software development to Microsoft - or to anyone except Nokia - was a good idea.

Re:Can MeeGo or Tizen, save Nokia now? (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429347)

Software and phone users don't care how good a kernel is.

Re:Can MeeGo or Tizen, save Nokia now? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429381)

Who says they haven't ?

Do you really think Nokia is not working on a plan B, C, D and E?

Android is not a real "Linux", it's a leech which doesn't contribute anything useful back to the OS/Linux world, and it's horribly inefficient at that and pretty much shares your entire life with Google.

Nokia's next billion users will come from Linux based devices, using Qt. Cheap sturdy devices. Their next device is not an iPhone killer, it's an Android killer.

Re:Can MeeGo or Tizen, save Nokia now? (3, Interesting)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429399)

This is what confused me about Windows Phone 7. Usually Microsoft tries to take an already popular platform or technology, and extends it until they take it over. When Android took off I was sure there would be a Microsoft-created platform that would run on top of Android, and tie in with their Live services, have Office,Outlook, etc... Maybe port .NET compact to Linux to run along-side Dalvik, probably with a significant speed advantage. Basically something cell companies can drop into Android that replaces the Google ecosystem with a Microsoft one. Start out by giving it away for free, then once the take rate picks up, start charging for it.

Instead of hopping on the Android bandwagon, they did their own thing. Their own completely un-leveragable thing, with no incentive for anyone to adopt it, short of them dumping tons of money into Nokia.

Too late to change for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39428961)

After seeing they gave-up on their Linux based OS, I took the plunge on a nice Android based smartphone (HTC Rezound.) So now I am locked into a 2 year contract with Verizon. This means even if they came out with some awesome/super-open new OS today, I wouldn't be able to buy it until after they are dead (I give em a year until they are bought by another company.)

Re:Too late to change for me (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429373)

If you're going to lock yourself for 2 years, you could, at least, have chosen one of the best phones on the market: The Galaxy SII (any of it's US variants)

This just in! (1, Redundant)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428963)

A substandard phone is doomed to fail. In other news, the sky is still blue.

Re:This just in! (1)

hardaker (32597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429421)

the sky is still blue.

Just like the windows screen-of-death soon to be seen on your "substandard phone".

The one person we can all trust! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39428987)

Seriously why would we put any stock in what the Nokia exec says? Nokia has been loosing market share for years, this guy clearly wouldn't know a growth oriented one if he saw it.

Still looking for the perfect phone (4, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429037)

It would have:

1. Nokia's excellent call quality

2. Great camera like Nokia's latest 41 megapixel phone with a huge sensor [cultofmac.com]

3. Replaceable battery.

4. Nice, open Linux setup with easy API (like WebOS HTML/Javascript).

5. WebOS-style UI (especially cards)

6. Not needing to be tied into an account like Google/Android or iPhone/Apple in order to simply use it.

Re:Still looking for the perfect phone (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429439)

Liking this ALOT.

(Still on my Sprint Pre-!)

I suppose one could go with open webOS once it's ready to go. You'll probably need a G-nex or some other unlocked and supported phone to flash it onto, but that could work for you.

Keep in mind that even with webOS you still need a webOS (HP) account. It also needs your CC or Debit Card info so you can buy stuff from the App Catalog. Just no getting away from that.

I'm going to get a G-nex once Sprint has them. I'll keep my pre- around as a wifi-only device, and keep an eye on webOS to see how it fares. I hope to be able to come back to webOS someday. It's really the only GOOD mobile OS, just hobbled by crappy marketing, crappy hardware, and bad luck. In the meantime, ICS will have to do.

Go back to basic phones (2, Interesting)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429047)

Nokia should stop trying to compete in the Smart Phone market. It's already flooded with too many models and manufacturers. Nokia should go back to what they do best, and make low cost basic cell phones for those people not looking to pay for data plans. Most of the carriers have lots of Android models, but few good basic phones.

