Does Nokia have a future?

Does Nokia have a future?

Summary: Nokia used to make some cracking handsets. Over the years I've owned several, and up until the iPhone, I'd have to say that the best handset I'd owned was the Nokia Communicator 9000i. But Nokia's lost its way, and if the leaked memo published by Engadget is real, newly appointed CEO Stephen Elop realizes just how bad a predicament the company is in.

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Nokia used to make some cracking handsets. Over the years I've owned several, and up until the iPhone, I'd have to say that the best handset I'd owned was the Nokia Communicator 9000i. But Nokia's lost its way, and if the leaked memo published by Engadget is real, newly appointed CEO Stephen Elop realizes just how bad a predicament the company is in.

Here are just a few choice quotes from the memo:

"Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range."

"In about two years, Android created a platform that attracts application developers, service providers and hardware manufacturers. Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under €100."

"The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable."

"We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market."

"At the midrange, we have Symbian. It has proven to be non-competitive in leading markets like North America."

"Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem."

For fans of Nokia (not to mention shareholders, that memo makes dismal reading. Is Nokia dead?

Maybe not. Go back and reread that last quote:

"Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we're going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem."

Nokia seems to have finally realized that Symbian and MeeGo just don't cut it. Consumers have turned their backs on Nokia's current platform, so it needs to get on with building, catalyzing and joining ecosystems ...

And that's what I think Nokia will do.

Here's my prediction - Nokia will bin MeeGo (or go down to just a single product as the memo suggests). It will also maintain Symbian but in a lesser capacity. Why? Because Europeans still like Symbian and dumping it would seem reactionary. But neither of these moves will revitalize Nokia. To do that, Nokia needs a platform.

But why settle for one platform. My prediction is that Nokia will do what HTC has done, and jump on the Android and Windows Phone 7. Android would give Nokia access to an already well-established ecosystem, while Windows Phone 7 would allow Nokia the opportunity to get in close to the start with a budding ecosystem. It a trick that worked for HTC, so there's no reason to think that it wouldn't work for Nokia.

Spreading itself between Android and Windows Phone 7 gives Nokia the chance not only to survive, but expand and flourish in an increasingly competitive market.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Nokia, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software, Windows

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28 comments
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  • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

    Low end handsets android phones from Nokia... that would be awesome. Windows Phone 7 problem is that, Window Phone 7 as a platform, is struggling itself.
    tatiGmail
    • agreed, they should stick to the low end

      @tatiGmail mdn: "MeeGo down the drain and, if Nokia gives up and shackles themselves to Google or Microsoft, so does their future. Becoming just another dime-a-dozen assembler of pretend iPhones is not a strategy, it's desperation. Our idea from last September was better: "Nokia should concentrate on their specialty ? crap margin, low-end, mechanical-buttoned candy bar cellphones ? hope they can coast along on emerging markets while they try to figure out what businesses to try next (kitchen appliances? floor wax? breakfast sausages?) before the money runs out."
      banned from zdnet
  • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

    I can see Nokia selling Android phone, but why hitch themselves to a donkey (windows phone7 series)? The most disturbing part would be the non assertion of hardware patents. Would you turn over the keys to your house to the plumber? If Microsoft wasn?t so intent on ruling the world I could see it, but history has proven that Microsoft cannot be trusted to play fair with anyone.
    Rick_K
  • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

    Nokia's to do lists:

    Be positive - stake holders need a plan and leader they can believe in (" the only thing we have to fear is fear itself . .").

    Be focussed - not sure why there are so many variations on themes in their mobile product line up.

    Ensure cash flow - this is their blood life

    Don't overestimate the competition - Apple only release one mobile per year, Android is fragmented with vendors suffering on low margins . .

    Play to strengths - hardware design, logistics . .

    Maintain brand image - still seen as the good guys with lots of good will out there . . just need the killer product
    badboybrown
    • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

      @badboybrown
      What is the difference between OVI and I-Store? Third-party apps. Nokia killed any interest in independent developers when their lawyers forced that ridiculous signing on them, with conditions which effectively reduced them to glove-puppets - and we all know where the puppet-master's hand goes in that game! That they have returned Symbian in-house after a tentative toe-dip in OS is the killer blow: nobody will now trust them again.

      There is such a thing as killing the golden goose. This one is going to rank right up there with Gerald Ratner's "crap" product admission.
      JelMin
  • Nokia Does have a future

    They just have to improve there products with the time what they are doing I hope N8 is a big success, there is a big share of Nokia phones in the market, and talking serious they are dominating in the markets in Asia specifically South Asia like India.<br>Via: <a href="http://www.eqlit.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.eqlit.com/</a>
    eqlit
  • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

    "Symbian and MeeGo just don?t cut it"

    Statements like this drive me nuts. Seriously, yes we know symbian has serious user interface issue, but thats it its a user interface issue not an OS issue, the underlying OS is solid and far more suited to mobile devices than any other out there(be it iOS or any of the linux based mobile OSs out there, webOS, Android, and yes meego).
    If the planned symbian interface overhaul is up to scratch it should be all it needs, unfortunately I even if the interface overhaul was ground breaking I can still see people like yourself and the engadgets of the world beating it while its down.
    As for meego, how can you possibly judge an OS that as of yet isnt even on any phones and nobody has seen in its final form, and declare it as not up to scratch? Little bit of a premature judgement there dont you think? The current builds of the meego handset inteface look very promising.
    I really hope nokia dont make the mistake of killing the only truely open mobile OS out there before it even gets a chance to take off.
    As for this talk of Nokia jumping on the Windows Phone 7 bandwagon, its a horrible idea. As it stands WP7 is at best an incomplete os, with a very flashing interface, at worst an OS with an awful (from a usability standpoint) interface, that has minimal market in the US and is dead in the water outside the US, with a completely closed eco system(as opposed to meego being wonderfully completely open), and would require Nokia to completely drop the QT approach they have be pushing the last few years.
    I for one am desperately hoping that this Windows Phone 7 talk is nonsense.
    blert13
    • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

