What the Hell Nokia! Kicking Out Symbian Developers?

| July 21, 2012 | 279 Replies

It’s quite possible I’m jumping to conclusions without knowing the full story right now, but so far this is sounding pretty crazy; my twitter feed is abuzz lamenting the loss of probably Symbians greatest developer “@janole” the creator of Gravity- the best twitter client ever.  Apparently Nokia have “kicked him out of their dev program” for as far as I could gather since he’s not planning on developing for WP.

I would love to see a gravity for WP but not at the price of losing the greatest Symbian app ever, as most of you know I strongly believe in the WP strategy, but this is DEFINITELY not the way to go through with it. It’s quite possible there’s more to the story we don’t know but at the current time this is reeking of insanity. Not cool Nokia, not cool…


Category: Nokia

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Hey, my name's Ali- Currently a fifth (and final) year Dental Student from Chicago; studying in Jordan. I love all sorts of gadgets almost as much as I love my cookies! Be sure to follow my Twitter handle @AliQudsi and Subcribe to my Youtube for the latest videos - no pressure. Thanks.

Comments (279)

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  1. Keith too says:

    I don’t understand why everyone shocked at this. I’m sure Nokia is being a lot nicer and extending some nice olive branches to Symbian developers to get them to move to WP but Sybmian is dead so of course they are going to be kicked out if they don’t move beyond it. Nokia is not a charity for obstintate devs stuck in the past.

  2. ustudio says:

    tell that dev id by his 900 since he doesn’t want it

  3. wandrer says:

    Symbian may be dead. but WP was born dead. Elop ist only trying to kill Nokia. He is crazy and delustional and thinks everybody will buy his crap and to get to his goal he kills everything Nokia could earn some money with.

  4. arts says:

    At the end of the day, all i can really say to him is, welcome to the real world; where twitter apps dont cost rm20. good luck and all the best.

  5. Ray Ray says:

    I simply don’t get it. A little off the wall remark tweeted by a developer about being kicked out by Nokia appears to have caused an onslaught of off the wall comments in return. But why? Did he tweet the or blog about the real reasons why this action was taken? No. I will dare say that there had to have been a reason. In business, there is a reason for every action taken, be it good or bad, happy or sad, like or disliked. Why not ask this dev to give us more details so as to avoid all the flame. It would appear this is exactly the type of reaction this dev was looking to achieve. I say to this dev, Man-Up and end all this drama and be more upfront about Nokia’s decision to give you the boot. The talk about coding for iOS and Android in retaliation is kiddie stuff. Those other OS’s have more apps combined than Symbian and WP. What are the chances that his next app(s) will stand out in the swarm of other apps on those other platforms. What are the chances Gravity app will be as successfull on the other platforms. Granted, Gravity came out in the early stages when the offerings in Ovi Store, now Nokia Store paled in comparison to what was found in Apple and Android. In fact, it was Nokia’s failure to provide a decent Social App contributed to the success of Gravity on Symbian platform. Enough of all this BS…My direct response to this Dev, Go Code For iOS and Android. Yes, this remark is coming from a die hard Nokia fan who don’t give a bleep where you go. Get over it.

    • Janne says:

      The problem is that due to PR troubles since the Feburary 11th, this topic is so flammable, that any such move from Nokia is sure to fan flames. Nokia should know this and do everything possible to avoind raising a new fire, instead of pouring some more gasoline on it.

      Treating the remaining Symbian developers with extra care and respect would have been one way to ease in the transition. Now instead we have new fodder for people to attack Nokia with, and not all that is even unwarranted because Nokia brought the reaction onto themselves.

  6. be man says:

    the title of this article is really suite.
    symbian is a bit laggy but not a borring os.now i use android and symbian .the gallery ,contacts ,etc
    apps are beautiful than andro.
    i like symbian then andro.all the games are not working on my galaxy ace but all the hd games are available for symbian are working c6-01
    so that this is very bad news for symbian users

  7. Frank Hoallway says:

    WP is supported by big company paying devs to create software, but it is not supported by customers willing to pay for soft, cause there are not enough of them. The share of ket is a friction of other sytem market share form a long long time and it is flat line. There is Marketplace however there is no market. Only a quite specific very advanced in WP users are lucky of this. When programers are not payed directly for a soft by big company for not to mention a name directly then there is very very limited economic sense or just a risk of no return on investement. I doubt in all of this.

