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NokiaWorld: What a total waste of time and resources

Well that’s the dust settling after NokiaWorld 2010 and I am left feeling entirely empty.

Thank you for absolutely nothing, Nokia.

Writing or speaking the word ‘Nokia‘ is the muggle equivalent of deploying a Harry Potter style Dementor: All the joy immediately seeps out of your life.

This week the company vomited out a few handsets that I can’t even be bothered to write about.

There were a few announcements that I can’t be bothered to even begin to chronicle. A mobile developer won $1m (congratulations). And the party looked pretty good.

I wasn’t at NokiaWorld this year as consulting commitments prohibited my physical attendance. I’m was disappointed not to see Tesco’s Ed Hodges discuss the state of the industry.

I was also disappointed not to have filmed a walk-about video series with AllAboutSymbian‘s Rafe Blandford. Although, I think it was just as well — because I don’t believe I could have got through filming without machine-gunning the phrase ‘FCKING SH1T’ or “TOTAL RUBBISH” in between each of his points.

You only have to read the All About Symbian analysis of the E7 vs the E90 to get the underlying don’t-give-a-toss, leave-at-4pm mindset that’s completely infected Nokia and brought the company to a stand-still. Steve Lichfield, one of the most thorough device reviewers of our time, signs off his E7 piece thus:

I keep coming back to the ‘x steps forward, y steps back’ thought – yes, x may be greater than y, but shouldn’t y be as close to zero as possible?

In any other company, Steve, yes.

2 million downloads a day on Ovi. It’s creeping up. By hook or by crook.

Nobody cares.

It’s all irrelevant.

It’s all ‘also-ran’ because there’s no heart, no lion, no focused energy pushing the company forward to frame the array of achievements like the Ovi Store.

Despite the hard work of a talented few at Nokia, their efforts to date have been completely and unreservedly undermined by the rest of the leave-at-4pm Nokia crew.

Utterly, utterly depressing.

I am hopeful for the future. But I am also entirely realistic. It’s going to be years before we see anything worth looking at from Nokia, isn’t it?

Before the Symbian-fascists (Alex, I’m looking at you!) respond below, I’d like to point out that yes I know Nokia has a large marketshare. The company is doing a spectacularly brilliant job delivering dumbphones to the normob masses in the developing world. I know the company’s big. I know they’re still making profit.

Perhaps the strategy this week was to get the dog-and-pony-show over with as soon as possible so that they could come back to market with something decent in the next few months, or next year?

How long before Nokia is able to deliver a product or service to the market that has people talking about it around the watercoolers?

Please Mr Microsoft Office, get to work right-away.

Fix the malaise.

Show us genuine a glimpse of the future that doesn’t involve a bollocks set of tired UI constructs and a can’t-really-be-bothered set of products and services.

Move the markets.

Demonstrate that you have the collective will and abilities to take what Apple, HTC, Sony and Samsung have developed and leave it standing in the dust.

I don’t think Nokia has genuinely moved the market for years. Instead the company’s pigeonholed itself into competing in the race to zero, lauding itself for bringing mobile to hundreds of millions of people who were previously unconnected. There’s little merit there beyond the obvious basic reality of empowerment through connectivity. I get that. I buy it. I understand. What are you doing for the next generation though? What are you doing to move the top end of the marketplace forward?

Ah dear.

Utterly, utterly depressing.


  1. The race to zero, as you call it, is not necessarily a bad position to be in (from a shareholder point of view at least), if they just admitted it.
    The sad thing with the Finnish Dementors (love that!) is that they still think they’re players, yet bring nothing to the game.

  2. What a dreadfully dour piece, written from a perspective of abject laziness.

    Nokia seem to be learning to walk again before they try and run in a market that they’ve allowed to get away from them. This was pretty evident at the event, you may have picked up on that had you actually visited.

    Though I suppose it’s far easier to sit at your desk and punch out some tired, vitriolic nonsense which you then try and pass off as insight.

