User: Password:
|
|
Subscribe / Log in / New account

Going Android

Going Android

Posted Oct 13, 2012 18:28 UTC (Sat) by pboddie (guest, #50784)
In reply to: Going Android by marcH
Parent article: The story of Nokia MeeGo (TaskuMuro)

I think the point being made is that the company should have actually focused on their in-house Linux-based work instead of either letting turf wars undermine it or having an army of pundits and paper-pushers "focus" on it by taking it over as their pet project.

Changing the strategy over and over again - something that a complete platform change would obviously be a part of - is the story throughout that article at one organisational level or another, but skittish management and the desire for sudden and instant success appears to be a wider symptom of modern business.


(Log in to post comments)

Going Android

Posted Oct 13, 2012 19:14 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

Exactly. There is one additional point: Nokia had a lot of in-house expertise about smartphones, being (once again) market leader and all. They had bought Symbian, a Psion spin-off, precisely because of that expertise. Firing all of Symbian might sound like a good idea to Garrett, but in fact they had built the most successful OS for smartphones ever (even today but not for long). In fact they defined the category in the first place! After selling some 400 million devices perhaps they know a thing or two.

I cannot begin to think how Nokia could not align Symbian behind Maƫmo/Meego/Harmattan/whatever, and help them get up to speed with the times: GHz processors, high definition screens, etcetera (I don't have a lot of imagination left anyway). The end of the article must be quoted to find out how this came to be, but it may be disappointing: it paints a very common story.

The organization, however, was led from an ivory tower. Towards the end the individual developers had no say in, or even worse no knowledge about, the decisions and changes that took place in the background. Many Nokia employees we interviewed were, at the time, focused on their specific task, and not aware of the bigger picture of MeeGo development. The technology was developed in various teams, which did not communicate with each other. No one made sure that the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
A sad ending for what could have been our Free software phone wet dream.

Going Android

Posted Oct 13, 2012 22:15 UTC (Sat) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

> In fact they defined the category in the first plache!

None of the people I know who had a Symbian phone put it in the smartphone category.

Why does everyone think the iPhone was the very first smartphone? Because only the user interface matters and makes the phone look "smart" or not.

If Symbian had been good enough to create an actual "smartphone" product (in the usual, "user-interface" meaning of the term), then Nokia would not have spent years trying to a create a (couple of) brand new alternative(s). And they would probably not be where they are today.

Going Android

Posted Oct 25, 2012 14:35 UTC (Thu) by Tet (subscriber, #5433) [Link]

None of the people I know who had a Symbian phone put it in the smartphone category

You know the term "smartphone" predates the iphone by a decade, right? And that Nokia used it for years to refer to their Symbian phones? What's a smartphone? A rough definition might be one that can download and run apps, and has internet connectivity. Hmmm... just like the Symbian based Nokia phones I used to have. Funny that...

Going Android

Posted Oct 25, 2012 21:22 UTC (Thu) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

I'm happy you and Nokia agree with each other.

Going Android

Posted Oct 14, 2012 12:29 UTC (Sun) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

Nokia had a lot of expertise around making hardware, even at the smartphone level, but the article indicates that much of this was unnecessarily tied up by the Symbian faction, meaning that substantial cooperation appears to have been denied to the Linux faction within Nokia. That by itself explains why various hardware problems always seemed to recur with the Internet tablets and why Nokia spokespeople kept telling customers that they couldn't expect Free Software drivers and that they should consider themselves lucky with what they were given.

What we see in this story is probably commonplace in businesses where one product line, responsible for a lot of earlier revenue, is rapidly going out of date but where those in charge of that product line dominate the resources and refuse to relinquish them, insisting that they are "part of the solution". I imagine it was similar with Solaris within Sun Microsystems when customers told the company that they had to modernise their OS distribution and/or provide GNU/Linux in the product line-up: things like OpenSolaris, Sun's Linux distributions, and various modern tools all probably faced internal opposition from the factions insisting that the golden age would return and on their particular schedule, too.

Symbian, competitive in the form of its predecessors in an age when they offered features lacking from certain desktop operating systems, was getting a renaissance from the availability of Qt across all Nokia's platforms, but that was merely a measure to dull the pain of working with it in an age when there are fewer limitations on what you can deploy on a mobile device. Sadly, that helped prolong the mindset that Symbian might be the only answer to the company's problems and thus prolonged the turf wars that undermined the introduction of a viable successor.

Nokia's main problem appears to have been incompetence in management, thus squandering many of the advantages of being a large organisation with access to substantial resources.

Going Android

Posted Oct 14, 2012 23:06 UTC (Sun) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

What we see in this story is probably commonplace in businesses where one product line, responsible for a lot of earlier revenue, is rapidly going out of date but where those in charge of that product line dominate the resources and refuse to relinquish them, insisting that they are "part of the solution".

Yup. Typical reaction to Distuptive technology. Textbook example, in fact. The Innovator's Dilemma and The Innovator's Solution explain how to solve it: you create separate, semi-autonomous division - prefarably not all that close to the HQ of the old company, then give it some legal support (plus small initial startup capital). This is how PC was born (do you know why it was named IBM model number 5150? that's because it was supposed "successor" of IBM 5100 which was designed in a traditional way and, of course, totally bombed in market).

Nokia was unable to do that. Elop did this part of the strategy right. What it did totally wrong is immediate abandonment of everything else. Instead he should have praised Sybian and gave it money and his total support. Probably positioned WP7 phones as phones for the emergent (for Nokia) markets (like US) and kept hyping Sybian elsewhere.

Nokia's main problem appears to have been incompetence in management, thus squandering many of the advantages of being a large organisation with access to substantial resources.

It's the opposite, in fact. It was too effective in suppressing useless development which had nothing to do with the needs/wants of Nokia customers.

Please read the The Innovator's Dilemma. Please. Successful, properly run companies suffer from disruptive technologies, not the incompetent ones (incompetent ones lose much earlier).

Going Android

Posted Oct 15, 2012 9:42 UTC (Mon) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

Yes, thanks for yet another rant and the usual list of recommended reading links. I don't think I disputed that disruptive technologies threaten successful companies, but maybe you already wanted to tell us this anyway and were looking to get it off your chest at the first opportunity.

I also like the way you redefine management incompetence and failure to execute to be effective management in a politicised culture so that burying projects under layers of time-wasting is actually seen as an effective way of focusing the company on its priorities. (Never mind that such projects, run correctly, should actually have been the top priority for the company.) I'm sure such management practices appealed to various Roman Emperors and to the average despot, but objectively it is an incompetent squandering of an organisation's resources and ability to compete at a level its size would suggest.

What will be of most interest to historians and business theorists is how a previously successful organisation whose recent success was supposedly founded on its management structure entered a period of decline and inaction. And we're talking about a company that was making stuff like cables and rubber products for most of its history, so you can spare us the lecture about disruption.


Copyright © 2017, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds