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[6]: Microsoft's fault?
by zima on Thu 28th Jun 2012 13:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Microsoft's fault?"
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

But wouldn't buying into their product lines that you do like, S40 or Symbian, be propping up the "preferable" Nokia practices? :p

Again, S40 (or even Symbian...) doesn't appear to be merely "still good" - it seems better than ever under Elop, and dynamically developed ( http://www.developer.nokia.com/Devices/Device_specifications/?filte... particularly Asha 305 and the like) - in contrast to its relative stagnation for half a decade or so before Elop, when they were really rehashing the same old stuff (and when you were recommending Nokia phones, I guess); when also phones like Samsung Corby, Star or LG Cookie - not only so called "smartphones" - stole the momentum and spotlight, which Nokia has a hard time recovering.

And yeah, if people will just ignore them even when Nokia is getting its act together here and there... Meanwhile, the board and major shareholders apparently want present Nokia practices (whatever the long-term goal is, particularly with smartphone divisions).

BTW those lowly employees, largely in manufacturing - we decided we don't want them in ~Western fabs, by refusing to pay more for something similar or expecting the same price as for consumer toys manufactured in East Asian factories (hence pushing profit margins, valuations, and so on down).
Also, the lay-offs were announced together with news of some managerial shake-up ( http://press.nokia.com/2012/06/14/nokia-sharpens-strategy-and-provi... ), but that didn't seem to be reported...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Microsoft's fault?
by Neolander on Thu 28th Jun 2012 16:28 in reply to "RE[6]: Microsoft's fault?"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

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

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[8]: Microsoft's fault?
by zima on Thu 28th Jun 2012 17:41 in reply to "RE[7]: Microsoft's fault?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I do not think that solely buying and recommending the products that I like would be enough.
[...]
Meanwhile, with that vision of things in mind, it makes no sense to just buy s40 hardware as if nothing happened.

Is there anything except product sales to which companies really respond? So, we have here possible difference (in message) between all products faltering, and only some doing so.
What you seem to advocate only leads to a point of no return, me thinks.

Meanwhile, what happened is that S40 is, again, better than ever...


And really, let's not present the negatives in Nokia as coming from Elop (he was brought specifically to execute this WP7 shift) or, especially, as having nothing to do with "fine employees from the bottom of the hierarchy".
At the least there seemed to be a sort of infighting between several divisions, projects at Nokia (in which those fine employees would surely also be involved); slowing progress and likely leading to huge delays in Maemo (hence Meego), probably also Symbian, in a way (it was seen as so nice for so long... maybe not only executive side of Symbian was bad).
Meltemi - yeah, could be nice I guess, but probably the last thing Nokia needs now is more fragmentation of efforts by another internal platform; lower-end WP handsets should be soon where Meltemi would be around its première.

I have sort of the opposite impression of S40 vs Symbian - it seems like the latter became largely unmaintainable some time ago. In contrast, S40 might be a lean codebase, easier to build upon.
And it's NOT "super-low-end hardware" - I mean, the hardware shipping S40 now is often more powerful than quite recent Symbian phones, and not terribly far from lowly WP hardware, so that's not really the overruling consideration (for example http://www.developer.nokia.com/Devices/Device_specifications/Asha_3... 1 GHz and 128 MiB of RAM) - plus j2me apps (oh yeah, there are apps) don't require that much memory, likewise Opera Mini or similar browser.

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)

I don't know... SE "feature phones" tended to offer more for the price (didn't help them BTW). The quality of LG or Samsung also doesn't seem to be that much of an issue for a while (I mean, Samsung probably wouldn't surpass Nokia in low-end phones otherwise - people getting them care about durability; this shift in their buying preference was probably based on observations that Samsung is OK after all, for those few who got them earlier)

And you still overlook how "a few years ago" LG Cookie and Samsung Star or Corby (their own software BTW) took large part of the traditional S40 market by storm - to which Nokia basically failed to respond. From what I saw at my place, many people were either enticed by and upgrading mostly to such nice inexpensive touchscreen novelties ...or not bothering to upgrade (what for, when the new S40 is just like the old S40? And as for the Symbian option, I actually witnessed how an operator salesman was recommending against it to somebody who, he surmised, would be lost in it; and he was right)

Reply Parent Score: 2