Former Nokia exec: "I did not see a good reason to change course so frantically"
0. phoneArena 26 Apr 2012, 07:43 posted on
Nokia is in its worse shape right now, undergoing what seems to be the toughest times of its transition to Windows Phone for its main platform, but what scares former Nokia executive Lee Williams is the lack of any strategy besides WP…
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1. Veigald (Posts: 223; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)
What a useless, bitter guy. He sounds like he's pitching for Elop's position, while admitting that on his watch Nokia sacrificed its brand and just pushed out phones that were lagging behind competitors.
There's a reason he's "ex" Nokia, I would suppose, and reading his comments about how great Symbian was and that Nokia apparently would have been better off staying with it, makes him less than credible. "Could not see a good reason for changing course"... maybe he's seeing it now, with Nokia shares at an all time low?
Williams and guys like him (e.g. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo) were responsible for Symbian falling behind its competitors tech-wise, Nokia losing its touch and then its market grip. Granted that Elop's moving away from Symbian could have been more smooth, but WP is undoubtedly the better option for Nokia at this juncture, and we will have to see at this time next year how it works out.
5. plgladio (Posts: 311; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)
Let's see that too, by that time Android, iOS, Bada and few new born OS will cross MS. They can better be in desktop for sometime..
2. FoneAddict (Posts: 176; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)
Lee Williams is speaking a lot of sense. MBA students of the future will be studying the implications of that disastrous "burning platform" announcement by Elop.
No matter how successful a company is, if the big Boss makes disparaging remarks about his own products how on earth can you expect to gain customer confidence and loyalty when the Boss doesn't believe in the product he sells?!
19. PhoneLuver (Posts: 460; Member since: 05 Jul 2010)
Couldn't have said it better! Who wants to buy a Nokia Symbian phone knowing it will be discontinued or a MEEGO phone knowing it won't be supported by them?
29. DFranch (Posts: 129; Member since: 20 Apr 2012)
While I think WP7 is a better OS than Symbian, it was very foolish to anounce in February that WP7 is the future and Symbian is dead. Especially when they did not even have a WP7 phone out yet (nor would they for like 9 months). They should have gradually built up a WP7 market, and once established start phasing out Symbian. They would not be in the spot they are in now. I still think the move to WP7 was the right one, it was just stupid to announce it so far in advance of product availability.
4. vishalvenky (Posts: 40; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)
well if Nokia sees success tomorrow where will u keep your face.. i agree Nokia is not as before.. how many years did android take to set its position as of today?? y did Nokia lose its spot?? because U stopped developing symbian and now u r talking..
talk people talk.. Nokia will bounce back.. u ll c after the launch of apollo.. Nokia+win8+dual core+720p screen+pureview cam technology=grand success..
7. Mobile-X-Pert (Posts: 565; Member since: 20 Dec 2010)
All people say is Android, Android, android.....Why do I have to have what everybody has?? I like to have different choices. Stop your fanboism and enjoy your smart phone.
8. Alistaire (Posts: 132; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Great. Nokia is still a $BILLION company. Let us know when another $BILLION company is in bad shape.
9. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 764; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
i agree with William a bit like now with Symbian bell Symbian's never been better and smoother and meego i loved the N9 more than any phone that's ever gonna come out i think they should've quit series 40 phones stuck with Symbian , meego and windows phone and they would've had success easily specially meego was one of a kind
10. xtremesv (Posts: 180; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)
Nokia made a bad bet. I would've considered Nokia again if Nokia had sticked to MeeGo or if they had released an Android phone.
11. A.aoudi (Posts: 125; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)
Nokia,s hardware is not up to standard with other manufacturers. They really need to work on faster processors. Its actually not their fact that the current windows phone platform does not support dual core or quad core. Even the ram is quite less compared to other phones. They should have gone for android because Windows Phone does not have a considerable amount of buyers as of today
14. djg71087 (Posts: 70; Member since: 10 Oct 2010)
You have to start somewhere. Once "again," you do NOT need quad-core to still have a very rich and smooth experience on a handset. Although, I do agree that they should have gave Meego a little longer before throwing in the towel. Furthermore, you never know what they'll do in the future (couple of months), they could possibly incorporate some of the best of Symbian and Meego in WP8, as Microsoft is leaning on a bit more customization.
12. sonisoe (Posts: 306; Member since: 06 May 2009)
its one of those decisions that can turn out to be genius or plain stupid to switch to wp. wp is a fantastic os but still needs some ironing out to compete w/ ios or android (i've a lumia 800, sgs2, and iphone4). i do think nokia and wp is an ideally perfect marriage, a beautiful slick os on a stunning looking hardware, but realistically, nokia shouldve gone w android to stop them from bleeding...
