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The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 12, 2012 23:11 UTC (Fri) by pboddie (guest, #50784)
In reply to: The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro) by mjg59
Parent article: The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

So, what you're saying is that Nokia needed to reject a platform where they could differentiate themselves, but where it would require hard work, and embrace a platform where as a manufacturer they cannot differentiate themselves, with limitations even imposed on the hardware profile (yes, that joke about Windows phones having three buttons - guess which ones - finally came true). Of course, Nokia can differentiate themselves on the camera optics and sensor, and we see that with the PureView hype, but a manufacturer can do that and more with an Android handset.

The principal argument for rejecting the Android brand, as opposed to the technological platform, is that it gave Nokia the ability to deliver their own services instead of things like Google Maps. However, that doesn't need a tie-up with Microsoft, and a generic non-Google Android-based platform could have delivered much of the same services. Even a warmed-over Ovi Store would have been starting at the same level - close to zero - as Microsoft's offering, so it wouldn't have been like Nokia would have been throwing away that advantage.


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The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 12, 2012 23:20 UTC (Fri) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Hard work, a lot of money and a willingness not to ship any products for two years. Time taken from the burning platform announcement to shipping a Windows phone was 9 months. There's no way they could have released an Android device that was anywhere near as compelling in the same timeframe, and given rapidly they were losing cash waiting even longer wasn't really an option.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 0:46 UTC (Sat) by chithanh (guest, #52801) [Link]

Android was ported to the N9 by a handful of volunteers. ASUS developed the highly desirable Nexus 7 Tablet within four months.

If Nokia wanted to bring an Android device to market, they could have certainly done so. Even if that meant to run Android on a phone which was in the pipeline for a different OS. And they would have sold enough of it to keep the company afloat.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 1:07 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Shipping a generic Android on their platforms would have been possible, and also entirely uninteresting. The phone market isn't interested in unskinned Android. Asus, meanwhile, have been shipping Android tablets for over two years.

There's simply no way Nokia could have shipped an Android device as compelling as the Lumia in 10 months. Tying themselves to Windows gives them a chance of market dominance rather than guaranteeing gradual irrelevance.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 9:43 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

The phone market isn't interested in unskinned Android.
The hype around the Google tablet says otherwise. My own experience with the Google Nexus S too. I have never seen a review of a mobile phone center around the proprietary UI features (although I don't follow that kind of hardware porn too closely, true). Care to substantiate that statement?

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 10:09 UTC (Sat) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

> > The phone market isn't interested in unskinned Android.

> The hype around the Google tablet says otherwise.

Sellers and buyers typically have opposite goals: screwing the other side.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 15:45 UTC (Sat) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

buyers aren't interested in screwing sellers, typically.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 21:51 UTC (Sat) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

You must have an iPhone.

iPhone?!?

Posted Oct 13, 2012 21:55 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

That must be the strangest deduction I have heard since the time I read Nietzsche's "Also Sprach Zarathustra".

iPhone?!?

Posted Oct 13, 2012 22:19 UTC (Sat) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

You actually never met any Apple fanboy happy to be ripped off?

iPhone?!?

Posted Oct 13, 2012 22:23 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

Yes, and Apple was actively trying to screw them off. I doubt rahulsundaram is in that category of Apple fanboy, or is as obtuse as to be fooled by Apple. Now Google OTOH... :)

iPhone?!?

Posted Oct 19, 2012 15:34 UTC (Fri) by Jannes (guest, #80396) [Link]

haha, but a super funny one! +1 marcH

(sorry for the spam, I really giggled)

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 14, 2012 2:26 UTC (Sun) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

And you must be a three winged butterfly.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 14:39 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

(1) Tablets aren't phones
(2) How many carriers provide Nexus devices?

UI matters?

Posted Oct 13, 2012 15:19 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

(1) Trivially true. The difference may or may not be relevant.

(2) I don't know, I bought my Nexus S from Vodafone Spain (which also offers the Galaxy Nexus). Typically buyers will prefer to buy Google phones unlocked and without a contract (i.e. straight from Google).

Since you don't provide any data to support your statement, just a couple of riddles, let me bring up a scientific sample of the first three pages for "Samsung Galaxy S3 review" that come up on Google.

  • CNET lists "Touchwiz" as a minus.
  • TechRadar lists "Top media management" as a pro, which could be construed as UI -- but which can also be just an app.
  • Technorati has a very confusing 4-page review, but at the end says:
    The Samsung Galaxy S III is still one of the top phones on the Android Market right now. Some software issues aside the phone still out performs so many other devices. The hardware side alone is mesmerizing enough and some of the other features just need a bit fine tuning and you have yourself a very worthy phone for a while.
    Let me translate: "software bearable, hardware good".
If Nokia cannot build better hardware than Samsung, then they are in big trouble, Windows or not Windows.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 15, 2012 10:27 UTC (Mon) by dgm (subscriber, #49227) [Link]

> The phone market isn't interested in unskinned Android.

