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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The unnecessary decline of Nokia

This is a fascinating essay on the disastrous, and ongoing, collapse of Nokia.  It's intriguing to see how giving the wrong guy the power to make decisions at the wrong time can prove brutally catastrophic.  Imagine, for example, if Nokia, rather than Google, had embraced Android back in 2005.
This is not complex stuff. If your company has a strategy built on three pillars, and all three are working - congratulations! You are in the rare position of succeeding in all you do, please do promote your head of strategy and give your CEO a big bonus, you may even have a young Steve Jobs in your organization. Your company is grabbing massive market share, you make huge profits and you are growing beyond your wildest dreams. Congratulations, enjoy this, it won't last forever.

If you have two of your three pillars working in your strategy, but one is failing, then you quietly shift away from the one failing part, you emphasize the two that are strong, and focus there. You don't fire your strategy guy, he got it more right than wrong, and you celebrate your CEO. You then quietly, behind the scenes, do a 'recalibration' of your strategy, where you find a new third leg to replace the failing one, but you do this quietly, behind the scenes. Because most of your strategy is succeeding, its full steam ahead. The CEO is doing a good but not stellar job, keep him, but don't give him any big bonuses for this performance. This, by the way, is kind of typical of most companies, part of the strategy is working but not all. This company should be profitable and growing. But its likely only to be growing at the pace of the industry, ie it would be holding its own roughly, in market share.

If you have two of your three pillars in your strategy failing and only one working, then its time to do the mea culpa, announce clearly that you are in trouble, and rapidly shift away from the two failing parts but convince your investors that yes, the one good part will keep you alive, please stay with us, this will be turned around. The strategy guy who cooked up this failing mess needs to be reassigned to non-strategy work and the CEO is probably over his head, you probably need a new CEO. But if you really belive the CEO is up to the task, he or she should be a change CEO and at this stage, the existing strategy MUST BE changed, it cannot bring success to the company if two of your three legs are failing. The one succeeding part cannot sustain you for long. This kind of company is in trouble, or on the brink of trouble, it is probably bleeding market share and probably making losses. It may even be shrinking in size already.

If you have three of your pillars in your strategy failing. All three failing, you must IMMEDIATELY STOP pursuing that strategy, as every day in it, brings you closer to death, to yes, bankruptcy, to oblivion, to complete failure, to junk status as a company, to being a takeover target. If your three pillars in your strategy are failing, you must fire immediately the strategy guy and replace not just the strategy head, but your whole strategy. If every leg of your strategy fails, then yes, ANY new strategy is better. Whatever you did before is better, whatever your competitors are doing is better, anything is better than pursuing a strategy that is 100% failing. The CEO who executed a strategy where all three legs fail, is clearly incompetent, and must be fired immediately. If the Board waits, then the Board is either asleep at the wheel, or incompetent, or in collusion with the incompetent CEO. If the Board waits in firing the CEO of a company where the whole strategy is failing - that Board must be fired instantly as well. This is elementary stuff. A company that finds its three pillars of its strategy all failing, is shrinking in size, is losing customers, is losing market share, is losing consumer and investor confidence, finds its share price rated junk, and is obviously generating increasing losses. This company is at least on the brink of bankruptcy and depending on how much cash it has on hand, it may prolong its life a little, but as long as the company pursues a 100% failing strategy - the company will kill itself.
It's an object lesson how even the most cash-rich, market dominant company can rapidly decline.  I think it will be interesting to see if Apple or Microsoft is the first of the two 80's giants to follow suit.  My money is on Microsoft, as long as Ballmer is running things there.

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100 Comments:

Blogger James Dixon December 12, 2012 12:04 PM  

> Imagine, for example, if Nokia, rather than Google, had embraced Android back in 2005.

They did. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_770_Internet_Tablet

Anonymous rycamor December 12, 2012 12:09 PM  

It's an object lesson how even the most cash-rich, market dominant company can rapidly decline.

Or how the most cash-rich, economically dominant country can rapidly decline. By the 80s, we had one successful pillar--manufacturing, and we have since kicked that out from under us, but rewarded all those who presided over the kicking. Seriously... is this country pursuing even one successful strategy in world economics at present?

Blogger WATYF December 12, 2012 12:12 PM  

If Windows 8 is any indication, it will be Microsoft. Egads, what a complete mess that thing is.

"Is it a smartphone? Is it a desktop? No... it's neither." :Op

WATYF

Anonymous Susan December 12, 2012 12:13 PM  

Well, on the subject of corporate failure, given Paul Allen's track record for ruining something(Trail Blazers franchise management), if he is still involved behind the scenes in any way at all with the running of Apple, Apple will fall first. Paul Allen doesn't hire people who have the spine to stand up to him and say 'butt out'.

Just an observation.

Anonymous Freestater December 12, 2012 12:22 PM  

Microsoft has the X-Box. As long as the best games are still made on the X-Box, Microsoft will survive.

Blogger JartStar December 12, 2012 12:22 PM  

If Windows 8 is any indication, it will be Microsoft. Egads, what a complete mess that thing is.

So what should MS do? The PC is on the verge of being the “green screen in the corner” for kids. Outside of work, geeks, and PC gaming who gets on a PC? Kids all play on tablets, pods, phones, and gaming consoles. They are literally growing up in a world in which the PC does not matter outside of schoolwork, and barely then.

Win8 is MS’s desperate attempt to remain relevant in a world which now functions on smartphones and tablets outside of work. If they can’t gain traction then the Windows PC will become a specialty device.

They can't stay in Win7 (or heaven forbid WinXP) forever if they want to remain relevant.

I don't even give them good odds at succeeding.

Anonymous Josh December 12, 2012 12:23 PM  

Elop might be in the running for worst CEO of the last twenty years. Holy crap.

Anonymous Josh December 12, 2012 12:25 PM  

I think Microsoft will be fine as long as they're the only game in town for corporate it departments.

Anonymous Roundtine December 12, 2012 12:29 PM  

Microsoft has business users and companies are really slow to change. Some companies could be running their accounting departments on x486 DOS machines, the software is that old.

