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Who will buy the next 150 million Symbian smartphones?

Stephen Elop stated that Nokia expects to sell approximately 150 million more Symbian devices before the transition to Windows Phone is complete. Assuming that figure is achievable (which is far from certain) I tried to understand how that figure will affect the volume and share numbers for Nokia in the coming years.

It’s very likely that the first WP phones will not ship in large volumes until 2012. Product development cycles being what they are, unless there is an ODM rebranding (i.e. taking an HTC phone and gluing a Nokia sticker on it) the minimum development time is at least 12 months. Keep in mind that Nokia does not have engineers to build such a product today and hiring them alone can take months.

The following two charts show what a two year forecast that adds up to 150 million Symbian devices looks like. I assumed Windows Phones begin to ship in 2012 and, keeping in mind that WP7 is designed for a higher hardware specification than the current Symbian phones, I show a modest ramp for a total of 15 million units in the first year.

I also forecast the overall market assuming continuing growth levels and calculated the effect of Nokia’s share.

The share at the end of 2012 would be approximately 6%.

Note however that the share above depends highly on Nokia selling 150 million Symbian units in the next two years. One could question why would anyone buy a product whose platform that’s been declared end of life. Perhaps there is a built-in assumption that end users are inherently stupid. However even in that scenario the question is which distributors will make the same bet with Nokia? Or, even more perplexing, which operators are willing to stock EOL products for two years when that shelf space is getting strong bids from Nokia’s rivals.

  • GeceBekcisi

    Finally someone put it out. This is one of the reasons why NOK stock keeps free falling.

    They axed their future customers and screwed their current developers.
    They nearly gained nothing in MSFT deal while offering whatever they got in their hands.
    They will even pay royalties for WP while gifting NAVTEQ data to MSFT and other OEMs.

  • http://twitter.com/_ChrisHarris @_ChrisHarris

    Well done Horace, this is what you do best.

    Regarding who would buy these phones, does anyone think it likely that any companies who are buying Symbian now will be locked in to the platform? Would that give those companies two years to transition?

  • http://twitter.com/MtnMikeBall @MtnMikeBall

    I think Cringely nailed it.
    "It’s a short-term play that makes perfect sense in an industry where CEOs last an average of four years. Stephen Elop’s four years are now fairly certain, his golden parachute packed and ready."
    http://www.cringely.com/2011/02/burning-the-ships

    • Hamranhansenhansen

      Apparently Elop is the 7th largest investor in Microsoft, but holds no Nokia stock.

      • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

        He's addressed that. He started selling shares when he joined Nokia but had to stop while the MSFT/Nokia talks were on. He's now selling the rest of his MSFT shares and is to receive Nokia shares.

        Maybe he's stuffing his golden parachute already.

  • Simon

    Thanks for your writing as usual Horace.

    I do wonder however whether most buyers of the Nokia phones care about the platform. I suspect most of them simply buy the phone for the name and the build quality, not because of the software.

    • http://twitter.com/peter_burke_ceo @peter_burke_ceo

      yes. it's easy to extrapolate and project our fervent interest in what OS we run on our phones to most consumers around the globe who have no such aspirations. this is exactly the point Elop made in his presentation. that inertia would drive the next 150m symbian smartphone sales. that may or may not be correct. but their is a certain stickiness to Nokia's sales of phones where symbian is popular. I think this transition is going to be exceedingly painful for nokia shareholders. But the blame doesn't lie with Elop. He inherited an absolute mess of a broken compnay. He is here to clean up as best he can.

    • Carlos Osuna

      Agreed. Most people when they hear smart phone they think iPhone 4, Droid, etc. Life wasn't that way 5 years ago. Nokia was a precursor and as such (just as Palm) remained fixed on that concept for too long. S60 phones can't be considered "smart" these days. I think Nokia's new strategy is sound, but the fact that Elop came from Microsoft is ill-serving Nokia's stock and employees.

      Nokia should remain focused on Symbian for feature (low cost) phones. Should remain focus on MeeGo (or mobile Linux for that matter) on the future looking side (aka Intel's Atom phones), but should leverage a pre-built ecosystem for the in-between. Android would have been a better choice, but Motorola beat them to that spot. Windows Phone 7 is not that mature (except for XBox Live) to offer them any advantage, sans networked games.