  3. wow

    i read so much negative sentiment about nokia these last days / years that i have to ask myself what is wrong with me for liking their high end range – currently I own the N900 but I am eying the N8 for the amazing camera.

    me thinks bashing nokia brings hits – so in a way i am contributing to it by reading your article and even contributing to it.

    I have tried the iPhone, I have tried a few Androids but nothing blew me away. What is it that is so utterly crap @ Nokia? I just don’t see it. Yes the N97 was a disaster (RAM) fixed with the N97 mini which is about half the price of an iPhone (so the iPhone beats it in many aspects) the 5800 was probably not good – but it was in a price range of a feature phone.

    What is so disappointing about the E7? or the N8 or the C7…? What do you compare it to?

    Ewan, you wrote a long piece but did not specify what you disliked about the Nokia world you did not attend. Did you expect Meego announcements? I think it is wise NOT to announce devices that are ready in 6 to 9 months – remember the N97 disaster? which was announced at NW 08

  4. Andre, thanks for taking the time to comment. MIR is not about hits — I don’t obsess about traffic.

    What is disappointing? The fact I’m left completely uninspired.

    My problem with NokiaWorld is that I had some hopes (small, because I’ve learned over the years to assume next to no joy from Nokia) that the company would deliver a suite of technology and services worthy of their top 10 world brand. Something that would get people talking. Something that would challenge the accepted wisdom, challenge the Apple/Android/Calfornian Superiority Complex.

  5. Yeah, you’ve made me depressed about it now, and I was still on a high from the show. I think the single point which demonstrates this the most was the way they announced the new WebKit based browser – as if it was a big step forward, as if this really brought something cool to Nokia, instead of the cold fact that this was just bringing the Nokia handsets up to everyone else’s standards. I did get an N8 and I’ve been using it. Most likely I’m still going to carry on using my SE W890i (no, really) as my main phone. I did actually think that the E7 looked really good though…

    What Nokia are terribly aware of is getting developer traction. I spent the time in the technical sessions, and I worked through all of their hands-on labs. Qt had the potential to make the difference, and its a great tool *for expert mobile developers*. It’s not a great tool for bringing the millions of web technology developers to Nokia.

    On the plus side, this does look like real movement from Nokia. Its not going to get the watercooler talk, but it is a step in the right direction. The best innovation seems to be in their Touch and Type C series handsets, but until they can make Symbian a cool platform to develop for, then it will be hard.

    Which reminds me – they have done something very cool for developers. They have 91 operator agreements in place for in-app operator billing. Its a 60/40 split between developer and Nokia/Operator (instead of 70/30), but this is massive. In app billing without someone having to have set up a credit card account in advance. If there was something I was going to tell developers about in the Nokia ecosystem it would be this. Developers can take free apps to market, and sell upgrades and functionality in app to users in dozens of countries, on pre and postpay, without any traditional payment boundaries. This could be a really good area for developers to look into.

  6. I agree the company is heading in the right direction. The Ovi team are — generally — doing pretty well and you’re right to highlight the in-app billing point.

  7. OK – Is it a bad thing? Nokia have had decades with an overwhelming market lead. Markets like that tend not to move very quickly and not be dynamic enough (does this sound familiar). Now, a lot of (almost all IMHO) of the blame for this lies with operators, but whilst we don’t want to see Nokia wither away, a more balanced manufacturers market has to be a good thing. And I do mean balanced, not dominated by Nokia or Apple or Google or anyone. If we were coming from the outside, we’d probably think that Nokia has too high a market share in certain areas. Reducing Nokia’s market share is probably the way to removing the ‘lets go home early’ mentality. Loosing market share too quickly is very bad (I’m an ex Motorolan), but I think I would like to see a better balance in manufacturers, in all regions and classes of device.