Re:Go back to basic phones (1)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429157)

Amen! Wish I had mod points for this comment. You are correct. That is how they can differentiate.

Re:Go back to basic phones (4, Informative)

Dusty101 (765661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429209)

I don't agree with the parent. Nokia made the best smart phones for years, long before iOS and Android devices were available. I had several of them myself. Look up the release dates and feature sets of their Communicator series of devices to see how long it took the rest of the mobile phone manufacturing world to catch up.

Nokia's problem has never been an inability to produce awesome smart devices: it's always been about their management's unwillingness to fully commit to a long-term course of action, despite having some fantastic showpiece R&D. Elop did bring that willingness to commit, but unfortunately, the way he did it wasn't with Nokia's benefit in mind, but Microsoft's...

Re:Go back to basic phones (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429319)

The trouble is that 'basic' phones are a sufficiently solved problem(in fairness, substantial amounts of that solving was done by Nokia...) that heading in that direction is an invitation to have a margins knife-fight with every random clone-shop on the pacific rim...

This is why even the people who can't do software for shit(looking at you, 'motoblur') are desperately dumping crap into their Android builds to 'diffirentiate' them, and the more ambitious ones are hitting the crack pipe and dreaming about all their future 'app store' and content provider money...

The margins on basic smartphones probably aren't that hot, though some of the flagship ones might be OK; but in the low end Nokia would essentially be competing against ultra-cheap clones of their iconic greatest hits dumbphones. Not a fun business to be in, especially if you still want overhead items like "a management team in Finland"...

Re:Go back to basic phones (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429441)

Because surely going from mid-30% marketshare to 1% marketshare is a sure way to keep their company afloat?

The certain road to certain death (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429085)

Microsoft dominated computers for a generation because they were (almost) the only game in town. Businesses bought Windows for people's work machines, and people were largely unwilling to pay a premium for their home machines to do things completely differently than they did at work. Phones (and MP3 players) however, don't have a "learning curve", and are much much more of a fashion statement than a computer. For the very reason Microsoft is ubiquitous in the office, they're not going to be ubiquitous on phones. Car/shoe analogy: busses and boots all look alike, cars and shoes are all different. So, if you want to drive a bus/wear boots/use a Microsoft phone, go right ahead, just don't expect anyone to think you're hip.

What does this say about.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429093)

Microsoft's Windows 8 desktop OS strategy?

I put two comparable desktop systems on Craigslist, one running Windows, the other Linux. I sold the Linux box in 12 hours. Maybe just a lucky day for penguins.

What about other platforms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429127)

Blaming Nokia's smartphone sales decline on a move to Windows is pre-mature. Yes, there is a correlation here, but that does not imply causality. What about the sale of Palm, RIM and other proprietary OS smartphone? Have they held their respective marketshare steady? Nokia Symbian would have failed to complete with Android and iOS much in the same way as Windows. To truly calculate impact of move to Windows, I will calculate Nokia's smartphone market excluding these two ecosystems before the move to Windows and after the move. Currently, iOS and Android have about 76% market share. This means that Nokia at 14% has roughly about 60% of the remainder and that is definitely not bad.

Re:What about other platforms? (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429281)

Yeah that's the issue I see too. Their trajectory before Windows PHone was ruin because Symbian is in decline and everything else they had wasn't getting traction either. Trying to go with WP7 was a gamble, but so was staking the company on Meego.

Everybody's having a hard time competing against the twin juggernauts in this market.

nokia (1)

lampsie (830980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429141)

Nokia exist now as a cautionary tale to the likes to Google (and by extension Samsung), and of course to Apple. Cast your mind back ~10 years, and the Nokia 3310 and 6210 were simply the mobiles you bought. Why? They were well built, easy to use and everyone knew that Nokia were at the top of their game.

