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DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! × A Timely Revision of Elop's "Burning Platform" Memo144 Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft's purchase of Finnish phone-maker Nokia will enrich the latter's CEO, Stephen Elop, to the tune of roughly$25.4 million. That's a generous number, considering Nokia's much-publicized travails over the past few years — generous enough, certainly, to prod angry reactions from the Finnish media. As Elop came aboard Nokia in 2011, he wrote the infamous 'burning platform' memo, in which he suggested that radical moves would be necessary to halt the company's market-share declines. In light of these latest revelations, however, I offer an updated version of Elop's memo: ''
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A Timely Revision of Elop's "Burning Platform" Memo

• It shoud have suprised no one (Score:5, Insightful)

<dadinportland@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:01PM (#44950687) Homepage Journal

everyone know this was his goal from the beginning. You don't become CEO, and make a statement like that without the intention of selling.

• Re: It shoud have suprised no one (Score:2)

Well duh. elop took a good brand. Stole and/or sold all the cash, good will and intelligence out. Shot it in the head and then raped the corpse a couple of times and sold the sloppy seconds to Ballmer who gobbled it up greedily.

I think someone needs to revoke my metaphor license for a while.

• Re: It shoud have suprised no one (Score:4, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:22PM (#44950935)

Looks like what microsoft did to a number of other companies in the 90s, like SGI for instance.

Cripple your competition to get a leg up.

Seriously how anyone would be stupid enough to hire a microsoft manager for ANY critical strategic position in their company after the past two decades of activities show that most companies aren't paying attention to history and thus dooming themselves to repeat it.

• Re: (Score:2)

The answer to your question does NOT lie in trying to re-imagine what expectations may have been reasonable, in retrospect, now years later.

Rather, look at the share price during Elop's tenure. And remember that the share price at the day he took over the helm already reflected everything that was known about their future prospects as of that moment. Anything that has changed since then has been under his watch. There is no doubt he would have been even more richly rewarded had he pulled off the improb

• Re: (Score:2)

The share price when he took over reflected a successful MeeGo project about to go live which would convert a large chunk of the Symbian userbase. By the time Elop arrived that was known not to be true. Arguably the reason Elop was hired was because the board knew that wasn't true.

• Re: It shoud have suprised no one (Score:5, Informative)

<bm_witness@yahoo . c om> on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @04:06PM (#44952211) Homepage Journal

You missed a key fact: Elop took a good brand that now had only unwanted, aging products that could no longer compete, executed the most expensive failures, and sold the rest before the marketplace killed them completely.

Funny how they were still selling quite a lot of them until Elop came around.

Had he pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into Symbian, and tried to make a go of it based on an existing loyal fan base and lots of marketing, he would have ended up EXACTLY like Blackberry -- warehouses filled with unsold phones, flat broke, and completely irrelevant in the marketplace.

FYI - All those Symbian devs and their Symbian apps had a migration path from Symbian to Maemo/MeeGo.

Also Nokia didn't have the same issue BB had in having a central network that was essential to the platform and have a major crash that took weeks to fix and caused headaches for their customers. That is really why BB fell in market share - everyone was looking for something more reliable. BB10 is a great little platform, but they have a reputation they have to fix - something that takes a long time to do and they may not be able to recover from.

At least with Microsoft owning them, they're not broke. I don't know why everyone on slashdot has remained so deluded about Nokia's potential future had Elop not taken those actions. They were not competitive, and their prospects were poor. If Symbian and Meego were as great as everyone here imagines, why weren't they crushing iPhones back in 2010?

In 2010 MeeGo wasn't out. It was just about to be released when Elop wrote the "burning platform" memo; and during the presentation to the press he stood up on stage and said "We're not doing this; look I have another one running Windows Phone and that is our future" - intentially sabotaging it before it even hit market. Yet, as others have pointed out, with no marketing the MeeGo Phone outsold the Lumias wherever they were both sold in the same markets - and not by small margins - by 3:1 ratios. Every review of the MeeGo phones compared it to the iPhone; it would have been a killer - and at the very least a very strong third, leaving everyone else to fight for fourth - had it not been for Elop.

• Re: (Score:2)

Funny how they were still selling quite a lot of them until Elop came around.

And RIM were selling quite a lot of Blackberries until it was too late.

FYI - All those Symbian devs and their Symbian apps had a migration path from Symbian to Maemo/MeeGo.

That's what the powerpoint said. In practice, there were... issues.

Also Nokia didn't have the same issue BB had in having a central network that was essential to the platform and have a major crash that took weeks to fix and caused headaches for their customers.

