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Nokia's price for exclusivity

Days after Nokia announced the end of life for the Symbian platform I wrote a post titled Who will buy the next 150 million Symbian smartphones? The reference was to claim by management that before there would be a complete transition to Windows Phone, 150 million legacy Symbian phones would be sold, keeping the company financially stable before the new ecosystem took root.

I reproduce the original forecast I made below with the addition of what actually happened.

[Note that the Actual stack area chart is independent of the forecast area chart as indicated by shading.]

My forecast in early 2011 was based on the 150 million Symbian phones being sold over a two year transition period. The implication with the forecast for Windows Phone was that this would still lead to a difficult contraction of volumes.

As it turns out, only 96 million Symbian devices have been sold in the 7 quarters since the platform was deprecated. It’s unlikely that there will be ever by 150 million units sold as last quarter only 3.4 million shipped. In any case, management has already retracted that claim.

What about the Windows Phone forecast? It turns out that by this point in time (Q3 2012) I had expected Lumia shipments to total 9 million. Actual shipments reached about 9.5 million, so not bad. However, the market grew faster than I had expected and overall Nokia smartphone market share turned out to be slightly lower (6.3% in Q2 vs. 10% estimated.)

The just ended quarter shares are not yet available but it’s quite possible that overall Nokia smartphones could be well below 5%, and may slip to 3% during the transition period.

My warning in February 2012 was that 150 million Symbian units would not ship since I expected there would be a stigma associated with the products among distributors, even if consumers were fine with them (which they weren’t).

The public execution of Symbian (and any other alternative being developed inside Nokia) will probably be a classic case study in disruption management. To wit: even if a platform needs to be led out to pasture, there are ways of managing decline other than suicide. Nokia’s failure is not so much having chosen the wrong alternative to Symbian, but having chosen exclusively.

However, there’s a twist. The company did not accept exclusivity of one supplier without a concession: In exchange for exclusivity, Nokia negotiated $250 million every quarter in the form of “platform support payments” from Microsoft. Nokia has to date received over $1 billion in such payments. (For the last quarter that amounts to $86 for each Lumia phone shipped.)

The tragedy comes from this $1 billion/yr not being enough. The foregone revenues from Symbian (assuming they had been able to maintain the decline to the level of 150 million units that they had originally forecast) would be about $9 billion. This means that had Nokia not knifed Symbian and had sold the shortfall units at an average price of $200 they would have received an additional $9 billion in sales. Furthermore, assuming a margin of 33% for those units, Nokia received from Microsoft one third from of what she gave up for exclusivity.

In other words, the net cost of the Microsoft exclusive relationship is at least $2 billion in operating profit.

This turns out to be the difference between being profitable and being distressed.

We will never know if this scenario would have ever happened, but the forecast management made 21 months ago suggests that at least they thought this was what they were going to get out of the bargain.

This reminds me of another article posted around the same time.

  • Walt French

    Let’s also presume that some of the production expenses for Symbian were essentially fixed costs (machinery & contract labor), and those factories now have to be written down. A bit worse, actually, than your estimate based on profit margins would suggest.

  • mili

    Windows Phone is ridiculously lame. What could one say?

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      What one could say is why.

      • xynta_man

        Maybe because it never was a finished OS? Microsoft totally blew it with Windows Mobile, scrapping it in favor of a new system was the right choice, but the new system was both released too late and too incomplete (from features and quality standpoints of view), compared to competitors. After releasing the initial version of Windows Phone 7, it again took Microsoft too long to develop new versions of it.

        And while Android wasn’t really a mobile OS of great quality, Google’s policy of letting OEM do almost anything with it made it more popular among OEMs and network operators. In such conditions Windows Phone 7 would be pushed by OEMs only if there was a strong demand for it from the users, which didn’t exist.

        And now Microsoft is again blowing it with Windows Phone 8 — yes, they “needed” to unite both their desktop and mobile systems on one kernel basis, yet this is again taking them too long. Most WP8 devices were ready month ago, yet OEMs are still waiting for the finished OS, while their devices can’t go on sale, slowly losing potential customers and relevance.

        Hell, if Microsoft keeps this kind of shit up, than RIM may even have a chance to solidify their third place in mobile ecosystems with BB10.

    • phoneguy

      Sounds like you haven’t used it. It is a refreshing alternative to anything Apple or Android. The OS is great, the ecosystem of available apps is starting to develop nicely. It is a chicken-and-egg problem, but Microsoft’s deep pockets have seeded it well so far. Windows Phone 8 release will make or break this. We will know next Halloween if Microsoft has succeeded or failed.