Apple has to be the odds on favorite to collapse because it relies on cool. I can only think of one movie studio that didn't have a period where it produced flops: PIXAR. Which also happened to be a Steve Jobs company. Apple is always one flop away from disaster.

Anonymous Noah B. December 12, 2012 12:31 PM  

I have no love for either Microsoft or Apple, and although I find it hugely perplexing, Apple still has a brand that is generally respected and has somewhat of a fanatical following. I don't know any hardcore Microsoft devotees, only those who are afraid to explore a new OS. With smartphones and tablets, more and more people are getting exposed to non-Windows OS'es and seem to be shifting to indifference as to what OS they are actually running. It's going to be quite a challenge for Microsoft to maintain its relevance under these conditions.

Anonymous DrTorch December 12, 2012 12:38 PM  

Wow. Quite a lesson here. You have a superior product, yet you embrace your competitor. Why?

Fairfax County public schools did this when they hired a superintendent away from Montgomery Cty MD.

The Israelites did this repeatedly in Judges.

Eve did this in Genesis.


I think it's in our DNA.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 12, 2012 12:44 PM  

Ballmer's a problem, but not the only one, at MSFT. A more significant problem, because it's harder to fix, is that Microsoft is critically short of leadership and managerial talent at almost all levels of the organization. When I worked there, I estimated only about 1 in 5 at most of the guys running 200 to 600 person organizations were competent at their job. "Their job" meaning the planning, organization and direction of the groups under their management, and the coordination of their groups with other groups at the company.

Most of them couldn't do that. It's the result of Ballmer's fixation with Jack Welch's "Vitality Curve" and the horrible counter-dependant behavior it institutionalized in the company. Bottom line is people got promoted more often for being lucky than for being good, and sooner or later you roll craps.

So, fire Ballmer, yes, but that's just the start. Somehow a company of 94,000 people needs to either shrink to a company of 15-20k employees (firing only the bad managers), which is the size the leadership at the company could actually manage, or else find 300-400 additional people capable of running 200-600 person organizations. Those folks aren't just sitting around waiting. There's probably lots who have the talent to do it, but it's a job that takes experience too.

I don't see how they can do that. There's just no way to add leaderhip fast enough, and if you shrink the workforce instead, the tendency is for the competent ones to bail out first, because they can find jobs elsewhere (tell Steve that Jack Amok says hello).

Their best bet would be to reorg into autonomous divisions (Product, Sales, and G&A all together under a CVP), consolidated all their most talented leadership (which at this point they no longer even know how to identify) into one division, and then spin off the rest to go auger into the ground on their own.

If they did that, the core remaining company would have a great chance, because they do have some extremely talented people there, but they're surrounded by bozos.

Sorry, I could write all day on the dysfunctions of Microsoft. No, I'm not bitter much, thank you. Anyway, main lessons - don't use a vitality curve, and don't let your external feedback loop get bigger than your internal one. If you do, then you end up promoting people before you know if their ideas worked.

Blogger Christina December 12, 2012 12:45 PM  

Outside of work, geeks, and PC gaming who gets on a PC? Kids all play on tablets, pods, phones, and gaming consoles.

I'm really not much of a technophile (in spite my degree in CS), so I may not have an accurate grasp of market trends.

I see the snap book and tablet/notebook converters being more relevant than tablets and pads as far as making the pc go the way of the dinosaur.

Outside of those, though, I can't see how these things truly usurp the PC. Maybe its my limited exposure to such technology, but word-processing is tedious and painful on tablets (no wonder grammar and proper spelling is also a thing of the past). How is photo-editing on these things (even for a serious hobbyist, which I guess is still a "geek")? How is precision gaming?

The desktop PC has already been lost to laptops in the market that is going to be relying more on tablets than a computer. If the desktop has survived that shift, it will continue to survive for this market - or are you thinking technology should go the way of the GOP? Alienate a sector of its consumers (who are naturally more reliant and spend more money on it) to appeal to low-end, casual, flighty users?

Blogger James Dixon December 12, 2012 1:04 PM  

> Elop might be in the running for worst CEO of the last twenty years.

That assumes that the collapse of the company isn't deliberate. Where Microsoft folks are involved, I wouldn't want to bet on that assumption. They may be planning on buy up the company at a fire sale price.

Anonymous Stilicho December 12, 2012 1:06 PM  

RIMM: what could a Steve Jobs have done with that company and product?

Anonymous Bobo December 12, 2012 1:08 PM  

Interesting question if Carlos Ghosn will turn Renault around the way he helped at Nissan.

Anonymous castricv December 12, 2012 1:08 PM  

Nah Vox, my money is on Apple. Aside from the fact that they have already tanked in the past, once their "hipster" base gets a little older and find something more "post-modern ironic" or whatever b.s. they are on that day, APple is doomed. This with a crappy economy won't help them continue selling fancy styled junk for hundreds over costs. Plus have you seen that much inroads into the business sphere from Apple? I haven't, and that is why Microsoft will last longer despite it's share of that market slowly declining.

Also, the APple store in town looks strikingly like an Orwellian thoughtspeek reeducation center. It was amazing to see this huge glowing white apple suspended from a single pillar of light right at the entrance of the store. It is a fad and the type of people this fad is appealing to won't stay hooked on it for much longer. That new Samsung commercial played off this perfectly.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 12, 2012 1:14 PM  

So what should MS do? The PC is on the verge of being the “green screen in the corner” for kids.

With smartphones and tablets, more and more people are getting exposed to non-Windows OS'es and seem to be shifting to indifference as to what OS they are actually running...

Microsoft's early success with Win3 (early 90's) was due to exceptional developer support. Microsoft made it incredibly easy (well, relatively speaking) for people to make the kind of apps they wanted to make by using Microsoft. GUI's were the big thing back then, and Windows not only offered a reasonably functional GUI, but far better support for 3rd Party developers than anyone else (i.e. Apple).