Nokia had another issue: being the company that allowed the N97 to be released. That was in 2009, years after iPhone was on the market. All that happened after was, in essence, karmic justice.

In 2010 MeeGo wasn't out. It was just about to be released when Elop wrote the "burning platform" memo; and during the presentation to the press he stood up on stage and said "We're not doing this; look I have another one running Windows Phone and that is our future" - intentially sabotaging it before it even hit market.

Your time window for "just about to be released" must stretch for half a year.
And, I'm afraid, your description of a presentation has no basis in documented reality. It was known sin

• Re: (Score:2)

Funny how they were still selling quite a lot of them until Elop came around.

And RIM were selling quite a lot of Blackberries until it was too late.

My point was that comparing RIM/BB and Nokia is not valid - its an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Nokia is where it is today because of Elop and numerous things he did as CEO - from declaring symbian/meego/maemo dead and their move to WP. Prior to all of that Nokia was relatively healthy and in a good position to make a transition; after those things they were not. Please take off your revisionist history glasses.

RIM/BB is where they are because they had a technical failure in their network that severel

• Re: (Score:2)

(Sigh) Please read this [taskumuro.com]. Keep close attention to the dates and how each device is named. I hope it will help to remove a lot of confusion from your postings. As someone who was in on the events described, I can attest that the article is mostly correct.

What myth? It's in numerous sources backed up by financials and information from Nokia itself.

Continuation of this discussion would require you to provide the sources.

• Re:It shoud have suprised no one (Score:5, Interesting)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:29PM (#44951037) Journal

everyone know this was his goal from the beginning. You don't become CEO, and make a statement like that without the intention of selling.

I would submit that it didn't surprise *anyone*. The people who insisted that this outcome was not planned from the start are the same people who benefit from the results. (In other words, they were lying. Everyone knows it, so they don't have to feign surprise.) The people who were hoping against hope that this was not the case, really had to know in their heart of hearts that this was the intended end game. And the rest of us could see this coming from 4100 miles away.

This should be yet another lesson to companies across the planet. Your CEO may not be working for you. If what any executive says doesn't make sense, INVESTIGATE. Don't just take their word for it. Their goals may be entirely different from the company's goals.

• Re:It shoud have suprised no one (Score:5, Insightful)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @03:01PM (#44951403) Journal

Also, ask these guys why they sold out.

• Re:It shoud have suprised no one (Score:4, Insightful)

<bassbeast1968@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @06:53PM (#44954249) Journal

Riiiight, he and the board risked millions in fines and prison time all so they could tank the company in the HOPES that MSFT would buy them and not just wait until they collapsed and buy the best pieces...I have a bridge you may be interested in BTW.

Look its REALLY simple, okay? The board fucked up and let there end up not one, not two, but THREE different OSes, none of which could compete with iOS and Android. There best hope MeeGo/MaeMo was being actively sabotaged by both Symbian on the inside and Intel on the outside, and being the #1 dumbphone maker in this day and age of free Android phones from even the prepaid bunches was about as useful as being the biggest 8-track maker in 1987. So Elop was brought in to do the dirty work, kill the no longer update-able Symbian and to throw a Hail Mary pass and hope to gain some ground and...it failed.

so I'm sorry but they really didn't have any other option, they really didn't thanks to the board sitting on ass too long, a repeat of Palm. Ironically the best bet would have been WebOS but HP was willing to pay insane-o money for it so it was off the table, and Android is a shark tank that is in a race to the bottom. While Nokia can make dirt cheap dumbphones they have NOT shown the ability to repeat that in smartphones and there is no way in hell they would have been able to fight Samsung,HTC, and Huawei toe to toe, no way. All that was left was a Hail mary, hence the "burning platform" but there is a REASON why they call it a Hail Mary because it has but a slim prayer of working. If it would have worked I''m sure the Googleites here would be screaming how "It was all Ballmer's plan to take over Nokia!" so damned if you do, damned if you don't. Would you have rather he broke up the company and sold it like a corporate raider, like is what is likely to be the fate of BB?

• Re: (Score:3)

Riiiight, he and the board risked millions in fines and prison time

How often does that happen with such a multinational situation? Can you find one example?

• How To Accomplish The "Elop Effect" (Score:5, Insightful)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:11PM (#44950795) Homepage

Tomi Ahonen [blogs.com] has the formula down perfectly, with explanations:

ELOP EFFECT = RATNER EFFECT + OSBORNE EFFECT

• Re:How To Accomplish The "Elop Effect" (Score:5, Insightful)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @03:07PM (#44951479)

Yeah, but Tomi Ahonen is a moron. This is the same guy who claimed that Symbian was clearly the best mobile smartphone OS and would crush iOS & Android if only given a chance. Riiight....