      • xynta_man

        Microsoft totally blew it with timing and some technology choices. When WP7 was initially released, it had titanic-sized holes in feature lists (copy-paste/multitasking anyone?), which was excusable before, but not when they did it. It took too long to fill them.

        At the same time, MIcrosoft choice of Silverlight as a technology for development of third-party apps didn’t play out — those apps were slow and laggy as hell, even without multitasking on the device. What’s even worse, they took too long to start, which made using them a pain on a device with no multitasking. Even a simple app with a mostly text-based UI was slow on a device with 1 GHz SoC and 512 Mb of RAM. On the other hand, the system apps and some apps from partners, which were native-coded, worked flawlessly.

        Most early adopters were burned by such low quality of user experience, the non-existent state of good (and popular) third-party apps didn’t help either. Yes, Microsoft has deep pockets, buy were they too cheap to throw some millions of dollars to developers – how long it took for Angry Birds to be released? To hell with third-party developers, how long it took Microsoft to release a Skype client for WP7 — a client for a service which they own! And when it was released, it wasn’t very useful, because of limitations of the OS.

        The WP7 devices also just sucked from a hardware point of view — not only they were using outdated hardware, they also just sucked as device : HTC Surround, really? a generic HTC Mozart? a non-working Dell Venue Pro? Etc, etc, etc. Microsoft needed to get a series of hero-devices, yet they got a bunch of outdated crap.

        All in all, everything that could be done shitty, was done shitty.

      • poke

        I think the point about Silverlight is a strong one. If you look at all the failed post-iPhone mobile operating systems, they all share a common feature, which is that they all shipped without a “native” API (“native” in the sense that the API available to developers is not the same as that used by the apps shipped with the phone). WebOS used web technologies, Blackberry Tablet OS used Adobe AIR and Windows Phone 7 used Silverlight. This tends to be overlooked by the media but leads to a lack of developer interest and mediocre 3rd party apps. The situation is similar to the original iPhone. Perhaps this gives some idea of how important 3rd party apps have been to the iPhone’s success.

      • xynta_man

        >leads to a lack of developer interest and mediocre 3rd party apps

        Can’t agree on the lack of developer interest part — the whole idea of rolling-out a “managed” “non-native” environment for developers is to make developing apps more simple and fast and in it usually succeeds in these goals.

        The PlayBook had much more apps from start than anyone would guess, likewise WP7 sees a huge growth of number of apps in their store. The problem is that this lowers the barrier for entry and the marketplace becomes filled with crappy apps. Plus, such managed environments are generally less-efficient than natively coded apps, which result both in worse performance and energy-effiency.

        The other problem is that these platforms tried to utilize those managed environments as sole methods of developing third-party apps, thus limiting the ability of developers to re-use code and port apps from other platforms. What apps were in the BlackBerry AppWorld for the PlayBook, when in launched? Mostly shitty Adobe-Air/Flash-based games and apps, that were previously developed for use on the web and than ported over to the PlayBook.

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  • Markus

    Woah this makes no sense.

    Nokia was never going to sell 150million at $200. 33% margin? Woah there.
    Symbian was eaten alive by Android. Please explain why RIM rapidly declined and is not making money when they didnt kill a platform.
    They needed to kill development and fire Symbian staff ASAP to not waste money on it. You are acting like Symbian was pure gold without those huge costs that they have cut

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      I did not suggest that Symbian would prosper. I suggested that Symbian would decline at the rate that its management thought it would decline. Regarding RIM, you’ll note that RIM’s decline has been less precipitous than Symbian’s. In the same time as Nokia’s smartphone business fell by 75%, RIM’s fell by 50%. Nokia also expected its business to decline at that rate. My claim is that as Nokia chose exclusivity they ended up with a penalty greater than what Microsoft offered as compensation. The difference between compensation for exclusivity and the cost of that exclusivity might be enough to decide the survival of the company.

    • xynta_man

      Nokia could mostly kill development of Symbian and fire most of the staff, without publicly proclaiming the system dead, while they were making money from it. The decline would probably be slower.

    • http://www.ewanleith.com/ Ewan Leith

      Believing that anyone would be spending $300+ on a Symbian phone today is almost as fantastical as Nokia’s own predictions of success..