      @blert13
      They did so when they brought Symbian in-house again: nobody will now believe them as a true OS system. Like I said elsewhere, fire their lawyers - you don't need lawyers to protect OS.
      JelMin
  • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

    MS is still capable of pulling some strings [ya many will laugh at this]. If Nokia is going WP7 way [which I'm sure it will], it will not do Andriod. Going Andriod is not giving it any edge above others, buy WP7 will give that as there is still no dominating vendor and MS is all in... for long :)
    deep@...
    • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

      @deep@...

      Nokia can bargain *hard* here with MS. If they *do* go WP7 (which I doubt they will, but wouldn't be shocked), Microsoft is instantly a contender again in the mobile space. If Nokia go all in with WP7, by this time next year, WP7 will be easily outselling iOS and maybe even Android -- that's how big Nokia still is.

      That said, to sell their soul to MS they had better get something major in return. Like, how about OVI store becomes the APP store for WP...and Windows!
      x I'm tc
  • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

    I really like Android, so my initial gut feeling is that I want the Nokia quality handset with android. However, I have been thinking, Sony are releasing a gaming handset on android, these will be high end phones. Microsoft are looking at expanding their gaming platform to mobiles, So what about Nokia joining forces with them, and focusing on gaming with strong hardware and good focus on the gaming market for Nokia, and a very successful gaming ecosystem from Microsoft.

    Its a real shame that its looking like Meego will be dropped, Iv have been using it on my netbook and so far have found it to be the nest OS for the job.
    Will T
  • Are there UFOs?

    Nokia is alive and well with I might add huge cash reserves.<br>There isn't even a Meego phone yet and somehow you have an unidentified object counted out.<br><br>Pure speculation.<br>Write about UFOs.<br>That would at least be acceptable.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • Like

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate

      Yo Dietrich, I like Nokia too but if they are going to thrive they need fingers in all pies. Given Nokia's history I hardly think future devices with MeeGo will be nearly as open as Android. Nokia needs to understand that selling devices is their bread and butter. Nokia should already have a line of great Android phones available yesterday. They should not have been waiting for MeeGo. (Which I doubt will gain serious traction)
      Tim Patterson
      • I think things will change, radically.

        @Tim Patterson

        As for the relative 'openness', I would submit that the manner in which Licensing will be done gives 'anyone' unfettered access to direct development provided they pass vetting. Take that in contrast to Google who *own*, code and release Android to the OEMs. That is a bit more restrictive, would you not agree Tim? Yes? Yes!
        <br><br>Including their setting up corporate offices directly in Silicon Valley.<br><br>Meego as you know didn't start just yesterday. You and I both own Nokia Internet Tablets which are predecessors (Maemo and Debian Linux) to Meego.<br><br>Nokia has developed lots of experience to be in a position to understand what it takes to bring to market Linux-based product, whatever it may be. I am confident of that.<br><br>Top that off with the fact that Meego isn't a 'shoe-string' initiative. It is in partnership with Intel, sponsored by the Linux Foundation, and runs on not just one but across a range of devices, embedded car systems, phones, netbooks and the like.<br><br>That is a powerful combination and all one need do is download a copy of the current revision of Meego to a bootable pen drive and boot up on a Netbook to gauge the relative seriousness, sophistication, and professional feel that Meego engenders.<br><br>The blogosphere 'pundits' have thus far given it short shrift. <br><br>Don't count out Meego or underestimate what Intel and Nokia are doing 'together'.<br><br>Intel has been a MAJOR contributor to the Linux kernel and ancillary upstream projects which makes them 'well-qualified' to pull off something by themselves, and so the joint venture is a power-pack.<br><br>Meego.
        Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • nokia is already dead

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
      if this isn't obvious even to you, i really don't know on what planet you live.
      banned from zdnet
      • That is just silly. Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

        @banned from zdnet nt
        Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
      • idea

        @banned from zdnet
        idea? how about facts? market share figures and profits that plunge faster than you can say "linux"?
        banned from zdnet
        • Facts?: Coming right up.

          @banned from zdnet <br><br>Coming from none other than ZDNET's between the lines Larry Dignan in an article entitled "Mobile phone sales surge, component shortages extend to second half of 2011":<br><br>Here:<br><br>h-t-t-p://i.zdnet.com/blogs/mobileshare020911a.png<br><br>and here:<br><br>h-t-t-p://i.zdnet.com/blogs/mobileshare020911b.png<br><br>Honestly, you exhibit more nerve than brains.
          Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
  • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

    No, they have no future.

    They play waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to safe.

    They need more riskier products and be more OPEN.

    But it is not in their DNA.

    AND someone from microsoft was a wrong option for CEO. Not good for brand image. Everyone hates microsoft.

    That is what I give them 5 years before there gone.
    ALISON SMOCK
  • RE: Does Nokia have a future?

    Nokia building Android and WP7 handsets would be a good move. Nokia going all-in with WP7 and positioning itself to be its premier brand would be a great move.
    Mythos7