What went wrong? With hindsight, it seems they just utterly failed to build on their good brand and reputation. They started facing some competition from Motorola and a few others who offered (imho) poorer UI's, but better looking hardware. And I think that is the key part - Nokia not only failed to keep ahead of the curve design-wise, they seemed to completely miss the shift in what people wanted. Good solid hardware and features, with good battery, were no longer enough. Mobiles became a fashion accessory, and the likes of the Razr offered far more interesting designs than the Nokia bricks. Oh sure, there were snap-on cases for Nokia phones, but they didn't cut the mustard for long.

They had the potential to get ahead of the curve again with the N-Gage. It could have found a solid niche for itself, but some bizarre usability choices (holding it sideways to make a call, so you look like a buffoon?) killed it on arrival. While they flapped around on this and continued to fail to deliver what people actually wanted, Apple (and others) continued to eat into their market share. Nokia seemed to completely fail to see the touchscreen/smartphone tsunami.

It's a sad tale, but as I said at the outset, every manufacturer should study Nokia's downfall to help mitigate their own demise.

People Just Don't Want Them (3, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429151)

As I'm living in the UK I can state that this is definitely not for lack of marketing. Every shopping centre I have seen has several slick looking panels advertising Lumia and it seems to have made zero effect. People just simply do not want them, and that is probably going to be a great puzzle to Nokia and Microsoft.

They had a next generation phone with what Meego was actually starting to turn into. Now they're going to need a stop-gap measure, and the only option is Android.

Re:People Just Don't Want Them (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429243)

They could transition back to Harmattan, and continue the N9's success. That'd get people's attention, but I suspect that Microsoft won't allow that to happen.

Re:People Just Don't Want Them (2)

Eirenarch (1099517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429519)

Do you have any explanation why they don't want them?

Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429155)

As a former Nokia customer, I'd buy the Lumia hardware with a stock pure Ice Cream Sandwich android in a heartbeat...

They had to do something (3, Interesting)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429229)

The problem Nokia faced is that Symbian was a fading, older platform. It still has fans and users, but that's a market in decline and a sure road to ruin (eventually). Meego was having trouble getting off the ground and wasn't gaining much traction.

Microsoft shows up with a wad of cash and offers to make them the premier Windows Phone people. If it works, they're set. If it doesn't work, they're on a faster road to ruin.

But really, if you're already on a road to ruin (which they were), can you afford not to take a risk to try and get off it? I don't think Nokia really had better options aside from becoming yet another Android handset maker. That gamble hasn't worked out for them, which happens sometimes. Shame too, I loved Nokia phones back in the day for how tough they were.

At this point, their best chance is the unlikely scenario that Windows 8 tablets take off. If they do, people will become more intersted in phones that can run the same things and work with the same UI, so Windows Phone 8 devices will see growth. I'm not willing to bet on it though, and it's a bad place for Nokia to be because their success now depends on things outside their control.

The only thing that's going to save Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429235)

The only thing that can save Nokia is if Microsoft just flat out buys them outright and makes them Microsoft's Mobile division. That is, if you consider that "saving" them.

When you see a dead horse... why get on? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429249)

Quite seriously. Windows mobile was a godawful platform right until the current version (which is actually fairly decent... or would be if it was stable, would boot up in finite time and most of all I didn't have to create a windows live account just to update the frickin' firmware, are you kidding me, MS? What is my company supposed to do should I decide to leave, never update the phone again? Or am I supposed to hand over my account and let someone else be online with my personal data? And before you ask, not my fault, my company made me use it...). But back on topic.

Windows mobile was maybe the worst platform there was in the mobile field. Don't ignore that a sizable portion of your customer base is the customer that gets his phone with a new contract, especially in the younger echelon, the 14-25 crowd, which is also the people who always want the latest and greatest. And WinMobile was much, but it was not cool. Nokia used to be cool. Now it's Android. Android is cool for the 14-25 crowd. There's tons of software for it and you can easily download it from the net. An iPhone is cool, for exactly the same reason. WinMobile is ... umm....... not. For exactly that reason.

