Ari Jaaksi: Symbian Religion. Biggest concern on Maemo was not how good it was, but how it would affect Symbian.

| August 21, 2011 | 177 Replies

Head of webOS at HP and Ex Nokian/MeeGo chief, Ari Jaaksi had an interview with It’s in Finnish so there may be some things lost in translation.


He reveals some issues that has been concerning us about Nokia for some time.

Ari says he left Nokia and MeeGo control because he felt it was impossible to do his job. Symbian was like a religion. Instead of what was possibly best for customers, for Nokia, the priority was, as put it, the clumsy Symbian OS.

“The biggest concern was how the telephone affects Symbian, nor how good the phone is or is received it is sold”

This again confirms the competition between Nokia teams, encouraged by Ollila.  But because Symbian was apparently seen as a religion, Maemo now MeeGo was never given a fair chance. Nokia relied too much on Symbian and did not give the MeeGo the attention it needed to succeed.

It was not about getting Maemo – in particular the brilliant Maemo 5 out to the public to see how well Nokia can really do, the concern was how this great thing could harm, Symbian (Man, S60 5th compared to Maemo 5? What a load of dog-poo S60 5th was. 2009 folks. Maemo 5 was already brilliant in 2009).


With attention on fixing Symbian and poor support for MeeGo, the MeeGo, devices thus delayed and we’re in the position now of a realigned future with Microsoft. Symbian^3 was the slowest quick-fix ever.

Here’s another interesting read. Will Nokia Ever Realize Open Source Is Not a Panacea (via@joaoluisc). This account shows the headless chicken nature at Nokia.

Wow….on top of the world with Symbian, but in dire need to improve on the face of new competition. Nokia buys Symbian, give it away, do this thing called Symbian Foundation to try and make it open source, make it difficult for other partners to succeed with Symbian, scare off Sony Ericsson and Samsung, be forced to take back Symbian, and make it closed source and then announcing that some other company will be taking care of development.

Cheers to Joni and quite aptly, outdated os for the tip.

Source: http://www.hs.finokiagadgets

update: Forgot to add:

During the Nokia World 2010 party, one Nokia staff was discussing how MeeGo was held back for Symbian^3, hence no MeeGo device announced. It was to let Symbian^3 shine. Focus had to be on the newer Symbian. No time to sort out MeeGo. That was pretty much just one Nokia voice but Ari here confirms that situation.


Category: MeeGo, Nokia, Symbian, Windows Phone

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  • Cocco Bill

    And now Nokia is doing the same thing to MeeGo, putting it down so that it can’t affect certain other OS. Only now that religion is not Symbian anymore but WP7, thanks to MS Flop. Now the quote would go:

    “The biggest concern is how the phone affects WP7, not how good the phone is or does it sell.”

    It’s really frustrating that they are making the same mistake all over again. At least Symbian sold and still sells, WP7 doesn’t sell practically anything. Fuck Elop! Fuck the BoD!

    • Ash


      Ari talks and suddenly Elop should be exonerated for all his wrong/bad decisions? Some people here cry foul over Nokia’s politics but they condone Elop’s actions. Hypocrites.

    • Ash

      Sorry, I mean they excuse Elop’s actions.

      • v900

        Yeah, its called seeing the big picture, and not blaming him for the 5 years of mistakes and missed opportunities that OPK, Anssi Vanjoki and the rest of the old management was guilty of.

        • Ash

          Please do explain how placing your eggs in one basket is seeing the big picture? Wouldn’t it be smarter for Nokia to fairly support other platforms esp. the one they still plan to support till 2016? So again, what’s the agenda for killing Symbian in that dreadful, bombastic announcement when all the phones you have in the market at present are Symbian phones?

          • v900

            Easy. It’s the decent and honest thing to do to both to consumers (though to a lesser extent, since they’re not likely to keep a phone for more than to years anyways) but especially to business-partners, such as developers who are likely to have a significant investment in the old platform.

            Imagine the outcry if Nokia had announced this effective immediately or in six months. Everybody would be rightfully pissed, as they’d all of a suddenly have obsolete phones on their hands, and little time to make new plans.

            But with a nice, long period of transition like the one Elop announced, consumers won’t all of a suddenly have obsolete handsets, and developers and other business partners have plenty of time to plan the transition and how they’ll deal with it. And I gotta say, I can’t really see what you’re upset with here, since Nokia IS supporting its current phones for FIVE years. Longer than anyone would be expected to keep theirs, really.

            • Viipottaja

              Plus two more feature updates currently still planned for Symbian after Belle.

              • Pete

                Wow, really? Didn’t know that! Do you have any evidence, though? Not that I don’t believe you, just maybe you’ve got some more insight into that?

                • Random Random


                  Sure there were planned to be some more updates. Unfortunately Nokia was not able to deliver.

                  Just like they would not have been able to deliver more than 3 MeeGo devices by 2014.

                  They sure planned more but would not have been able to deliver more than 3.

                  Just like with Symbian. They made all those plans but Nokia had to capitulate before delivering just because Symbian was an uncompetitive and a very very crappy product.