  8. So Ewan, exactly what did you expect to see? The N9, well me too, but beside this? S series device?
    Let´s look at HTC, anybody is saying a damn thing about them and what they did:
    1. Presented the Evo 4G with European bands + 256 mb more memory (only to run the new Sense)
    2. Presented the G2 with European bands + Sense now working in landscape (WTF this deserves the mobile´s Oscar).
    3. Presented and htc online service only available for a very few handsets.
    That´s it and both devices were leaked by months, now no Android and its ODMs fans are complaining, why?
    So Ewan, what did you expect (not want) to see? No irony in the question, is just a question.

  9. I was expecting 25% wow.

    I know the company is slowly, slowly changing, so I wasn’t expecting to be blown away, but I was expecting some kind of demonstration of Nokia’s vision for next generation mobile services, even if it was 6 months away.

    I was expecting ‘Nokia is Back’ (which, of course we got) followed by a series of announcements taking the market in a new direction.

    I was, to sum it all up, expecting the follow-up to Anssi’s “The fightback starts now” post.

  10. I think expecting to be wowed in todays mobile market is a stretch.

    Once the market divides and tablets have a firm foothold I expect we’ll see a return of more functional, stable devices with fewer bells and whistles. With the new range of processors on the horizon we’re really cresting the peak of what one can expect a device with a 3″ screen to do.

    Apologies if I came across as barbed in my first response but sometimes i find it’s difficult to overlook what I perceive to be short-sightedness.

  11. Ewan, but let me tell you, if Nokia do what you ask for bloggers and pseudo analysts will start crying that Nokia show us something today that will not be available until six months, or am I wrong?

    Same goes for Meego, is promising but not ready, if Nokia show it on Nokia World everybody and the dog will be saying that will be a failure.

  12. I really think Nokia have got it in them to surprise and delight us. Do you not think? Or is it time to write them off and move expectations, as you point out, to a level where we should just look up briefly when they’ve got something to say, safe in the knowledge that it will be of mild interest?

  13. The frustrating thing about Nokia for me is that with their global presence in the hands of more people than anyone other vendor, they have the opportunity to seriously shift the market with fewer barriers to doing it than other vendors. From the outside it seems like its not a lack of ideas or creativity that holds Nokia back, it appears to be management commercial inertia and a lack of appetite for risk. With a leading position such as Nokia’s there must be an aversion to any decision that might risk that position – understandable but not excusable of course.

    Symbian is a strength here too. Symbian gets a lot of bashing (I am no Symbian fan) but it is deployed in the field on an awful lot of handsets and this ought to only strengthen Nokia’s opportunity to get a major shift done based on Symbian if it wanted too. Not that I think a solution based on Symbian should be the only step forward that they take of course.

  14. When I wrote ‘6 months’ there I thought someone might make that point. There’s nothing wrong with announcing a concept or a new strategy that might be arriving in a few months provided it sets the world alight.

    Did you see anything from the company that genuinely impressed you?

  15. I didn’t just mean Nokia. I think that the speed the mobile market is progressing is hampering its real development.Everyone’s rushing to surpass perceived benchmarks but noones really taking the time to innovate any more. It’s all just going through the motions.I understand your frustration with Nokia. In the N8 they’re only just bringing a top-end touchscreen device to market when most other companies are onto their 4th or 5th generation devices – but what I will say is that the N8 looks more of a complete device than any of their competitors at launch. People don’t seem to appreciate a finished, polished article any more. They have to have bigger processors, more memory – who cares if the battery only lasts 45 minutes and the thing hangs 25 times a day!Also, with MeeGo I think Nokia have got real potential for the future. But the buzz over MeeGo is only hotting up because Google have primed the market to believe that open standards are better by using a dumbed-down launch strategy. Nokia have been developing with open standards for an age! In Maemo they’ve got a great platform that has been effectively left to rot because people have been distracted by the bright lights, fisher price approach of corporations like Apple.Sorry, I digress. I really do think Nokia has the power to impress consumers but I question whether consumers have the nous to drive the market in the right direction. As I said, soon we’ll see the proliferation of the tablet and small, touchscreen smartphones will just be seen as a half-arsed version. Then I predict the market will start working its way back to small, fast and functional – which is where Nokia have a strong hand.

