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## A Timely Revision of Elop's "Burning Platform" Memo144

• #### Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

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.

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 marketplac

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

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @01:57PM (#44951359)

Maemo could easily have been adapted to run android apps as well and the capability was even commercially available before Elop took over. An android track at Nokia could have had a decent chance competing with Samsung. Having an OS that there are actually people who want would have put Nokia at least in a better position.

Considering Nokia was selling 10 times as many phones as Apple in 2010 they certainly were utterly crushing iphones.

So, Nokia certainly had a future and Elop certainly ran one of the greatest destructions of value in history. Hopefully he'll go on doing the same and finish what Ballmer's started at Microsoft.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Maemo could easily have been adapted to run android apps as well and the capability was even commercially available before Elop took over. An android track at Nokia could have had a decent chance competing with Samsung. Having an OS that there are actually people who want would have put Nokia at least in a better position.

Why go with Maemo when they could have just used Android itself? It would have been much faster to market.

Also, if Maemo ran Android apps, then nobody would have developed natively for Maemo. They would have developed for Android and their apps would have been available to a much larger market.

Nokia went with Windows Phone because Android is an extremely competitive market and Nokia wanted to stand apart. Laugh at the marketshare of Windows Phone all you want, but Nokia sells more Windows Phones than mos

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Why go with Maemo when they could have just used Android itself? It would have been much faster to market.

Err, Nokia already had Maemo/Meego devices on the shelves. The decision to withhold their flagship device, the N9, from all major markets came directly from Elop.

Also, if Maemo ran Android apps, then nobody would have developed natively for Maemo. They would have developed for Android and their apps would have been available to a much larger market.

Ah, the good old OS/2 argument. I'm not convinced that it holds here. Technically speaking, Android is inferior to Meego as the latter provides a full-blown POSIX environment, for which many software packages and libraries are already available. Take LibreOffice, for instance. No usable Android port in sight, but packages for Maemo/Meego have been

• #### Re: (Score:2)

jesus humping stupid christ, listen POSIX fanbois.....here is something important for you to listen to:

nobody in the real world cares whether your phones operating system is POSIX compliant, apart from some developers, nobody else....my mother doesn't care, neither do I and I am a developer.

what I want is a system that works, I couldnt care less whether it's POSIX compliant or not, I just want it to be usable and useful. If I got that from a system which was not POSIX compliant, I would still be happy beca

• #### Re: (Score:2)

what you don't understand is that the "POSIX compliant" is just a way to say "we can run almost any software that already exists in linux and other *nix"... so instead of a several hundred or android apps, people could run thousand of *nix apps, for whatever they wanted to do (be IRC and other chats, games, office, web, movies, etc). Porting from a "POSIX compliant" to another "POSIX compliant" is easy than rebuilding on a totally new stack. Most of the apps than run on Meego where almost just tuned to use

• #### Re: (Score:3)

Maemo could easily have been adapted to run android apps

It may be a little late, but this is exactly what Jolla has done. Perhaps Nokia will buy them back as the real smartphone division now that the crud has eloped to Redmond.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

I'm a bit suspicious about that. Almost every smartphone upstart these days claims ability to run Android apps, and in the end it comes to very little.

Please realize it's not just Dalvik emulation that you need to do to make an Android application work. There is a whole lot of services and intent handlers that an app may rely upon, many of them digging into system internals, most of them are not under AOSP. These need to be implemented compatibly on an alien platform, basically from scratch. So, it's a majo

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Maemo could easily have been adapted to run android apps as well and the capability was even commercially available before Elop took over.

The problem with that is the OHA, they were working on a non-Android operating system with Android compatibility and we saw from the fiasco with Aliyun OS that even supporting such an OS can get you booted from the OHA so most certainly Nokia wouldn't be involved in the Android development process which means they would have to wait until the source code was actually released in order to even start updating their Android compatibility system. They would always be behind with that methodology.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Maemo wasn't multi-touch capable. Which was a very big deal back then. In fact it already was a big deal when they started working on it. Nokia simply came too late. After the iPhone became a success they didn't immediately and wholeheartedly upgrade/change their platforms. Maemo was deficient in many aspects, lacked direction and was too late. It would have been revolutionary 5-10 years before. But then it was simply a geeky tech demo. I watched every demonstration video they had. And when I finally gave u
• #### Re: It shoud have suprised no one (Score:4, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:03PM (#44951431)

Meego wasn't even released back in 2010. It was released in 2011, AFTER everybody knew that it had no future, Nokia made all they could to stop people from knowing about it, and still the only Meego phone (the N9) sold better than the Lumia 800 (which was exactly the same phone, but with Windows Phone 7).

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

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:19PM (#44951623)
Funny that Motorola did the exact same thing except with Android instead of Windows Mobile and had resounding success.

