Nokia phone leak puts Gizmodo iPhone row in perspective

Nokia phone leak puts Gizmodo iPhone row in perspective

Summary: Nokia's gentle tactics to prototype leaks puts Apple in its heavy-handed place, and puts the entire iPhone leak story in perspective.


Nokia suffered a leak this week with an N8 prototype phone being acquired by a Russian blogger. Suffice to say, the device was an early model and could not be expected to perform as well as a final-release product, and the blog post reflected so (apparently; I don't speak Russian).

Instead of serving up a court order - which, Apple may or may not have been directly involved in, raiding a journalist's home, potentially violating his First Amendment freedom's and taking a shed load of his stuff, Nokia took a softer approach.

They kindly asked for it back. No legal threats, no court order, no bashing down of the front door and certainly no rights violations.

In a blog post published earlier today, Nokia said:

"Unfortunately, an early prototype made its way to someone that wasn’t supposed to have it, and his early first impressions of the device and its software spread like wildfire..."

"...However, whilst we are determined to protect our intellectual property and maintain the surprise when a shiny new gadget is introduced, we are not going to do so at the expense of the working conditions we enjoy here at Nokia. We are not the Secret Police, and we want to maintain our culture of openness. We won’t let days like yesterday alter that [in reference to iPhone 4G leak]"

"So now that the official news is out, we’d like our prototype back. Please."

Of course, this doesn't mean that the person leaking or the site would be put through legal proceedings, but it's not in Nokia's interest to do so. Even though the two companies, Apple and Nokia, have engaged in long-running disputes over patents and suchlike, Nokia has always had a totally different mentality when it comes to the wider public.

I think the best paradigm to consult is that while Apple restricts information to a point where the typical response from the PR department is "no comment", Nokia takes it on the chin and accepts that these things will happen. Though industrial secrets are important to hold on to, the two cultures between the companies are like polar opposites.

A post by a different author later in the day officially announced the N8, which for the record, looks like an awesome phone. I'd certainly like to see another phone with the Maemo operating system though, as when I had in my hands the N900, I almost exploded with excitement and amazement.

Whether or not you agree with Chen's actions, ethics or even legalities, it's not hugely important. What does strike true is that Apple through this entire process - irregardless of how involved they are with the current legal proceedings - look like, in my opinion, ruthless, unrelenting bullies. And there is such a thing as bad press, because they're rightfully drowning in it.

Nokia, I applaud you. You are the sort of company the Generation Y should want to work for.

Topics: Mobility, Browser, Nokia, Telcos

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  • Irregardless of this post...

    irregardless is still not a word. Also, I don't
    believe Apple is pushing for the police action.
    I believe that came about because of the
    published actions which were by CA law,
    unlawful. The comparison to Nokia and a blogger
    in Russia is a bit disingenuous. Apple, the
    crime and the blogger are all in CA. What
    rights could Nokia assert in Russia and what
    Russian authority is going to pursue this
    (irrespective of Nokia asking them to or not)?
    • I knew someone'd bring that up

      It is and isn't a word. It can still be used, *regardless* of whether you like it or not.

      Users "including educated speakers" (defining any intelligent person with more than one brain cell) say it. It's fine.

      And I'm British, so it's more of a word over here than over your side of the pond.
      • Ah, Zack-you went and ruined it.

        [i]"And I'm British, so it's more of a word over here than over your side
        of the pond."[/i]

        Certainly not according to [i]Oxford English Dictionary[/i], the
        definitive, literally and figuratively, guide to the English language. In
        fact they make some rather disdainful reference to "American dialect"
        and you can almost [i]sense[/i] the editor frowning. The
        fine, red-blooded American folks at [i]Merriam Websters[/i] call it
        incorrect usage, but sadly note it's gaining acceptance. I think the
        fight went out of them with [i]ginormous[/i].

        So, if it comes to a brain-cell count, I'm willing to bet those objecting
        to [i]irregardlesss[/i] win on aggregate over those who think it's "fine."
  • Now, if the blogger lived in Nokia's home country...

    ...would it have been nearly as polite?

    I'm guessing not.

    I suspect that the blogger living in Russia (and Nokia
    being based in Scandinavia) may have a LOT to do with
    Nokia being all polite and kind about requesting the
    phone back. Otherwise, I suspect they'd call the cops
    just as quickly. After all, it's not as if Russian law
    is as clear-cut (so even if Nokia tried, I doubt
    they'd get much help from the police).
    • Great PR move by Nokia

      Without getting too much into details of two events the contrast is clear.
      Nokia now appears as a big friendly company and Apple looks like a phone nazi. Great PR move by Nokia.
      • Yes, it was.

        I can agree to the fact that it was a good PR

        Not so sure Apple will look too bad by
        contrast, though. The reason why is that the
        cops moved on this one all by themselves, and
        Apple hasn't publicly said anything beyond
        asking for the phone back (and receiving it).
        In turn, the author made a whole lot of
        assumptions and presented them as if they were
        based in fact.

        The only facts we do know at this point is that
        the cops acted on the story and went to town on
        Gizmodo's editor.

        Aside from (maybe) cable new reports giving
        rough details on how a Gizmodo editor is up on
        charges for buying a stolen prototype, I doubt
        the public will even know much beyond the bare
        basics, and will keep buying Apple products
        • Nokia all the way....

          I wouldn't use an iPhone even if Apple paid me for it. I've used an old plain simple Nokia RH-18 1100 for calls for almost 6 years now with great satisfaction (after almost 6 years of use in 3 different countries it still lasts at least 5 days or so on a single charge and has yet to fail!), and since half a year I've been using a Nokia E72 for email, IM and GPS (and outgoing calls - the old phone is just for incoming calls).
          Daniel Breslauer
    • Uh... Nokia have a Russian organisation.

      So your argument is invalid.

      The fact is that Nokia were just nicer.
      Sleeper Service
  • RE: Nokia phone leak puts Gizmodo iPhone row in perspective

    Finally some sense
  • Is the "culture of openness"...

    ...the reason Nokia initiated legal action against Apple in order to protect
    their closed IP?

    Typical opportunistic marketing hype from Nokia.

    If you want an N8 now, buy a SonyEricsson Satio.
    • No, it was just to stop them to stealing their ideas.

      You crazy Apple guys!
      Sleeper Service