Two ex-Nokia executives have given their verdict on what ails the Finnish phone maker in its failure to make any headway not only in the US market but against the onslaught from Apple and the clones the iPhone has spawned.
Juhani Risku’s analysis has only been published in full in Finnish so far but The Register’s Andrew Orlowski has boiled down three hours of interviews on the contents of Uusi Nokia to get a flavour of what’s wrong in Helsinki. Risku’s analysis concentrates firmly on the problems within - and you get a strong sense that if you changed the names, you’d get a good insight of the sorry mess that Microsoft and other companies have worked themselves into. The stories are not all that different from those you find published by Mini-Microsoft.
Tomi Ahonen’s analysis is probably easier on you if you work at Nokia. Because, basically, it’s all Apple’s fault. And Apple’s band of tame analysts who have turned the financial community against poor old Nokia.
However, anyone who describes the N93 as a ‘superphone’ has to be a bit deluded. I used to use one. It was a perfectly good phone. But, frankly, saddled with Symbian with S60 layered on top, it was a usability nightmare. Yes, you could surf the web with it, send emails and download applications. But it was all so much trouble. The iPhone environment may be more restrictive and lack the proper multitasking of Symbian - but that didn’t matter when I found the iPhone to have simply better utility.
What Ahonen does do well is at least point out that while Nokia may have lost its image as a top phone maker, it’s still making a shedload of them and should outsell Apple by a large margin for some time to come even if it doesn’t get its house in order. But, like Microsoft, the indicators are currently pointing down. Turning that juggernaught around is going to be just as difficult. Maybe it’s time for the recipe that Sony used for the Playstation - create an internal startup to think the unthinkable. Or at least do that until the corporate bureaucracy does its best to kill it off.