Here, here! I am!

Now, before you claim I'm not "the phone market"... well, I'm fully aware of that... Can you please send greetings from dgm next time you speak to them? Thanks!

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 15, 2012 16:24 UTC (Mon) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

Have no fear, the skins over ICS are thin and getting thinner.

Whether it's Google or the Market that spoke, skinning is becoming just theming now, not saddling the poor handset with crazy amounts of unstable bloatware. Thank GOODNESS.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 18, 2012 8:34 UTC (Thu) by ncm (subscriber, #165) [Link]

Sorry, you're not a market, you're just a customer. A market is somebody willing to spend money betting that you will be a customer.

To get J. to make shoes that fit and last, it's not enough that you want to buy them. J. has to be convinced that shoe stores will believe you want to buy them, and would want to sell them to you more than they want to try to sell you something else instead, and more than somebody else wants them to try to sell you something else instead. It's a miracle when we find someone selling what we actually want. It's always much easier all around to come to believe that we want whatever they have to sell.

A similar argument applies in politics, where you're just a voter, not a constituency.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 18, 2012 14:04 UTC (Thu) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

That is an interesting and widely overlooked perspective.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 18, 2012 14:17 UTC (Thu) by dgm (subscriber, #49227) [Link]

> Sorry, you're not a market

Exactly what I said, no need to be sorry. May point was that he's not either and, as a result, assertions like "the market doesn't want..." are a bit frivolous (hence the tone of my reply).

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 1:07 UTC (Sat) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

Sure, they could have released a stock Android experience on one of their existing handsets in 9 months. Very doable, especially if they could attract Google's attention. True, they couldn't have added some "Nokia Sense" skin to it, but those seem to be on the decline anyway.

It would at least give them another option if Microsoft announces that they're entering the handset business themselves.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 1:27 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

You might remember that this phone sank like a stone in retail. It took them about 2 years to develop a decent phone with a half-decent OS.

It would have taken much less time to polish their Meego offering.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 1:32 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

And a less polished Android device would have sold better? Meego wasn't an option - perhaps they'd have sold more, but they'd have spent massively more money in the process and done nothing to further next year's platform.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 1:36 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Who knows? Nokia was famous for its hardware quality, there was a huge brand loyalty (in Russia, at least). Quite a lot of people would have payed a little bit extra to get a reliable good-looking phone.

Hell, a lot of people in Russia were still buying Symbian-based smartphones when Android had already been available.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 1:43 UTC (Sat) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

> It would have taken much less time to polish their Meego offering.

Doubt it. It took two years to go from the N810 to the N900 and two years to go from the N900 to the N9, if you go on release dates alone. But if you take into account the fact that the N900 and N9 were developed in parallel, you start to see that making any Maemo/MeeGo phone took an unacceptably long time. And even then, the results - while impressive by the standards of open source phones - often faltered by comparison to the rest of the market.

Plus you have to take into account the stated intention of the N9 platform having no future (MeeGo-Harmattan vs. MeeGo), so by sticking with MeeGo, they'd retain zero same-platform advantage, and would probably have run out of cash by the time they'd managed to get sales off the ground.

I'm pretty sure that they'd have a much lower marketshare today if they'd stuck with MeeGo, than jumping to Windows Phone.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 1:51 UTC (Sat) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

so instead they announced that all development agsinst their current platform was a dead-end, released a windows phone and almost immediatly afterwords announced that that platform was a dead-end and that the phones were not going to be able to be upgraded to the next release of the software.

Nokia's foot-gun didn't need Linux for ammunition, they are shooting themselves quite nicely with Windows.

If they had actually stuck with any one platform instead of changing platforms for every major phone release cycle they would probably be far better of than they are now.

It's possible that Windows will save them, but it's also a new, unknown phone platform with no apps. In addition they can't change it as they are completely at the mercy of Microsoft. Microsoft does not have a good track record of supporting their partners over a long timeframe.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 1:58 UTC (Sat) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

> so instead they announced that all development agsinst their current platform was a dead-end, released a windows phone and almost immediatly afterwords announced that that platform was a dead-end and that the phones were not going to be able to be upgraded to the next release of the software.

Yes, which was a shocking shocking error, proving that not only have they learned nothing whatsoever from S60 and ITOS/Maemo/MeeGo-Harmattan, they've also learned nothing whatsoever from Android.

