Why Symbian Sales crashed? Where to go from here? #Rant

| July 24, 2011 | 141 Replies



Before we all immediately scream, “Elop the Trojan Horse” and call for his resignation (again), let’s look at what other reasons could be instead of laying all the blame on one guy.

1) Should never have dumped Symbian and gone with MS

First, let’s begin with WHY some people are strongly against Elop. One popularly held idea amongst our vocal readers (and general Nokia communities) is that Elop single handedly destroyed Nokia through the burning platform memo. Nokia’s own CEO, bad mouthing the ruling smartphone OS.  There was to be a switch to Windows Phone. MeeGo would be put on the backburner, and Symbian would be eventually moved to the morgue.  Symbian phones it seemed, no longer had a future. Why should people buy a phone with no future? Why should retailers take on Nokia phones? How do people buy phones if retailers don’t stock such phones?

Further more, not only that, out of anyone to switch to, why partner with Microsoft?! Why go with Windows Phone, that only just started and is yet to gain traction?

“Nokia should never have gone Windows Phone.”

2) Communication was poor.

Another idea suggests similarities with the first. It agrees that, yes, February 11th was a defining factor, but not because Symbian was dumped, but because there was no product ready to take it’s place. Had there have possibly been Windows Phone devices from Nokia ready, the switch would have been more tolerable.  Ideally some would have preferred the announcement to appear possibly later into the year.

“Nokia should only have gone Windows Phone, if they already had a product ready”.

3) It was an inevitability for Symbian

A third idea (there’s more than three) suggests that competition was simply too tough. Decline of Symbian may have occurred even without February 11th. Staska  from Unwired View suggests that Nokia’s competition outpriced Nokia everywhere. iPhone was the aspirational product. That would not drive down the market (not till iPhone nano anyway). So Google was going to eat Nokia’s friendly priced lunch. Android is pretty much everywhere. It is a good brand name that at least here in the UK adverts are exploiting. Owning a Nokia – for the masses in the west – doesn’t seem to be cool any more.

Staska says,

“Competition knows about weakness in Nokia Symbian portfolio, and the inability of the platform itself to compete on anything else but price. If rivals could match Symbian handsets on price, with  good enough, similarly featuredAndroid devices – 9 customers out of 10 will leave the shop with new Android device in their pocket.”

Even as Nokia fans, Nokia’s CURRENT portfolio is nothing to shout about. One factor Nokia always had was better features for price…or just better price overall. Remember how closely the Samsung Galaxy SII is priced compared to the X7 on Amazon? Even Nokia fans called it unfair to compare the two. If it were against the cheaper SGS, I’d find great difficulty recommending any Nokia vs the competition (except the camera centric N8, which, thanks to the superb camera I can still get away with recommending). If camera does not matter much to them, then oh, well, I have a hard time finding a Nokia that would better suit them than the competition.

Whilst it’s highly possible that all three possibilities discussed could all be true, Staska rules out Feb 11 being such a strong factor.

“Sorry to disappoint you, guys. Nokia’s current state of affairs has little to do with Feb 11th, and everything to do the mistakes/failure to react to disruption by former management. Symbian is just not good enough to compete with the latest versions of Android, and it’s improvement is way too slow. It was way too slow 3 years ago, it was way too slow last year, and it is way too slow today. February 11th, or not.”


Here’s another comment I thought was an interesting read.

So? Which one? Maybe a a combination? Which was the more significant decider?

Where to go from here?

Well, all we can do for now is wait out for Nokia’s products to be released. Even then, we are still in transition period to recovery.

  • The new Belle products are already passing FCC
  • N9 passed FCC and should be here soon
  • Lower end dual SIM
  • Nokia’s Windows Phones
  • Possible  tablet?

We’re already a month into Q3, so all of these would need to come out next month to assist Q3 results. Likely? Windows Phone devices might not appear until October for Nokia World. Early reports did suggest Mango was already in Final build but that has since been updated to say otherwise. How crucial is it that Nokia be amongst the first to provide Mango devices? We know they’ve already got some stiff competition with Samsung, HTC, LG, Fujitsu, Acer and ZTE.

There’s been some wonderfully insightful articles on Nokia’s need for a ‘hero device’. Erm, well, duh. We’ve ranted possibly a million times on Nokia’s need for a proper flagship (many great devices with unique selling features, never amassed into one phone). But no, all we see is dilution of all things good at Nokia. That was OK when Nokia was pretty much the only choice, but competition is so strong now, it’s not just Nokia vs Nokia, but Nokia vs the world.

It gets a little tiring NOT to see all of Nokia’s assets in one device (and at least things from previous generation into the successor). I’ve possibly lost a lot of hope in their ability to actually do this any more. N9 gave me some of that back but I want much more. The flagship is there just to show the world this is what you can do. The mindshare you gain trickles down to your other products – a sort of, cool factor, helping those products sell (though they also have to be decent devices in their own right).

Marketing: Effective marketing get can foot in doors and wallets open at stores asking for your products.

Another old rant: Wanting one unified Nokia name at least for this flagship – so our hero device is memorable in the market. Why is Nokia so insistent on post codes?

I don’t just want any names, and possibly not every phone should get a name. Just the flagship. Something resounding, memorable. Something to give it a chance to give a new opinion on Nokia (like what Microsoft did with Xbox branding, Samsung with Galaxy Series, HTC with Evo – Nseries doesn’t cut it)




Category: MeeGo, Nokia, Rant, Symbian, Windows Phone

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