13. eaxvac (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)
The fact that he's an Ex-CEO makes his statement uncredible, its full of jealousy.
15. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)
During Symbian days, i was doing beta testing of some symbian apps. So i had very close communication with developers. I realised that iOS, Android and Windows Phone are the future of smartphone, as Symbian framework is stuck with the part. It is like symbian has been fully used up and it was difficult to implement new stuff without sacrificing some. This guy is targeting Elop performance, but it was this guy who was also responsible for keeping for turning blind eyes on other competitors OS. Look how long Meego was taking, now Tinzen. Symbian started improving until Belle update came out, this under Elops management. I'm glad Nokia chose Windows Phone, Best phone manufacturer in partnership with an Experience OS company. Though it will take years to catch up.
17. snowgator (Posts: 3159; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
Boy, the anti-WP articles are popping up a ton, huh?
Look, I felt Nokia would have been smart to keep a line of Symbian devices going until their WP devices were established, not just outsource the support for it. But, really folks, why is everyone so excited to see Nokia and WP fail? The 800 and 710 have been out since about November, and the 900 has just been released. None of those are in all markets, and their Tango offerings haven't even been launched yet. Nokia can easily become a top flight company again and have a much better profit per handset by not having to fight to keep up R&D on software. Give a year, maybe a year and a half. If they bomb, than kick them.
I am sure we can find an ex-Google employee back in 2005 or so that said how dumb they were trying to launch Android when BlackBerry and the iPhone were king, Palm was a force to be reckoned with, and Microsoft had Windows Mobile on a ton of devices. How smart would he look right now?
26. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
agree with you bro.
33. Victor.H (Posts: 381; Member since: 27 May 2011)
It's true that there's a lot of strong feelings around Nokia and some opinions seem to be escalating that even further. Now many of you in the comments have rightly noticed how polarizing and extreme some opinions seem, down to the point that they're conceived as anti-Nokia. And indeed they are if you accept Stephen Elop as the face of Nokia. But let me take a moment to explain why Nokia is different than Google, where is much of that sentiment coming from and why for many Nokia and Elop represent different values.
First of all, it's the facts that are particularly troubling. Not many people would have cared deeply if Google failed Android in its infancy. The thing is Google had no experience in mobile, it was a beginner and it got the free pass a beginner deserves. On the other hand, there is Nokia, which is in a totally different position - it's the company that invented the smartphone, and led the market for 14 years. 14 years! Just imagine how long that is in a place that's changing from the ground up every year or so.
Next come the numbers. Nokia sales have plunged and fallen so hard (from the top, remember) that it's shocking. And it's particularly sad for all those people that cared for Nokia and Symbian. You'd notice that many of the loudest voices urging Nokia to fire Elop and take a strategy where Windows Phone is not the one and only platform, are exactly ex-Nokians or people specializing on the company: Tomi Ahonen, Lee Williams, Russian long-time Nokia insider Eldar Murtazin, the list goes on.
Those people have a clear vision of the core values Nokia stands for in their minds - innovation in mobile platforms, support for open standards and technologies like Symbian and QT, features like universal Bluetooth support, expandable memory, removable batteries (mostly lacking in iPhone, WP). Stephen Elop devaluates all those achievements by writing off Symbian pre-maturely, and that's where it all starts to get emotional. That's where there is a disconnect between the "old Finnish Nokia" and the new US-centric Nokia.
Finally, I'll wrap this up by saying that we (me in particular) are analyzing and propagating sentiment voiced by those people mostly because the numbers support it. I feel that ex-Nokians deserve to have their voice heard in the midst of brand devaluation and some catastrophic financial results for the Finns. Of course, we're equally open to reporting Nokia's official position, but it's just a matter of representing both sides of an argument.
37. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)
Vic, when you write an unbiased article about Nokia and WP, please let us know. Because this ain't it! You're one of the worst offenders here at iPhonearena. All you do is BASH everything else except for that app launcher with telephony that pretends to be a smartphone.
38. ilia1986 (unregistered)
As much as I agree with those standards, for someone who had to own the HORRIBLE Nokia 5800 XpressMusic for a year and a half - even APPLE for me is better than that when it comes to releasing a usiable product. Yes, Symbian had all these open standards I - and many others cherish so much - but they were delivered in such a horrible package (resistive screen. UGH), and in such an underwhelming UI (lot's of menus, lagging software, lack of basic elegance, etc), that I prefered to have an iPhone, which is of course significantly less usable, but at least is comfortable to use.