  16. “Qt had the potential to make the difference, and its a great tool *for expert mobile developers*. It’s not a great tool for bringing the millions of web technology developers to Nokia.”

    I guess you’re aware of Nokia’s Web Run-time environment? It’s the *perfect* tool for bringing the millions of web developers to Nokia.

  17. What about ‘the map as the fundamental mobile UI’? This is the stuff Anssi was going on about in Barcelona. Exciting, innovating, truly new.

    A new paradigm in mobile UI? A move away from the app silo standard to an integrated continuous service framework where ‘apps’ are just additional UI plugins.

    I think there is substantial room for innovation in the marketplace. It doesn’t have to come in the form of a Steve Jobs keynote. (And kudos for using the term ‘fisher price’).

  18. What about ‘the map as the fundamental mobile UI’? This is the stuff Anssi was going on about in Barcelona. Exciting, innovating, truly new.

    A new paradigm in mobile UI? A move away from the app silo standard to an integrated continuous service framework where ‘apps’ are just additional UI plugins.

    I think there is substantial room for innovation in the marketplace. It doesn’t have to come in the form of a Steve Jobs keynote. (And kudos for using the term ‘fisher price’).

  19. I think its possible but it won’t be easy to turn the Nokia oil tanker around as it has such interia. It’s very difficult for a leviathan such as Nokia to collectively realise its innovation malaise and address it while it continues to hold a numeric market share lead. In my view it will need one of two things to drag Nokia forward, the new CEO to come in with a laserlike focus on the new and a willingness to risk the current base, or a challenge to Nokia’s market share that is significant enough to shake Nokia people to bone. In my experience the latter external threat to job security will cause some people to step up to the challenge however there will be others that seek to hide, protect themselves and hold on with their finger nails, and the new CEO will need to have no fear in dealing with that sort of sentiment. The new CEO will of course need the full support of the Board for these big steps.

    One aside, and I’m not sure how valid this is, but I have the impression that there is a difference between Nokia and Apple product launches (aside from the content). With Apple the device is on the whole available to the consumer much sooner after the launch than with Nokia. Surely this gap allows for any consumer excitement to subside, but it might also reflect that Nokia is behind the curve and feels the need to announce before the product is really ready?

  20. Yep, Brendan’s definitely got a point – I hadn’t taken that into consideration. I should have spent more time in the Web SDK sessions as well, but Qt and Web SDK were concurrent.

  21. Interesting to see myself quoted in your rant Ewan (!) but I should clarify that my quote was in the context of a specs comparison piece with a specific older model and not in ANY way a ‘review’. I’m quite prepared for the E7 to blow my socks off, i.e. to be optimistic. But I also wanted to downplay expectations that the E7 was a *direct* replacement for the venerable E90/Communicator.

  22. Yes, Anssi Vanjoki for getting on stage after publicly stating “his resignation starts now”.

    Frankly, the timing of NW2010 was unfortunate. I think the BoD should’ve named a new CEO 2 months ago OR had the guts to wait until January. The speakers were uninspired. Seriously…the EVP of markets could’ve done a better job of energizing the place. The VP in charge of app development should be kept away from a stage; she was not dynamic (that’s putting it nicely). The phones….the N8 and C6-01 are very nice. Wish the N8 had CBD. The C6-01 has already been tarnished by the recent entry of the C6-00. Marketing is smoking weed over in Espoo. The E7 should have an FM transmitter, larger battery (removable), AF camera, and better resolution for a 4 inch display. An almost great phone. The C7 is really compelling and could’ve been bigger news with CBD and AF camera. Whatever Nokia learned about making great cameras and leveraging the N8 camera mystique…it forget with the C7 and E7. The product managers of the C7 and E7 should be exiled for dropping the baton 20 meters from the finish line. [Nokia: why AF camera…so we can scan business cards and barcodes…duh!]