      So again, who's gonna buy the next 150 m Symbian phones? Well, those fellows who can care less if their phone is "smart", but rather they are looking for "high quality", good ID and good sound quality. No ODM nor Korean OEM can come close to those specs. Only Apple can best them, but they don't compete in that market.

      • capnbob66

        I read Horace's point as being "even if Nokia sell 150M more Symbian phones + 15M WP7 phones, their total share (as the market grows at current rates) could be 6% by Q4 2012".

        By then, Apple could be selling 50M iPhones in a quarter, Android will sell 2-3x as many. Nokia currently sells 30M smartphones per quarter. That number is unlikely to grow much now that Symbian is EOL and the WP7 spigot is unlikely to fill the growth void any time soon.
        The market is not going to drop Symbian but nor will it grow in the face of superior opposition that is weekly encroaching on its strongest territories (BRICs).

    • http://rseven.com Hisyam Halim

      In general buyers don't care what OS the phone runs on, but imagine a person planning to buy a $600 phone, he would at least read some reviews online for the phone. And he will definitely exclude a Nokia N8 or E7 if every review he reads parrots the line "Symbian will be obsolete".

      Even if Nokia provides firmware upgrade in the next 2 years & the Ovi store runs as usual, the damage to the perception has already been done. The name Symbian has been poisoned by the ham-fisted announcement by the CEO. He could at least say that Symbian will run in parallel with WP7 as Nokia's OS and slowly phase out Symbian in the future in WP7 Nokia phones prove a success. I don't see any benefit at all saying WP7 will be the primary OS now especially if you don't have any phone to show.

      Not to mention the apps availability in Ovi in the next 2 years, would Roxio release new versions of Angry Birds on Symbian if they know the shelf life of the app is going to be too short to make a profit on it.

      • Simon

        If all they are losing is the sales of the N8 and the E7, that's pretty minuscule overall. Plus most bought the N8 because of its industrial design and the camera, not because the Symbian^3 was anything great.

        Nokia needed a concentrated effort and a shock to the company. While this WP7 strategy is far far far from a sure thing, I think most of us think that it's heck of a lot better than praying on the dying Symbian to suddenly resurrect with Qt and save Nokia.

      • asymco

        The problem is not the adoption of WP. The problem is the exclusive adoption of WP.

  • Xavier Itzmann

    Whereas "power" users certainly care about platform and about carrying our apps from phone to phone, do not delude yourself: there are millions of people for whom a phone is just a phone.

    There's a guy here in my office who has switched BBerries many times (usually due to failure) and every time he loses a good chunk of his data. He couldn't care less. He's transaction-oriented, day-oriented, and does not care about the data or apps on the machine. So long as he moves the SD card with his photos, he's happy as a clam.

    I submit that 150 million phones can easily be sold to people like him who just want a phone that happens to send and receive text messages.

  • http://twitter.com/davidchu @davidchu

    I don't think most consumers knew what Symbian was when they bought their Nokia phone. That's probably how they will be able to keep selling them.

  • Xavier Itzmann

    Edit: of course people like him are unlikely to pay a premium for any device, so long as the minimum device performs the transactions he needs.

  • @Kinny

    Then I suppose it’s about bloody time we go and educate those poor consumers out there about how Nokia is no longer the company we can trust with our phones.

    I still cannot believe that Nokia let a guy like Elop into the company and have them play second fiddle to his well laid plans. I dare to say that most members of the Board are absolute morons.

    • arvleo

      Don't you think the Nokia board already had the strategic tie-up(maybe possible acquisition) with Microsoft in mind when they hired Elop? According to me he was hired to in fact make this deal & future vision with Microsoft possible.

    • dchu220

      Unfortunately, the average consumer doesn't care. They have deadlines to meet at work, kids to take to soccer practice, mortgages and bills to pay. Only the crazy few of us, like the readers of this blog, really take the time to follow this stuff.

  • eyez00

    "2 praying mantises"
    http://www.zdnet.co.uk/blogs/mixed-signals-100000

    My money's on the MS mantis devouring the Nok mantis.