Tutorials, examples, books (the old Microsoft Press published some outstanding programing books in the 1990's, Code Complete being the crown jewel), development tools, all were exceptionally useful. If you were writing a GUI app, Microsoft gave you a leg up against someone writing it for a non-Windows platform.

Apple's attitude towards 3rd Party devs then (and still, largely) was one of disdain. "You're going to sully our pristine creation, you wretches! Hands off! You're not fit to look at a Mac..."

But all that developer support was a cost center, not a profit center, so it got cut. Nobody making decisions realized and cared that it was the cornerstone that drove Windows adoption and dominance, It was just a way to save money. MSDN today is a pitiful shell of what it once was. It's easier for me to find tutorials, documentation, and help on free open source crap (and most of it is crap, though not quite all of it) than paid-for MSFT products.

Microsoft forgot that they were really in the business of selling industrial tools. They're a wholesaler, but they got fixated on retail metrics.

Blogger Markku December 12, 2012 1:23 PM  

Maemo and MeeGo were completely open platforms, so of course the f*cking satan spawn hated them.

Blogger Markku December 12, 2012 1:27 PM  

Android, on the other hand, isn't REALLY open. Google publishes just enough of the code to not get sued by Linus Torvalds, but the documentation of the code seems to be deliberately lacking. A Maemo phone was a genuine Linux system. If you had code that compiled to Linux on a PC, it compiled to Maemo. This is not the case with Android.

Blogger The Deuce December 12, 2012 1:33 PM  

Me, I'm just shocked that the NGage wasn't a rousing success! Who could have possibly seen that coming?!

I wonder what will happen with Microsoft's XBox division? By my reading, that's their "good" pillar, and their competition in the gaming sector - Sony and Nintendo - seem to be offing themselves.

Anonymous rycamor December 12, 2012 1:39 PM  

Markku December 12, 2012 1:23 PM

Maemo and MeeGo were completely open platforms, so of course the f*cking satan spawn hated them.


It really is a shame. I was looking forward to developing with them, and then later WebOS, and each of the open platforms got railroaded out of existence.

I still wonder whether there is any chance for an independent system like Firefox OS. Seems they are betting that eventually smartphones will evolve into a commodity device the way computers have, where networking and device drivers are standard enough that multiple OSes will run on them.

Blogger Markku December 12, 2012 1:40 PM  

As for Microsoft, I'd say Windows 7 is going to be the high point of its entire history. And, of course, I mean in absolute, not relative, goodness. There were better operating systems for their time, but I still wouldn't go back to any of them.

Everything about Windows 8's look says to me that they are planning to turn PC practically into a console. The walls are going up in that garden.

Anonymous rycamor December 12, 2012 1:43 PM  

Yup, once again Microsoft is playing "me too" to Apple.

Blogger Markku December 12, 2012 1:43 PM  

Rycamor: MeeGo isn't really going away, the first MeeGo phone will come out next summer. But not from Nokia, a new Finnish company, Jolla. And that's what makes me worry, because there's no way the hardware is going to be as good as if it had been made by Nokia.

Blogger Markku December 12, 2012 1:47 PM  

This is what the OS looks like right now.

Anonymous rycamor December 12, 2012 1:51 PM  

As for Microsoft, I'd say Windows 7 is going to be the high point of its entire history.

For personal sales, yes, but I really think it was Office and Exchange that made Microsoft the corporate winners. People can live with a different underlying OS just fine if their favorite way of working is left unchanged. The smartest move Microsoft could make right now is to make a Linux (and Android) version of Office, and a Linux version of Exchange Server.

Think about it: Samba 4.0 just came out, and for the first time is a truly valid contender as a Windows domain server. IT types are just itching to get Linux in the server room, even if they know it will be pulling teeth to get it on the corporate desktop.

Blogger Markku December 12, 2012 1:54 PM  

For personal sales, yes

No, what I mean is that I'll probably regard it as their best OS ever (again, not relative to technological limitations of the OS's time, but in absolute terms.)

Anonymous raggededge December 12, 2012 2:02 PM  

MSFT is releasing an iOS and Android version of Office in the near future.

Blogger The Deuce December 12, 2012 2:03 PM  

Windows 8 is pretty damned strange and tough to get used to (at least on a PC), but I do have to give it credit for being quite fast.

Blogger JartStar December 12, 2012 2:05 PM  

So long as SharePoint is popular in companies, MS will rule the corporate office.

I always find it amusing when people ask for MS Office to have a Linux version when the OS community tells me the the OS offices are better. Why do you want an inferior product on your operating system?

@Markku, you are probably correct. Do you think the heyday of PC gaming will climax with Win7 as well?

Anonymous rycamor December 12, 2012 2:08 PM  

Ah, you mean in terms of technical merit, useability, etc... For the most part I agree. Although even then there were some walled gardens going up. For example, the Home edition of Windows 7 severely crippled things regarding networking and sharing.

At one onsite project I was tasked with getting a development environment on several Windows 7 Home laptops. We wanted VMWare or Virtualbox running development versions of the server (Linux), using Git to share updates between team members. Turned out to be impossible with Home edition. In fact, team members could not even let other team members surf their development websites on port 80.

Anonymous rycamor December 12, 2012 2:15 PM  

Markku- Sailfish does look interesting. It's amazing how much creativity interface designers are putting into a 4x2.5" screen, in each of the smartphone OSes. Interesting in that the Desktop Wars always boiled down to Windows vs Mac, but the smartphone wars still involve more players.

Anonymous Vidad December 12, 2012 2:20 PM  

Roundtine: "I can only think of one movie studio that didn't have a period where it produced flops: PIXAR."

Yeah, and their film quality is going down fast. They're simultaneously jumping further into the politically correct realm and adding in more idiotically scatological humor while losing the great storytelling that made their superior imagery worth watching.

Anonymous paradox December 12, 2012 2:23 PM  

I worked as a handset repair tech for Verizon Wireless in 2005. The only Nokia phone we had was a 3530 and it was a piece of junk. The power button would malfunction.