    Nokia still has game. With Symbian ^3, ^4, Qt, and Meego…we should not discount this company and its capabilities. However, it needs a serious kick in the A$$. I hope Elop knows how to play football/soccer…and can kick when it counts.

  23. Ewan, have to agree with your assessment on the high end, superphone segment.

    But looking at it from an emerging markets perspective (I’m from India), replacing Nokia with Apple/Android & vice versa will lead to the same sentiments.

    You say you “get” what they’ve been doing in developing countries. I disagree. People here will ask what have Apple/Android done. Nothing. ‘FCKING SH1T’ or “TOTAL RUBBISH” as you so “eloquently’ put it.

    Apps: any that will better their lots, no. With spotty 2G data, we need apps that run on SMS/voice. Nokia gives us that with Ovi Life Tools.
    Battery life: 1 day on a charge, pfft. Nokias last weeks (note plural) on a single charge. Electricity is not reliable here.
    Services: again, anything that will better their lots, no. We can download ringtones, music, everything via SMS. Always connected services, you must be joking!
    Features: We rely on FM radio for entertainment. We need torches in our phones. Who else gives it? Believe it or not, these 2 features are the most used here.
    PC Connectivity: iTunes is the center of the iDevice universe. PCs – what are those?
    Cost: 800 Euros is the *annual* per capita income in our country. Phones that don’t satisfy any of the needs above & cost a years income. WTF??

    What I’m trying to say is that Nokia has changed far far far many more lives than Apple & the Android armies have. It’ll take them 500 years (each) to achieve what Nokia have in 20 years. They’ve connected more people than anyone else in the history of mankind.

    True, they’ve lost about 15%-20% of market share in the last 4 years in India, but that’s because competitors, fuelled by the MediaTek low cost solutions, have offered the same features at lower prices. But they’re launching services & devices now that will change (are changing, in fact) the game in this not-so-small country of ours.

    You may think that I’ve been drinking the Nokia kool-aid, but you have to come here once to see the impact of mobile. & guess what, mobile=Nokia here. Their connecting people mission is truly that, a mission; not words thought up by a PR consultant & spewed ad nauseum by marketing/sales folks.

    The only company that has tried something similar, though on 1/10th of the scale is Samsung.

    Bottomline: cut them some slack. They may not have blown your mind, but they keep doing it all the time to hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Pity that you don’t get to meet these people & see how their worlds have changed, & are still changing, for the better because of one single entity.

    It’s not a race to zero, our people are as much part of the “next generation”, as you are…

    Utterly, utterly depressing… the condescending tone in you & your ilk (western bloggers) when it comes to understanding markets beyond your own little gardens with white picket fences.

  24. > Before the Symbian-fascists (Alex, I’m looking at you!) respond below

    All present and correct, sir!

    Anyway 🙂 … Yeah, yeah, yeah. Heard it all before. I think YOU need to come up with new arguments against Nokia, Ewan. And, whether you do or not, so you weren’t impressed. So what!? Who cares!? Honestly – why does this matter? How does the future of Nokia depend on you? And yes, the subtext being why does it matter what all the negative people think? Why does Nokia have to please all the people all the time, or even most of them?

    Why does Nokia HAVE to rule the roost at the high end? I mean, why? And separately, why aren’t they?
    I won’t be a bore and list everything here, but given the specs and prices of their new hardware, the developer initiatives, and the Ovi Store improvements, I think they have largely delivered a solid roundhouse kick to the head to Android, iPhone and Blackberry (can’t think of any other platforms worth mentioning for comparison) such that those platforms are now sitting momentarily stunned on the floor with little tweety birds circling their heads.

    Seriously – anyone who thinks Nokia and their products are poo – well, your opinion’s worth skim reading to see if you have anything of merit, and then it’s onwards and upwards. Arrogant? Not in this case.

