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MeeGo's state of development was an "oh sh*t" moment for Nokia

Posted: , by Victor H.

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MeeGo's state of development was an
If you’ve ever wondered about what happens behind the scenes in Nokia and how decisions about changing the industry are being taken, a seven-page narrative posted by Bloomberg Businessweek gives just that inside look to feed your curiosity. What happened with MeeGo and how it went from being Nokia’s poster child for the future to becoming an “oh sh*t” moment for Espoo’s chief executive Stephen Elop? It’s been only a couple of months since Elop took over the CEO position and while initially his “confidence and excitement” about MeeGo were obvious, a reality check with two dozen “influential employees” working on the new platform showed that only three devices running MeeGo could be released by 2014:

“Before the first interview, Elop drew out what he knew about the plans for MeeGo on a whiteboard, with a different color marker for the products being developed, their target date for introduction, and the current levels of bugs in each product. Soon the whiteboard was filled with color, and the news was not good: At its current pace, Nokia was on track to introduce only three MeeGo-driven models before 2014-far too slow to keep the company in the game.”

Nokia’s Chief Development Officer Kai Oistämö shared the atmosphere of a phone conversation he had with Elop shortly after realizing efforts on the MeeGo front were lagging: "It was truly an oh-s--t moment-and really, really painful to realize where we were," says Oistämö. Months later, Oistämö still struggles to hold back tears. "MeeGo had been the collective hope of the company," he says, "and we'd come to the conclusion that the emperor had no clothes. It's not a nice thing."

But while the need for change was obvious and this explains how it all went, Bloomberg’s inside view shares one other very important detail – Elop’s decision to announce Nokia’s adoption of Windows Phone as its main platform was pre-determined. And it’s that exact preliminary announcement that shook Symbian sales and is confusing analysts as after all it's that exact "burning platform" that was to determine Espoo's success in the coming year of transition. Bloomberg writes that Elop was challenged by expectations to announce the future of the company on February 11th and was desperately looking for a solution hours before his industry-changing speech about going with WP. He seems to have decided to give a definite answer for Nokia’s future even before meeting with Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Google’s Eric Schmidt:

“Elop stated the case simply: Nokia would either decide to stay with its own software or partner with Android or Microsoft, but it wouldn't delay. "I'm going to announce the decision at the analyst meeting in early February," he said. Sticking with MeeGo would avoid the need for a massive strategic and cultural shock, but going with the best offer could help Nokia's bottom line and gain it a fresh start in smartphones. "It was classic Stephen," says Myerson, who worked for Elop at Microsoft. "His superpower isn't his great intuitive judgment. It's his amazing ability to create a transparent, fast process that reasonable people can feel good about."

So while this doesn’t give an answer to the growing number of conspiracy theories about Elop purposefully pulling Nokia down, it does shed some new light on how the radical decision to write off Symbian and announce a new path for the company a year before Espoo was ready to step on that path was taken.

source: Bloomberg via Engadget

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posted on 02 Jun 2011, 04:37 3

1. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)

Very interesting read.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 21:01 1

9. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

interesting, but sad for meego... maybe it just was never meant to be...

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 06:18

3. aries.phills (Posts: 140; Member since: 17 May 2011)

Indeed, interesting it is.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 06:38 1

4. cyborg (unregistered)

I was really hoping Nokia had pushed for Android more than WP7. The potential is just overwhelming. Nokia HW + Android inside = WIN

But then again, the conspiracy might just turn out true.

posted on 04 Jun 2011, 02:24

11. phonepk (unregistered)

Yes, the combination would've been LETHAL.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 10:16

5. bluechrism (unregistered)

Re: Cyborg
Reading the whole thing, Nokia wanted to contribute to whichever platform and to be more than just another OEM if it went away from an in-house solution. Google's offer was identical to any other OEM and they wouldn't budge from that. With MS, Nokia got the deal that it wanted (Apparently Ms wanted nokia to do windows mobile before and Nokia wanted MS to use Ovi maps and give them revenue from it in return, as well as MS office on symbian). It also basically gave Nokia freedom to add whatever innovations they wanted to to the Windows Phone platform, and customize the heck out of it (at least relative to anyone else), plus a big load of cash.

If you were given the choice based on these details, would you have seriously chosen Androind?

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 21:01

8. snowgator (Posts: 3604; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

In the long run, it may be the right decision. Windows has a ton of upside. But it is going to be a hard road to convert all of Nokia's current fans in all the different markets that these devices are worth a look.

posted on 03 Jun 2011, 10:09

10. chaze (unregistered)

nokia should adopt a better product faster for MeeGo, symbian or windows. See how the Samsung and other competitors so aggressive with android or huawei which will also release wp7. if huawei more faster with their window device so that once again nokia is really lagging. kesuen jerene wong jawa..

posted on 06 Jun 2011, 03:35

12. Tyrrell (unregistered)

I do wounder whether MeeGo will just be another symbian, compared to its rivals Symbian is just not effective, i love nokia and i like how symbian is running, but i know ALOT of people whom have just had problems, there are no apps for symbian and nothing for MeeGo at the moment, but is this likely to change?

Look like a swapping over to Android is the best thing right now...

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