Saturday, October 13, 2012

On Nokia


Tomi posted a another good article on Thursday.  I love Tomi.  He has done a great job of illustrating how Stephen Elop has destroyed Nokia.

However, Tomi is a Symbian apologist and has been trying to prove for two years now if Nokia had just stuck with Symbian and developed MeeGo, everything would be fine. I agree with him that the burning platform memo destroyed the Symbian market overnight, but I think most here will agree that Symbian was a dead end strategy and Android would have eaten that as well.  As a counterpoint to his"it was growing in 2010" belief:  RIMM was also seeing growth during 2010.  How are they doing now, sticking to their strategy from 2010?

He also fails to mention that Symbian was "winning" marketshare because it was installed on candybar phones and called it a "smartphone".   I tried these phones. It was a horrible user experience and I doubt that many actually used it as a smartphone.  On the MeeGo front, I tried to play with MeeGo in late 2010.  It was a disaster.  I couldn't get any kind of developer environment even running, much less do anything with it.  I believe I mailed the developers and asked them "how the hell do I get this to work?"

Elop was right to think a new strategy was needed.  Except, with a company as large as Nokia, you can't bet the whole company on someone else.  That is a great plan for a small company.  Go get Apple's runoff money by betting everything on making widgets for the App Store.  Whatever.

But for Nokia?  A company valued at $43 billion when Elop wrote his "burning platform" memo?  In 2007, valued at $167 billion?  That's insane.  Yet, that's what Elop did.  He bet Nokia's future on Microsoft's success.  You cannot risk that kind of shareholder value on someone else, even Microsoft.  Right now, the most recent Lumia is at risk of not shipping because Microsoft can't get the software together in time.

Now, Nokia is releasing fantastic hardware and valued at just $9 billion.  Elop must be fired before the company folds in on itself completely.  He traded one loser (Symbian) for another (Windows Phone), with apparently no hedge.  HTC, Samsung, LG -- they all adopted Android while keeping their Windows Mobile / Windows Phone lines in place.  Nokia threw it all out and bet everything on Windows Phone 7 before either Nokia or Microsoft had anything shippable.  I can't figure out if Elop is a Microsoft mole--trying to save Microsoft from the outside or make it so Nokia can be acquired by MS--or just an idiot.

And if the Nokia board has not demanded the Lumia line be prepped with Android at this very moment to release by the end of the year, they should all be relieved as well.  This whole thing is idiocy.  Microsoft should probably just buy Nokia, though I fear for Tomi's health if they do so.

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