    The reason there are us “Symbian/Nokia fascists” (an interesting term, just because we’re seeking a FAIR appraisal of the most mass market and most significant smartphone platform in the market – and that in itself being significant given the smartphone takeover of the featurephone and the fact that these devices are the next generation of, and true, personal computers) around is because most of the Nokia/Symbian negativity is bullshit. AND the iPhone is the biggest piece of over-hype since I don’t what. It’s lovely in a few specific respects but hopeless in most other ways. AND because Android is, well…..pointless on the whole – a very poor man’s Symbian in ALL respects – but useful for slightly keeping Nokia/Symbian on their toes.

    Personally I’m driven by a sense of justice. Not “ooh poor multi-billion dollar Nokia getting slated again!” but rather wanting a FAIR appraisal and credit where credit’s due of the actual technology that is not only in most people’s hands in the hundreds of millions (yep, Symbian), but also going to continue (sorry to break it to everyone) to be THE dominant smartphone platform at ALL levels – high end, mid range, and low end. It’s important because the end users matter, not because I have any care or sympathy for big corporations.

    Who cares about the ‘WOW’ factor coming out of Nokia world? Misguided geeks, that’s who. Meanwhile, back in the real world, the bottom line is are Nokia giving people great tech at great prices, and empowering them for their money, especially in comparison to the competition? The answer’s a resounding yes at every level given the new lineup and announcements.

    Let’s see – Nokia now takes care of developer’s wants and needs much better? Check.
    Ovi Store is now good, for developers and consumers? Check.
    Nokia handsets completely outperform and offer more functionality than alternatives at any given price point (i.e. gives people the best technology for their money)? Check.

    I’m afraid, Ewan, it’s the consumers, not you, that count. Now, if Nokia/Symbian sales plummet? You had a point. Bang on. Nokia couldn’t deliver. They were rubbish (etc etc etc). Thing is though, BEFORE Nokia World, Nokia/Symbian sales were growing considerably, pretty much (sorry, haters). And the general forecast seems to be Nokia have resoundingly delivered across the board with everything they announced, and therefore sales will go through the roof with an even more positive effect on market share.

    The point is, some people hate N/S because they hate N/S because they N/S. Or because it’s not Android or iOS. There’s no proper rational there on any level. They, like you, sound simply like some bitter and twisted Labour Party supporters after the Coalition rightly kicked them out, or similar minded Republicans in the US after Obama got in (Note: I am not comparing Symbian to the Coalition or Obama, merely the opposing supporter’s reaction).

    And the great thing is, Nokia and Symbian will plough on and grow regardless. Sorry 😉

  25. Good to hear from you Alex.

    Can I pick you up on this point: “Who cares about the ‘WOW’ factor coming
    out of Nokia world? Misguided geeks, that’s who.”

    I care and I don’t think I’m misguided. I’m just highly, highly
    disappointed. If anything, it’s my problem for setting my hopes and
    expectations for the company too high. Do you suggest I reset them to the
    mid-market in order to avoid future disappointment? When I evaluate Nokia in
    the low to mid-market, it’s always generally good news.

    Further, do you suggest I avoid assuming that the company will ever deliver
    in the high-end? Should I re-brand them in my head to a mass-market Walmart?
    There is nothing wrong at all with focusing on the lower end and bringing
    hundreds of millions into the connected world with that focus.

  26. Not “impressed”, but I like the C6 (not for me, but I think that you cannot bet it in its price range) and I really like the time and focus spent on developers, there is the future success or failure of the platform.

    But again Ewan, remember the iPhone 4, besides its display something really impressed you? Or focusing again on HTC, did they impress you?

    Believe me, I understand you since I am a big tech fan (not only Nokia fan), but I don´t think it was a waste of time.

  27. I think Nokia putting all their eggs in the location aware basket is a mistake.People are embracing social networking and all its hellish little off-shoots but they’re also getting more savvy in terms of their personal privacy, what with all the column inches being dedicated to Facebook’s ludicrous lack of scruples.

    It should be an interesting year for them though. I’m going to be buying their new MeeGo device irrespective of bells and whistles. I just love the flexibility and freedom of the UI.