    • Ted_T

      “Please explain why RIM rapidly declined and is not making money when they didnt kill a platform.”
      RIM Osbourned their Blackberry “classic” platform just as surely as Nokia did Symbian, by announcing BB 10 years before it was ready and claiming all sorts of superpowers for it. Their continuing inability to deliver a modern BB OS while promising the moon has likely killed them. Even if they fully deliver on BB 10 this time around they are very unlikely to get developers or customers who left them for iOS/Android interested.

      • Tatil_S

        I don’t think Osbourned is the right word here. It is not like RIM had a competitive smartphone OS and promised an even better one. It was quite obvious its current products were years behind and a radical change was coming, in the form of a new OS, in house or licensed. At least Nokia could claim that everything was under control, if not a little late, by having Maemo development in place for a while and it was promising a smoother transition through Qt before the sudden shift to WP.

    • Carpenter

      I have used quite new Symbian device in parallel with cheap Android device. I’d say that with the outdated HW (SoC etc,) Symbian is competitive in 0 to 200$ price range. With modern HW it would be higher, maybe 0 to 300$. Additionally there are products like 808 that would sell lot better if Symbian wouldn’t have the burn mark.

  • andrew

    Your stacked area chart is really hard to read. Even with the notes, you’re mixing metaphors. In particular, the shadow on “actual WP” makes it hard to tell if the width of the band or the vertical position of the band’s top is encoding sales. It’s the former based on the context, but the shadow on the brown part makes ambiguous.

  • Antonio

    Why Nokia can’t deliver an Android phone?

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Because they have an agreement with Microsoft for exclusive use of Windows Phone.

    • vangrieg

      Also, how would it help them? People assume from the large numbers of Android device sales that somehow putting Android is a recipe for success. It’s not. If you exclude Samsung’s Galaxy devices you’ll see that average sales per handset aren’t very different there.

      • Antonio

        Windows have an high rejection rate. I think Nokia have a great hardware, better than Samsung and any other I had. It could gain market in high and middle range devices.

  • RobDK

    As Horace mentions, the Nokia/Microsoft deal and its consequences will make a text book classic case study at business schools over the coming decades.

    There are many aspects of the deal which are not known, and which one can speculate over. Whilst Nokia does receive money from MS for using WP7/8, maybe there were strings attached?:

    1. Maybe MS stipulated that Nokia must not release phones based on other OS’es, eg. Android?

    2. Maybe MS stipulated that Nokia’s existing OS’es (Symbian, Meego etc) must be terminated over a fixed time frame?

    3. Maybe MS stipulated that Nokia publicly terminate Symbian?

    4. Maybe Nokia is contractually forbidden from using the balanced portfolio approach that HTC/Samsung and other OEM’s use with different OS’es?

    Exclusitivity is exclusitivity. Maybe Nokia had no choice once the MS path was chosen?. At the time when the plan was hatched (early 2010?), maybe it seemed all very reasonable? My guess is that MS and Nokia were wrongfooted by the speed and agility of Apple and Google in the transition to mobile computing. It all went tooooo fast for them!

  • http://www.isophist.com/ Emilio Orione

    Nokia strong point is and has always been hardware. They believe that a great hardware product will sell, that has always been the focus of the company and they have been caught of guard by apple’s iphone.
    Steve Jobs said that he understood that a phone is software and he didn’t make a phone, he made an ecosystem.
    Today sales are due to the ecosystem the phone is part of more than the hardware specs or the o.s. features.
    So what nokia did when they understood that Symbian was not right to build an ecosystem? They choose exclusivity with microsoft betting on the success of windows phone as an ecosystem and concentrate themselves on hardware execution.
    Today’s spot of Lumia devices are proud shows of their hardware’s abilities, camera specs etc…, what is missing is the success of the windows phone ecosystem.
    They choose to eliminate the part they was less confident with, the software development and limit themselves to the hardware part but they didn’t want to enter the arena with all other android oem, battling on the android personalization side, again battling on software.
    They choose exclusivity just to be free of the software part of the business and concentrate on their strongest abilities.
    The error is that they gave away the part that matter most for users, they have become irrilevant because it is a software business and they are only hardware makers.
    They have great software, like maps or camera app, but they limit their software to their platform and the apps are too little to generate a success on their own.

    What they needed was a transformation from an hardware focused company to a software company an that was too much for them. They would have to kill their core values.
    They taught it was better to have an unique alliance with a strong software company, kill their software division and trust using their hardware abilities. It didn’t work, but the fault was not the choice of exclusivity it was the choice of hardware instead of software in a platform world.
    If they got more money for exclusivity and/or they avoided the Osbourne’s effect avoiding to publicly kill symbian phones and recently windows 7 phones, they still will be in trouble bounded to a failing ecosystem and bounded in any case to the less strong side of the business, hardware.