That's why I love Android. It has all the open standards Symbian had (BT file transfer, SD card support, customization, total control, etc) while combining all that in a good hardware package (with a capacitive multi-touch screen and a strong enough-processor), all the while giving the user a slick and comfortable UI. Yes, there are some menus but nowhere near what Symbian used to have.
Nokia fans should see Android as the evolution of symbian - it has all the same good features, while getting rid of all the bad ones as well.
42. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 764; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
still that was no reason for Steven Elop to kill meeGO it was beautiful OS made almost as much sales as Lumia despised being released in half the countries Lumia did and had no where as much advertisement as Lumia still made so much sales it had a bright future but NO Steven Elop decides to come and kill for WP I'm not hating on WP it's a wonderful OS even convinced some of my friends to get it but if you would've seen the n9 intro on youtube after it was announced that meeGO was killed you should've seen the amount of raged people and the video of Steven Elop making a deal with Steve balmer making a deal with Microsoft and saying his killing Symbian the amount of people saying android here i come and swearing at seven Elop and saying this comment was from Nokia ..... MY LAST NOKIA phone was huge that's why I think it wasn't a good move
45. snowgator (Posts: 3159; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
I have not had the privilege of trying MeeGo, so I am going on the glowing support of those like you. The reviews I read and the online videos of it did indeed look promising. So I understand. But MeeGo had the same problem in the eyes of the Nokia board as Symbian when they hired Elop- the development of it was all on them. Their R&D was a huge, profit draining burden. None of the apps or tools for Symbian would work, and all that had to be done. Meanwhile, all the Symbian handsets had to be supported. Sometimes people forget that the people who hired Stephen Elop wanted change. If they had gone Android, I am sure it would have been a sure thing. But, Nokia wanted to be different, and wanted a partner willing to invest in them. Microsoft was it.
34. SemperFiV12 (Posts: 592; Member since: 09 Nov 2010)
Gotta love Victor H., no doubt he'll find negative articles towards WP and post up an article.
18. ron1niro (Posts: 54; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)
Many people have been predicting the end of nokia for a long time now, most of those predictions have not come to pass. I would love to see these tech sites write an article whenever nokia beats the odds like when some analyst predicted that they wouldn't be able to sell 1 million lumia 710's and 800's, they have so far sold more than 1.5 million of those and they have only been available in few places.
20. nat_frost (Posts: 4; Member since: 30 Dec 2011)
Williams is right to an extent. But what caused the problem was the Burning Platforms Memo - where Elop killed Symbian and Meego and announced WP strategy
The major problem was that they had no WP phones to show to the world (Lumia phones only arrived late 2011) and that they were still releasing Symbian phones throughout 2011. But because he osborned his own products, nobody was going to buy them - so sales crashed.
People say that Nokia was doomed because of the rise of the iPhone and Android phones. No doubt they were a contributing factor to the gradual decline, but even in 2010, Nokia still had a massive worldwide presence.
Before the Elop effect (combo of the Osborne and the Ratner effect) in Q4 2010, Nokia was at top with 33%, 75% in China, 70% in India, 60% in Singapore. In fact it was the market leader in every market apart from USA.
They already had a migration strategy from Symbian to Meego with Qt, and they had a contract with China Mobile (the biggest network carrier in the world) that they will use Meego so in effect Nokia could have had 12% of the world's mobile phone market share.
Also NTT DoCoMo had agreed to use Symbian on their smartphones. (Since Nokia's annoucement, both have moved to Andriod) So really overall, things were looking good. There was no real need to move to WP.
To put it into context, Nokia was selling twice as much smartphones than Apple in 2010 having sold 100.3M units compared to 47.5M units. Apple's worldwide smartphone sales market share was 15.9 with Nokia's 33%, with RIM at 16%, Samsung at 8%.
Worldwide smartphone OS market share in 2010 was;
Symbian - 39%
Android - 18%
Worldwide smartphone install base 2010:
Symbian - 49%
Blackberry - 17%
iOS - 11%
Android - 9%
To say that Nokia's presence in 2010 had diminished to the point that they had to move to WP would be factually incorrect.
Even if Nokia had to go to WP, the Burning Platforms Memo was a terrible terrible idea, wiping huge amounts of profit and market share and destroying carrier and consumer trust in the Nokia brand. If Elop was sensible, he would have announced it much later, like when he has a WP phone to show to the world.
Of course, now, it is impossible to go back to Symbian/Meego because Elop destroyed it.
22. Veigald (Posts: 223; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)
What you're saying doesn't make much sense. It is very naive to assume that one person has the power to by himself make decisions like adopting WP as the main platform, regardless of him being the CEO.