    It’s going to be a pivotal 12 months for Microsoft too. WP7 is utter shash but they’re bound to win over some fans with their Charlie big-buttons UI full of uneccessary animations and SN integration.

    I still think things are going to change though, personally.

  28. After years of loving this site (largely because of the hilarious walkabout videos), sorry to say I’ll be visiting no more. The endless love of iAnything seems to have removed the fun of it all. Your quintessentially British writing style when laying into Nokia is just Bollocks. Utter Bollocks. *see what I did there?*


  29. Maybe you should of paid a bit of attention to what was going on upstairs (virtually in your case) it seemed no one noticed that the nokia developers summit – the nokia version of Google IO and apples WWDC was also on. And very good it was too, nokia’s QT cross platform environment and web based app development programs are second to none. Flowella is a godsend for prototyping apps and more on any platform.

  30. I am going to be a bit crude but your writings here deserve it 🙂

    The event was Nokia World, and in the case of Nokia it literally means WORLD, not Nokia UK, Nokia US or even Nokia Anglo-America.

    If bad English and foreign actors are bothering you, better find something else. In mobile the world is elsewhere, namely in China and India. And it will be there in the foreseeable future. Better get used to that, because it is growing. Most Nokia users do not know who “Jesus” Jobs is, and they do not care. Nokia says officially that “every market is important”, but priority markets are China and India.

    This is almost perfect for the purpose:

  31. I am confused how you think a combination of the N8, E7, and forthcoming N9 will not take the high end by storm. All the signs are there – highest ever pre-orders for a Nokia device for the N8, much praise across the board (even from the likes of Engadget!) for the E7, much anticipation for the N9 and great signs of early MeeGo work that has Android fans wanting to jump ship to it.

    The N8 alone easily blows away all other high end phones out there on specs and execution.

    The only question I continue to have is whether Nokia marketing is up to the job of really hammering home just how great their new products are in comparison to the competition. They need to be considerably more aggressive and assertive I think.

  32. Ewan you’re wrong. Here’s why:

    You didn’t attend, so you didn’t get to sample the atmosphere. Markedly different to previous Nokia World, especially amongst the developers. But what was most encouraging of all, as far I was concerned, was genuine enthusiasm amongst the Nokia crew. To continue your analogy – far from being Dementor like it was if Cheering Charms were being liberally distributed…

    ‘vomited out a few handsets that I can’t even be bothered to write about’… Ewan go and stand in the corner and hang your head in shame. 🙂 You should know better than anyone that you actually have to try something before you write it off. These handsets are exactly what Nokia needs. Will they bring people back from iOS or Android – probably not? Will they stop people moving away from Nokia – yes. And you know what there’s 3 billion + Nokia consumers versus 100 million odd Android/iOS smartphones users. Put your business hat on and ask which is the bigger opportunity? Which one does it make sense to address first?

    What it ultimately comes down to is this (a phrase I heard more than once). ‘It’s great – now there are Nokia’s I can recommend to friends and I won’t be embarrassed about doing so’.

    Nokia says that they will sell 50 million of these devices. And that’s conservative. That’s not something anyone should be ignoring. But this isn’t about numbers, it’s about attitude – and I honestly felt that this wasn’t different this time round. Sure Nokia don’t have all their ducks in a row (who does), but the feeling was stuff is happening now (compared to last time round when it was all going to happen).

    As for the $1 million prize – shouldn’t we be praising mobile companies if they combine good business with social responsibility?

    Decent services? What about Maps – the most popular mobile mapping product (more so than Google Maps). Being added to all the time. New mobile client releases every 3 months, web version moving to new releases every 2 or 3 weeks? Improved search through MetaCarta tech, that learns from every search? Check in that ties in not just with a single service, but multiple ones – a proper platform? What more can the Maps team do to make you happy?

    Ovi Store – how about the consolidated operator billing at 60/40 – something no one else does… and they’re doing it in 35+ countries. Look it up and compare it to Android or iOS… Oh you say operating billing doesn’t matter… yeah right… tell that to the developers that see 3 or 4 times more sales because of it….