  • vangrieg

    That $1B isn’t everything Nokia is getting. There are also revenues for maps which Nokia had trouble monetizing. But more importantly and to the point, they cut costs by eliminating software jobs (incurring tons of one-time restructuring charges, but nevertheless making the organization much slimmer). I’m not sure what their cash position would be with all those costs now. And how would they pretend they were still keeping Symbian after firing all these people?

    • http://twitter.com/asymco Horace Dediu

      Nokia is selling maps to Yahoo and Oracle as well. My assumption is that the $1b/yr. is for _exclusive_ use of WP. The company also claims that they will pay Microsoft license fees which would, over time, balance these platform support payments.

  • Sander van der Wal

    How many believable choices did Nokia have? At the time they had already said repeatedly that Maemo was the future, and that Qt was the way to the future. Announcing that they were going to add Windows Phone as a new supported platform, but without Qt support, would have shown the world the same thing: Symbian is rubbish and Maemo is not good enough either.

    Given that the memo did very little to the speed at which market share declined, I would hazard the guess that the current Symbian market share is the same as it would be if Nokia did not announce the WP deal. There’s no saying how big the MeeGo market share would be, but I would be amazed if it would be an order of magnitude bigger than their WP market share.

    • Tatil_S

      Elop also had an internal audience to think about. The whole organization had to be pushed into a radically new direction. Claiming to just dabble in WP to see how it works out while doing pretend work on Symbian and Maemo unbeknownst to the rank and file may not have been enough to jolt them into action to get out the first WP phones out the door as soon as possible. On the other hand, WP7 turned out to be a dead end, as WP7 handsets were announced to be non-upgradeable to WP8 months before the transition, so I guess time was not of the essence after all. Maybe, declaring three product lines end-of-life is not a good idea. :) (Symbian, Maemo, WP7). With this track record, Elop might declare that the first WP8 handsets will be quite buggy and the customers should wait for the second iterations.

      • Sander van der Wal

        My point is this: Symbian was already so irrelevant that Nokia would never have sold 150 million devices, even if they would have kept Symbian their main platform. That way, Microsoft’s one billion is extra.

        Hard to prove, one needs sales data for all the markets in time so one can see Symbian being obliterated in each separate market as soon as the competition moves in.

      • Tatil_S

        Yes 150 mil may have been unrealistic in any case, but the drop in unit volume after the announcement is very sharp. I thought Elop did the right move at the time, assuming his judgement regarding the inadequacy of Meego/Maemo was correct, but I did not expect such a rapid fall in sales. I thought it was already quite obvious that Symbian’s days were numbered with or without an official acknowledgement, so I am curious whether the fall is purely a reaction by the consumers to his burning oil platform memo or whether Nokia stopped supporting its Symbian portfolio too quickly, such as ceasing software or hardware customizations required for different carriers or regulatory regions.

      • http://twitter.com/__MarkW__ Mark Wilcox

        Given that the actual total is looking to be close to 100m it’s not much of a stretch to believe they could have sold another 50m if they’d not told their customers the products were rubbish. When I say “their customers” I mean the network operators and major phone retail chains that actually buy the phones from Nokia. They turn out to be surprisingly good at shifting almost anything to the people that come through the doors of their stores at the low end of “smartphones” where the consumers are much less interested in or informed about what they’re getting. Nokia’s error was not misjudging the impact of their aged platform on consumer purchasing habits – it was the response of the sales channel that they got wrong. It was the error of someone who really doesn’t understand how Nokia used to sell its phones, or even how the phone market works.

        Just for fun they’re making the same mistake again with WP7.8 – expecting to be able to sell lower cost devices in significant volume with an EOL version of a platform. What’s the most important app category for smartphones by a mile – games. At the low end it’s an even higher proportion of downloads than at the high end. What does WP8 significantly improve vs WP7.5/8 – the games offering. What don’t the retail channel want – returning customers saying “why doesn’t this Windows Phone you sold me run the new games Microsoft are advertising on the TV?”.

        I believe (and wrote at the time) that Nokia’s options were very limited for survival – they had to improve Symbian and keep it selling while they worked on a credible high-end offering. The large operators would almost certainly not have supported a total move to Android by Nokia – why do you think they’ve attempted many times to build (and continue to do so) alternative platforms? They attempt to avoid too much power concentrating anywhere in their supply chain. Nokia + Samsung on Android gave too much power to Google. Of course at the size Nokia is now, this would not be much of a concern. In early 2011 the operators were looking for a viable alternative to Apple & Google – some of them expressed an open preference for Nokia sticking with MeeGo (proper open source they can always get the lesser OEMs to fork if necessary).

