Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An open letter to Mr. Elop

Dear Stephen,

I have to say: I'm a big fan. Having someone in the drivers seat of Nokia who really understands modern software and ecosystems is exactly what the boys in Espoo need. You seem like a guy who loves gadgets. Although I appreciate OPK as a business savvy number-cruncher, I couldn't see that he really really loved the things the company made. The burden also on your shoulders is not an easy one - making Nokia great again would be one of the most legendary turnarounds in modern industrial history. And I totally support the decision to phase out Symbian and place a bet on WinPhone instead. Anyone who dares to defy that should use the N97 mini for a week or two.

But this MeeGo thing, I do not understand. The thing is, once hope dies, there's nothing left.

Instead of telling everyone that it's essentially a dead OS or "research initiative", why wouldn't commit to doing one software release and hardware update a year for the next... lets say three years. This is a minuscule investment in the grand scheme of things - and you could keep the team really lean. Then invest a little bit in technology that makes porting or running Android apps on it really simple. I heard it took a one day to port Angry Birds on Meego. With making the effort required really low, you could mooch off Android's ecosystem and have a viable offering in no time. It would annoy the hell out of Google! And look what Apple did with one phone a year. This would give you some sort of leverage in the OS market and give Nokia at least have some relevance with tech pioneers and gadget freaks. Have you read the early reviews? Geeks love this stuff. If you end up as just one more OEM for WinPhones, i'm sad to say, there's very little to love about Nokia.

So the deal is; now the N9 is just a very sexy Zombie.

So I urge you, please reconsider. Come out and say that MeeGo will get a software and hardware updates for a few years and that you'll invest in developer tools that make porting simple. Keep hope alive. Give us geeks some reason to love you.

Your sincerely,

PS. In the spirit of full disclosure: I had the privilege of working at Nokia before your time. My final gig was planning marketing executions for what now turned out to be the N8 and N9. I'm sure my work was rewritten a thousand times as it seems things were constantly in flux in the marketing department. But i guess change is good. Best regards to Kari and the team in Nokia House 3G.


  1. I totally dissagree.

    Stepthen Elop have proven time and time again that he is an ignorent fool that have no clue how to run a company, but he do have a track record of closing them.

    Windows Phone? ..its a frecking joke.
    I have not only compared it function for funtion to Symbian, all versions, but mostly Symbian^3, and Microsoft latest failure is loosing in every comparision.
    I have also compared Windows Phone to NokiaOS. Even a simple lowend S40 device beats the current Windows Phone OS. Feature by feature.

    Sure WP7 has a shiny new UI, that looks very interesting for about 5 minutes...that is all.

    ...but actually when you use the OS for more then a day you realise how stupified it is and how empty. You cant even add more the one APN, and then you have no way of adding proxy settings.

    MeeGo is the way forward ,the developers have proven that with N9, and that has nothing to do with Elop. The N9 with its impressive and sleek UI, and its extensive list of functions, have happend despite Elop!
    It's simply the power of Linux and open source innovation. Combined with amazing developers at Nokia, that despite beeing desimated, loosing a lot of development funds, and haveing the threat of the project cancelled hanging over them, created something simply amazing.

    The N97 was crap, but that had nothing, absolutly nothing to do with Symbian. It had to do with poor hardware design. ...please move on.
    If WP7 is so great, put that on the N97 in a re-release.... o wait you cant... WP7 have very limited CPU support..only a few versions of snapdragon....and it couldnt even show the totally pointless 'tiles' with that hardware.
    And besides The N97 is still crap.

    The N9 brings hope, but the huge dark cloud of WP7 and Elop still hangs over Nokia.
    The way forward is to trow Mr Flop the h*ll out, continue to develop Symbian^3 and trow in a Qt based UI on that ..then push MeeGo to the soon future replace ment of the smartphone range..

    Microsoft is a dead end ..even with Mongo ..sorry Mango.

  2. Sharp letter based on heavy arguments and deep insights. One should print it and deliver it to Nokia HQ and read it loud to Stephen. I'm not sure about hi personal ICT-skills. Anyway, after N97 mini and now using Taiwanese replica-Communicator HTC Desire Z, I would buy the Sexy Zombi If it'll have just few apps, like Sports Tracker, Spotify, DropBox, Skype, FB, Twitter.. And support for 36 months.

  3. There is a huge global demand for people like Juuso to join their ranks. This deserves to be crowdsourced. People like Elop don´t reverse their decisions based on sound reasoning. Nokia needs movement of the people who have trusted it´s products and can separate fake from real.
    People need to vote on their keyboards. The ones who have the passion should use social media to connect people on this. Siloed ecosystems are thing of the past. #Wisdom of the growds.

  4. I think valid and balanced points here. I can only agree.

    While I completely understand Elop's strong trust in Microsoft and the need to commit to one major platform, I think the statement he made in lieu of the N9's release was stunning.

    He said (according to reports, anyway) that even if the N9 will become a big success, it will remain the only one of its kind. Not even vague promises of support, let alone follow-ups.

    If there's any one rule in business, it's *when something works, you keep doing it!* Let your winners run and cut your losers short. But to say in advance that no we're not going to go this way even if it succeeds is pretty stunning.

    Personally, the N9 is the first Nokia phone in years I'm seriously considering buying with my own money, and looking forward to using it. Without even having held it in my hand. And I'm not the only one. So they must be doing *something* right here.

    Of course a lot of the innovations will make their way to the first Mango phones too, but it'll be interesting to compare the two in October or so.

  5. Thanks Juuso! Assuming Nokia doesn't pick up the ball on this one, let's not give up hope. There are possibilities beyond Nokia, with Linux/Qt and MeeGo. Speaking on behalf of MeeGo Network Finland and Tampere, let us know if this is an interesting idea to you (as a developer, manufacturer or sponsor).

  6. Wholeheartedly agree with you Juuso!

    I do not understand Elop's infatuation to call everything in Nokia's past "dead" or "burning" or whatever the f**k he thinks is/was wrong with MeeGo. Not saying MeeGo was going to be the be-all-end-all OS, but c'mon, why not give it (still) a little breathing room, see where it'll take you after a quarter or two of N9 sales, re-evaluate and *then* snuff it if absolutely necessary.