Nokia: IMHO

Posted by July 11, 2012 featured No Comments

Yes, you are right, I work at Nokia and I am writing this post about my feelings for Nokia, keeping in mind the recent state of affairs. Other than writing as an employee, I will also try my best to pen down my feelings as a consumer.

To start with, as a consumer, I am a hardcore Nokia fan. I firmly believe that as a mobile phone company Nokia has contributed a lot to the market and its share of contribution has not yet ended. As an employee, Nokia is a great place to work. You get to learn a lot of things, you learn how to apply innovative ideas and the best part being the ability to touch the life of millions of people. I really appreciate the Nokia values and their ways of working.

Now, looking into current state of affairs as a consumer, I might have been happy to see Nokia investing in an array of windows phones but I am unhappy with their strategy of discontinued MeeGo and Symbian platforms. Today, I see that windows phones are not a feature complete devices. For example, Lumia 800 does not have a reliable Bluetooth. I personally don’t like the Metro UI very much. I think that it is a waste of space on the screen and I am more comfortable with full utilization of all the available screen space as it is done in MeeGo, maemo or Symbian phones. As a normal user, I can’t even select a normal mp3 as my ringtone on Windows phones. I have to first cut the file short to one minute and make it folllow some rules to be able to set as a ringtone. There are some known problems with the Audio quality and battery life. These might be very small points, but they do affect people who want to personalize their mobiles. Talking about the strategy, I just feel that Nokia has choosen the wrong path now. The #Feb11 announcement could have been better. Probably, it would have been best if Nokia would have left the option of choosing the platform to the end-users and would have focused on making and promoting world class products like N9, PureView and in side-ways, investing a little in Windows phone to see the capability of the product. After making a technology shift to Windows immediately and killing all other platforms Nokia has, how did they think they would make money? By selling those phones to which they say that they will be killed in future? What I appreciate is that even after making a huge technological shift, firing a lot of people, Nokia still managed to come out with a few of Lumia phones in the market in a remarkably less time. What I do not appreciate is that they are investing big time on a platform that could not gain a substantial market share even though, all other OEM manufacturers are using it as their smart phone platform too. What I do not appreciate is that the Lumia products were not a complete solution to smart phones (esp. when compared to MeeGo’s N9).

As an employee, my heart really goes out with the decision of abandoning MeeGo, Symbian. All the innovations, patents, good work, quality lines of code, talents will now rest in pieces. While, the innovations, patents still remain with Nokia, the talent will now be scattered. So much money and time was invested in building such an asset and today, there is no future for all of them. On #Feb11, I would have rather loved to see MeeGo released already, followed by few updates and then, another device with a stripped down MeeGo (functionality, feature and price wise) coming soon to cover up the lower price segments. As for Symbian, it has been paying Nokia’s salaries since ages and I see it has the capability to do so for at least a couple of another years. A ramp-down of Symbian was something I might not rule out, but I would have probably expected to hear something like ‘We will pursue Symbian for a couple of years more while doing an RnD for Windows phone based smartphone products. Once we find that Windows phone is the right place to be, we will try to phase out Symbian. In future, we see Nokia investing in both, MeeGo and Windows phone’. Today, as compared to all other Lumia products, I see Nokia N9 as the most innovative, sparklingly fresh and the best smartphone any company could make till date. I see PureView as another flagship device Nokia produced. But all in all, I don’t understand, why they decided to sell it in limited stocks?

Why wouldn’t a company want to sell phones (which have been applauded in the market) and make money?

As an employee, a consumer and just another person who admires Nokia as a company, I am really sad at its current position. Nokia is very much uncertain about the future of Qt within the company. Why in the world? You spend billions of euros in making an ecosystem so common that could have supported both Symbian & MeeGo without much efforts and when the time came to get the pay-back, you are uncertain about its future and decide to abandon it? WHY? Just because you are running out of cash? Just because you need more money? If this is so, then why did you not sell flagship devices like Nokia N9 and Nokia PureView? I am sure they would have broken all previous records in sales and their sales would have provided enough cash flow for Nokia to easily sustain the huge competition.

Based on my “limited” mindset, I seriously think that the current path of Nokia is not right. I (and probably all the developers, consumers out there) would have rather appreciated a Qt based ecosystem supported by platforms like Symbian, MeeGo. In order to build a more bigger developer ecosystem, may be Nokia could have released an official Qt port for Android in association with Google. I see this as a huge leap towards keeping the developers happy. One peace of code, running on all the major platforms like Symbian, MeeGo, Android. And after all this, if they were still not happy, invest a little in a small portfolio for Windows phone too. Port Qt there. Make developers, consumers happy.

When a company needs cash for operating, firing people is not always the right thing to do. Especially, for company like Nokia, probably, selling more phones (like N9, PureView, Asha series) makes more sense because it brings in the cash flow.

I am sad for Nokia. I just want it to grow big, bigger that it was a few years ago, which as of today, seems to me like a long path to cover. Although, it would not have been difficult if, in my opinion, we would have chosen a bit different path than what we have right now.

At the end, I just want Nokia to succeed. All the best.

Some other reads:

http://dot.kde.org/2012/07/09/kde-rely-qt-protect-qts-freedom-contribute-it

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With the recent strategy changes within Nokia—the largest contributor to Qt, there is uncertainty about the future of Qt that concerns KDE.

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http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/07/jolla-promises-meego-will-live-on-plans-new-smartphone/

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More than a few N9 aficionados felt their hearts sink when important MeeGo team members left Nokia this week, putting the fate of the entire swipe-friendly platform in doubt. Recently-founded Jolla was clearly watching, as it confirmed just in the nick of time that it’s planning to carry the torch further. The Finnish startup, which includes important members of the N9 team as well as veterans of the unofficial MeeGo community, not only plans to iterate on MeeGo but to build its very own smartphone…

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