  • Witek

    I too don't have a lot of faith they will sell anywhere near 150 million symbian handsets over the next 18 months and going by Nokia's stock price, it looks like the markets don't either.

    Although I wouldn't be so sure about having to wait for till 2012 for a Nokia/wp7 handset…

    I like many was absolutely amazed they managed to keep this whole Microsoft deal so secret. Everyone from Nokians, to Analysts, to Journalists were all arguably taken a back on Friday. I think its fair to say that most people believed Nokia would take a multi-platform strategy.
    So I wouldn't be surprised if they have actually had small teams working in top secret on this handset ever since the Board made the decision to bring Elop in last year.

    • http://twitter.com/Niilolainen @Niilolainen

      I'm guessing he had strategy teams working on at least 4 scenarios starting from when he took over:

      1. Accelerate MeeGo
      2. Accelerate Symbian
      3. Android
      4. WP

      Then the decision was taken relatively recently. If he believed that (1) and (2) were not possible and that (3) was unpalatable then that leaves WP.

      In a way it is an extremely ballsy move to go all-in on WP like this. But I think the communication of the decision has been a disaster and the risk of failure high. Still, we don't know how ropey the Symbian and MeeGo roadmaps looked, so if they looked terrible then this might be the right thing to do.

      But agree that it is possible the board had some ideas about this prior to the Elopalypse. Speculation, speculation…

    • Simon

      My guess is if they fail to sell 150 million symbian handsets over the next 18 months, it's probably because of the low cost Android attack from the Chinese companies, not because of the uncertainty in the Nokia platform. As soon as Nokia loses that brand appeal edge in the emerging markets, they'll be under barrage of attacks from the said low cost competitors.

  • kevin

    Horace,
    You might want to take a look at the decline of Windows Mobile, especially following its EOL "announcement", which I'd put at the announcement of WinMo 6.5 in Feb 2009, altho many saw it coming way earlier. You could even assume the WinMo case is a best case since WinMo was tied up with many corporate accounts, who would be slower to move away.

    Assuming 28m sold this quarter (flat qoq), I'd still say they'll be no more than 80m Nokia Symbian sold for the year. Even without the rumored cheaper model, I'd expect Apple to pass Nokia for smartphones on a units sold quarterly basis sometime this year, and possibly even for the full year 2011. I think RIM will also get a boost as QWERTY smartphone users flock to them; it might even keep RIM ahead of Samsung in smartphones for the year.

    • kevin

      Note the official Win Phone 7 announcement was Feb 2010. Most geeks could've forecast the end of the line in 2009, but most mainstream consumers probably wouldn't have until Feb 2010.

  • HTG

    It all depends on what price NOK sells the Symbian phones for and where… you wouldn't expect to see Symbian phones in the US and Europe, but they would likely be sold in developing countries where the high end smart phones are out of reach to all but a few… look at the growth in India for example of cheaper smart phones…

    of course the presupposes that a Symbian smartphone is actually a smartphone. If Symbian has been EOLed then these phones may be recast as feature phones… Price will be the driver (ie. increasingly cheaper) until in the end NOK can't give the things away…

    • Pieter

      I think that a big problem with trying to sell Symbian in the 'developing countries' is that currently Android is catching on over there. I would think that the price that Nokia is asking for a nice Symbian S60 smartphone will be higher than an Android smartphone from an Indian or Chinese phone manufacturer…

      • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

        Low end Symbian handsets are still much lower end than Android.

      • pam

        There are ever more cheaper android getting released in India. Nokia was already losing Indian market this would slide them farther

      • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

        But again, not as cheap as Symbian can go.

        In any case, it seems like what will happen in developing countries is that S40 phones will be specced up. It looks like Maps, Browser, Social and maybe Qt are coming to S40.

  • http://twitter.com/Niilolainen @Niilolainen

    Brilliant post though. Ouch.