    • grs_dev says:

      In case you are interested in getting educated, the WP mobile platform has produced the highest percentage of paid app sales out of the 3 major mobile ecosystems (iOS, Android and WP). In case you don’t believe me, you can look it up. It’s widely known and publicized information… Next topic please.

  8. Janne says:

    BTW: An interesting quote from Gravity makes, underlining the predicament Symbian was in already before Elop:

    @VHAho Thanks :-) Reality is: most #Gravity users switched to Android long time ago already. Started end of 2009.

    • Janne says:

      Some more interesting opinions from the Gravity maker:

      @_Ant1_ Luckily, the idea of S^4 was killed and also AVKON kept in place by Rich Green later on (I think?) /cc @jainrounak

      @_Ant1_ That’s why I’ve warned Nokia and the Symbian Foundation of the binary break of S^4 and a Qt-only/no-AVKON strategy! /cc @jainrounak

      • Harangue says:

        Yeah, ofcourse he was against binning AVKON. If Nokia did that it would mean he had to rewrite his entire app.

        He might be a nice guy and all, but he logically thinks of his own wallet. I would do too. That’s also the reason of resentment with Nokia kicking him out. He can’t make the same amount of insane money per app sold on WP because WP doesn’t have such a sucky social experience. Although it still needs work in that department.

        • Ray Ray says:

          There you go…well said. Absolutely nothing wrong about maximizing a handsome return ($$$$$$) from creating an app such as Gravity. As you said, he may certainly be a nice guy, but the above posts from Janne makes this a bit more interesting. Companies change stratergies for reasons that many outsiders are left wondering why. Fact is, only the inner circle knows fully why. It is now appearing that Nokia did offer these devs somewhat of an olive branch in the same breath. Bad PR or not, Nokia felt the need to make a decision. It did so by notifying the handful of devs by email. This dev could have easily post the email he was sent by Nokia right after he tweeted about being booted. Instead, he threw a bone to the community and watched us crawled over it and nibbled at it like crazy. Said it before, i’ll say it again, his success with Gravity was at the expense of Nokia’s failure to produce a decent Social App from the get go. Good for him, he made a bundle and was successful. If Tweetian and fMobi were around back in the early days, who’s to say that Gravity would be a big hit. It’s almost a guarantee that the mass of Androids/iOS users would not spend 9.99 to purchase this app in the future. Why, there are too many choices available-paid and free. If memory serves me right, a lot of Symbian users were bemoaning the price of 9.99 back then when Gravity first appeared. This is not as bad as some would like us to believe. Let’s Just Get Ovet It. Pleaseeeee.

  9. BrentR says:

    He’s not being kicked out of the Dev Program… They’re closing the dev program for Symbian, which is what he chooses to develop for.

    If he doesn’t want to develop for Windows (Phone or PC) that’s his choice, but no need to spread fud.

    Good luck to him charging what he does for Gravity on iOS and/or Android and expecting the same success he’s had with Symbian up until now.

    • Janne says:

      To be frank, I’ve been reading the Twitter account of the guy and he doesn’t seem as nearly as blinded or vindictive about it as some here make it sound. Nor does he seem to be blind about the realities of app-market successes and/or odds.

      I still think Nokia should have been cooler about this. They could have honored their old champions with some non-costing goodwill. Revoking the status now was just bad PR for Nokia, because there are lot of old Symbian users pissed off by the events of the past year, but still tentative about moving with Nokia to WP… and any badwill there might loose Nokia customers and developers. A wiser approach to this would have taken that into consideration and handled this better.


    • Viipottaja says:

      Oh ok. If that’s the case, its much better. Although I would think just continuing some nomimal “S40 and Symbian” or “WP and Symbian” developer programs would have made better PR sense.

      Pity the Gravity developer – hopefully not purposefully/knowingly – misrepresented this as HIM being kicked out.

