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Nokia and Yahoo? Why don’t you f*** off!

That headline, of course, is a tribute to Yahoo’s CEO, Carol Bartz, who was entirely unimpressed with Michael Arrington’s line of questioning thus:

Arrington: Is your pitch kind of BS though?

Bartz: Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997 — the iPod came out 4 years later. 3 years after that is the first time his market cap grew. It took 7 years. I’ve been here a few months. Give me a break. You are involved in a very tiny company.

Arrington: Very tiny.

Bartz: It probably takes you a long time just to convince yourself what to do. “So f*** off!”

Arrington: Are you a search company or not?

Bartz: Half of our revenue is from search. The fact that you can crawl the web is a commodity. We’re about search, but we’re not a search company. We do a lot of things.

I have to say I’m reasonably impressed that Bartz has the balls to use naughty words. This is actually what Nokia needs, in some degree — Nokia needs a spokesperson who will stand up, bang the table and tell Michael Arrington to f*** off. Well, actually, what I’d like to see is Nokia defending their achievements. Their ridiculous Finnish subservient ‘rise-above-it’ management culture does a brilliant job of stymying the efforts of some of their most talented individuals. Still. The company’s in the middle of a turn-around whose strategy I broadly agree with. Faster, quicker, better. That’s what I’d like to see. With some balls. Some real balls.

Speaking of which, I think Bartz did a very good job of defending Yahoo in that exchange. My issue is that I don’t think the company has delivered anything meaningful for a long, long time. I just paid another $25 to Flickr for the MIR premium account. But is Flickr really Yahoo? The only thing I ‘feel’ is truly Yahoo is their email system, which, as I’ve written before, is utterly useless. I’ve stuck 280,000 emails into my premium Yahoo account and just breaks every time I try and search it. Almost like a metaphor for the company as a whole, perhaps.

In terms of both companies, I’m not impressed at their strategic alliance. Yeah I do like the user account federation. But Yahoo IM? Meh. Indeed, the whole alliance doesn’t turn me on at all. I could take it or leave it.

Now Facebook… that’s be an interesting move. Account federation with Facebook so that whenever you switch on your new Nokia phone, it asks for your Facebook ID, that I’d get out of bed for. Every new Nokia now powered by your Facebook Address Book? The merging of Ovi and Facebook into one giant synchronised service? Yeah. That would set the cat amongst the pigeons. That would get the planet’s mobile marketplace in a tizzy quickly.

But Yahoo? Tired. Tired and thrice tired.

I also really enjoyed this piece on the subject by TelecomTV’s Martyn Warwick (“Yahoo! CEO curses her way through announcement of strategic alliance with Nokia“).

[Editorial point: As much as I’d like to include the word ‘f***’ without the stars (and I have done a few times before) I understand that it causes a lot of shenanigans for those reading via corporate firewalls.]

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

8 replies on “Nokia and Yahoo? Why don’t you f*** off!”

Mate when I first joined Nokia, I put together a concept for Nokia s60 phones where they completely integrated with Facebook, including inbox, calendar, contacts, homescreen newsfeed as well as the main application which had chat etc. This was around 6 months before the Apple App Store was launched.

No one gave a damn internally, some even questioned why Nokia should build the app instead of Facebook (eer hello?). Nokia is so fragmented that no one knows who you should put your idea in front of, it's amazing there is absolutely no incentive for staff to push to get their ideas developed, all you get is a 5 page 'business case' doc which you fill in and 'assemble your own team' to get it made.

As if you would bother go through all that along with your existing work! Like you said, Nokia has a ton of talented and passionate people but unfortunately none are at senior management level. I still don't think Nokia has an app for s60 devices pre-5th edition do they?

Nokia is going no where fast, another re-org won't solve anything, it's the third one in 18 months. Their processes are retarded, their reputation is battered, they keep bringing out re-skined versions of exactly the same phone, and Symbian is still a utter and complete dog.

The thing is if Nokia just went for it and completely integrated Facebook Chat, they would seriously have a contender for Blackberry Messenger which has taken over the youth market. But they are too slow, too backward thinking.

That seems strangely at odds with the 2 days of innovation-presentations I just got back from in Espoo and the C3 I saw with Facebook baked into the whole device. I'm no fan (I fluctuate) but this does feel a bit of an outdated view however valid it was back then… They have moved too slowly, but that doesn't mean they're not correcting that.

Yeah way back 12 months ago, they have several innovation seminars and showcases that Nokia have been doing for years -but there's a difference between showing off a concept for a augmented reality pair of sunglasses and looking at the market today and knowing what trends you need to implement quickly to allow them to become differentiators for your products.

Ewan, why is there always someone that feels one service needs prominence and another doesn't? Why not just enable access to as many services as possible?

I like MySpace WAY better than Facebook. But I don't JUST want one or the other, but both. Yahoo is a formidable service partner, and though Gmail and other stuff seems more popular, both are viable. We just need the infrastructure to enable access to the services we use, NOT the most popular ones.

The opportunity is (or was) with the millions of s60 and s40 phones already on the market. You would think having a Facebook app for these would be bread and butter strategy. Get existing users engaging with the device more by exploting the addiction with social networks and turning it into loyalty for the brand by visibily better experience than m.facebook.com

That way when the phone crashes, slows down after you've used it a few months or random error messages pop up on the screen all of which enviablitably happen on Nokias then least there is some reason keeping them from putting it on eBay or vowing to make their next phone an iPhone.

As Ewan's recent post says

“Smartphone hardware is becoming commoditized. Instead, the differentiator is increasingly seen as the data features, applications and functionality of smartphones, (34% of consumers cite this as most important when purchasing a handset)”

That was obvious to me when Facebook was creeping towards 100 million users and m.facebook.com was getting 20% of the user base that was the time to take a swing at this.

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