  • Alcatholic

    Can we have an update on your timeline for Nokia’s response to Apple’s disruptive innovation? I’m curious if this move falls into the sequence you laid out or is more akin to Nokia exiting the market. thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/konop @konop

    The same people who buy symbian phones right now… people who don't care about which phone they have…

  • http://twitter.com/dotkomblog @dotkomblog

    Clear points again. It would be nice if you could give us some insight on the methodolgy as well, would be really exciting to see how did you get to these specific numbers.

    • asymco

      There are two bounding conditions: 1) 150 million Symbian devices 2) a remaining life span of 2 years for Symbian–derived from the time it would take to ramp up Win Phone portfolio.

      Starting with last quarter's shipments, I used growth rates which would create a 150 million shipment area covering 2 years.

      The other data relate to how quickly WP phones will ramp (mostly a guess) and how quickly the overall market will grow (used approximately 70% growth which is a slower rate than what we saw last year, hence conservative).

      The only figure I don't have much confidence in is how quickly Nokia can ramp the WP portfolio. Two years is a very short time frame from my experience but Nokia may deploy some ODMs, even acquire HTC or something more drastic.

  • OpenMind

    Actually if iPhone Nano rumor turns out to be true, it is even more difficult for Nokia to have 150m symbian phone. I guess iPhone Nano is like 2009 iPod Nano with phone. Apple is cutting leg of every other Android OEM.

    • pam

      True. It would atleast push android makers for better mobiles. More competition always welcome!

  • skeletaldrawing

    Spot on…definitely one of your best posts.

  • Chris

    Perhaps Nokia will start branding its phones as "Windows Mobile Ready." People (not those reading this forum) might think of it as future proofing their purchase.

    • Marc in Chicago

      Is "Windows Mobile Ready" a (very funny) joke or is it a typo and you intended to write "Windows Phone Ready?"

      • Pieter

        Both? :-)
        As WP7 is WM with a new GUI?

      • Chris

        Let's call it both! :-)

  • http://twitter.com/vizsladriver @vizsladriver

    I have no doubt that Nokia can sell off another 200 million Symbian phones, given their distribution and market presence all over the world. But their margin has to be dropping fast, and all the Symbian developers must be looking around deciding how to prioritize between WP7, Android, iOS, etc. It could have been very interesting if they had come up with a Qt support layer for the Android NDK. We'll see (eventually, maybe) how they plan to differentiate themselves from all the other Windows Phone OEMs…

    • CndnRschr

      Who is to say there will be other WP7 OEMs? With the supposed deal that Nokia got, the awful sell through of current WP7 devices and the fact that all other licensees have a foot in the Android camp, it could well be that Nokia evolves into THE WP7 vendor. This would be an advantage for Nokia but not for Microsoft should sales not reflect their aspirations.

  • agoedde

    I don’t doubt that they’ll sell their 150 million. I’d guess that 24-30 months is a more likely timeframe, unless they give up the low-end market completely. WP7 won’t be suited for that until at least then. Seen in light of that timeframe, 150 million is indeed a scarily low number.
    As to who will buu them – all the people who don’t care about the OS, but only about the feature list and price. And make no mistake, the networks will sell them if Nokia gives them a good price. Of course, Nokia’s bottom line will take a bad hit here.
    All in all scary times are ahead for the Finns.

  • davel

    A friend of mine really only cares about a phone, not a computer.

    Yes the high end of the market has gravitated towards software, but if you just need a phone with some utilities on it and maybe even a browser that works you dont care about end of life issues. You just care about does it work.

    There are many phones sold throughout the worlds that are just feature phones. I am sure Nokia can do well in just such a market.

    • Charel

      I have a Nokia smart phone that has come off contract in December. Now I use it with a prepaid sim card. I intend to use it for phone calls only. For contact with friends and family all over the world I use Skype.
      I will not buy an iPhone although I like the concept. I will buy an iPod 2 as soon as it becomes available. Had I bought an iPhone I would not have been able to go prepaid at all.

      • davel

        u could buy an older model and hack it.

        apparently this is done on tmobile in the usa and much of china.

        there are rumors of a smaller iphone for 2-300 with no contract. we shall see if that ever hits the shelves.

        my friend had the nokia for 7 years. long battery life and the phone worked. he liked the phone a lot.