                  • Pete

                    Was it, though? I mean, it was behind the curve UI-wise, and the Web browser was rubbish, but perhaps thorough UI makeover to take after MeeGo, new browser and Qt-based apps-Store could make all the difference? I mean, features are mostly there, already. There’s full connectivity, extensive APIs, some Nokia-exclusives like always-on clock, and stuff. Merge Symbian Belle with MeeGo-Harmattan and there you go, maybe?

                    I’m not trying to say Symbian was worth the effort it would take to make it usable, but I’m far from calling it crappy, either. And though I really like Windows Phone (and even more, Lumia design) and I’m glad Nokia took that road, I sometimes think that it wouldn’t kill them to make Symbian just this bit less rubbish 🙂 So I was like ‘OMG it’s happening OMG OMG OMG’ when that guy said that there were two more feature packs planned. You see, I didn’t notice the timestamp of his post 🙂 and I thought he was talking about two more AFTER FP2 🙂 I’m so stupid, sorry!

                    • Random Random


                      Those acronyms and emoticons.

                      Symbian was indeed planned to have those major updates, but it would have been a major rewrite and not as small as Symbian Belle was compared to the original Symbian^3.

                      There was tons of features to be implemented. Including the UI and the applications. The first of those updates would have also made Symbian not compatible with most of the applications made for Symbian devices.

                      The first Symbian update Viipottaja was speaking about was planned to be released in late 2010. Not in 2012 as it would have been shipped if Nokia continued with the old strategy.

                      The problem is that it was just too late to make Symbian competitive as a Qt platform.

                      The Symbian developers were almost panicking in the summer of 2010 when it was already widely known that Symbian^3 would be delayed beyond all expectations and the team was forced to drop lots of features Nokia originally planned for Symbian^3.

                      Later in 2010 Symbian team lost motivation when the management told that MeeGo was the future and Symbian was just some legacy software Nokia had to support for the low end.

        • stylinred

          no1 blames Flop for what he inherited they blame him for what he’s done with it

          his predecessors were tapping a nail into Nokia and Elop drove it in with brute force

    • v900

      ” At least Symbian sold and still sells, WP7 doesn’t sell practically anything. ”

      Symbian caused Nokia to lose market share for a long time, and made fewer sales than the rest of the market, thereby underperforming, for years.

      WP7 on the other hand, hasn’t even seen a widespread introduction yet, and actually has allright sales when you keep in mind that it has only been launched in a handful of markets yet. Just wait till Mango and the new generation of WP7 phones is out. Android, as I recall, wasn’t exactly a smashing success in version 1.5 and 1.6. either.
      Just wait and don’t worry. WP7 is the future, and both WP7 and Nokia will do fine!

      • Dave

        WP7 has been introduced in the US and most of europe, plenty of large markets for it to have an impact, yet its barely done anything.

        And at least in the UK, its barely even sold as well as the S^3 devices.

        Its sales have been pathetic; its limped onto the market, and while I’ll be happily proven wrong, I really don’t see it being the success that MS and Nokia would like it to be.

        Thats not to say its not good – the interface does look interesting, and the CE core has always been a very functional OS.

        • If i remeber rightly, WP7 is now at around 7% of the market share

          (personally i dont like it, but it IS gaining traction)

        • v900

          WHICH European countries? Yes it was introduced in the UK and a couple of other countries in Europe, but that’s hardly a big or full rollout.

          (There is also a couple of countries where WP7 phones are available for sale in some stores, despite not being officially introduced, like where I live for example. WP7 phones are being sold in some stores, but there’s no localization or local language, and no market access. That’s hardly a full rollout.)

          In fact, you won’t see the full WP7 rollout before the Mango update and the new generation of WP7 phones later this year.

          That it has managed to gain traction despite not being fully launched yet is pretty impressive, as are the sales numbers if you keep the limited release in a handful of countries in mind.

        • rick

          Every time I walk into a phone store they try to push a POS android onto me. This alone could have something to do with it.

      • xyz

        revisionist history – m$ has been trying to sell windows phones for years. When competitors like apple and google came along, their sales went from bad to worse.

        Meego was alright – this article only re-iterates that view, coming from someone like Ari Jaaksi. So, whatever elop did with WP7, he should have done with Meego. Why ? Because, the ecosystem was already in place at Nokia – the developers, h/w design, s/w, everything. With windows, he is trying to build a new ecosystem within nokia from scratch – yes, from scratch at Nokia. And all the politics that visited meego vs symbian, it will be magnified now – symbian, meego, WP7.

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  • bronzedragon18

    And yet , Ari’s new project , WebOS , has apparently gone belly up . Interesting that much the same thing happened during his Meego tenure ….

  • bronzedragon18

    As for WP7 , it has potential , but it’s too new , too much a work in progress . This time next year , it might be a contender . I Sao MIGHT because it faces stiff competition from Apple , Android and now Symbian 3 with the advent of Belle ( every bit as good as iOS and Android ) maybe also Bada and.Meego . Given all this , I really don’t see WP7 as Nokia’s salvation . I think Nokia should fire Elop , and concentrate on a Symbian 3 / Meego strategy !

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