Anonymous Lesbian Dorito Night December 12, 2012 2:24 PM  

Windows 8's live tiles remind me of MS Bob. However, I believe Apple will go first, only because they didn't learn from history.

Apple and Commodore had the PC market. IBM and clones came in and undercut them because Apple feel the need to compete w/ the PC.

Apple had the Tablet market.
Google and the clones are here.

As per the pricing of the iPad mini, apple doesn't feel the need to compete w/ Android.

C-Ya!

Anonymous Zartan December 12, 2012 2:28 PM  

@Vidad

RE: Pixar

See the Pipeline/N+1 theory on M&A's After a merger, after the pre-existing projects/pipeline is exhausted there is usually only 1 more good release in them, then sequlitis sets in (seen in game companies, software companies, and media companies)

Wall-E was the last movie that was outlined pre-Disney, upcoming releases? Cars 3, Monsters Inc 2, Incredibles 2...

Anonymous paradox December 12, 2012 2:29 PM  

Josh

Elop might be in the running for worst CEO of the last twenty years. Holy crap


I don't know, Carly Florina is hard to beat.

Anonymous Bobo December 12, 2012 2:31 PM  

The Deuce: "I wonder what will happen with Microsoft's XBox division? By my reading, that's their "good" pillar, and their competition in the gaming sector - Sony and Nintendo - seem to be offing themselves."

Sony will find a niche and be successful. In East Asia, Japanese culture is a becoming big and is being copied everywhere from Korea to Vietnam, Thailand and China. Sony will continue to have J-RPG and dating sim games with cute anime girls, something most Asian men and teens cannot resist, and will continue sales there. Games like "Hatsune Miku Project Diva" or "Dream Club" and thousands of other clones. It's a huge cash cow and as these people become more wealthy and forget their historical animosity to Japan, they'll buy more and more of that stuff.

Anonymous whatever December 12, 2012 2:43 PM  

Elop and this Tomi "Rentier" Ahonen did their predictable sh*t of trying to screw everyone else over they possibly could while screaming about how it was "just business" and it didn't work out for them this time.

Ha ha ha is all I can say. Surely if I was one of the scientists that got his throat slit by Elop after working my entire life to get Nokia where it was in 2010, Tomi-boy would be equally a condescending worthless piece of cr*p to me. I was PAID, Tomi-boy would say. Why do I expect more? So cold, so wise, so powerful. Ha ha ha ha ha!

Ha ha Tomi! Nokia is almost dead now! Maybe Elop shouldn't have fired the design teams that reported that "developing using Microsoft is insane". I laugh at their destruction!

Blogger Markku December 12, 2012 2:48 PM  

The funniest thing ever will be if Jolla succeeds - because Nokia wouldn't even have made any money from the OS they developed on their behalf - free open source can be a bitch sometimes.

Anonymous whatever December 12, 2012 2:50 PM  

I also like how the Rentier tards blame Elop for implementing THEIR policies.

And no, worshipful idiots, gutting everyone else so rentier can see a 10% increased return is what hallowed out the company and made it vulnerable to near retarded nonsense like "we are using windows software". For a tiny piece of electronics that must, above all things, be EFFICIENT. When you think about the Microsoft Operating system, does EFFICIENT come to mind? NO?

I bet Elop also got rid of the best salesmen cause they were paid to much. That's why rentier boy uses his little "memo did it" vomit. Cause he ain't admitting that getting rid of twenty year veteran sales people with relationships that old could possibly have been a bad idea. They were getting money that should go to him! He ain't running a charity here, maggots!

Blogger Markku December 12, 2012 2:52 PM  

However, THAT isn't even the funniest inversion of traditional principles in making a profit from software. Windows Mobile was such a steaming pile of crap that nobody would touch it even for free. The way Microsoft got Nokia on board was Microsoft paying Nokia a huge sum of money.

Has there ever been another software so bad, that the developer pays the client just so that they would use it?

Anonymous mjb December 12, 2012 3:04 PM  

I'm betting on Apple first. Of course, RIM is dead on arrival, so they aren't in the discussion, and I'm not sure they existed in the 80s.

I'm an systems engineer stuck in the MS environment. MS is not going anywhere. If anything, they may experience growth in the next 5 years while Apple fades as they did in the 90s. Someone mentioned it, but their SharePoint product is a huge corporate product, along with Office.

Now MS is getting into the hosting game, and I actually think their Hosted Exchange product is decent. Though, I won't admit that to any of my coworkers.

Anonymous ERM December 12, 2012 3:06 PM  

Terrible. I bought my wife an N9 this fall out of curiosity after her POS HTC Android monstrosity finally became unusable. It's a marvellous phone, far better engineered than my iPhone, better in fact in every respect save the ecosystem. What do we in Europe have left in the tech field if Nokia goes?

Anonymous carnaby December 12, 2012 3:09 PM  

That report is crap. There's no such thing as a "junk rated share price" and Nokia's new devices with Windows 8 are really great. I've got a Nokia 920 and I like it about 327% better than my stupid old iPhone 4. Both the device and OS are excellent. What I see is a torrent of Microsoft haters pre-judging a device based on their prejudice against Micro$oft, and their desire for OS 8 based devices to fail.

As for Windows 8, I run it on both my desktop and laptop, and it's a really great user experience. Yes, there was the 2-hour learning curve, and I know it's very challenging for some to locate the windows key on their keyboard, but short of that it has a really cool GUI.

As for the death of the desktop, serious FPS gamers are turning to desktops as their preferred gaming platform. The mouse/keyboard combo has always been the best for precision aiming and moving, and the CPU/GPU power do desktops is always light years ahead of consoles.

So what should MS do? The PC is on the verge of being the “green screen in the corner” for kids. Outside of work, geeks, and PC gaming who gets on a PC? Kids all play on tablets, pods, phones, and gaming consoles. They are literally growing up in a world in which the PC does not matter outside of schoolwork, and barely then.

Not even remotely true. My 9 year old daughter really likes to write stories and our Android tablets and smartphones are useless for that purpose for her. She uses my Windows 8 laptop and Word to compose her stories. My 12 year old son is learning computer programming and as such I am teaching him to program in C# on Windows 8 and Window 7 machines using Visual Studio Express 2012.

