Jolla files for debt restructuring

Jolla Ltd, the mobile company from Finland today announced that its latest financing round which aimed to end in November, has been postponed and the company needs to adjust its operations accordingly. At the same time the company has filed for a debt restructuring program in Finland, to ensure the continuity of its business. Jolla will also temporarily lay off a big part of its personnel.

To anyone capable of basic pattern recognition, this does not come as a surprise. I doubt I’m getting my tablet, even though I backed it in the first hour of availability, but to be honest, I’m much more concerned about the people being “temporarily” laid off. These are all people who took an incredible risk to follow a dream, and I hope – despite the dire signs – Jolla pulls through and they can keep their jobs, or that they can easily and quickly find new jobs.

Almost two years ago, I wrote in my Jolla review:

Few devices have a history as complicated as the Jolla and Sailfish. The ten-year journey from the Nokia N770 to the Jolla was long, arduous, filled with focus shifts, mergers, and other complications. Like the nameless protagonist in The Last Resort, in order to step out of the shadows of the old world, Jolla had to leave Providence behind, traverse the Great Divide, cross the Rockies to reach the Malibu, and set sail across the Pacific to end up on the pearly white beaches of Lahaina.

However, also just like the nameless protagonist, they found that the natural beauty of Lahaina had already been framed and plasticised by hotel chains and fast food restaurants. It is in that environment that Jolla must make a stand and survive – because there’s no more new frontier.

It seems like Jolla was unable to survive amidst the hotel chains and fast food restaurants of the mobile technology industry.

Only a few days ago, my brother had a gift for me. Something special, something I know he cares about a lot. A square black box, embossed with the outline of a phone with a slide-out keyboard, and, in silver lettering, the timeless “NOKIA Nseries” and “Nokia N900”. None of you know my brother – obviously – but I know just how huge of a moment this was. Up until only a few months ago, he still used his Nokia N900 as his one and only smartphone. Not as a curiosity for parlour tricks – no, as his primary, day-to-day smartphone.

His attachment and love for his N900 is something you don’t see very often in technology. It’s not the kind of deluded fandom you see in some other circles, but more of a “I know this device is outdated and slow and that the software isn’t very modern, but it works for me“. Talk to any current N900 user, and you’ll get the same vibe. In fact, the N900 my brother gave to me wasn’t his only one, he still has another one as back-up.

As a back-up to what? Well, after a short stint with a Nokia N9 – which I bought from him a few years ago – he went back to his N900, until a few months ago, when he finally settled on a new device, a Sony Z3 Compact. After the last few months, he finally felt comfortable enough to donate one of his N900s (but not both!). Unsurprisingly, he was always interested in Jolla and kept an eye on them, and while he certainly played with mine on occasion, it never clicked.

When, as Jolla, spiritual successor to the infamous and beloved Nokia Maemo/Harmattan family, you can’t even entice someone like my brother, you know you’re lost in a world where you’re never going to compete with Android or iOS.

My limited edition Jolla The First One will always have a special place in my heart, and the tablet, if it ever ships to me, will certainly be one of the more prized curiosities in my collection, but I’m afraid the ship has sailed on Jolla.

It’s probably in Fiji by now.


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