  10. WPfan says:

    I’m glad Nokia is changing and that’s a good thing. Even this Jan Ole guy has changed. Because he’s in the business of making money (just like Nokia). Good luck to him, he was good on Symbian but I doubt he will do well on IOS and Android. Nokia is doing the right thing by kicking out all these prima donnas. They gave them a free phone and a free pass to WP development and basically put them on a pedestal. Why should they entertain these kind? Jan Ole quit on WP because he knows twitter and facebook is integrated and he can’t charge like $14 dollars for it.

  11. DKM says:

    Well after reading all the 205 comments i understand only few understood what Nokia is trying to do here. Other are just Symbian fans who don’t want to give up. (its good and bad in a sense).

    I am a keen Symbian user and use @Gravity developed by @janole. Few months back (6Months) i asked a question to him through email. i just asked him if he is willing to develop the app in QT so it can be ported to N9 as well and a app for WP7. His answer was simply the same then and now. His market is Symbian and he is making good money on it.

    Firstly everyone should think and himself too why is Gravity so popular with Symbian. the simple reason is there is no other f..ing app in Symbian that can compete with gravity and as long as Symbian is supported by Nokia (2016) he will be fine what happens after that.

    Everyone knows that Symbian is a burning platform and Nokia is doing its best to make sure no developer left stranded on the burning platform. They are providing all the developers a chance and choice to move to a different platform and supporting them in all the way they can. But looks like Janole don’t want to move from the platform as long as it is burning down he doesn’t want Nokia help (yes that’s his choice). Nokia is providing a safe boat to grow with other platform, but instead Janole completely ignoring the safe boat he publicly went on to say that he is going to take the cruise ships (IOS and Android) which are already loaded and full with developers and little space to succeed. But the question is will he succeed in that already populated app world. Gravity for symbian is niche app which every symbian user must have but IOS and Android is not a platform where Janole would succeed with ease. Its a very difficult task.

    Nokia is providing a safe boat to develop and grow with WP8 or WP7. Its a new platform and microsoft will not let it fail. The app if developed in WP8 will not only can be used in the phone but also on the slate (Same kernel) which is a bigger base to succeed.

    If Janole change his mind and if developed an app for WP8 or WP7 I will be the first to buy that app with no doubt its not that WP8 need an app like this but as an symbian user i prefer to have an app that works and knows it inside out.

    Symbian no matter what, will be killed by 2016 or may be sooner, Nokia is in a position where they have to cost cut, I am sure they are not asking Janole to stop making the app for symbian or support it they just want him to move on to a better place where he wont be left out when all Symbian users eventually move to WP8 or any other platform.

    I am not faulting janole entirely but also Nokia is at fault the way the situation is handled. “Change” is one thing that is constant in this world and people react differently to “change”. Nokia must understand and give time to developers to make a choice and time for them to move on and give the developers a very good reason to move on.

    Janole on the other hand he is better off developing gravity app for WP8 and WP7 which may be not now but in future will grow in market share and as a developer he would also grow in popularity and make gravity a niche app for WP8 and WOS8. Moving on to android and IOS may be a safe bet but the platforms already have lot of apps crowded with similar apps.

    At the end its not easy transition and change is something some people could handle easily and some don’t.

    I want to thank Janole for his hard work with Gravity and hope he will support it until the last person on this earth using it. I just wish he could bring the app to N9 and WP as well. As a symbian user i will stick with Nokia and people who love nokia will stick with nokia not with the developers. There are already people who moved on to Android but i have high hopes for WP8 as the rumours suggest Nokia is trying to bring all the features to the platform which symbian users love using it.

    Its a hard and tough world and to thrive you need the help of the company and i think Nokia is better bet than IOS or Android. IMO

    • Janne says:

      This is a very well put and a fair summary of both the mistakes Nokia and Janole made. You also have a very valid point that by bringing Gravity early on to Windows Phone, Janole might have had an opportunity to grow a following there (much like on Symbian). I’m not sure if that time has already passed or is quickly passing, though. Once it get very crowded, it will be harder.

