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.

Heart-breaking.

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Dano
Member since:
2006-01-22

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

Reply Parent Score: -1

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

It was cancelled because it was not good enough.


Yeah, sure. Developers loved it, reviewers loved it, users loved it, but nooo, it wasn't good enough.

How is Nokia gutted? They still make great hardware.


There's nothing original to them anymore and they can't even make any hardware that Microsoft doesn't tell them to.

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


And speaking out loud is so tens of thousands of year ago -- and yet it still manages to be plenty useful.

Reply Parent Score: 13

Dano Member since:
2006-01-22


Yeah, sure. Developers loved it, reviewers loved it, users loved it, but nooo, it wasn't good enough.


YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT. It may be good but you can't build a business off of it for external reasons.


There's nothing original to them anymore and they can't even make any hardware that Microsoft doesn't tell them to.


You don't know that. Mostly all of the talent at Nokia is still in place working on the next cycle of phones. Nokia has a 6" model coming out and I want it! I just bought my 925 a month ago!



And speaking out loud is so tens of thousands of year ago -- and yet it still manages to be plenty useful.


If anyone I saw flipped that keyboard out I would be like...damn this guy is a dinosaur. And I myself am old. LOL

Edited 2013-10-10 04:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 0

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

First of all the N9 *was* awesome by all accounts.

However after reading about the demise of Blackberry, I think Nokia's thinking makes a little more sense.

I think Nokia ( Elop) saw the vast delays on Mameo/Meego and realized the amount of money and time it would take to make it successful would exceed the amount of money it and symbian would produce. He found someone that would reduce the software risks and provide the funding/marketing to keep them afloat.

I totally understand the conspiratorial aspect that people think Elop went into the job thinking that he would gut it and sell out to MS. I do think he actually set out to do that as well. But, I also understand how he can sleep at night thinking what he was going to do was best for all parties.

Its really a question of risk. Going alone with Meego would have had a higher Risk/Reward. Going with MS reduced the risk and the reward. Given this, I think its a shoe in that Elop becomes CEO of microsoft. As a large company, they hate risk.

MS's life story is one of waiting for other companies to prove concepts, then try to follow producing an inferior product that they just continue improving over time.

Reply Parent Score: 4

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

First of all the N9 *was* awesome by all accounts.

Not by all accounts - for example, look at conclusions of this review: http://www.mobile-review.com/review/nokia-n9-2-en.shtml

Reply Parent Score: 2