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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Member since:

So the N9 comes out in limited quantity and is rated BETTER than the iPhone, and there is the N950 with a Qwerty slide-out but limited to developers, and both are killed. They had the existing Ovi app store and the rest including fairly easy development frameworks. These were replaced with .. nothing for several months while the not-upgradable-to-win-8 first Lumias were engineered, which bombed.

Exactly as planned and Elop gets a $25M bonus for the assassination.

Reply Score: 19

WereCatf Member since:

Nokia isn't dead.

No, it isn't. But it is pretty much gutted. Nokia came to power and prominence through its mobile phones, starting all the way with the luggable NMT-ones, and now that they sold that part of their business to Microsoft there's very little anything of interest left, there's little to no charisma or anything to identify them as a company left. It's disheartening.

The existence of the N9 that was so damnably good doesn't help the situation at all; it's just a bitter reminder of what could've been.

Reply Parent Score: 8

jared_wilkes Member since:

At worst, it's as dead as Palm is. At best, it's as alive as Palm is.

It's time for you to let go.

Reply Parent Score: 14

WereCatf Member since:

Both were shitty phones, that nobody wanted.

Oh, really? Based on... what, exactly? Go ahead, try and google "Nokia N9 review" and you'll see plenty of praise for it and lots of people wanting it. Even my lil' sis' who is definitely not a geek or nerd owns one and she totally loves it.

I'd say there's someone here who is delusional and it certainly isn't me or the OP.

Reply Parent Score: 7

bassbeast Member since:

Oh Please! Nokia was dead before Elop set foot in the door, he was just brought in to throw a Hail Mary and it failed.

The precious Maemo/Meego? It was being sabotaged on TWO fronts, within by Team Symbian, and without by their "partner" Intel. When you have a culture that has gotten that toxic? give it up. I'll just leave this here for your education..

Reply Parent Score: 7

Dano Member since:

I'm just glad that the fan boys on OS News don't run my company!

Reply Parent Score: 1

Dano Member since:

That is a damn interesting article. Sounds like OS development was a mess and that the product pipeline was dry before Elop.

Another interesting quote from the article:

In addition to tens of their own people they hired consultants from outside of Nokia. As a result a decision was made that the combination of Symbian and MeeGo was not sufficient for a succesful long term strategy.

Reply Parent Score: 3

drcoldfoot Member since:

I believe Elop and the rest of the executive team should be arrested for the obvious scuttling of a company that had an obvious fighting chance in the mobile market. I believe this was a backroom deal from the minute that they announced that they scrapped Meego for WP. The only people that had a gain from this is Microsoft for the patent portfolio and indemnifications, and those few top execs.

Reply Parent Score: 6

Dano Member since:

Not true. Nokia would face the same uphill battle...developing an ecosystem for a new OS...but they would have to do it alone without injections of cash from Microsoft. I just don't see why detractors are caught up in this business reality distortion field.

Reply Parent Score: 2