LONDON – A leaked internal memo from Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has read the proverbial "riot act" to the company's staff by likening the company to an oil worker facing death on a burning oil rig.
He goes further and says Nokia is underperforming, failing to make changes quickly enough and that its own mobile phone platforms are burning up under the heat from the likes of Apple, Google and MediaTek.
The point of Elop's lengthy story is that while the oil rig worker would never normally jump into the icy waters of the North Sea the "burning platform" forces a radical change in behavior, and the worker thereby survives to tell the tale.
In the memo Elop admits that Apple has redefined and now owns the high-end of the smartphone range and that MediaTek, with systems partners in Shenzhen region of China, has energized the low-end creating an ecosystem that is responsible for approaching one third of mobile phones sold globally. Symbian is described as "non-competitive" and as a "difficult environment" to develop in.
The catalogue of self-flagellating woes does not end there; Elop adds that its own MeeGo initiative is going too slowly. "However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market," Elop said in his memo.
Tellingly Elop states that Nokia is trying to fend off agile competition with the wrong tools. It is fighting on a device-by-device basis when really the battle is between whole ecosystems, something which Nokia has, presumably, neglected to develop.
It is not clear whether the leaking of this memo was deliberate but the timing immediately prior to the Mobile World Congress is bound to keep Nokia at the top of the news.
Nokia has been accounting for majority quality of mobile shipment in the last couple of years. I can't believe a buggy phone can be sustainable in the market for so long. There is no doubt that Nokia has failed to address the smartphone market with a market accepted device. N900 is actually a decent smartphone; yet, it is bulkier than the rival device. Let's see how the market responds to the upcoming Nokia-Windows7 device before the judgement is made.
I have a hard time believing that a win7 phone will price well anywhere but the top tier... and I don't see the top tier as being where most of the Asian and Indian market wants to invest for the time-being. But perhaps Nokia's two-tier approach of Symbian + Other will fly (where "Other" = MeeGo or Win7 or Android or ...).
Recently I read a signficant shareholder encouraging Nokia to ship a Windows phone. This would give Nokia a huge base of software engineers to help them re enter the smart phone arena. On the other hand, it is likely they would also be able to lay off a bunch...
But.... Would the Europeans buy it? HOw about Asia and India? I think it's fair to assume that they would do decent in the US...
Apple redefined MP3, and how you can use a phone. They made it easy. Nokia has made it buggy and unattractive (why would I want to run around holding a brick to my ear, so what if I can play games on it). That was clear 5 years ago. I dont think Nokia understands what it takes.
For me Nokia is losing out due to buggy phones. The number of people I've spoken to that have shared my problems with Nokia phones crashing and dropping calls is indicative of the problem. The last Nokia phone I had seemed to have better sensitivity than my current iPhone does, yet it would frequently crash or drop calls. After sharing my experience with a number of friends I switched. If Nokia doesn't address this they will die out.
That is a key point... products vs. ecosystems.
Apple made a strong stand and Nokia has failed to follow.
We're not talking only OS's here but also a good webpage where media can be found and perhaps a strategy in wich Nokia develops a main device. Apple doesn't have too many flavors of the iPhone. Thus... Perhaps Nokia should unveil a phone that competes against the iPhone or Android likes and present it as the "main product".
This report comes as no surprise as this was bound to happen. We have been discussing this issue (Nokia sticking to symbian) on this forum from last year. Atlast seems like Nokia has woken up, lets hope its not too late for Nokia to recapture the market.
"Elop adds that its own MeeGo initiative is going too slowly" "Only one Meego device by end of 2011"!!!. The only thing I dont understand is Why cant Nokia speed up development of MeeGo OS? They have so much resources at their disposal that they could have brought MeeGo 2.0 to market by now.