I used to do a lot of programming in Linux, I typically used CodeBlocks as my IDE and did most of my programming in C++. My preferred desktop/laptop OS in the days of XP was Gentoo Linux.

I don't know any hardcore Microsoft devotees, only those who are afraid to explore a new OS.

Bwa ha ha ha ha! So only people who are afraid of a new OS will try/use/like the new Windows 8 OS? Ha ha ha! Great argument.

Blogger Nate December 12, 2012 3:11 PM  

Given that Apple already found itself in the crapper once before... it seems likely that they'll be there again... very soon.

Most likely by their own doing I should add.

Apple's insane quest for HTML 5 will likely be a part of their undoing... as there are many many new handhelds on the way that handle HTML5 far better than the iwhatevers do.

And remember... HTLM5 has no need of an app store. Your website is your app... and the power of HTML5 is such that it will provide an excellent way for folks to get their apps into subscriber hands and by pass Apple's walled garden.

Blogger Nate December 12, 2012 3:11 PM  

Given that Apple already found itself in the crapper once before... it seems likely that they'll be there again... very soon.

Most likely by their own doing I should add.

Apple's insane quest for HTML 5 will likely be a part of their undoing... as there are many many new handhelds on the way that handle HTML5 far better than the iwhatevers do.

And remember... HTLM5 has no need of an app store. Your website is your app... and the power of HTML5 is such that it will provide an excellent way for folks to get their apps into subscriber hands and by pass Apple's walled garden.

Blogger Markku December 12, 2012 3:13 PM  

Your website is your app...

So, how do you get paid without the app store?

Blogger Duke of Earl December 12, 2012 3:37 PM  

Advertising.

I think they'll have to make ad blockers impossible though.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 12, 2012 3:47 PM  

Vox I thought you were going to morph this into The Fed Reserve and the economy. Thinking too far ahead before your ending of the lesson.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 12, 2012 3:48 PM  

HTML5 is a pipe dream.

Blogger Nate December 12, 2012 3:50 PM  

"So, how do you get paid without the app store?"

subscribers... honestly this isn't rocket science. Note how many of the biggest apps are actually free.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 12, 2012 3:56 PM  

"subscribers... honestly this isn't rocket science. Note how many of the biggest apps are actually free."

And why Microsoft destroyed Apple in the 90's. Open source.

Blogger Nate December 12, 2012 3:56 PM  

and please... HTML5 isn't a pipe dream. Its reality. Flash is dead. Adobe killed it with their own stupidity.

Anonymous Peter Garstig December 12, 2012 4:00 PM  

The N9, which I'm using to write this, is a damn fine phone. Well Manufactored with a very responsive screen.

The Lumia has basicaüly the same very good hardware (and best design of any smartphone), but hasnt meego.

Anyway, Nokia will survive until Microsoft goes down.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 12, 2012 4:05 PM  

Two Things I never did figure out.
1) Why VHS beat Beta
2) Why Blue ray Beat High Def.

Anonymous Josh December 12, 2012 4:07 PM  

Blue Ray won because of Sony.

Blogger JartStar December 12, 2012 4:19 PM  

Apple's insane quest for HTML 5 will likely be a part of their undoing...

Adobe is stopping flash development for mobile. MS is stopping Silverlight completely. They are all going to HTML 5.


MS can't win for losing.

Person1: MS is too bloated to and will be the new IBM since they can't change with the times! They are dead and don't know it!

Person1: MS wrecked things through change!


Blogger The Deuce December 12, 2012 4:25 PM  

Yup, HTML5 is the next big thing. It's still about 3 years away from fully-functional maturity though, imo.

Blogger The Deuce December 12, 2012 4:27 PM  

2) Why Blue ray Beat High Def.

The PS3 put it over the edge. Millions of people who wouldn't have bought an HD player by itself got one for "free" with their gaming system.

Anonymous Daniel December 12, 2012 4:32 PM  

Two Things I never did figure out.
1) Why VHS beat Beta
2) Why Blue ray Beat High Def.

2) was answered above. I believe VHS won on a number of fronts, but the big difference was pornography. VHS was the medium of choice: lower price and faster production resulted in more access and selection.

Something like that. I remember coming across that analysis from a couple of independent sources when I was learning about the demise of the old laser disc industry.

Does anyone remember when the Back to the Future Betamax cost $89.99 or something preposterous like that?

Anonymous Anonymous December 12, 2012 4:34 PM  

I've had a Microsoft Surface for a month now, and it is really easy to use, relatively fast, great battery life, and you can get a cover/keyboard with it and avoid the problems of using a touch screen to type on.

I would never use a regular tablet after using the Surface.

I am a long time Linux user, and I still use Linux a lot, but in the proper context, Windows 8 is much better than the reviews.

Anonymous Daniel December 12, 2012 4:36 PM  

Put a name to it and I might take you seriously, Annie.

Anonymous Stilicho December 12, 2012 4:48 PM  

And remember... HTLM5 has no need of an app store. Your website is your app... and the power of HTML5 is such that it will provide an excellent way for folks to get their apps into subscriber hands and by pass Apple's walled garden.

I need to educate myself on these issues. Suggested reading?

Anonymous Jake-the-Rake December 12, 2012 4:51 PM  

Hello Christina,

You say: "...Maybe its my limited exposure to such technology, but word-processing is tedious and painful on tablets..."

I translate huge quantities of text... and as I get antsy sitting at a computer, I like to work wherever and whenever the spirit moves me. That means gadgets. Happiness for me was - and unfortunately still is - the PSION 5MX and the HP200LX. The second is a DOS XT clamshell. Ancient, risible... but fantastically productive.

I went to the gadget stores, Android and Mac... and I showed them what I could do with that ancient DOS XT clamshell using either old Word 5 for DOS or VDE freeware editor and I gave them a challenge. I said: show me a new-fangled device that can handle the inputting and canceling of text more efficiently and I'll pay you five times the amount written on the price tag.