    How about Stephen Elop getting on stage at the end and saying he is ‘humbled and amazed’ by what developers do. That they are critical to Nokia? Isn’t that the kind of message you’ve been on at Nokia for years about. Why not highlight that?

    Clearly Nokia has its problems, it has much to do, but there are many positive signs. And the reality – this is like every other company in mobile.

  33. You make some really good points Rafe — and I’m very pleased you have done so, because almost nobody else has bothered.

    You’re right, I didn’t make it to the event — but I was writing on my opinion and perspective from the output of the event.

    I do have a bit of a problem with your statement regarding the company’s new phones:
    “Will they bring people back from iOS or Android — probably not”

    That is my fundamental issue. I wanted to see so much more from the company.

    My problem is, I think, completely misaligned expectations.

    If I evaluate Nokia in the context of the wider lower-end market, they’re doing a brilliant, brilliant job. Is that where I should put my head? Walmart vs Gap?

  34. I think this is about perception management… When does any company do things in one step? Even the mighty Apple iterates on a yearly basis. I think you also under appreciate the global scale and the implications that this has. The four devices each represent a potential bestsellers / hero device. I can’t remember the last time Nokia (or any company) announced a line up that covered a broad section of the market (€260 to €540) with those characteristics… Maybe they’re not totally aligned with geek desire, but I think they will connect well with the consumer.

    I think its necessary to recognise this is a step by step process. Nokia’s most important segment (and by far and away its largest) is existing Nokia customers. They want the familiar Nokia experience with good performance and functionality. This is who Symbian^3 is aimed at. This is step one.

    Step two is about winning back customers from iOS and Android (a relatively small group). If people behaved rationally Symbian^3 might be able to do this (parity in many areas, ahead / behind in others). However people do not behave rationally. Realistically it requires a new look / step change. This is what Symbian^4 and MeeGo will offer…

    But ultimately for Nokia’s long term health step one is much more important. We’re talking about 1 billion + compared to around 100 million.

    I’d hardly call the E7 and N8 mid tier. Best landscape QWERTY, best cameraphone – certainly arguable. Nokia is not just about the mid tier. It is a global company that covers the market from high to low end… However, I do feel Nokia is still strongest in the mid tier (i.e. it ahead), whereas in the high end it has work to do (parity I would say). However the focus on Nokia World was Symbian^3, but that does not mean that there is not more to come from Nokia this year.

    Incidentally I think you can still identify the app gap as an issue. How important you consider this is open to debate. How long the gap will exist is open to debate. However you do need to set this against other considerations – global reach (do the services with the device work in country x y z), price range (is there a device that fits into my price point), battery life (can it get through a day of decent usage), calling (is it still a good phone) and so on…

  35. I don’t think your expectations are misplaced, but they are not all going to happen at the same time. Put it in the context of events from other manufacturers and assess in that light?

    I also think you might not be fully appreciating what did get announced.

    Taking one example (which I didn’t even mention above) – in-app billing – as well as credit card that’s going to support operator billing across 30+ countries. No one else does this. And operator billing can be a 3 or 4x multiplier in some countries in revenue terms. What would have the reaction been if someone other than Nokia had announced that?

  36. The majority of the market, including the analyst community, just doesn’t get Nokia.

    That’s not their fault. They are still confidently predicting an Android world. They’ve been led down the garden path by other companies delivering nice hardware, software and services and doing a phenomenal job with marketing and PR.

    A single announcement — or collection of single announcements — delivered in a limpwristed slightly-depressed manner by executives that are not at all blessed by the marketing fairy — does next to nothing for Nokia’s cause.

    Especially in San Francisco.

    So it’s not the market’s fault for missing things. It’s the company’s problem for getting the narrative badly wrong.

    They should be employing you to advise their senior executives on getting it right so that you and I don’t have to do this bit Rafe.


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