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

by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:34PM (#44951791)

Huh? The problem is, he killed Symbian at a time when is was still highly profitable and had increasing sales (but not market share). Don't spread the myth that Nokia was already failing when he took over. This is not true and the numbers speak a clear language. And yes, the had a replacement for Symbian already working: Meego. Switching to windows phone - a system already failing on the market - was the least sensible thing to do. And guys, please don't rate things insightful just because it sounds sensible. Actual numbers cleary disagree. Nokia smartohone sales:
http://www.asymco.com/2013/04/18/lumia-is-the-light-visible/ [asymco.com]

Quartely earnings reports:

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Symbian sales numbers were up, but that was because Nokia was rolling it down to their low end handsets. Meanwhile their high end phones were just not selling. They were making a lot less profit per phone, and their financials were absolutely in the toilet as a result.

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

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:35PM (#44951811)

Everybody here wasn't interested in Symbian. Everybody knew at the time it was a dead end, even with their plethora of existing apps. S60 sucked as a smartphone OS, even to the developers who wrote for it.

Meego was the way forward. It was built using Qt on top of Linux. It wasn't as popular as Android outside of Nokia and Intel, but it had a future. Just before the first Meego phone (N900) launched, Elop took over. It was killed without even given a chance. To answer your question, that is why Meego never competed with Android and the iOS.

Right as Elop took over, Nokia took a 180 turn away from Meego. They spent 3, 4 years completely redeveloping their processes, completely revamping their developers, wasting countless resources that were Meego-based, just so they could put Windows Phone on their hardware. And to boot, they produced some less-than spectacular phones for an OS (Windows Phone 7) that was going to die before it hit the shelves.

All those wasted resources could have gone to Meego, and polishing what was already a fairly good OS. They had an OS in-house that was close to being ready. Elop threw it out and spent a fortune bringing in a third-party OS which suffered from the same flaws as Meego (namely not having a large app base) and had no advantages over it whatsoever.

I'll skip the uglier parts of the analogy, but if Meego was Nokia's baby, created to ensure the survival of the company, it was forcibly aborted by Microsoft two weeks before a full term. Then Nokia took in Microsoft's then-newborn, inbred child, despite having been told beforehand that it was born with severe genetic problems and whom the doctors had already said would not live for more than a few months. This child drained all of Nokia's resources in the process, the excuse being that this had to happen to prepare for Microsoft's next child. Microsoft's next child turned into, well, nothing too special. And you wonder why Nokia's now broke and ultimately had to sell itself to Microsoft.

What? Corporations are people, no?

• #### Re: (Score:1)

Whatever Nokia did was going to be a rough transition. Their market position had a good deal of S60 inertia behind it - app installed base and user familiarity and the like - that would've gone out the window no matter what the switch was to, Meego, Android or Windows Phone. It's hard to say that Nokia's killer hardware with Meego would've done much better - or worse - than what the Windows stuff did. I think it would've gone better but not great for them, personally. (having owned and enjoyed an E71, an N
• #### Re: (Score:3, Informative)

Just before the first Meego phone (N900) launched, Elop took over. It was killed without even given a chance. To answer your question, that is why Meego never competed with Android and the iOS.

Huh? The N900 was released in 2009. The N9 program was launched some time before that, and the device was released, after all, in late 2011.

Right as Elop took over, Nokia took a 180 turn away from Meego. They spent 3, 4 years completely redeveloping their processes, completely revamping their developers, wasting countless resources that were Meego-based, just so they could put Windows Phone on their hardware.

What alternative timeline you live in? The turn was announced on February 2011. The first Lumia was released in November the same year.

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

on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @04:10PM (#44953199) Homepage Journal

Just before the first Meego phone (N900) launched, Elop took over. It was killed without even given a chance. To answer your question, that is why Meego never competed with Android and the iOS.

Huh? The N900 was released in 2009. The N9 program was launched some time before that, and the device was released, after all, in late 2011.

Also, the N900 runs Maemo which has nothing to do with Intel. Nokia had a line of Maemo tablets since 2005, and N900 was the last of these, finally allowed to include full phone capabilities.

Meego was intended as a merger of Maemo and Intel's Moblin, but it never really appeared anywhere (N9 is pretty much Maemo), and I'm not sure how exactly it was supposed to improve on Maemo. The name is not important, though, it's the idea of a regular GNU/Linux distro running on your phone. Which is why you can pry my N900 from my cold, dead hands, as long as you avoid stepping on my lawn.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Looks like it was a typo or just a confusion over names - rename the N900 to N9 above and everything is correct.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Nah, it's still alternative history.

• #### The problem with MeeGo (Score:2)

MeeGo had a core problem. It was designed to fulfill two contradictory roles:

a) Be a modern phone OS
b) Be a smooth migration path for Symbian applications.

During development of MeeGo (a) and (b) constantly conflicted. The N9 reflects that had Nokia picked path (a) and mostly ignored (b) they might very well have had an OS better than Android. But that was not the MeeGo project as it existed in Nokia at the time Elop killed it.

• #### Re: (Score:3)

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.

Their prospects are really great now.

• #### 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 @01:14PM (#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 @01:15PM (#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 @01:22PM (#44950939)

I'd expected something funny or at least insightful.

Sadly it seems neither.

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 @01:27PM (#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 @01:30PM (#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 @01:38PM (#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..

• #### Read the original (Score:2)

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 @10:08PM (#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.

People are always available for work in the past tense.

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