Nokia CEO Elop: We’re standing on a burning platform

“With Nokia expected to unveil a shift in its long term strategy at the company’s annual Capital Markets Day this Friday, it should be no surprise that rumor and conjecture are rife,” Steve O’Hear reports for TechCrunch. “Much of that has focused on whether or not the Finnish mobile giant will be adopting a third-party platform with talk of Windows Phone 7 given new CEO Stephen Elop’s previous connection with Redmond. A rumor that our well-placed sources would appear to confirm – see below.”

“But we’re also hearing that Nokia is planning to lay down stronger roots in Silicon Valley too – like so many a European tech outfit… And in what looks like preparing the troops for a major change of direction, an internal Nokia memo titled ‘Standing on a burning platform’ has been doing the rounds,” O’Hear reports. “The widely distributed circular penned by Elop himself is a description of Nokia’s somewhat precarious position – and I say that as someone who has been fairly bullish on the handset maker’s recent products.”

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Jobs, pyromaniac.

O’Hear reports, “Specifically, our sources say that the memo paints a picture of a smartphone market in which Apple owns the high end, Android is winning in the mid-range, and Chinese competitors – MediaTek is singled out – are likely to snatch the low end. In other words, Nokia is being attacked on all fronts. Symbian and MeeGo are cited as simply not being competitive enough. Instead, the choices facing the company, as hinted at by Elop in Nokia’s recent earnings call, are to ‘build, catalyse or join’ – the implication, says one source, is that to build is a reference to Symbian or Meego, catalyse refers to Windows Phone 7 and join would mean Android.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Going from MeeGo to MeToo is not a winning strategy, it’s merely a survival strategy. It’s wholly unsurprising that Microsoftie Elop would chose such a route.

34 Comments

  1. Funny, funny stuff. Looks like we’re officially down to 4 (that matter).

    * iOS
    * Android (the wannabe iOS and “Hey, look at all our features that geeks will love, but might confuse regular people.”)
    * Windows 7 (“When it comes to apps, less is more. Uh, unless we’re talking about the Mac, where less is less. Look at the monkey! Look at the monkey!!”)
    * Blackberry (Phone plus typewriter — exciting!)

    http://taketotask.wordpress.com/

  2. I can’t believe Nokia’s Board of Directors and shareholders are swallowing this BS. Nokia is probably the only company that has a chance of competing with Apple using internal resource – i.e. their own hardware designs and their own software. Tossing one of these out the window is an act of desperation and will be perceived as such by customers. Why would I buy a Nokia Android phone over Sammy, HTC, LG, etc. etc.? Or a Nokia Windows phone. Everything that differentiates Nokia will be gone.

    Unlike Motorola’s cellphone business, Nokia is not quite at death’s door and shouldn’t resort to such extremes. At least RIM is trying to improve their own product in house, although it doesn’t look like they’ll succeed in time.

    Obviously, Elop is the Manchurian CEO, sent to destroy Nokia from within and it looks like he’s making a good start.

  3. @Famous Grouse,

    I totally disagree. There are currently 3 viable mobile platforms:
    iOS
    Android
    WP7

    WP7 is only on the viable list because Microsoft will continue to pour money into it, build out the ecosystem, and bring on hardware partners who can take the same Android phone and put WP7 on it and sell it as another option.

    As great as iOS is, there is still a very large lucrative market for the remaining scraps. Look at the MP3 player market…Apple dominates, but there’s still room for the scraps.

    RIM is dead. They won’t be able to transition from typewriter phones to the new generation. Slowly as people give up on their old phones, they’ll migrate over. There is no upgrade or transition path for RIM. It’s why all their attempts to date have failed. If you own an old Blackberry, you may be ready to give up the typewriter, but that means you’re starting from scratch and there’s no downside at that point to going with the best platform (iOS). This is different from switching to Mac wherein a user may see that OS X is superior, but they own a bunch of Windows 7 software and accessories, plus already know how to use Windows, etc…

    Nokia is in the same boat as RIM. There’s no new generation user base. No ecosystem. Symbian isn’t up to the task. Meego could be developed into a usable platform, but where’s the user base, the ecosystem, the developers, the apps, the content, the accessories, etc…

    What competitive advantage would Nokia have over someone offering Android or WP7? It would be purely disadvantage as the new platform would lack everything built to date around Android and even WP7.

    It’s worth looking at why people bought Nokia phones and where their strengths and weaknesses are. Nokia could build high-spec phones and phones that could be used to protect tanks. Nokia could never build phones with a decent interface, create an ecosystem, or get decent app development.

    So their best bet for survival is to give up on the company that could’ve been if Jobs was their CEO or if Jonathan Ive worked for them, but instead prepare to scale down and continue to build highly durable tank protecting dumb phones along with joining in with WP7 and Android.

  4. Damnit Nokia, you want to be successful? Then make your own smartphone OS, make it original, and make it good! That’s how Apple did it for god’s sake, how hard is it to grasp the concept!?

    Sigh.

    Apple’s first true competitor will be whoever actually understands their philosophy instead of blindly copying their products.

  5. Nokia has already passed the oblivion tipping point. Now, there will be a bunch of fanfare and alliances announced to artificially delay the inevitable. Ships and icebergs don’t mingle well. Nokia will be acquired or simply sink by 2013.

  6. @ Burning platform

    If any ol’ company can do what Apple does, they’d be doing it already. The truth is, what Apple does is very risky and it takes courageous leadership (not just “vision” and talented people).

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