  • Steko

    I'd be mildly shocked if Nokia doesn't have a WP7 model out by October. It might be a dusty MS design with yesterdays tech but they got to start somewhere.

  • GeceBekcisi

    "Stephen says it beautifully here."

    Disgusting PR talk. Were you an Apple fanboy who worshipped their God Steve before being hired by Nokia?

    • David Garon

      Are you by any chance a Windows IT guy, or just some obnoxious putz who feels the need to criticize someone’s choices because they don’t coincide with yours?

  • http://twitter.com/Accent_Sweden @Accent_Sweden

    Sales numbers are vanity
    Profit is sanity

    They may sell 150 million, but what will they earn from 150 million?

    Apple may only sell 80 million iPhones, but what will they earn from 80 million iPhones?

    These are the relevant questions which I think most of us suspect we know with Horace's help (if not in real numbers, we think we understand the real implications).

  • http://www.johnmclaughlindesign.co.uk John mac

    Nokia has just admitted that it will sell 150 million customers phones that it knows are effectively at a dead end. The ads though will no doubt continue to claim they are at the cutting edge even though Nokia knows they are selling duds. Great way build a loyal base.
    I wonder how many symbian developers will still be on the platform in a couple of months time?

    • CndnRschr

      You could say the same for Android 1.6 devices (or 2.1 for that matter) heck, even the first round of WP7 devices are still waiting for a significant update ( "by March").

      My wife has a dumb Nokia S60 flip phone. She neither cares what OS it's running nor whether it is EOLed. She doesn't like touch screens, especially on phones. She hates Blackberries (because I was a Crackberry addict before the JesusPhone converted me to the one true device). She likes the design and colour. She is also no fool but sees a phone as a phone. She likely represents millions of people to whom Nokia is seen as a solid choice.

      • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

        An S60 flip phone? As far as I'm aware, Nokia have never made an S60 flip phone.

        That's perhaps a telling comment in this context. People really don't know what is on their phones.

    • Sander van der Wal

      There is no reason to delist from Ovi. Apps will be sold, that is free money as development costs are already sunk. They wil even get some bug fixing. They will not get major new features though, unless there is a good reason.

      If you have a brand then checking with your customers to see what they are going to do is smart. Go with them, or take them with you to a new platform. That might even be WP7.

  • ecarr

    Two extended analysed worth doing motivated from this post.

    (1) frame out 2 additional device unit scenarios for Nokia (a) IF Nokia had stayed the path and transitioned to Meego over similar WP7 timeframe, and (b) IF Nokia had selected Android as a next gen transition platform. This was basically the decision point the Nokia CEO (and Board) were in. Probably many assumptions, but sure there are models out there pre announcement that forecast out Nokia Symbian / Meego volume transition. But my gut would be these would be potentially worse than going WP7, even factoring in a less aggressive Symbian volume discount factor of buying the dying platform. For Android, I think a strong case could be made that Nokia could have gotten a phone to market in ~6 months given the robustness of Android in porting to new hardware platforms, Nokia could have rode the rest of the world's excitement about Android (namely US, which WP7 does nothing to address), and volume wise this could have been a much more interesting play. TBD where it goes long term if Nokia decided to stay wed to Google sanctioned Android branch vs. forking their own. But that would have been the safer bet to target volumes growth.

    (2) folks get excited about a very vague comment about "$Bs" of something being transferred from Microsoft to Nokia as part of the deal. Independent of the fuzziness of those statements, given the great financial data on the this blog available on trending in ASPs and margins by mobile device company, a model could be created estimating the 3 options in front of Nokia (with (1) volume forecast options). Maybe one would stick out as a more compelling option.

    But net net, Microsoft providing "$Bs" is chump change given revenues (and profits) at play. And Nokia did not have a lot of compelling options available to it. Easy to analyze a decision post facto. Not a lot of obvious options on the table for Nokia … Going WP7 was definitely a higher beta than other alternatives (possibly Symbian / Meego -> slow death, Android -> slow death vs. WP7 new scale platform or out).