    • grs_dev says:

      This is the best articulated position on the whole matter so far. I agree most of what you’re saying. The only problem I have with it is the part where you say, and I am paraphrasing here, Nokia is at fault for not being more patient with Janole. It’s unrealistic and unreasonable to expect a public company such as Nokia and Microsoft to cater to the needs of a developer or a few developers in their developer program. A publicly traded company needs to cater to the needs and interests of its investors and shareholders. If Nokia had not handled Janola and his likes in the way it has handled them, shareholders would doubt their commitment to the mission.

      Furthermore, Microsoft as an investor in Nokia has way more leverage than a developer who is refusing to evacuate Symbianland. Microsoft has embraced developers for many many years. The latest wave of tools and programs they’ve made available for developers are even more compelling. Neither Microsoft, nor Nokia is telling Janola that he must support WP or else. They’re saying, as a company the Symbian developer program is being discontinued. It’s a product they no longer wish to cary. They are NOT singling him out. So I am not sure why the Symbian developers are painting Nokia with a negative brush here. They owe their investors and their partners a clear message and a clearer execution and that’s what they’re doing.

      • DKM says:

        Looking at the perspective side of the company and investors yes you right they have to move on but they have a obligation to help the developers and i am sure Nokia is doing its best to help them. As i mentioned Change is something some people cant handle easily and Janole is one. I am saying is Nokia have to give more time at least until WP8 SDK is released. Once WP8 is out then they have in all right to do what they doing now. As Elop mentioned that Symbian will be supported till 2016 right.

        May be all this hubba bubba about Nokia kicking out is started by the half baked information from developers. Its not good for Nokia to be on the bad side of the publicity not now and all the bloggers and media will have a ball with it.

  12. ashok pai says:

    THIS is elop. wants symbian totally dead and he wants to shift everyone on symbian to windows phone in a hurry. he will do what it takes on his all or none strategy for his upcoming wp8 launch.

    what on earth happened until now ? why dint mangoes sell or tangos move ?
    windows 8 on regular screens will be highly doubtful, how many touchscreen monitors are out there for microsoft to push windows 8 ? looks like windows 7 is going to replace XP for the long haul! as for wp8 , we are in for interesting times ahead.

    • DamielRohie says:

      Actually with Nokia in the running WP7 is finally gaining marketshare. Nokia moved nearly 7 million lumias in 3 months. If you compare that to how many the iPhone and the first Samsung Android phone that is huge. granted you have the caveats that the market is vastly different from before. When the iphone was released there were other smart phones ie symbian, windows mobile, blackberry but their werent as consumer friendly as the iphone. remember the iphone changed the market completely. when the first Samsung Android phone came out everyone was looking for a different smartphone from the iphone, remember all the hub bub about the iphone killer? Now the Lumia is released in a market saturated with iphones and samsung android phones so arguably the hardest market out of the three scenarios because people either love iOS or love Android. and then comes Nokia who is able to move more phones than the two heavy weights upon their first generation release. So yes while it isnt move 3 million phones in the first month of a 4th generation product it is still on track to do well. so yes the tangos and the mangos have been moving. also Nokia is the only OEM that supports their platform even more than Apple who owns the whole damn pie. Nokia gets exclusive apps, makes spectacular apps, and continually updates their phones. Nokia is exactly what a phone company should be. I know many people here think the marriage of Nokia and Microsoft is a hybrid monster destined to destroy all, but think about it. you have Nokia arguably one of the greatest hardware designers on the planet, and Microsoft one of the richest companies on the planet. Microsoft does not what to buy Nokia because that would ruin their base business model, but Microsoft needs Nokia to succeed because Lumia is what is driving windows phone sales. Nokia is helping Microsoft to succeed and if Microsoft succeeds Nokia succeeds. just look at the quarterly report. they did better than they had previously forecasted. even though they had a loss they actually made a profit thanks to their collaboration to Microsoft.

  13. Matt says:

    Elop is Satan.

  14. Damien says:

    Elop is the Antichrist/Omen! There’s a 666 mark on his head hidden by his hair!

  15. lordstar says:

    “Jan Ole Suhr ‏@janole

    @SimonBotes @JesseOguns @wmpoweruser … although I never refused to port to WP, I just said I can’t do it now. How right I was. WP7 != WP8 ;)”

    He has his reasons for not porting immediately.