        I believe the mistake most people make when assessing Symbian’s prospects for continuing to sell at a reasonable level is comparing it to iOS and high-end Android devices. The pricing of many of the Symbian devices put it in direct competition with low-end Android devices – which frankly suck more than Symbian ever did, even on the really poor devices.

        FWIW, I still believe Nokia’s only real chance of navigating the transition was through their own Android variant that also supported Qt apps, or some slimmed down version of MeeGo with an Alien dalvik-style Android runtime (similar to the way Symbian also used to support Java ME). By the time Elop arrived on the scene they’d already lost the battle for developer mindshare. Trying to start the fight again with Microsoft’s cash seems like a much harder option than simply borrowing Google’s. Getting developers to also submit their .apk’s to Nokia’s own store would have been a much easier sell.

      • Tatil_S

        It is plausible that it was network operator’s decision to discontinue Symbian sales, rather than lack of end user interest. I am not convinced that network operators care that much about whether their handsets are upgradeable to the latest version of OSes, so that they can run the latest apps or games. The evidence is the lack of upgrades to Android phones where they are in charge of pushing the upgrades. Network operators are even more knowledgeable about the capabilities and use scenarios about mobile OSes than end customers. It is not like they suddenly realized Symbian’s shortcomings after Elop’s memo, so why did they suddenly stop selling Symbian phones? Why would they care if apps written for their low end phones use the same development environment as the Nokia’s next OS (Meego) or not (WP)? The only explanation I can think of is the loss of power they had over Symbian app stores that they could customize and run themselves to make some side income. Even that is not all that convincing, as that side income is must be far less than their revenues from voice, text and data. Thus, I am still left thinking Nokia did something else to turn off the operators, other than the announcement of the switch to WP.

      • http://twitter.com/__MarkW__ Mark Wilcox

        The rejection of Symbian was really nothing to do with OS updates to existing products (you’re right, they’re mostly just a headache for operators & they did come to the Symbian devices anyway) or the control over app stores (operators were quite happy to be getting a revenue share via operator billing on Ovi while they got nothing elsewhere). With Nokia’s very public switch of focus it seemed clear that they weren’t putting their engineering or marketing weight behind the Symbian products any more. Promotions for Symbian devices in stores disappeared almost overnight in many countries. I think the channel took much less risk in holding stock of Symbian devices from there – they were typically found towards the back of shops in not at all prominent positions whereas e.g. the N8 & E7 had been in large front window displays.

        Also don’t underestimate the impact of the individual phone salesmen in the store, who are usually very well informed about the market changes. Aside from any instructions from above to push certain devices due to bulk buying deals at a national/global level – they try to create satisfied customers. If someone came in wanting a Nokia, because that’s what they’d always bought, there was now a reason to tell them no – you don’t want one of those, the operating system is EOL – try this nice Samsung phone instead.

        Last but not least, the competitiveness of OS platforms is actually quite subjective. Nokia had been over-serving needs with Symbian in the keypad only smartphone space for ages and successfully selling significant volumes of some relatively poor products in the touchscreen smartphone market too. The ability of the sales team to get a decent price/margin for them in negotiations with a large buyer must be rather drastically impacted by the CEO saying the products are crap on the record. This is fundamentally very different from some tech bloggers giving the products poor reviews.

        Compare the (not even cheapest) Symbian devices from last year to the rather horrible Samsung Galaxy Y (which sold many, many millions) at a comparable price and ask yourself if it was really down to the shift in product competitiveness at that price point or just a shift in perception?

      • Carpenter

        Why would operators see Android as a threat? What would be the damage Google could potentially do to them? Maybe Google could insist that all new Android phones support some major new Google service that would support voice+SMS over data connections and bypass operator billing.
        Android is also open source enough to be forkable. So, one would think that it is Google who should be careful not to upset operators.

      • http://twitter.com/__MarkW__ Mark Wilcox

        Google has moderated their stance in the last couple of years but they fairly openly wanted to commoditise the operators as far as possible – or even cut them out where possible, they were looking at buying spectrum at the time.