    • Hamranhansenhansen

      Android is designed to make Google rich, carriers happy, and hardware makers interchangeable and disposable. There is no money in it for Nokia. With Windows Phone 7 they get the most popular apps from Android plus Netflix and Xbox and MS Office that Android doesn't have, and they get a position that is much less interchangeable. You could think of Windows Phone 7 as pre-differentiated Android.

      Android is also moving downmarket to feature phones, where a free ad-supported system with real Web browser makes sense. The idea here for Nokia is to take another shot at the high end. Microsoft does not equal high end, but they may at least get the appearance of high end, which they won't get with Android.

      • CndnRschr

        Not sure WP7 is low end either due to the license fee and this is the market that Nokia will be hemorrhaging over the next 18 months.

        But the big question for the poor sods holding Nokia stocks is why the $&?@ didn't they have a plan B like Apple had with x86 vs PPC. The idea of dumping your two platforms to license another from MS but with a 12-18 month window of transition is simply corporate incompetence. Nothing less.

  • AlleyGator

    "Perhaps there is a built-in assumption that end users are inherently stupid."

    Not stupid, Broke! Nokia's only making what, $3 profit per phone? They've got to be GIVING these things away.

    Frankly, I don't see it. Unless Nokia is betting on Moore's Law to catch up to them by the time they're ready to ship, and will therefore be able to sell a $40 device without subsidy that can run WinPhone7, I don't see how any of this makes sense.

    Of course, the thing to remember about Mobile is that things are changing faster than anyone can predict. This time last year, nobody was predicting the iPad to be as big as it is now. That's why this industry is so much fun to watch!

  • poke

    If Elop was brought in by the board in September specifically for this deal, isn't it possible that Nokia and Microsoft have been working on hardware for awhile? Or perhaps Microsoft has been working on a WP7 phone that Nokia can rebrand without losing too much face? Making this announcement with nothing to back it up for a year or more seems suicidal (albeit in-keeping with their general lack of direction for the past few years).

    • Hamranhansenhansen

      It is amazing there is nothing to show.

      Look at Apple's Intel transition. On the day of the announcement, Steve Jobs showed Mac OS X and iLife running on an Intel Mac prototype and then sold thousands of those prototypes to any developer that wanted one. Nobody had a shadow of a doubt that it was for real.

      Imagine if Nokia had at least had a developer preview phone ready to go … the story could have been "Windows Phone 7 developers are already creating Nokia apps."

      It's just stupefying how incompetent they are.

      • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

        Apple had the luxury of years of back room effort. Nokia I'm sure hasn't.

      • CndnRschr

        Your idea of luxury is my idea of corporate responsibility. Why on earth did they not have devices running both Andriod and WP7 in the wings??? Nokia clearly has been in denial far too long. Whether or not this direction is the right one to take, Nokia has surely lost it's mojo. Too many failed products, unrealized promises and lack of vision. For Microsoft, its the equivalent of The Big Sting. Come to mama!

      • dms

        Exactly. This WP7 move is utter last-minute hail mary. That doesn't bode well for the execution, frankly.

        And don't they have a R&D budget that is many more times bigger than Apple?

      • David Garon

        Could we see some numbers for your allegation here? I doubt anyone has a bigger R&D budget than Apple. That has been instrumental in their comeback for the last 12 years!

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu
      • Sander van der Wal

        I expect Nokia to have Android running, that is Open Source after all. But WP7? Would MS give them the source so they could having a go at the port?

        I would expect MS to have done a port on some Nokia hardware, though. That might have helped convince the board that the WP7 pathnwas doable in a reasonable timeframe.

      • davel

        As the poster below states. This is not Apples to Apples.

        MacOS X is Nextstep kernel which was already ported to intel years ago. So the kernel can run on different hardware.

        The interface we know is the structure on top of the kernel. Also it took a few years if I remember to get all the elements together and there was still a transition that took years to change the libraries used.

        Nokia doesnt have that choice.

        I do not know what Meego is or if it is even comparable to the modern phone os's. apple spent years trying to rewrite their os – i think they had two different codelines that were abandoned – before steve came back and installed nextstep. they lost over a decade as windows got better and better.

        It is hard to criticize nokia without knowing what their choices were. perhaps windows is the best of a bad situation, but as horace points out their new partner doesnt have a great track record either.

        i question the leadership of microsoft. they have gutted their executives over the past year or so and balmer was put on notice by the board.