This fancy Elop effect mumbo jumbo is a result of some MBA wannabe reading on Wikipedia without understanding the realities of business. Not only does it assume that Elop broke the news that Nokia's platform was behind competitors before consumers knew themselves, it also pre-empts the conclusion to Nokia's fate.
That said, the infamous memo could absolutely have been handled better and does give the impression that Elop wanted to be seen as an action guy.
Turning a company around that has fallen so badly behind due to complacency and management short-sightedness as Nokia did, takes time. Elop has been in charge for a year and a half, and it's gonna take at least another half a year to see how good a job he's doing.
23. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)
I don't mean to be rude... But you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Elop did in fact destroy consumer and carrier confidence in the Nokia brand by putting out that foolish burning platform memo. Symbian was actually growing sales before then. And the Elop Effect, a combination of the Osbourne and Ratner Effects wasn't coined by some MBA. It was actually coined by the world famous mobile analyst Tomi Ahonen. Why don't you take a gander at his site,www.commuties-dominatebrands.com for the full story. That is, if you're not afraid of looking even more foolish.
Do I think iPhonearena needs to quit it with the WP and Nokia bashing articles? Yes. The iPhone isn't even a real smartphone. It's an app launcher with telephony.
Do I think Nokia can make a comeback with WP? I sure do. But to survive in the meantime they'll need Symbian and they should've kept Meego running.
Let's give it until 4th Quarter 2013. Then we'll see if Elop is the total moron he's portraying himself to be.
25. Veigald (Posts: 223; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)
The term Elop effect is completely irrelevant and misleading. Most people agree that the burning platform memo was too radical, but probably the only reason Ahonen came up with the Elop effect was that he's Finnish and has a particular passion for Nokia.
And before criticizing what I'm saying, make sure you know what the Osborne and Ratner effects are about. If you don't want to look even more foolish :)
36. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)
I know EXACTLY what the terms mean. Perhaps it's you who should look them up.
And only the North American media said agree on the burning platform memo. Nokia and Symbian were quite profitable outside of NA and didn't need to be successful in it to survive. Numbers don't lie. And the numbers state that BEFORE Elop went ahead with that ridiculously dangerous irresponsible memo, Symbian was GROWING in sales. Did Nokia still need to migrate to Meego( and maybe even WP) if they wanted to survive in the mobile business long term? Yes. But they could have easily pushed Symbian down to replace S40 and use both Meego and WP. And they would have been far more successful and still generating profits. Samsung uses a three OS strategy and is successful at it. Very successful. Perhaps if you did a little research in Nokia and Elop, and didn't just take whatever the ridiculously biased and Apple ass kissing NA media said at face value and as Gospel(iPhonearena is right there in the Apple ass kissing part. Biased too.)then you would know this.
40. Veigald (Posts: 223; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)
Numbers don't lie? Guess you're not familiar with the phrase "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."?
Don't take everything Ahonen says for granted. He's been jeopardizing his credibility on his latest Nokia/Elop crusade with selectivity in which figures he uses, which has been thoroughly demonstrated even on his own site. If anyone seriously believes Symbian was growing market share in 2011 they need to get a reality check.
Next time you reply to a post, please read it more carefully before you do so.
I said that most people agree that the burning platform memo was too radical. And I'm not sure why I bother to indulge you with this, but here goes: the Osborne effect has some bearing indeed, but the Ratner effect not, unless one believes Symbian was still great and that users had not already started migrating away from it.
If however you believe that users already started moving away from Symbian due to it falling behind competitors thanks to guys like Williams, then you would understand that the Ratner effect has little bearing on this and that it was used by Ahonen on his personal crusade only to come up with something catchy for the "Elop effect" and to demonstrate that Elop must be the worst CEO in the history of mankind. Something we'll still have to wait and see to conclude.
21. weirdfisher (Posts: 51; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)
Windows Phone is good but what I feel about it is that it's not natural. And it is not really way better than iOS or Android.
Symbian is better now but if you compare it with android ICS, it is way behind
MeeGo WAS the future. Very unlucky ending for this magical OS
I dont think symbian and Meego had to be killed. Then Nokia wouldnt have such embarrassing situation
24. sadaivadai (Posts: 156; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
"I did not see a good reason to change course so frantically"
You did not change Symbian , You did not improve Symbian and You did not develop Symbian is the reason behind Nokia's decline . But now its too late to do all those with Symbian . Windows is the best option now . So just shut up and go through the change . At the end there will surely be success for Nokia .
27. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Actually the best option is Android.. or WebOS. It's never too late..