        If you think Android is genuinely open source enough to be forkable by operators (rather than people with their own content ecosystem like Amazon) then you should read the work VisionMobile have published on Google’s control points. It’s the most closed open source project out there. The Chinese forks of Android have already either been killed or are being fairly heavily suppressed. One of the keys is that OHA members aren’t allowed to ship forks of Android, so OEMs that build Android devices can’t experiment with a limited distribution fork.

      • Sander van der Wal

        Horace says that operators pay a premium for iPhone because it is a very good, no, the best, salesman for their products. So an operator would first sell all the iphones he could get his hands on, and fill the remaining market with other smartphones, Android, Symbian, whatever. This should allow one to estimate whether the sales channel stopped using Symbian because of the memo, or because iPhone became available in sufficiently large numbers for Symbian not being necessary anymore.

        Frankly, I believe Nokia’s last change to remain a big player was with Maemo and Qt on top of Symbian. That way, they could migrate their existing customer base, which was their only tactical advantage at that time. After they blew that, there was too little of a customer base left to make them interesting enough for new developments.

      • http://twitter.com/__MarkW__ Mark Wilcox

        By Feb 2011 Nokia had already lost the entire high-end market to iOS – their remaining sales were basically in competition with Android & RIM only. Growth of iPhone post-Feb 11 is irrelevant to the demise of Symbian. The memo and following public execution of Symbian showed zero commitment to the improvement of the devices and ecosystem and guaranteed developers would abandon the platform in droves. With the alternative course of a strong public commitment to improve Symbian at low end and even grow volumes there, with something like Meltemi as a public migration strategy for developers following and Qt support on whatever the new high-end platform was, then the platform would not have appeared abandoned to its customers. The sad thing is they actually did spend a lot of money improving Symbian and although the updates rolled out slower than they might have had Elop not demoralised the development teams and shunted them all off to Accenture – the end result looks very competitive in the sub-$150 market.

      • Sander van der Wal

        Nokia having lost the high-end market happens to explain exactly what I saw happening in the Netherlands during 2010.

        Anyway, with the high-end market gone, changes are that developers would still have abandoned the platform, had they not already done so. Basically, all developers were already on iOS and Android when the announcement came.

        We developers already knew that the iPhone apps market was an order of magnitude better than the Symbian apps market in 2009, though this was before the proper Ovi store roll-out. Developers also kept close track of what happened in the Android stores.

        The thing that happened after the execution of Symbian and MeeGo and the announcement was that Symbian developers cancelled their plans to port their stuff to Qt. Meltemi was never publicly announced, so that doesn’t count, and WP would not support Qt.

        If Nokia had shot MeeGo and not Symbian, people would still not port to Qt. By making the same development effort on iOS, you would have access to a very fast growing market existing of people happy to pay a lot of money. We already knew that such people pay for apps. They did so for SonyEricsson’s expensive UIQ devices and for Nokia’s own expensive Communicators.

        So, I do not believe Nokia could have revived or even saved the Symbian ecosystem. They might have saved some of their device sales, but I doubt that, given the nature of the competition. Operators would have supported Symbian if Nokia made a show of supporting the Symbian ecosystem, making the “third ecosystem”-fiction a believable fiction for a while. But the underlying situation would have been the same as it is now.

  • theambler

    Nokia’s marketshare was collapsing in the two quarters before Elop announced the end of Symbian. I think that this announcement was a mistake and didn’t help but there is absolutely no doubt Nokia would be in dire straights regardless.

    • Carpenter

      Please note that while market share was declining unit sales were increasing before that announcement. It is decline of unit sales/profit that is fatal in this kind of situation. For a company that have healty underlying assets/organization temporary market share decline is not a problem as long as it readjust accordingly.

      Of course, in reality market share loss is quite often caused by something more sinister than transient problem with product portfolio or something like that.

      • Tatil_S

        Is is quite charitable to call a steady marketshare decline from 60% to 30% “temporary”.

      • Carpenter

        Yes, but the point was that the market share is only indicator about product performance and declining unit sales the phenomenon that put Nokia to dire straights. It is true that readjustment(e.g. portfolio) should take less than 2 years.

      • Tatil_S

        I see, yes, I agree. Declining market share showed something had to be done, but sudden drop in the unit sales was the disaster.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000728233984 Kristian Iskanius

    Never underestimate Apple. That is the lesson number one: http://youtu.be/eywi0h_Y5_U

  • http://twitter.com/olepbr Ole Peder Brandtzæg

    How’s life in February 20122, Horace?

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  • oases

    Your host spoiling your site just as you were mentioned by Time was awful timing.

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