    • Harangue says:

      20/20 Hindsight is always a nice thing to have. /s

      WP7 written apps also run on WP8, so where’s the problem? Not able to use native code? Or not able to port it without any effort.

      I’m guessing his reasons have more to do with minimal effort and maximum return. Which I don’t blame him for though.

      • Epsoo says:

        On the contrary, if with;

        - minimal effort and
        - maximum return
        - one can bring up such a quality app as Gravity?

        That’s an absolute formula for total success!

    • grs_dev says:

      That’s not a totally accurate way to depict the platform.

      a) Every Windows Phone 7.x app will run on Windows 8
      b) Microsoft Development tools will allow you to target all platforms 7.x 8.x etc.
      c) You don’t need WP7 = WP8 to build an app that runs optimally either or on both

  16. twinklestar1792 says:

    i tried using samsung galaxy s3 and its browser,Facebook, notification was excellent.I’m true lover of Nokia but coz of elop i m start hating nokia n wp strategy.most of us don’t know why elop is marketing RIP OS(WP) by giving false statement that symbian is dead.elop is the killer of best OSes of nokia. Hi Elop dont u read these comments?R u deaf n dump

    • grs_dev says:

      Maybe because he is the CEO and his job is to make difficult decisions that indviduals like yourself refuse to make. In the Nokia real at least, he is the leader and you are a follower. You can choose to follow him. You can choose to follow someone else. But to insist that he sees values you insist exist when his mission in the first place was to come in and fix that exact same problem is simply insane.

  17. skyfall says:

    Nokia’s PR and marketing teams always sucks….Elop should fire those teams asap

  18. Janne says:


    In the space of a couple of comments (on the previous page), these two things were said of me:

    dr_zorg of Janne:

    He’s a paid MS shill, I’m surprised you haven’t seen it by now. It’s not that he’s blind or stupid, he’s just paid to contradict facts, spread FUD regarding Symbian and Qt and defend Elop from criticism.

    Joe to Janne:

    Oh please, the only thing that would please idiots like you is if Nokia ditched Windows Phone entirely, and went with Symbian and Meego.

    I don’t know, but I think this alone is a little bit of proof that I’m actually my own thinker who has widely differing opinions on matters based on the merits of those cases alone… because I can be viewed through polarized glasses as being in either camp.

    When in reality, I’m in no camp at all, except my own. When I think Nokia does sucky things I say so, when not, I don’t.

  19. lordstar says:

    “Nokia’s existing developers have not had an easy time in the last two years. First, in 2009/2010, came the news that AVKON would gradually be deprecated in favour of Qt, at which point every developer was turned to move to Qt. Second, in February 2011, came the news of the switch from Symbian/MeeGo to Windows Phone, but with the caveat that Qt would be used to connect the billion, and therefore would remain a viable mobile developer platform. Third, and yet to be officially confirmed, came the news that the Qt strategy was being abandoned.

    A strategy that amounts to a double developer platform switch in two years has left developers with a sense of instability and anger that investments in code, training and time have, by necessity, been written off. The strategy change transition to Windows Phone made much of this inevitable, but the messaging and managing of the relationship with existing developers should have been better handled.”


    I agree with Rafe Blanford’s sentiments here. Now what I wanna know is if Nokia would keep their word with supporting symbian until 2016. If they don’t plan on that, give us a press release or inform us, current symbian device owners, some info regarding support for our devices.

    • Janne says:

      Good link, thanks.

      Here is what Rafe says, that I agree with 100%. This was my point too:

      While the numbers involved do pale into insignificance when compared to the enormous developer engagement program currently being undertaken by Microsoft and Nokia, it is hard not to see the decision to cut short membership as both short sighted and rather mean spirited. It will undoubtedly generate negative developer sentiment and critical media coverage; something that could have been largely avoided if Nokia had let the membership of the affected developers expire organically at the end of their annual term. Moreover, it will only add fuel to the fire of those who believe Nokia is seeking to brush Symbian under the rug as hastily as possible.

  20. stephen ahonen says:

    well, actually it isn’t bad news, i prefer jan ole join forces with open sources, than staying at nokia to create WP app.

    AFAIK jan ole has ever tweeted that he will develop jolla app

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