Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 9th Oct 2013 23:22 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

This is quite possibly one of the most beautiful articles you'll ever read about Nokia's demise. Five years ago, in 2008, a journalist wrote a letter to Nokia, on his own behalf, as a regular person (so not as a journalist). In it, he detailed how Nokia phones used to be easy to use by everyone. However, the Nokia E51 he was using now was a complete mess, insanely hard to use. He ended the letter with prescient words: "This will cause problems for Nokia".

The letter made its way to Nokia, and apparently caused waves inside the company, up to the highest levels. Company executives wanted to explain the company's strategy to him, and eventually, one executive even met up with him on a personal note. After first parroting the usual corporate speak, the executive eventually broke.

"I agree completely with everything that you wrote in your letter and what you have said now."

I was astounded.

"I completely agree with you and I want to apologise on behalf of Nokia for producing a bad telephone for you."

Then he started to tell about how a top-secret project had been launched at Nokia, in which a completely new operating system was being designed. It would result in new kinds of telephones. They would be easy to use and they would change everything.

I met the director again a few years later.

Then it turns out that he had been talking about the Meego. However, the project moved forward slowly, and finally the new CEO Stephen Elop shelved it completely.

This same Nokia executive took one of the many original iPhones Nokia bought home right after it was released.

As an experiment, he gave the telephone to his daughter, and she learned to use it immediately.

In the evening as the parents were going to bed, the drowsy four-year-old appeared at their bedroom door with a question: "Can I take that magic telephone and put it under my pillow tonight?"

That was the moment when the Nokia executive understood that his company was in trouble.


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It was cancelled because it was not good enough. It's extremely difficult to just start up a new OS with one company an build an ecosystem out of it, especially going up against the iPhone and Android.

I suspect that Elop (correctly) saw this and axed it because no matter how good the product was, he probably figured that Nokia did not have the muscle to single-handedly bring it to market and get people on board. Blackberry tried this approach and where did it get them?

Nokia was way behind at this point and since Elop came from Microsoft, he probably realized that MS had the cash and the clout to get behind Nokia with real resources. Obviously iOS was not available to Nokia, and if Elop chose to go with Android, there would no additional resources and it would not differentiate Nokia's products enough from the likes of Samsung, which would eat their lunch on a head to head Android battle. Not to mention all of the other Android based phone manufacturers are operating on little or no margins and they are not making money. They are too concerned about keeping things cheap than marketing real value.

It all boils down to business dollars and sense, and strategy. Companies can't just make shit because nerds think it might be cool. In real terms Microsoft's involvement realistically saved Nokia's handset business.

How is Nokia gutted? They still make great hardware.

The N950...flip out hardware keyboards are so '2000

Edited 2013-10-10 03:53 UTC

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