Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 25th Jun 2012 08:50 UTC
Microsoft The New York Times further fans the flames of the emerging uneasiness between Microsoft and its hardware partners. As the paper reports, Microsoft decided it needed to get into the hardware game (with Surface) after the utter failure of HP's Slate 500 Windows 7 tablet. "Microsoft worked with other hardware partners to devise products that would be competitive with the iPad, but it ran into disagreements over designs and prices. 'Faith had been lost' at Microsoft in its hardware partners, including by Steven Sinofsky, the powerful president of Microsoft's Windows division, according to [a] former Microsoft executive." The biggest news is not Surface itself. It's the changing industry it represents. Microsoft failed to deliver capable smartphone/tablet software, which pissed off OEMs, who, in turn, turned to Android (and webOS for HP) - which in turn pissed off Microsoft, leading to Surface. Had Microsoft gotten its act together sooner, we'd have had far better OEM products.
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RE[7]: Microsoft's fault?
by Neolander on Thu 28th Jun 2012 16:28 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Microsoft's fault?"
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I do not think that solely buying and recommending the products that I like would be enough.

As far as I can tell, a functional tech company works due to a fragile equilibrium between the interests of employees, executives, customers, and shareholders. In the case of Nokia, it seems that due to a problem on the executive side in the Symbian days, financial problems have appeared, which has in turn caused shareholders to go crazy and suddenly decide that their big piles of cash somehow gave them miraculous insight on how to lead a tech company. This in turn led to the arrival of Elop and his pawns, who don't give a crap about Nokia but saw a golden opportunity for Microsoft to finally to get the dedicated OEM that they desperately needed for WP7. So these guys are now desperately trying to make this OS relevant on the phone market by associating it with the name and hardware of a reknown phone company (Nokia) and killing all possible competition inside of that company (Symbian, Maemo, Meego, Meltemi...).

The problem is, this won't work. WP7 tries to compete with iOS and Android without the brand image and centralized control of Apple or the hardware diversity of Android. It is too little and too late, in short it is doomed to fail unless WP8 magically changes the game. If that was not enough, this OS is the worst possible choice for Nokia, a company which based its success on its ability to manufacture phones for everyone's needs instead of half a dozen of lookalike slabs.

Even the management is aware of this, but to keep WP7 in focus, they couldn't find a better idea than to take a simple feature phone OS (s40) and feature-bloat it until it becomes an okay replacement for Symbian. Now, I don't know how s40 works on the inside, but I'm pretty sure that to make it work on super-low-end hardware, some serious security/cleanness compromises had to be made : running everything in kernel mode, putting all processes in a single address space, maybe some cooperative multitasking even... So I expect that at some point, when Nokia tries to bring it into the "app" game, the whole thing will blow up in a spectacular explosion of mobile malware. But only time will tell.

Meanwhile, with that vision of things in mind, it makes no sense to just buy s40 hardware as if nothing happened. This would bring Nokia's revenue up, and thus validate Elop's suicidal strategy. Shareholders would in turn be happy, and gain what looks like factual evidence that their managerial strategy is worth anything. What should happen instead is a financial disaster : shareholders would get an instant lesson of tech company management (never trust Microsoft), fire Elop, and either decide to get some more lessons before forgetting their purely financial role or sink the company further up to the point where employees and management take back Nokia's financial control.

A few years ago, Nokia were indeed a bit resting on their past successes because they could : their low- and mid-end phones were still simply better than everyone else's (I mean, Samsung and LG have never been able to achieve Nokia-like build quality, and only got better than Nokia on the software front thanks to Google's help). But they were still trying to innovate with stuff like Maemo and Qt. By carefully fixing the issues of the Symbian team, they could have succeeded and ended up with something pretty awesome. Now, it's just Windows or nothing, which is hardly exciting.

Edited 2012-06-28 16:32 UTC

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