No, I don't want to fly in formation with my friends in Singapore or check the weather in Berlin or download Lady Gaga's latest hit... I just want to work... I've got to get my 120K texts translated in 5 days... and I'd like to do a good percentage of the work while strolling through the park or lounging under the pergola.

They laughed and scoffed, but came up with nothing for real, good, hot and heavy text editing on a handheld. Zero. Niente.

Bah! Pudgy and clumsy, often hit-and-miss fingers are forced to do precison work in cramped spaces requiring lots of mind and eye concentration (coordination) for routine actions.

In my despair, I'll be writing to developers requesting a simple feature that would greatly improve text editing on tablets... A "smart" DEL feature.

I look forward to one day burying these legacy devices... and actually finding something powerful, fast, efficient for text editing.

Anonymous Noah B. December 12, 2012 5:11 PM  

"Bwa ha ha ha ha! So only people who are afraid of a new OS will try/use/like the new Windows 8 OS? Ha ha ha! Great argument."

Not sure what's funny other than your reading comprehension. Must be an aspie thing. The point is that I don't know anyone personally who is a devotee of Microsoft, whereas I do know several Apple devotees. So you really, really love Windows 8? I'm happy for you. Maybe you should send Ballmer a quick note to tell him how much you like it.

But that doesn't change the fact that I don't know anyone personally who is running a device of any kind with Windows 8, while over the last month, I've seen friends and family buy about a dozen new Android phones and tablets.

Anonymous Noah B. December 12, 2012 5:14 PM  

"I would never use a regular tablet after using the Surface."

Why?

Anonymous Jack Amok December 12, 2012 5:15 PM  

and please... HTML5 isn't a pipe dream. Its reality. Flash is dead. Adobe killed it with their own stupidity.

And the Democrats are evil idiots, which makes the Republicans good and right and all that.

Flash sucking doesn't fix HTML5's problems. The fact that HTML5 continues to get support is evidence of how poorly run tech companies are.

Anonymous Anonymous December 12, 2012 5:23 PM  

Noah B

The keyboard.

Blogger Nate December 12, 2012 5:26 PM  

"MS can't win for losing. "

MS isn't losing anything. They will go on making their billions each year.. and their stock price will stay the same its always been.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 12, 2012 5:26 PM  

I believe VHS won on a number of fronts, but the big difference was pornography. VHS was the medium of choice: lower price and faster production resulted in more access and selection.

Also, I believe Sony restrcited content on early Beta, so the pron flowed to VHS as the only available option.

Anonymous Noah B. December 12, 2012 5:28 PM  

The ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity has an optional keyboard. Anything else?

Anonymous Daniel December 12, 2012 5:32 PM  

Also, I believe Sony restrcited content on early Beta, so the pron flowed to VHS as the only available option.

That's right. There was a workaround, but no one bothered with it, since VHS was restriction free.

Blogger JartStar December 12, 2012 5:33 PM  

MS isn't losing anything. They will go on making their billions each year.. and their stock price will stay the same its always been.

Not in business, but in criticism. They are an easy target by Gen-X because their ruthless business practices in the late 90s.

Apple failed on the server side and barely exists in the datacenter, but nobody predicted their demise because of it. If MS loses a lot of desktop share it doesn't mean they can't continue to make money in other areas. For instance X-Box live made $1 billion last year alone.

I'm in Visual Studio all day and I really like it. MSDN is fine as well, but having a Safari Books Online subscription is a must IMO for developers now days. The most helpful books are not longer exclusively written by MS Press.

Anonymous kh123 December 12, 2012 5:41 PM  

At first, thought it was going to be a warning to avoid stagnancy or complacency ("Chairman Jorma Ollila said Nokia didn't need a new strategy..."), then it turns into a badly calculated high risk which alienates its customers, which comes back to the real object lesson: Don't mess with success; or rather, don't orphan success by killing off its parents.

So many descriptive phrases born out of this: Massive failures can now be described as being a total "elop"; kicking out the Symbian leg from underneath a company. I like how "Osborne" is now a verb synonymous with capricious corporate stupidity.

So now the question: Why would Elop do any of this. Was it simply to flex nuts as CEO. Was he paranoid about complacency. Was Nokia being behind in North America (or simply not being #1 there) completely unacceptable. Or did he not want to bother with whatever ebbs and tides a more diverse global market might have posed, and thus focused on North America as a prime target.

Either way, if the king wasn't bowing down and eating grass on his own, he had some bad seers in his court.

Anonymous A Visitor December 12, 2012 5:46 PM  

I read a little over a half of the post that Vox linked to. That is one of the few times in my life my jaw has literally dropped. I am beside myself right now. Too much stupidity to take in...why? Why? WHY? I don't even own a Nokia handset! WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS UNLESS YOU WERE TRYING TO DELIBERATELY DESTROY THE COMPANY?????

Blogger tz December 12, 2012 6:03 PM  

They would not have needed Android, they had Maemo and Meego, and just needed to push them (Intel interfered a bit with the latter). Qt and even the earlier Hildon/osso was far better and easier than Android - you could even do really nice apps in a short amount of Python!. I still have my n810s and n800. A precursor to the smartphone phablets - and their only problem was they were slow.

The N9 and N950 (the latter was Developer only but with Qwerty - I would have gotten one if there weren't the Dev program hoops to go through) may have been the best phones ever made and they were Meego. A German magazine said cross the border to get one since it wasn't available in Germany. If they opened it up to the rest of the industry (but kept their Ovi store) - so that LG, HTC, maybe even Samsung could have a version things would be very different.

Or simply run Android under Meego. The linux base for each would have made it possible if not easy. Android plus.

Or even do the linux based WebOS in parallel - I know people who still love that interface.

Shoot your two thoroughbreads through the head, then bet on a horse from a farm only known to create resource hogs.