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2013/02/nokia-misery-in-single-pictures-today-part-8-in-series-the-elop-strategy-to-go-windows-from-feb-11-2.html

• Re:How To Accomplish The "Elop Effect" (Score:5, Insightful)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @04:50PM (#44952871) Homepage

Yeah, but Tomi Ahonen is a moron.

Ah yes, good 'ol character assassination is alive and well here. Never mind the accolades Ahonen has received over the years, nor his lectures at Oxford, nor his authoritative books, nor his amazingly accurate record of predictions in the Mobile Phone industry, year after year, nor his personal network of staffers at almost every Mobile Phone company and provider in the world... nor how many times he made other supposed expert analysts look like fools (ZDnet, Howard Forums, etc. etc.)

• Re:How To Accomplish The "Elop Effect" (Score:4, Insightful)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @07:25PM (#44954521) Journal

Never mind the accolades Ahonen has received over the years, nor his lectures at Oxford, nor his authoritative books, nor his amazingly accurate record of predictions in the Mobile Phone industry, year after year, nor his personal network of staffers at almost every Mobile Phone company and provider in the world... nor how many times he made other supposed expert analysts look like fools (ZDnet, Howard Forums, etc. etc.)

Never mind that, because very little of it is actually true.
For the record of his predictions, here's one [daringfireball.net].
Sorry, but Tomi is really a tedious moron who passes himself off as an expert to gullible people.

• Re: (Score:2)

Rrrrrriiiiiiiiiight. You can claim that Tomi Ahonen is a moron all you like, but it doesn't reflect well upon your discernment.

• Re: (Score:2)

That was an interesting read, thanks.

Also, the comments are insightful. True, the whole thing did have one other effect that is barely noticed: It killed the last big smartphone OS that was not developed by a US company.

• "Burning Platform" (Score:2)

Anyone else think it was going to be a revision for where they are today? On the burning platform that is Windows Phone...

Seriously, I think they are a recoverable company. They gave Elop three years to destroy them... Why not give me three years?

• Re:"Burning Platform" (Score:5, Funny)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:19PM (#44950911)

Because you don't have the money to buy the company, nor are you friends with their friends.

I would have driven their company into the ground for a mere fraction of what Elop was paid or squandered. Yet, they never called me.

• Re: (Score:2)

Shit, if they'd offered me 250k a year to sit on my butt and do nothing I'd have gladly accepted.

Having said that, there's a chance that without my expert oversight they might have got their act together by either their own ability or pure dumb luck.

• Re: (Score:2)

I would have driven their company into the ground for a mere fraction of what Elop was paid or squandered. Yet, they never called me.

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000/1 is a fraction. $\forall x \in \N: x \in \Q$

• Re: (Score:2)

Nothing personal, but I'm not certain that you could have done such a complete and utterly devastating job of running Nokia into the ground. I mean, that was one hell of a company with some outstanding potential. It takes a lot of real talent to ruin something so perfectly.
• Re: (Score:2)

> Anyone else think it was going to be a revision for where they are today? On the burning platform that is Windows Phone...

Well, yeah, but for that they wouldn't have to change the presentation hardly at all, and it wouldn't have been as funny.

• fun right back (Score:5, Interesting)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:14PM (#44950847)

What would be funny is if....

shareholders launched a court battle to prevent the takeover, and claim compensation and/or charges against Elop and while that dragged through the courts for years (as they do) the new CEO decided that actually, Windows phone isn't the profit thing he wants and changes the OS platform to Android across the board of Lumia phones, dropping Windows Phone completely.

Years later when the courts finally decide that "meh" is the answer to the charges, Microsoft can go ahead with the purchase for the manufacturing arm, if they still wanted to, and Elop could then find a new job - as I doubt even Microsoft would appoint him as CEO whilst he was fighting an active court case.

Could happen? hehehe. and you never know, Nokia could turn things around like Samsung did with Android.

(and yes, they could do Meego, but frankly this isn't about making a success of the company for Microsoft's benefit..)

• Re: (Score:2)

Elop could then find a new job

Elop is already back at Microsoft employed in his new job.

• Nokia were about to switch to Android (Score:4, Informative)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:15PM (#44950855)

On a related note there is a rumour that Nokia were about to switch to Android just before the buyout.
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/nokia-reportedly-considered-switching-to-android-before-microsoft-deal/421972-11.html [in.com]

This leads some analysts to speculate that Microsoft bought Nokia to save Windows phone:
http://www.valuewalk.com/2013/09/microsoft-bought-nokia-to-save-windows-phone/ [valuewalk.com]

• Re: (Score:2)

If that's true, then Elop certainly earned his money.