  • KenC

    Congrats Horace, your chart made it into the Economist!
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2011/02/m

    • davel

      in looking at horace's charts in this link. it seems as if nokia was shocked at what happened. 2 years ago they were making good profits now they are in crises. rim for all the flack they take is growing profits. i need to hand it to them. apple is just apple.

  • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

    I'm not entirely sure how you're going to sell high end Symbian handsets like the 1Ghz models mentioned to generally informed customers. Customers buying high end handsets don't do it blindly, so they'll know you've EOLd their ecosystem. It's all over the press. It was even news on the BBC.

    Unless you're going to add Qt development to Windows Phone so that Symbian developers can transition to Windows Phone smoothly then nobody in their right mind is going to buy a mid/high end Symbian handset without apps and further developer support. I'd imagine most Qt/C++ developers would rather poke their eyes out than use Windows and C# and they aren't going to develop for Symbian knowing that it's dead and their code will be too in less than 2 years.

    OR, officially support Qt on Android, iOS, WebOS, QNX so Qt developers can target Symbian knowing that their skills and code can be used on the other platforms. Yes, I realise that may not work well for your Windows Phone strategy but well, it's too good a technology to strangle.

    This post from Cutehacks sums up what Nokia are chucking away, listing all the platforms Qt runs on…
    http://cutehacks.com/2011/02/14/cross-platform-ap

    • Sander van der Wal

      Poking out eyes is bad for business, but that is the sentiment indeed. A more business-like answer is that the ROI on Symbian investment is now very low. So some bug fixing is fine, but rewrite UI's in Qt is not.

      • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

        At this point, writing apps for WP7 is also bad for business and it will be for at least a year plus all those Qt developers will have to retrain.

  • KenC

    Well, I have to say I'm surprised if Nokia didn't have Android and WP7 running on prototype hardware like N9 in a skunkworks lab somewhere. That would have allowed them to bring a product out fast once an OS decision had been made. That would have had a positive impact on the markets and the company itself. Shame. I'd like to see a 3-way battle of ecosystems.

  • CndnRschr

    There seems to be a missing story (or two). Clearly, Nokia was in serious discussions with Google but these talks fell flat. When? Why is the deal with Microsoft exclusive (unlike every other WP7 licensee)?. Something is amiss. If, as Nokia spins it, it was a bidding war, then where are the other WP7 licensees standing? Why did Microsoft change the terms? Are we about to see an exodus of WP7 licensees – something that was in the offing but might now accelerate? This is better than Watergate….

  • http://twitter.com/Accent_Sweden @Accent_Sweden

    I can't help wondering how many new companies will now be founded by Nokia alumni who are let go or leave. There has to be lots of talent eager to right what Nokia couldn't/wouldn't do and that is about to be unleashed. A lot of people with a lot of motivation.

  • O.C.

    Most of the people who visit this site know about the phones and the software they use. Whether it be a smartphone of a dumbphone. But make no mistake, the vast majority of people buying smartphones or dumbphones have no clue as to the software their phone is running on.

    My friends and family all have smartphones: HTC's, Nokia's, iPhones, Samsungs, BBs etc. They all love their respective phone, but when asked about the software is on it all you see are question marks. They have no clue. That will change over time as they become more and more like computers. But today people who buy phones without knowing what software is running on it are the norm and not the exception. A lot of the advertising for phones don't even mention the software.

    So considering that most people don't have a clue what Symbian, Android or iOS even is. they will have no problem selling 150 million of them. Even if they drop the brand a week later.

  • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

    Perhaps change your name from kkk might be the first thing to do.

  • Michael

    You are joking right? This plan might've been useful FOUR YEARS ago. I doubt Nokia would've gone down such a drastic path as the Microsoft deal without something of this scale being absolutely necessary. I'm not saying that the MS plan is going to succeed but it has to be better than letting Nokia do what they have always done but promising to do it better.

    Hopefully as part of your plan you intend to fire all the current software developers or at least their immediate management. "Ship or Die" should've been the mantra for Symbian or even MeeGo. They didn't ship anything.

