Ex Symbian Foundation Chief, Lee Williams, on Nokia/Android/WP/Elop; ElMu on W8/WP8 Tablets/Phones

| April 26, 2012 | 350 Replies

Here’s Lee Williams, Ex Head of Symbian Foundation (previously SVP S60) talking to CNET UK about Nokia.

The credit rating has been bad for Nokia. Already struggling in the transition, it does them no help that lowered ratings restrict their momement because

If they can’t borrow and move money — wow! There’s very little for them to do. Because they’re the world’s largest distributed manufacturer highly dependent on that movement and those credit ratings, and cash and bank

Apparently, Elop has been at Nokia for 2-3 years and has no roadmap. Yup, clearly Elop has not delivered. Where is the first Windows Phone due end of 2011? Where are these Windows Phones due for USA? Why has Nokia stopped and no longer has any future WP in their plans?

Elop hasn’t delivered a roadmap. He’s been there for two to three years and there’s really no roadmap,

I’m sure Williams loves roadmaps, we saw plenty of non-delivering roadmaps.

When I was at Nokia and we shipped a Symbian product and it was bad, in its worst incarnation we knew that if we just flipped the switch, we could move 2.5 to three million units — overnight, no matter how bad the product,” he tells me. “That was Nokia. That was Nokia’s brand, we knew we could count on that.

Oh and what products eroded this Nokia brand, huh? I hope they had some constraints not to release these bad products. We of course know there have been several duds, detrimental to the Nokia brand that just made you question: Why is this Nseries? Why is it even a Nokia? I am shocked at the arrogance. This is precisely what needs to be stopped.

Williams is in agreement that Nokia could not have gone with Android.

Android is not and I do not believe will be the answer to this situation for Nokia

Android is about pushing Google Services, they are not a consumer products company.

 Google has invested in Android because they want the ad space and user value that comes with all of the internet connected displays in mobile

Not an untrue statement.

BTW, Interesting story from TheVerge about how Android was in its early days:

He doesn’t like WP, complaining about bad battery and camera performances, as well as having non-existent differentiators. Seems to be enough in the US for the Lumia 900 to be, really, the only WP handset people are talking about, despite the Titan II being a very good alternative too (and in many ways better). Speaking of the Titan II, doesn’t that Windows Phone have one of the better cameras (even compared to several Droids?) how is battery life on that?

At the very least, Windows 8 is seen as a step in the right direction, though he is jaded at the whole waiting for the next iteration to fix all the problems of the current one.  I think we all know precisely how Lee Williams feels, especially with OSes closer to home. S60 5th will be better, firmware update will fix S60 5th, S^3 is coming soon, firmware update will fix S^3, FP1 will fix everything, Anna, wait for Anna, Belle wait for Belle…

On that note, it’s not just about fixing, it’s fixing in a timely manner. Belle has appeared too late and there’s a possibility it will be the same again for WP8. Time is not on Nokia’s side.

Apparently Nokia’s approach to producing phones was like producing Molitov Cocktails. Without actual weapons, Nokia’s resourcefulness used bits of scrap. Yes, perhaps with certain enemies you can fight them with scrap, but what happens when you have a new incomer that’s impervious to that? Nokia had a Nuke in the making called Maemo 5 but decided to stick with Molitov Cocktails.

This bit also troubles me. It sounds like what other ex Nokians have mentioned, how cost efficiencies overruled the goal of creating the best phones for consumers. It was all about the balance sheet for today, and not the mindshare of the consumers for tomorrow.

“Many times where we had a key product to launch [at Nokia], somebody would stand up and be empowered all the way to the CEO to say it, we’re not shipping because we can get another nickel out of this display if we wait for this deal to close in 30 days with Samsung. And I’m just like: really? Wow.”

Williams suspects Elop has about 6 months left to see what can be done with this strategy before ‘course correcting’. That sits tightly around the Q3 region that we would hope would be the time when we see Nokia begin to turn things around. Though according to Ollila yesterday, the turnaround is expected to be seen at the end of the year (possibly when the WP8/Apollo Lumias are there with less of the restrictions, instead freedom for Nokia to deliver more of Nokia into the Lumia).

I think what will happen is they’ll sell off some divisions, and/or will simply gut leadership quickly and change course a little bit, back in the direction of where they were going.

I don’t like the sound of this either. I’d prefer Nokia to see this strategy through. The momentum is very small, but it is there. The transition from Symbian could have been handled much better. If Symbian was healthier, there would be less pressure on Lumia and more time to deliver the pivotal Q4 products. They are crucial because it is W8 that could introduce the masses to Metro, and it would be WP8 to allow Nokia to put their own ‘stamp’ on things. I’m disappointed it was nigh on impossible for Nokia to do in WP7.5 but with the little they could do, they managed to get all eyes on their products.

All stakes are pretty much gambling that W8/WP8 products will be a hit, with Nokia leading in that space. But we have no indications it will be this way since they are yet to be launched and no one has any ideas what the full experience will be like. On Apollo, there is very little known – this secrecy supposedly in place to keep these features unique.

Now we haven’t talked about ElMu much, though he is still saying a lot. Just today he’s been ‘sharing’ some info on WP8/W8. Take this with a massive pinch of salt.

  • WP8 running smoothly on protos. The key point for corporate users is tight ms office integration in OS
  • WP8 aka Apollo also have a very smart way to sync data with tablets and keep all data up to date. Plus skydrive here
  • Nokia/Samsung will be there earlier (than Huawei) for Apollo handsets (in the context of a conversation with Ben Wood)
  • Win8 will be available in three reference design – for each one dedicated chipset vendor. Later they will launch more chipsets
  • WP8 tablets is near perfect in terms of hardware. Right now they are on par with android/iPad. Same specs or almost the same
  • Win8 tablets – end user price on the same level as android flagship devices, but vendor margin is lower (licensee fee for ms; same hw)
  • MS main focus – tablets, second one – phones. That’s in mobile space. We will see interesting proposal – tablet plus phone in one bundle
  • Beginning from Apollo and win8 MS will have for a first time real ecosystem and connected vertically devices. That’s good thing
  • Another good thing that wp8 handsets will be more interesting for developers. More info coming in next months 🙂
  • I said it several times before but going to repeat once more. You couldn’t get wp8 for mango devices. But it will be some kind of update
  • Nokia going to die shortly after launch wp8

Hmm…so despite W8/WP8 being promising, ElMu still sees Nokia as dying. Now this is another legitimate concern. Can Nokia  distance themselves into the lead? It’s all well and good WP8/W8 being good, but not if it’s Samsung/HTC that are eating all the sales and profits.

Cheers DKM, Joni, Janne, dss, Oscar and everyone for the tip.


Category: Nokia, Symbian, Windows Phone

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]