Selling a failing cell phone company purely on a bluff...Like another Android phone company would matter. One less windows phone company on the other hand, is kind of a big deal.

• Re: (Score:2)

More like Nokia was out of steam and looking for a buyer. If Microsoft didn't buy it they could have ended up being bought by somebody less sympathetic to Windows Phone leaving MS in a seriously bad spot on the mobile market.

No need for rumor. It was either buy Nokia and keep some chance of fighting against Apple, Samsung, Google or quit the mobile market.

• How do we fix this? (Score:1)

by Anonymous Coward

This is just situation normal: Disaster capital in the shape of corporate raiders sees something with value, figures, "How can I use this to make ME rich?" and comes up with a scheme to slash and burn a maximum payday in the shortest amount of time they can manage it.

The real question is how do you find, reward and control management so that it isn't looking for the opportunity to perform slash and burn treasure-hunting in the carcass of your dying company? Is there a way? Can a co-operative business stru

• Re: (Score:3)

You want perpetually dying 'zombie' companies? Brains...er...breakeven...must...fund...retirements.

Better to put them out of their misery then leave them as millstones around an economies neck. Look at England in the '60s and 70s. Perpetual breakeven...nationalization...misery.

• Re: (Score:2)

So the biggest seller of phones on the planet was a 'zombie' company?
What exactly is your motivation in rewriting history to the opposite of reality?
• Re: (Score:2)

The biggest seller of obsolete phones.

• Re: (Score:2)

The biggest seller of phones that were selling. for example Microsoft have happily been selling stuff with an obsolete file system for well over a decade after planning to replace it - but it does the job and people are buying the software. Similarly even last quarter Nokia were selling more phones with an obsolete symbian OS installed than Apple sold in total.

Of course you know all this but are playing some silly mass debate game where reality doesn't matter and you just want to get a reaction out of pe
• Why did this make the front page? (Score:3, Interesting)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:22PM (#44950939)

I'd expected something funny or at least insightful.

But then neither is the actual situation. It is sad to see Nokia essentially go (yes, the corporation lives on, but without what had become the heart). And it is hard to see how there is an upside for Microsoft in this. A lose-lose, with bad actors taking home lots of cash.

Oh well, perhaps someday someone will turn it into a great play. It has all the seeds of a classic Greek tragedy (Hubris, fate, etc.)

• Re:Why did this make the front page? (Score:5, Insightful)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:27PM (#44951003)
Never ascribe to hubris and fate that which can be attributed to incompetence and greed.
• it's a free market (Score:3)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:30PM (#44951047)

Elop took over, Nokia stock fell, and anybody with half a brain didn't lose too much. Any reasonably smart Nokia employee would also have seen the writing on the wall and left the sinking ship. Microsoft can now acquire a mostly useless shell of a company at a low price, and they are getting their money's worth. The capital that Nokia lost went to other companies that can make better use of it. That's the way markets work. I don't think it's a big deal either way.

Incidentally, switching to Android "after late 2014" would have been too late for Nokia anyway.

• Re: (Score:2)

Any reasonably smart Nokia employee would also have seen the writing on the wall and left the sinking ship.

Given the fact that Nokia's revenue used to be more than 10% of Finland's GDP, it might not have been so easy for a large number of Nokia's engineers to move to different jobs at about the same time ...

• Re: (Score:2)

Finland is part of the EU; they can move anywhere freely.

• This should not be a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:38PM (#44951139)

I don't know why anyone is upset about this. It shouldn't be a surprise. Tech history is littered with the remains of corporate entities who once partnered with Microsoft. What part of "Embrace, Extend and Extinguish" did Nokia think did not apply to them?

• Re: (Score:2)

Or perhaps, the mobile business is a very stinky place to be in right now, if you're not Apple, Samsung or a cheap Chinese OEM.

Between iPhone at the high end and Chinese OEMs at the low end, and Samsung in the middle, every other company is suffering.

Motorola switched to Android and is increasing it's losses bringing down Google's earnings.

HTC's profit is down 98% and is barely ekeing out a profit.

http://www.theguardian.com/tech [theguardian.com]

• Re: (Score:3)

I don't know why anyone is upset about this. It shouldn't be a surprise. Tech history is littered with the remains of corporate entities who once partnered with Microsoft. What part of "Embrace, Extend and Extinguish" did Nokia think did not apply to them?

At least the embrace and extend parts, perhaps all three.

