Maybe Nokia needs to buy in some software

And I don’t mean a few copies of Microsoft Office. Symbian is looking increasingly isolated, so perhaps Nokia needs to kill it.

[hardware bossing the software guys about] wouldn’t be such an issue if specs were all that mattered, but in smartphones the reverse is true. In hardware terms the iPhone was and is rubbish compared to its much better specced – and priced – rivals, but superb software saw it fly off Apple’s shelves.

Windows Mobile 6.1 didn’t fall out of favour because the handsets weren’t good enough, but because the software wasn’t. And people aren’t excited about Windows Phone because the handsets promised hitherto unimaginable kinds of hardware heaven.

We know that Nokia can make awesome hardware, but can it make awesome software too?

13 thoughts on “Maybe Nokia needs to buy in some software

  1. Squander Two says:

    Moving to Android might help with a few sales for a year or two, but it’s a terrible idea long-term. IBM outsourced their OS to Microsoft; Apple kept control of theirs. Assuming Nokia are aware of what happened next, why would they try to compete with Apple by copying IBM?

    As a Maemo user, I have to say I don’t think Nokia are going to have a serious problem. Maemo is just lovely; Meego is based on Maemo but with added Intelness; Intel aren’t morons: Meego will be great. Unless they utterly utterly fuck it all up somehow.

    I’ll add that reading the Web gives the strong impression that Nokia are DOOMED, but the Web is written by geeks for geeks. There are millions of phone users out there who don’t want any of this fancy UI crap, can’t make head or tail of an Iphone, and stuck with Series 40 for the last 10 years because Series 60 was what we call more powerful and they call too damn complicated. It’s all very well talking about the low-end phone market in derisive terms as if no self-respecting phone manufacturer should bother selling to these morons, but I suspect some of the other manufacturers would just love to have a slice of Nokia’s success in that arena.

    And I really hope they don’t move to Android because I don’t like using an OS built by people who want to everything I ever do and sell the information.

  2. Gary says:

    This isn’t just about web geeks writing for web geeks. This is about a company whose shares have fallen to a quarter of their value in the last two years and whose profits are falling despite increasing overall revenues and increasing handset sales.

    > Assuming Nokia are aware of what happened next, why would they try to compete with Apple by copying IBM?

    Owning your own stuff is only good if people want to buy it. Otherwise it’s like a bad unsigned band copyrighting their songs, cute but pointless :)

    > Meego will be great. Unless they utterly utterly fuck it all up somehow.

    That’s the worry. That, and the suspicion that it doesn’t really exist outside of “it’s coming! Oops! It’s delayed again!” announcements :)

    I do think Nokia is making things overly complicated. The message is – Meego is the future! That is, it’s the future of the N-Series, but not the X-Series or the E-Series! I understand the argument that qt enables devs to work across multiple platforms, but the impression is that the strategy was scribbled on a very small envelope during a boozy lunch and that Nokia can’t make up its mind.

    > It’s all very well talking about the low-end phone market in derisive terms as if no self-respecting phone manufacturer should bother selling to these morons

    Who’s being derisive? There’s nothing wrong with low end phones or the low end phone market. But it’s not where the money is. That’s why Apple isn’t making low end phones: it would rather have 40% of the industry’s profits (which it has) than 40% of the sales (which Nokia has).

  3. Squander Two says:

    > Who’s being derisive?

    Sorry, could have made that clearer. I wasn’t talking about your article there, but the overwhelming majority of the stuff I read about Nokia.

    > This is about a company whose shares have fallen to a quarter of their value in the last two years and whose profits are falling despite increasing overall revenues and increasing handset sales.

    Yeah, which is all very problematic, but — especially when you consider that their profits have fallen from huge to quite good rather than turned into actual losses — it doesn’t equate to DOOMED.

    And share prices don’t mean all that much. They’re fickle, they only reflect perceived risk, they’re self-reinforcing, and they have no direct effect on the company itself unless someone attempts a takeover bid, which I don’t think is about to happen to Nokia.

  4. gary says:

    > the overwhelming majority of the stuff I read about Nokia

    US sites, I’ll bet. They’re almost invisible in smart phones over there.

    > it doesn’t equate to DOOMED.

    Oh, indeed. It could just mean their strategy’s rubbish, heh.

    > And share prices don’t mean all that much.

    I agree that shares are self- reinforcing, but I do think the price can be a reasonable barometer of investors’ faith – and a reasonable predictor of whether a management team will get to do what it says it’ll do before it’s forced to spend more time with its family. It’ll be interesting to see what happens now there’s fresh blood at the top, and after the big meego thing in – I think – November.

  5. Squander Two says:

    I’m really quite excited about the Meego launch — and I’m generally quite cynical and bored by hyped tech stuff and haven’t cared about an Apple keynote in me life. And I’ve just started a 2-year contract, so I’m not going to be using Meego any time soon. But what I’m getting with this Maemo device is exactly what a lot of Iphone users talk about: sheer enjoyment at using the thing, even if I don’t have anything particular I need to do with it. As I’ve said before, Nokia made an absolutely superb bit of kit here and then failed to market it, the fools. But I don’t think they’re going to make that mistake with Meego. And Meego should be well through it’s version-1 teething troubles about the time I come up for renewal.

  6. mupwangle says:

    Since the head of the Meego division just quit, you might not see it for a while. Rumours are that it’s not going to be stable enough to launch this year.

  7. mupwangle says:

    Rumours confirmed by Intel – no Nokia Meego devices at all until next year. Original retail launch was Q3/4 this year. Not even announcing until mibbe Q2 next year.

Comments are closed.