It will be hard deciding which will be worse, Apple or Microsoft. The only advantage Microsoft has it that it has a large corporate installed base that enough pitchforks and torches get them to do the right thing (XP is still supported, Vista was horrid but they managed to do Win7). Apple has more hubris. With Steve Jobs it was less so ("It ain't bragging when you can do it"), and they were still leap-frogging Android - the hare was still outrunning the tortoise. But now with Tim Cook, the hare is trying to sue the tortoise for cheating instead of running ahead. Rounded Corners?

Apple has a problem with their "one iPhone model" strategy. So there will be no thumb-keyboard, no stylus, no phablet, no removable-so-extendable battery. How Ford lost dominance a century ago - any color as long as it is black - v.s. GM's any color you want. And IBM with the PS/2 and (early) OS/2. You will know Apple is dead when there is an iTunes/iCloud/AppleApps for Android. You might see something similar from Microsoft. When the distribution curve is narrow, owning the center is owning the market. When it widens and flattens, you can even lose the network effects.

Then there's Apple's attempt at Maps (for iOS, not on OSX yet AFAIK) - to get turn-by-turn that caused people in Australia to get lost by 40 miles in the wilderness. Not to mention the Salvatore Dali roads. They just didn't want to pay Google for turn by turn. OK, they now have found out how hard it is to do GIS, mapping, and local and to take databases and correctly map them. They have dollars, and can put resources, but complex problems don't become simpler because you throw cash at them.

The threat is Google-Cloud and Android has no gates so they have to be better so you don't go away. The others might try a lockdown, but at some point people will get annoyed enough to use an app that moves their data over. (I know someone who just did it with iTunes Music). Google may become evil, but for now I think they are smart enough not to try to offend their user base.

For Microsoft, the UEFI/DRM for Win8 will cause more problems. There are probably as many if not more exploitable flaws in it, but lockdown breeds complacency, and makes fixing things difficult. DRM is brittle and what is needed is robustness. Apple will find this out too - there have been a few examples.

The threat no one sees is Chromebooks - but they aren't a problem now. But imagine a multicore ARM Chromebook that runs all your android apps, plus Chrome apps, plus a native API, with Google cloud and anyone else's without the "curation". Here, again, the tortoise. As ESR says, the OODA loop. Andoroid improves incrementally every quarter.

Anonymous Continental Cad December 12, 2012 7:56 PM  

So which is gunna win out here?

The current give-peace-a-chance, on-going bitchification of the poor feckless working,
white Joe Lunchbox.

...or the fomenting rage that Luncbox is feeling toward a smug, leftist overseer that strips Lunch of the contents of his box, disperses it to the minority free loaders and then goes on to blame all of the nations problems on he, the poor brow-beaten barer of a honest days wage.

Does Lunchbox retain any of the balls of his predecessors or is he so cowed that he will suffer any injustice and humiliation just to get along? (Lunchy is a Baby Boomer after all...not a good sign)

Lunchbox needs more people like Tad to keep poking him with a stick . Many, many more Tads would do just fine.

Anonymous Continental Cad December 12, 2012 8:23 PM  

Above comment was intended for previous the posting!

Blogger James Dixon December 12, 2012 9:54 PM  

> WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS UNLESS YOU WERE TRYING TO DELIBERATELY DESTROY THE COMPANY?????

As I noted above, some people think that's exactly what he's been doing.

Anonymous rubberducky December 12, 2012 11:04 PM  

That article about Nokia was interesting, and also correct about Nokia's fateful decision to burn two platforms (Symbian and Meego). They brought in a Windows guy who naturally bet the farm on the Windows Phone. That always was a big risk imho.

The article isn't correct though when it says Microsoft Osborne'd the Lumia with Win8. That problem was coming for Nokia no matter what they did. The path to Win8 from Win7.5, the path from Symbian3 to Meego (or hell even Symbian to Symbian3), and also the path from Android3 to Android4 all share this same problem with compatibilities. Qt is an awesome piece of engineering (I use it literally everyday for desktop programming), but it wasn't going to a magic balm here.

But, this aside, an otherwise spot-on article.

Anonymous rycamor December 12, 2012 11:58 PM  

Stilicho December 12, 2012 4:48 PM

And remember... HTLM5 has no need of an app store. Your website is your app... and the power of HTML5 is such that it will provide an excellent way for folks to get their apps into subscriber hands and by pass Apple's walled garden.

I need to educate myself on these issues. Suggested reading?


HTML5 itself from a developer's perspective, or the business model Nate mentions above?

Anonymous whatever December 13, 2012 1:14 AM  


But, this aside, an otherwise spot-on article.


And here I thought it was a rentier-jackass whining about how "he likes money" and how "he didn't get money" and how "other people need to get him money".

People here pointed out that Windows was an idiotic decision. Rentier-jackass did not. He did not because he got money for that idiotic decision. He likes money. It was the (newly downsized) development staffs and the (newly downsized) sales staffs failure to execute rentier-jackass's directives that they should "make it work" that "caused" the problem.

In fact, rentier-jackass, in typical "The King Does Not Apologize" fashion says:
"Then if that wasn't enough bad news in February of 2011, came the bombshell - Nokia would end the Symbian path to MeeGo, and switch to Windows Phone based smartphones instead.

So. Lets not debate the merits of that decision."

Anonymous carnaby December 13, 2012 2:05 AM  

Windows was a great decision now that win 8 is here. Love my 920. Win phone 7 and the 900 sucked, way behind in technology, but my new Nokia phone is way better than my old iPhone 4 and my buddy's iPhone 5.

Anonymous The CronoLink December 13, 2012 2:54 AM  

"Microsoft has the X-Box. As long as the best games are still made on the X-Box, Microsoft will survive."

Hahahahaha, yeah, right, the Xbox is a thrash pillar as well.

Anonymous VryeDenker December 13, 2012 3:31 AM  

It's not the product, it's the amount of hype you can generate around it. Both Google/Samsung and Microsoft/Nokia have built superior Mobile offerings to Apple, yet the iPhone is still the standard in the public's eyes.

It's sad really. As a consumer, I think it's a joke that the iPhone still enjoys the popularity it does. It's a half decade old design that gets a little taller each year, but that's about it. Android is superior to iOS and I'd even go so far as to say Windows Phone 7.5 and 8 are too. The Nokia Lumia's interface makes more sense on a phone than the icon-driven interfaces of the other two.