"Embrace, Extend and Extinguish" refers to Microsoft adopting an externally developed cross platform technology (Embrace), adding proprietary features incompatible with the original (Extend), moving their own efforts and inciting/pressuring third parties to use the Microsoft extensions therefore wiping out the cross platform utility of the technology and any interest in the original form (Extinguish)

How does this apply to Nokia? As far as I can see,

• Re: (Score:2)

Well, there's some discussion that Microsoft planned every step of this. Hubris aside, Microsoft must realize Windows Phone wouldn't do better than low single digits, which means that any independently operating supplier would eventually either drop them or go under. Planting their own shill, or corrupting an existing shill in a major supplier, causing that suppler to be artificially devalued to a fraction of its former value, and then acquiring same, is the only reasonable way Microsoft can remain a play

• Re: (Score:2)

I don't know why anyone is upset about this. It shouldn't be a surprise. Tech history is littered with the remains of corporate entities who once partnered with Microsoft. What part of "Embrace, Extend and Extinguish" did Nokia think did not apply to them?

Not sure what Nokia thought, but this time it looks like Microsoft skipped the "Extend" step.

• Well, the EXTEND bit is sure as hell missing (Score:2)

When did MS exactly extend Nokia? The Windows Phone adventure has been a complete disaster, even Steve Ballmer has to admit recently their market share went from very small to very small. And they been trying for over a decade. HTC only survived by escaping the stigma off making Windows phones.

• Burning platform indeed (Score:1)

by Anonymous Coward

Elop seemed to hint in his memo that Nokia needed to save their burning platform to survive. With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see that he was actually foreshadowing a desperate panicked jump into icy unknown depths for Nokia—abandoning the platform for questionable benefit.

Elop didn't bother to mention what such a jump would mean for him personally for he had secured a secret golden parachute to kick in should the company happen to change hands. And Nokia would only change hands if that pla

• So many comments and nobody pointed out.. (Score:1)

by Anonymous Coward

So many comments and nobody pointed out that the summary is completely wrong. Nokia wasn't sold. The D&S division of Nokia was sold. Nokia is still a huge networks solutions developer and provider. More than that, they run the largest or the second largest mapping business. And then finally, the still hold the largest patent portfolio in wireless communications from infrastructure to devices and protocols, etc. In this year's Nokia World invitation there's a dinghy, which is "Jolla" in Finnish, so there

• Re: (Score:2)

And then finally, the still hold the largest patent portfolio in wireless communications from infrastructure to devices and protocols, etc.

I thought that was all sold for an apple and an egg to some unknown American company called "Vringo"? We'll see where those patents (or rather patent lawsuits) surface again..

The original burning platform memo is worth a read. It was an acute analysis of Nokia's problems. http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2011/02/09/full-text-nokia-ceo-stephen-elops-burning-platform-memo/ [wsj.com] All Elop did was state the obvious, that Nokia was in serious trouble.

As for moving away from Symbian... Nokia is a business. Business exist to make money. Anyone who takes about share and not profits is in lala land.

• They were on a burning platform (Score:2)

Just look at RIM. Their platform is literally crashing and burning as you read this. Nokia's best play was to stick with Windows Phone and get bought by Microsoft. Sure they could have made Android phones, but its not like HTC and LG and Sony are moving product. Maybe Nokia could do better, but at least with Microsoft they had a partner to push help push through technical hurdles and to contribute to marketing.
• TFA (Score:2)

TFA is crap, horrible blog-level amateur writing.

It does, however, have a point. If this wasn't a hostile takeover from the start then it sure looks a lot like one. In other words: If MS had planned to acquire Nokia on the cheap long ago, something like what happened would've been a good plan to come up with.

And it should really teach people to not get into bed with MS. But then again, so should've the last dozen or so victims they left behind.

• Elop burned the platform, MS provided the means. (Score:2)

What Elop won't tell you is that Microsoft provided the accelerant and the orders to use it. It's quite hard to make Nokia a Windows Phone company if you have viable platforms that compete with it

• Counter Argument - RIM/BlackBerry (Score:3)

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @11:08PM (#44955921)

RIM stuck to their guns with BlackBerry, didn't save it and are circling the drain ever faster.

The Nokia stuff was old, Meego was not remotely close to ready (I worked in a shared office with someone contracted to help fix it and from his description a lot was still left when they shelved the product) so they had to make a change. Many of us questioned the exclusive WP choice but we'll never know if they'd chosen a split model or exclusively Android whether they could have convinced carriers to sell their phones. (For all we know discussions happened and carriers rejected them and MS tossed some cash around).

• Re: (Score:2)

Yeah yeah except the small detail that the Meego phone actually sold better despite not being available in most countries then the heavily advertised Lumnia 800. But hey, why let facts get in the way.

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