  • Guest

    Very shortsighted but i am fine with thar. By the time WP7 hits the market android will be even more fragmented than it is today and have nothing new to show for it. I expect little upward technical development for both iOS as android and a lot of innovation coming from the companies that have their patent portfolio in order.

    • David Garon

      “I expect little upward technical development for [……] iOS”.

      Rip van Winkle – Where on earth do you see evidence of this, considering Apple’s meteoric rise due to ground breaking “upward technical development”. And Android too!!

  • davel

    what is meego and why is it so great?

    change ur name. it is a really motionally charged moniker unless that is what u are after.

  • http://www.dimspace.com Ben

    Don't forget, Microsoft has partnered with other manufacturers before and may be able to provide some engineering expertise, either from an in-house group or by recruiting people from one of those phone manufacturers. Obviously, your time-line for development, testing and things like FCC (and int'l equivalent) approval will still take time, but I'll bet they can find a way to at least reduce the time to hire you cite.

  • Dev Null

    I have bought Nokia handsets for the last 15 years. This will end when they start coming out with the worst phone OS there is. Like Microsoft, Nokia are now doomed to failure and eventual obscurity. RIP Nokia

  • H_H

    Horace,
    it's very clear you don't agree with Elop's decision. That's all fine.

    That is apparent from alone the view that Nokia would sell 15m WP7 handsets in 2012. That's quite a low ball view, considering the likely breath of portfolio and markets launching.

    But this little musing here doesn't really matter. Nokia needs to convince the operators and the consumers. After that, analysts will follow in due course.

    • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

      And the developers, who no longer trust Nokia.

    • asymco

      Investors and analysts have already voted. Employees and developers are fairly easy to predict on this decision (my unscientific poll is supported by lots of anecdotal evidence). Public indignation in Finland is overwhelming. My point in the article is that given these opinions, what are the chances that Nokia will convince the channel that they should take a risk with end-of-life products from Nokia when there are so many attractive alternatives? Alternatives which I might add will be aggressively priced to take advantage of perceived weaknesses. And after Nokia convinces the operators to stock EOL products in lieu of fresh Android products, then and only then Nokia has to convince the consumer to buy them.

      I don't just disagree with this decision, I find it appalling.

  • John

    "The worst product I've seen so far at Mobile World Congress is Intel's MeeGo OS running on a netbook", from http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2380359,00.a

    That's quite the fantasy world you're living in, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

    • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

      Intel's MeeGo netbook UI is entirely Intel's work. It's not at all representative of what Nokia would ship on their MeeGo devices.

      Nokia were building on top of what they did with Maemo 5. Intel were building on top of their simplistic Moblin Clutter based Netbook UI.

      As such, those devices have little to do with what Nokia has in it's labs.

      • davel

        john /aegisdesign

        thanks for the link. from the looks of it i guess it is two separate codelines which means really 2 flavors of linux. and the description in the link sounded like they did a crude port of basic functionality without thought to architecture of the interface.

        Intel is a hardware company after all and not a software company. and nokia is a phone company not a software company.

      • http://twitter.com/aegisdesign @aegisdesign

        From what I gather Intel outsourced development. It's a crude port with Qt/QML to mimic a prototype they had a year ago. I think they just needed something to show at MWC. They're calling it 'pre-alpha'. Bear in mind that Qt/QML hasn't been out long – just a few months really.

        Nokia's MeeGo/Harmattan project UI is supposedly pretty good. The problem is that management have no faith in it being the third horse in the ecosystem race and that's an argument with some merit bearing in mind Nokia's standing in the US and their less than stellar Ovi services. A cowardly argument perhaps.

        We'll see I guess later this year.

  • http://dennyhil.blogspot.com/ dennyhil

    HA HA – I like your built in assumption Horace!

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  • Rob Scott

    Sad to see companies that used to be great fail like this. They need to drop Symbian and double down on WP, but you have highlighted that it’s not that easy.
    The Verge’s review was spot on and hard. The OS is another major failure (Used WP for >10 months), those gesture are hard to discover and there other frustrating missing features making the OS very unsatisfying.
    15 million is more like it.

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