Posted by: Claudio Carbone | 11 February 2011

Nokia surrenders to the market: farewell Nokia!

Nokia-Microsoft Conference (courtesy of Engadget.com)

Nokia-Microsoft Conference (courtesy of Engadget.com)

11th February 2011, London, UK: Nokia announces its plans to adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform for his devices.

http://conversations.nokia.com/nokia-strategy-2011/

An era is ending in the couple coming years, a reality will slowly dissolve into another, one with many possibilities will give in to another with slightly less many.
I’m no financial or technical analyst, but maybe it’s better so seeing how many times those people tend to make good guesses…
Nokia embraced a vision that brought it to the pinnacle of technology and market share in the last years. Up to the advent of the Iphone in 2007 which was the only deathly blow, a weapon to single-handedly disrupt an entire castle.
Nokia was coexisting peacefully with Micorosft and its Windows Mobile platform, a never refined operating system, full of the same abominable construct Windows 98 suffered from: excess of nerdness. Windows has always been kindled by average nerds: while real geeks enjoyed Linux, normal everyday people cursed their computer for their unnecessary complication, average nerds enjoyed the intricacies of Windows and rejoyced when they could do so with their phones too.
RIM went to market to conquer the enterprise market, never really a consumer product anymore then a spy satellite.
The majority of the market was for feature phones in which Nokia reigned supreme with its scaling Symbian OS, which could go from super-stupid to super-power, from an 80$ 2-series phone, to an 800$ N-series phone.
Then came Apple: the power of a smartphone, the easyness of a feature-phone, the price of a smartphone, the customizability of a feature-phone.
American people, more then everyone else, queued up to get these phones, maybe to confirm again a kind a inner simplicity unshared with others. While Europe accepted it just like any other new product (read: no fuss), Americans got literally crazy about it.

And Google (American too, it must be pointed out) was the only one to see it coming, and started drafting a platform with a very long-term vision. Not many believed in Android’s first concoction, but look where it is now! On the verge of conquering the biggest marketshare: a smartphone platform selling like all the aggregated Nokia products! Quite unbelieavable a feat.

It took about two iterations for Apple (Iphone 3GS) to get European people to really embrace its new fashion.
But in the end the actractive uber-simplicity and inherent power of the platform captured quite a crowd all over the planet (that part that could afford it at least). An Android was on the tally: diverging only in the technical ways to achieve the very same results, and relaying on a much wider industrial base to conquer the world then Apple, in its voluntary industrial solitude.
In this process Microsoft and Motorola suffered the biggest hits and hurdles, loosing quite a bit of their share: Motorola totally soccumbed after reigning supreme for years in the higher feature-phone market and had to restart from scratch only after joining the Android ecosystem; Microsoft, like any super-tanker or huge cruising ship, continued unaware of the failure it was steaming full bore into. People grew disaffectioned to the Windows Phone platform, starting to see it overly complicated in comparison to new platforms, unyelding in performance, detached from the social wind that started to blow in recent years.
All the while with the Korean-Asiatic big electronics producers scrambling to fill in voids here and there: Samsung and LG phones were nowhere to be seen until about 2005. And still were mostly relegate to humble lower market tiers.

In the last couple of years Nokia put on the market the N-series, the last sucesfull of which was the N95, released almost at the same time of the first Iphone. In a world of dual-band, three-band top, 1MP no flash cameras, Nokia was seeling 5MP carl-zeiss dual led-flash cameras,  Pentaband devices (N97, 2009).

So why did Nokia experiment such a disaffection to its platform?
Simplest answer: Finnish (european) way against American thought infused market.
You could go analyzing every of the finest detail, debating and counting every number, try to plot the errors in the management and strategy. To no substantial avail. You’d be missing the point, trying to gauge a philosophy from the money people make. Can’t go much further this way.
The was has been in thought ever since the post-WW2.
America (as in United States of) flooded every accessible market with their surplus products: goods, services, entertainment. We Europeans, totally disrupted in everything from the war, looked at the other side of the ocean with envy, with desire. History recounts the millions of people who emigrated. We offloaded our emotional and physical grieves to trans-atlantic steamers, sold our very being for cheap televisions, cars, fridges, laundry machines.

The long term process eventually sublimated in the silent war of method fought in the smartphone territory: Finland against USA. And Finland lost bad. But why?
Sure enough for the ever present laurel-napping theorem: a fierce enemy of any long winner.
But also for this kind of thought exportation America has always carried on: Italy, France, Germany, they all have an internal cinema production amounting to about the 30% of all the cinema shows watched in a year. What’s the rest? American productions.

Think of it: every Italian, French, German, Finnish, whatever, of all the films he watches in a year, 70% are american.

It’s a subtle way of invading territories, by slow mind-moulding with innocent things like films and phones.
But what is the end result?
That one of the largest company in the world in its market (THE largest for many years) gives up its products to american counterparts. Because nobody wants the power, flexibility, appearance of Symbian anymore.
Everyone wants Iphone like experience: a playground whose owner is very brightly pointed out, in which you pay to play at the games the owner decides but with your own money, and every game allowed must have it’s own small room with no windows.
You can’t look outside, you can’t bring the game home, you can’t breath fresh air.

But it’s easy to tap an app, so gimme my damn Iphone!

Farewell Nokia, I doubt this Windows Phone trick will do you any better than make you a sibling of HTC.

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