> It's possible that Windows will save them, but it's also a new, unknown phone platform with no apps. In addition they can't change it as they are completely at the mercy of Microsoft. Microsoft does not have a good track record of supporting their partners over a long timeframe.

Windows Phone has 110k apps, some of which are shockingly high quality. (Many of which are totally pointless.) It's certainly got a much wider breadth of apps than MeeGo ever had or was ever destined to have, and the average quality is much much higher.

(Full disclosure: I own a Lumia 800, bought because I thought - and still think - the UI's fantastic and it's a pleasure to use. I'm also selling it, because they've killed the platform by not having upgrades.)

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 16, 2012 5:21 UTC (Tue) by ras (subscriber, #33059) [Link]

Yes, they shipped a Windows Phone in 9 months. But Windows Phone 7 was a pretty horrible beast and deservedly boomed. Have you seen the "why Windows Phone sucks" list? It is mostly a list of features the phone should have, but doesn't. Here is one: www.thinkdigit.com/forum/mobiles-tablets/156824-a.html

Much of that list arises because Windows Phone 7 is based on CE. Windows Phone 8 is based on a decent OS and you would expect that list to disappear with time, but right now Windows Phone 8 is so new there are no apps that take advantage of it. My guess is it will be at least 2013 before we see the product Nokia needed when they abandoned their Unix efforts.

Oddly, you are right in a way. In effect Nokia has all but stopped selling smart phones for 2 years (so far) as they make the switch to Microsoft, and one reason is Microsoft didn't have a competitive product to sell and they still don't.

And yes, Nokia was hopelessly late with their first release of their Unix phones. But the phone they did release was miles ahead of Windows Phone 7 feature wise, and as the story pointed out, it was amazing how fast the Linux team moved once the politics was cleaned up.

It's impossible to say what would of happened if they had of continued with their in-house software instead of Microsoft, but it is hard to see how it could have been in a worse position than the find themselves in now. And if they had of pulled it off, they would have found themselves in a much better position. They would have been in control of their own destiny, making money from selling apps from their own app store, for a start.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 12, 2012 23:21 UTC (Fri) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

They differentiate by being one of the few vendors shipping Windows Phone at all and in a flagship device. Ideally they have a special relationship as the first among peers with the OS vendor.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 8:05 UTC (Sat) by niner (subscriber, #26151) [Link]

"They differentiate by being one of the few vendors shipping Meego at all and in a flagship device. Ideally they have a special relationship as being among peers in the OS vendor consortium."

How exactly is the situation now better than with what they already had?

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 16:04 UTC (Sat) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

Now they have a shipping phone with a small but established software ecosystem around it. I don't think meego had any future even if Nokia backed it fully, they threw away their third party ecosystem by making gratuitous API/ABI changes. If they hadn't rebooted development, hadn't merged with moblin, had shipped something in the last five years they would have been better off.

As far as choosing another os like android or webOS, I'm not sure webOS was available at the time but it could have been another good choice. The Android market is pretty cutthroat and they didn't want to be in such direct competition, there isn't much brand loyalty or profit margins in the android market, they also probably wouldn't be able to finagle special treatment from google as they did from MS because MS is more desperate for a hardware partner.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 16:11 UTC (Sat) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185) [Link]

Originally, the reason Nokia nurtured so many third party companies to develop Maemo/MeeGo was the expectation that by doing that, they would bootstrap the whole ecosystem of companies around the platform. When I first got involved I thought that a very smart strategy, and I still am convinced it would have worked. Other parts of Nokia's strategy were pretty brilliant, too. But then... Other parts again were so bad.

I remember the sudden burst of anger in Ruoholahti when the N8 was released with Symbian on it. Nokia people I talked too were genuinely surprised it wasn't a Maemo device.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 13:33 UTC (Sat) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

Only "brand strategists" care about whether there's a "special relationship" or whether a "flagship device" is involved, especially if such a device struggles to measure up to whatever Samsung's Windows offerings are, not to mention the torrent of non-Windows devices from all the other manufacturers.

And already, the "first among peers" status has been shown to be a joke. Other vendors scooped Nokia when releasing Windows handsets and the apparently large cash transfer to Nokia from Microsoft was really money earmarked for promoting the Microsoft product. Given that Microsoft's strategy is, as always, to buy large amounts of favourable publicity and that the company has no strategic alternative, that's not much of a gift to their partners.

The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

Posted Oct 13, 2012 16:09 UTC (Sat) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

I believe that Nokia thought their devices would struggle even harder against Samsungs Android line. Aside from Nokia and maybe HTC, other vendors Windows phones are an afterthought, placeholders in case anyone wants them but not a market they are seriously persuing.

The whole strategy depends on how desperate MS is to stay relevant and how much Nokia can get out of their "special relationship".


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