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On April 21, Microsoft and Nokia signed off on the collaboration agreement the pair announced in mid-February . The two haven't been standing still since the billion-dollar-plus deal was unveiled on February 11; they were working under a "non-binding term-sheet" while the top brass nailed down the final details of the agreement. In today's press release, company officials from Microsoft and Nokia stressed that they've made "significant progress on the development of the first Nokia products incorporating Windows Phone." The release said there are "hundreds of personnel already engaged on joint engineering efforts, the companies are collaborating on a portfolio of new Nokia devices," and that "Nokia has also started porting key applications and services to operate on Windows Phone and joint outreach has begun to third party application developers."
When Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced that Nokia was abandoning its development of its own smartphone platforms and APIs, and betting the farm on somebody else's, many people asked why it was necessary. Nokia had spent 15 years trying to develop and maintain its own software, which it regarded as strategic to maintaining its independence. Elop's decisions have ensured that Nokia didn't just get another option to run alongside its own, but it would abandon these, writing off the investments it had already made. In his opinion, these weren't good enough. But why?
How low can Nokia ‘s share price go? It was to be expected, but that doesn’t make it any less newsworthy: Nokia is really taking a beating on the public markets right now. Stock price was down about 14% last I looked (NYSE), but it has been hovering around a 13.5% drop in the past few hours. In case you hadn’t heard, Nokia this morning announced a major strategy shift , switching to Microsoft’s Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, shaking up the management team and pushing through other organizational changes.
You have to love Twitter and you have to love Vic Gundotra . This morning, the Google Vice President decided he was going to have some fun on Twitter. “ #feb11 “Two turkeys do not make an Eagle”. ,” he tweeted . To anyone outside of the tech space, that sounds like gibberish. Hell, even to many of those in the tech space, that seems like a completely random thing to say. Except it wasn’t random. It was cool and calculated.
In a strongly-worded internal memo that was leaked this week, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop described the company as being "years behind" its competitors. He says that Nokia stands on a "burning platform" and must change course in order to survive. Elop's memo starts by describing a scenario in which an oil platform explodes, forcing a man who is trapped on the platform to leap off into the water in order to avoid incineration in the flames. He likens Nokia's current position in the mobile market to the situation faced by the man on the burning oil platform. Engadget has published the full text of the memo and says that its contents have been confirmed by several sources. Elop highlights Nokia's crumbling marketshare, declining brand appeal, and slow progress reacting to changes in the market as indications that the company is in serious trouble.
Exclusive Well-placed sources at Nokia suggest Stephen Elop is considering shifting the executive centre of gravity to Silicon Valley, creating a virtual HQ in the United States. The move would be as radical as any of those made by his predecessors in the company's 150-year history. Elop became Nokia's first non-Finnish CEO in September, and his plans remain a closely-guarded secret until Friday's analyst briefing. Weekend reports suggest a purge of Nokia's executive board is imminent, with Finnish veterans tipped to take the brunt of the changes. The move would oblige the Executive Board to spend most of their time outside Finland, accelerating the process of "de-Finnistration". Elop has identified a lack of competitiveness, "ecosystems" and the sprawling bureaucracy as Nokia's key problems.
I’m hearing from a few of my sources that Nokia is readying a major restructuring that will be announced to the company on Feb. 11th. Analysts might already be getting briefed on the changes. I haven’t heard specifics yet, most employees, even executives, haven’t heard either other than they know something is up. Which leaves us to speculate and guess what’s up. As you know I’m no friend of Nokia’s lately.
Announced back in July , Nokia’s new flagship N8 smartphone began shipping on the last day of September to those that had pre-ordered the device (it’s now available on most UK networks). As did the first review units sent out with almost military provision to chosen technology bloggers, this writer included. Having already declared “ Nokia is back ” at Nokia World, the Finnish juggernaut is to a degree framing the N8, the first to run the new Symbian 3, as a hard reset for the company as it attempts to return its once held leadership position in the smartphone space. Not in terms of marketshare (that’s not looking too shabby) but in terms of mindshare where Nokia has in recent times fallen behind iPhone, BackBerry and the relentless onslaught on Android. It’s in this context that the N8 is to be judged. Software
In a press briefing this morning, the Symbian Foundation announced plans to scale back and shed most of its staff. The organization will become a legal entity that is responsible for managing Symbian licensing. Nokia will take the central role in guiding the platform's technical direction, but aims to continue making the platform available under an "alternative open model." The foundation was established after Nokia acquired Symbian in 2008 with the aim of opening the platform's source code. Nokia hoped to work collaboratively with other Symbian stakeholders to modernize the operating system and expand adoption.
With more and more partners jumping ship from the Symbian Foundation, Nokia announced today it was taking back the reins of the Symbian platform as the foundation evolves into a licensing organization. The Symbian Foundation, which Nokia created in 2008 after buying Symbian, announced it was winding down operations and would slash 100 jobs as it moves to license the open source Symbian software and other intellectual property. The move by the foundation underscores the slowing momentum for the platform . But the transition also reaffirms Nokia’s commitment to Symbian as a workhorse for future phones.
Almost six years ago, while working on a story for Business 2.0 magazine, I remember having a conversation with someone from Nokia about the possibility that one day mobile phones could think and adapt to our environment. For instance, what if the phone — using a location beacon — could sense if we were in the office and change the entire profile of the phone based on that information. What if it could turn off the Lady Gaga ringtone when you were at work? Or read your calendar and see that you were in a meeting and switch to silent mode? At the time, the idea made perfect sense to me. After all, silicon trends were pointing to that future.