I remember the time when I was young, and I can only assume that today cells are what computers used to be in my time. There were those that were cool, and those that were not. Those everyone else had and those ... well, that I had. Commodore, first C64 then Amiga, was cool, Atari, neither 800 nor ST, was not. Why? Because your peers have them. It's as simple as that. You can go around and compare, give tips, belong together. WinMobile doesn't belong.

Ridiculously optimistic projections (ftfa) (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429267)

So, who made these projections? 20% market share in a few years? That's absolutely insane especially when you consider they had the history of Blackberry and Palm to compare to before joining Microsoft.. which, unsurprisingly, is the second red flag they should have seen.

It's intriguing to me that even over the screams of "gawd no!" from Nokia's end-user community, they went ahead and did the microsoft merger anyway. Sorry, Nokia, but you guys got pwned. It's your own fault.

Tomi is legit. (5, Informative)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429329)

He's been vehemently against Nokia's decision to leverage their smartphone strategy on Windows Phone. For more awesome reading explaining why, check this [blogs.com] out.

As explained in the link above, it's not Nokia's decision to use Windows Phone on their smartphones that is the chief problem. They are, essentially, hedging their entire existence on the platform, which is a very bad bet for a company whose popularity has always been stronger in Europe, Asia and developing nations. It's almost like a Kodak in reverse in that they are, more or less, giving less importance to their bread and butter and more importance to a huge, HUGE risk. (Notice that HTC and Samsung, the top dogs in the non-iPhone smartphone world, use more of their resources for building Android and their own OS's than Windows Phone.)

The sole fact that, to this day and despite a very recent system update, Windows Phones still have the crippling text-message-of-death bug clearly demonstrates where Microsoft thinks they're at with the OS. I haven't seen any of the major players on Android/iOS commit serious time to Windows Phone yet; until this happens, it's a sinking ship.

Windows Phone OS is OK (0)

DrGamez (1134281) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429335)

But that's only if you've used the latest Windows Phone OS, anything from the 7 or before era was terrible. To be honest the current one isn't BAD, but it's going to be impossible to sell anyone on it as long as it has the "windows" moniker.

Nokia has been suffering and is almost bankrupt (1)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429355)

Nokia almost went bankrupt about 8 years ago and still is on the verge of bankruptcy. Signing deals is for bankers and investors to trade useless stock. Windows 8 will not go ahead despite the hype.

How can you get excited about a phone... a vibrator maybe. Remember there are only so many people on the planet and those who you can sell phones to before one hits saturation point of the marketplace. Expect all mobile phone manufacturers to suffer in the not to distant future along with M$ and Apple!

The bubble will burst and is bursting but it is all in slow motion so that you do not notice it as much.

For some strange reason that reminds me of how "The New World Order" has been implemented over the past 40 years!

Common Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39429377)

Nokia CEO Steven Elop blamed the company's Windows Phone woes on commission-minded salespeople, who pushed phones they thought would actually sell.

Sounds completely sensible behavior from the salespeople. Maybe Nokia should talk to their engineers and get them to make phones that people will want and then salespeople will try to sell them.

Symbian is still alive but for how long? (2)

bobbagum (556152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39429451)

The latest Sybian Anna phone's pretty decent and finally caught up in features and usability with Android or iOS, I was looking for a new phone a couple of weeks ago and I was really tempted to try one... but looking at Nokia's appstore, it's pretty empty... coupled with less than enthusiastic salespeople that say the return rate for these Nokia models are quite high, I got myself a low-end Samsung with Android for half the price instead, This being my first touch phone, my previous one was the qwerty Nokia N72, a phone built so good back then I predicted it'd be the last Nokia I'll ever own, and it was. Nokia still differentiate between their middle or high-end phones on OS, with lower end being S40, while the Koreans like Samsung and LG, and even Sony are starting to have cheap Android phones now, for a price of a 'feature phone' you could have the latest and greatest apps like the flagship phone too... People are saying that Nokia still dominates the low-end market, I see it as not for long as smartphones become cheaper and move downmarket.
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