28. Sangeet (Posts: 225; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
It now feels more like that Nokia is slowly becoming a part of Microsoft and i think there would be someday even desktops made by Nokia if things like this goes on.
Elop is just a person who is trying to make Nokia and Microsoft one company with different brands..
30. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
I think Nokia signing up with WP alone was a mistake. If I was Elop, I would go into Android with Nokia also. First of all WP7 is a reboot of the WP OS, who knows how well it'll do. With Android taking up so much market share, it'll be a while for WP to build up it's share in the market. If Nokia was thinking about getting out of it's current mess, their best choice should of been to go into both Android and WP, while working hard on Meego. Once they get out of the mess, the could make Android and WP their secondary concern and focusing primarily on their own OS.
31. Bluedroid (Posts: 57; Member since: 12 Sep 2011)
Mark Anderson and other delusional people. WP is a failure already. It has never succeeded and never will. (And I don't wonder at all. Metro is the ugliest and most annoying UI ever created, and the OS is missing so much it's a real stretch to call it a smartphone OS.) The sales stats speak for themselves. It doesn't sell in Europe, Asia or South America. Right now even the dead Symbian sells 5 times more than Lumia! Even in its best market North America, it's selling poorly. And even if it somehow miraculously sold many millions in NA, it would not cover the losses Nokia gets from the rest of the world. In an attempt to appease the North American market by picking WP, Nokia sacrificed the rest of the world, its strong markets like Asia (esp. China and India) and Europe
Symbian had only one problem (not putting enough RAM or fast CPU in to Nokia phones were not Symbian's fault), it's S60 UI that was not good for touch phones. Apart from UI, Symbian is by far the most advanced OS. It still has many features that other OS are totally missing or have implemented poorly. Even though Symbian is feature rich, it's light weight and highly efficient. And now with Belle FP1, its UI comparable with Android's. There's really nothing wrong with Symbian any more. Only problems it now has are because of Elop. Elop ruined Symbian like he ruined Nokia. By 2013 Nokia will be bought. The share price is so low and will only get lower, that Nokia's valuable patent portfolio just becomes too good a deal.
Nokia should have never employed Elop. That was the first mistake. They should have picked Vanjoki as the CEO. Them Nokia should have continued with their original strategy, moving gradually to MeeGo (starting with N9 and N950) while still selling the renewed Symbian Belle or Symbian 4 or whatever it would be called. In addition to the original strategy, they should have added Android as a third OS and brought Nokia Android phones to North American market. They should have stayed a long away from anything related to Microsoft, like the WP. As a plus with going with this strategy, WP would be dead by now as Nokia hadn't been keeping it afloat like it has done now. Farewell Nokia. It was great while it lasted. Sad to see you go. Who's now going to make all those revolutionary high quality camera phones? Luckily I can still get the 808 before you go...
32. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
Completely agreed on your view on focusing on Meego and everything else, but I think they should diversify their nest egg on both Android and WP to trying to stay in competition before Meego is completely integrated.
35. SemperFiV12 (Posts: 592; Member since: 09 Nov 2010)
Here's something Victor H. conveniently forgot to mention in his article... "Android is a less capable offering than a few options that still exist within Nokia," argues Williams. "It's certainly not what I would refer to as an open system. More than that, I think that Nokia has little opportunity to differentiate here in the near term, and the Android platform is so highly fragmented that returns on investment become difficult at best for an ecosystem participant.
"The 'in house' software and expertise Nokia had and in some cases still have, created differentiators, and features that needed better market presence, and they needed to realise the benefits of a true ecosystem of software and service providers. Android is not and I do not believe will be the answer to this situation for Nokia."
Funny how one can manipulate an article any which way he/she chooses. If you don't like Windows Phone, then don't go writing about it. Your articles are terribly misleading most times, if not swaying from facts, then HIGHLY subjective.
44. Altair (Posts: 295; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
Yeah, it's known fact that Victor H. is Apple fun and have always been writing negative articles about Microsoft & Nokia.
39. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 764; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
it's all steven ellop's fault he killed meeGo
41. Altair (Posts: 295; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
Lee Williams is useless whiner. He is just stupid enough not seeing whole picture here. He blames Elop, while Nokia's problem was caused earlier, in Williams period. Williams himself is one of those who should be blamed as he was unable to deliver user friendly Symbian. iPhone was released at 2007 when Williams was in Nokia. He and others in time didin't see the future. He and others did bad mistakes and should be kicked in arse.
Stephen Elop is there trying to fix all those stupid moves, maded after 2007.
GTFO Lee Williams