As a software developer, I also find it depressing because Microsoft provides which is by far the best development platform for mobile and tablet devices. If you think Eclipse for Android is nice, wait til you've used Visual Studio 2012 for Mobile Devices.

Anonymous Noah B. December 13, 2012 10:13 AM  

Physorg's product reviewers have nicely captured the weirdness of the new Win8 devices.

"So, while the W700 offers more versatility than the typical tablet or laptop, it's a compromised device that isn't ideal when trying to imitate either one."
Review here

"But as might be expected of a first-generation gadget, it [the Surface] also has numerous shortcomings, and because of those, I can't recommend it over the iPad. For the same $500 base price, Apple's tablet is simply better."
Review here

Blogger Nate December 13, 2012 10:21 AM  

I love how differences are described as "weirdness" when labeling a none apple device... and yet Apple weirdness is always just a feature.

The ipads suck. All of them. I can think of literally a dozen tablets on the market that are far better than any of the ipads.

Blogger Nate December 13, 2012 10:33 AM  

JAC rocks an HP WebOS tab... I have a Playbook... DJ has a toshiba... and mom and dad have an ASUS Transformer and a Playbook.

All of those tablets are significantly better at numerous things than the ipad, or ipad 2. For one... they all hold wifi signal significantly better than the ipad does. Sitting right next to each other on the same wifi network... I can surf on my Playbook...and my wife is having to use the 4g on her phone because her ipad can't keep the signal.

No doubt the apple folks will call this a feature as well.

Anonymous Noah B. December 13, 2012 10:38 AM  

Yeah, no love for Apple here either. I've never bought one and expect I never will. Still, the newer iPads are superior to most of the Android tablets on the market in terms of the display. Most of the Android tablets you find at someplace like Best Buy only have 1280x800 displays, which is a stark contrast to the iPads. But there are Android tablets out there with 1080p displays, and it seems to me that it's well worth getting something with 1080p.

Anonymous Noah B. December 13, 2012 10:46 AM  

I guess it all depends on what you intend to use a tablet for. I read a lot of ebooks and I find the higher screen resolution makes a huge difference.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 13, 2012 12:47 PM  

I love how differences are described as "weirdness" when labeling a none apple device... and yet Apple weirdness is always just a feature.

Yes, either it's just like the competing Apple product, in which case it's a shameless rip off, or it's different, in which case it's wierd and wrong. The mind of an Apple fanboi. Talk about oneitis.

The iPhone was a great device when it came out, but it hasn't kept pace very well. Everyone I've talked to that has a new Win8 phone loves it (but I do live in the hinterlands of Redmondia, so take that with a grain of salt, or a bucket of rain, whichever you think most appropriate). The stores can't keep the 920 in stock.

Anonymous whatever December 13, 2012 1:14 PM  


The iPhone was a great device when it came out, but it hasn't kept pace very well. Everyone I've talked to that has a new Win8 phone loves it (but I do live in the hinterlands of Redmondia, so take that with a grain of salt, or a bucket of rain, whichever you think most appropriate). The stores can't keep the 920 in stock.


First, I like totally believe you, except that I don't. But let's say I did. Not gonna risk being Vista'd by Microsoft. Microsoft has proven it will do any ignorant thing it feels it can get away with.

Anonymous carnaby December 13, 2012 3:36 PM  

I like my Windows Phone 8 device. My sister Stickwick was ready to toss her stupid iPhone for a Nokia 920 when I visited her two weeks ago in Texas, but her contract isn't eligible for an upgrade till June. Half an hour with my Nokia and she was ready to switch.

Nokia 920 Pros:

Awesome hi-res screen
Touch screen works with gloves
Camera/optics are outstanding
High quality industrial design
Built-in cordless charging
Windows Phone 8 OS - generally really cool, a couple shortcomings that I'd like to see fixed
Live tiles are super cool, the GUI in general rocks
Office for WP8 is very useable, especially One Note
No OS crashes so far, owned one month
Antenna seems to be better than iPhone

Nokia 920 Cons:

Lack of favorite apps: scrabble, galcon, my particular musical instrument tuner, dropcam, firefox, hulu, sony remote, banking app, and an amazon streaming movie player (nobody has this)
WP8 OS doesn't has as much customization as I'd like under the hood
No iMessage (iphone friends have to use IM+ to avoid message charges)
Had exactly one OS lock-up, which seemed to be related to the GPS navigation system. Hasn't happened since.

Nokia 920 Meh:

Batter life isn't awesome, but not bad either. Can be mitigated via OS settings
It's on the big side, but for me that's not a problem, I put it in an Otter Box case, now it's big
No ability to download movies from any online source for playback later (that I know of)... seems I have to load movies via my laptop/desktop

Blogger Markku December 13, 2012 3:42 PM  

Stickwick has an iPhone?!

This is like learning there is no Santa...

Anonymous carnaby December 13, 2012 3:46 PM  

Noah B. did you read the second review? The two biggest complaints:

1. Screen resolution not as high as the iPad and camera resolution is lower too.

2. Not enough apps. Well, that's a catch 22 if ever there was one... Surface 8 won't catch on because not enough apps, and there won't be enough apps because it won't catch on (say the nay-sayers).

Anonymous carnaby December 13, 2012 3:47 PM  

Stickwick has an iPhone and a filthy macbook. I almost had to disown her.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 13, 2012 3:51 PM  

First, I like totally believe you, except that I don't. But let's say I did. Not gonna risk being Vista'd by Microsoft. Microsoft has proven it will do any ignorant thing it feels it can get away with.

Like, gag you with a spoon or something, I guess.

Don't worry about MSFT goonies visiting. I'm higher on their list - you're just an ignorant pagan, I'm a heretic. Well, not so much of one that I use a Mac, but still...

Blogger Markku December 13, 2012 4:03 PM  

We're clearly going to have to hold an Ilk parley about, you know.

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