Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 11th Oct 2012 21:41 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless It's a long read - but totally and utterly worth it. After interviewing ten former and current Nokia employees, and combining their insider information with publicly available information, Sampsa Kurri has written a long and detailed article about the history of Maemo and MeeGo within Nokia, and everything that went wrong - which is a lot. It's sad tale, one that reads almost like a manual on how to not run a large company. Still, between the bad decisions and frustrations, there's a red thread of hope that leads to Jolla.
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Remember...
by jared_wilkes on Thu 11th Oct 2012 23:27 UTC
jared_wilkes
Member since:
2011-04-25

Remember that we're talking about 2005 and earlier. There was no iPhone, no Android, no iPad. Yet, we have people inside Nokia who were working on things that were far, far ahead of their time - only to be frustrated by incompetent management and bad decisions.


Remember that almost every part of it was farmed out, multiple times, including the UI... and they weren't able to deliver a marketable (but still dead on arrival) product until 2010, and it took several years just to settle on a toolkit, never mind a UI.

When it's Nokia, it's "far, far ahead of their time." When it's Apple -- at best 6 months to a year behind (in this specific race but actually easily ahead with the longest, most cohesive history of exploring this type of technology -- really, the cellphone portion of these devices is this decade's modem; the mobile revolution right now is about UI, UX, application frameworks, integration of hardware and software, content syncing, content and app stores, etc.) and able to execute in 2 years rather than 5 -- it's nothing innovative. Every innovation had already been explored for decades (and apparently all that time, Apple did nothing but sell shiny boxes to idiots). Apple just buys others parts; Nokia..? oh, they buy every part, the UI, the toolkit, and change everything every six months, linse rather repeat, making the wrong move almost every time for 5 straight years... How was Nokia far ahead of their time, again?

... only to be frustrated by incompetent management and bad decisions.


I love that "only", that "frustrated." As if competent management and good decisions are only minor factors in the success of a business. As if it's just an itch you can't scratch that frustrates you when your business implodes, you contract your future to another struggling business (MSFT), and you are likely to not exist in a couple of years.

Edited 2012-10-11 23:35 UTC

Reply Score: -1

RE: Remember...
by earksiinni on Thu 11th Oct 2012 23:34 in reply to "Remember..."
earksiinni Member since:
2009-03-27

"... only to be frustrated by incompetent management and bad decisions.


I love that "only". As if competent management and good decisions are minor factors in the success of a business.
"

No..."only" here is being used modally to mean "inevitably" with the connotation of "unfortunately". You are reading it the sense of "merely", as in "to be frustrated only by incompetent management and bad decisions."

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Remember...
by jared_wilkes on Thu 11th Oct 2012 23:44 in reply to "RE: Remember..."
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

I understand Thom's intent and don't mean to distort it. I'm just playing off it because, even with his intended and the received meaning, those words still convey undertones of Nokia being great, ahead of their time, innovative, truly building something, truly innovating, and truly succeeding at creating a revolutionary new device/system -- not just through the subconscious undertones of "only" that I am playing off of but through the entire content of his post.

And in his final praise of Nokia, he then brushes away their massive failure as if it's a quirk of history rather than truly massive, systemic incompetence, lack of vision, and lack of software tools that could build a sustaining platform.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Remember...
by Neolander on Fri 12th Oct 2012 06:10 in reply to "Remember..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, you have to give it to Nokia : while Apple just chose to throw away Copland altogether and produce yet another UNIX clone instead, Nokia actually managed to fix enough of the problems that they encountered during their development hell to release a working product (the N9), which I believe is a fairly unique achievement in the computer industry ! ;)

More seriously, I think that many people around here feel sympathetic towards the old Nokia because, as is apparent in the article, it was one of the few remaining tech companies with engineers in power. Though it is also made obvious here that this approach has its problems, especially in large companies, there is something saddening about the way executives don't understand what their employees are doing these days, and can only think in terms of paying the bills and selling to the largest number. That may be a safer way to keep a company afloat and profitable, but it is alienating for workers and surely does not help innovation.

Edited 2012-10-12 06:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Remember...
by moondevil on Fri 12th Oct 2012 07:35 in reply to "RE: Remember..."
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Being a former employer in the German units, I can attest that the article describes pretty well how things work there, and still do.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Remember...
by moondevil on Sat 13th Oct 2012 13:06 in reply to "RE: Remember..."
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Apple just chose to throw away Copland altogether and produce yet another UNIX clone instead


Those were the days, when open source and open standards were foreign words at Apple.

Mostly unknown to the kids today, that think only Microsoft was a bad boy.

Edit: forgot to write the quote

Edited 2012-10-13 13:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Remember...
by zima on Sun 14th Oct 2012 11:13 in reply to "RE: Remember..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, you have to give it to Nokia : while Apple just chose to throw away Copland altogether and produce yet another UNIX clone instead, Nokia actually managed to fix enough of the problems that they encountered during their development hell to release a working product (the N9), which I believe is a fairly unique achievement in the computer industry ! ;)

What was N9 OS if not "yet another UNIX clone"? (some of its fans even specifically focus on how it's more "really *nix" than Android) And while Apple did throw away Copland, 1) I think some of Copland tech found its way into ~OS9 2) some Classic tech definately found its way into OSX - it was a moderately smooth transition.

Also, "a working product" might be not the most precise description (for example: http://www.mobile-review.com/review/nokia-n9-2-en.shtml & especially in view of the enormous R&D costs and the time it took; not sure from where the perpetuated myth comes, perhaps some people wish to see it as better than it was; or, from another perspective: products can be also judged by their marketplace performance)

More seriously, I think that many people around here feel sympathetic towards the old Nokia because, as is apparent in the article, it was one of the few remaining tech companies with engineers in power. Though it is also made obvious here that this approach has its problems, especially in large companies, there is something saddening about the way executives don't understand what their employees are doing these days, and can only think in terms of paying the bills and selling to the largest number. That may be a safer way to keep a company afloat and profitable, but it is alienating for workers and surely does not help innovation.

http://kyon.pl/img/21355,smbc-comics.com,.html ;)

And many (often the same?) people can't seem to accept how the present situation of Nokia didn't come from, say, the saboteur Canadian - but is the result of wide-scale company dynamics present & quite visible for around half a decade, by now.

BTW, I'd say that not safely keeping a company afloat and profitable alienates workers much more, and really surely doesn't help innovation

Reply Parent Score: 2