What went wrong with MeeGo? Dave Neary explains

| May 8, 2013 | 85 Replies

N9 N900


There are many stories from many sides as to what actually went wrong with MeeGo.

Here’s another over at TechRadar in an interview with Dave Neary who worked on MeeGo.–1147770

  • Nokia apparently lost faith in the project. But how? Apparently in the way MeeGo came about, as a marriage of Moblin and Maemo, negotiating who’s components would go into the programme (Intel’s stuff or Nokia’s stuff).
  • At the time MeeGo was launched, Nokia was a few months away from launching what became N900 and N9 (N900 was already announced in 2009 though :/ Maybe they mean N950?)
  • More than a year later until the devices were launched
  • Different UI between Nokia and Intel. Dave says he understands Nokia’s position, as Nokia had been working on Maemo 6 and were literally months from releasing that device and suddenly all the work would have to be redone. Cutting corners and fixing for the next version took longer than expected.

Category: MeeGo, Nokia

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  • arts

    Im confused. How can I blame elop or windowsphone with this information?

    • SLAYER

      Blaming Elop here is irrelevant, you should blame whoever thought merging with moblin was a good idea.

      • Mark

        This. Absolutely this.

      • incognito

        Merging with Intel in general. Little was wrong with Moblin per se, it’s just that Nokia didn’t need that at all.

        But when that happened and I shouted how moronic of an idea that was today’s supporters of WP-only strategy, who are willing to throw all the blame on that unfortunate Maemo-Moblin merger for all the Nokia’s failure, called me a hater, fear-monger, stinge pessimist…

        In a couple of years time they will absolutely loathe the WP and blame it for another of Nokia’s failures completely forgetting their present day’s enchantment with that Fisher Price piece of software.

        • Mark

          What the f**k are you on about?

          I for one have always said going with Intel was a bad idea. It’s got nothing to do with the subsequent decision to go with WP, you blithering fool.

          • incognito

            About many a idiot who nowadays think that Nokia was forced into choosing the WP-only strategy after the MeeGo alleged failure to launch, who back then supported the deal between Nokia and Intel and these days blame the very same thing for the aforementioned alleged failure.

            If you found yourself in that words, that’s not my problem.

            • capedonut

              Of course they were not forced to use wp and we might never see double digit Lumia market share

              In my opinion the problem is that we don’t have all the facts that lead to this particular decision. Clearly there were both long and short term considerations

              • dss

                Double digit market share is coming for sure

          • jiipee

            Agree with you that the Intel cooperation especially how it was conducted, was bad idea.

            Still, there is clear analogy to MS partnership. Huge US based corporation, who absolutely want to have control over everything, small minority of their total business, prone to power battle, not really the most agile company..

        • incognito

          I’m stupid!
          I love poop!

    • GordonH

      Blame management. People with no technical skills and knowledge are put up to make software roadmaps. Imagine that!!!
      Its was the same thing happening when Nokia shifted focus to “WP7”. Even today Nokia management are not computer engineers. Imagine that !!!

      • Viipottaja

        Elop has a degree in computer management and engineering.

        Not that I think managers particularly need/should be engineers.

        • zlutor

          “Elop has a degree in computer management and engineering.” – is it an example or a counter example for requiring computer engineering degree for CEO of any computer engineering related company? 😉

    • There must be a loophole, search harder.

      • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

        He should ask Tomi Ahonen for some help. I’m sure Tomi will tell why Elop is a criminal and he must be fired for killing Maemo.

        Did you notice how awfully quiet Tomi Ahonen was about Nokia’s quarterly results? He barely commented about it.

        • Mark

          He’s probably recalculating his numbers retrospectively to show he was ‘right’. As usual.

          • tom3256

            He was wrong, he didn’t estimated collapse of phone selling again. The years ago Nokia sold more smartphones that in Q1 2013. There are no good news from Nokia.

        • Tomi admits in his twitter that he is against everything related to Microsoft. Apparently,his bashing about Nokia’s Windows Phone strategy and swearing at Elop are mainly due to such a reason. I am not sure how influential his opinions are among those Nokia’s investors, but he seems to have managed to cause a lot of bad-mouthing against Nokia.

          • dss

            Its not only his bs.. if you have any common sense at all, you can see what’s going on.

            Some people hate Microsoft for some silly reasons.. you know, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

            • noki

              And some hate Microsoft for some real ones 🙂

              • Harm Offendibach

                And there is no any law or any obligation to like Microsoft. As a free people we DO NOT have any duty to like or to use Mictrosoft, do we? I have right not to be interested in Microsoft. I decide – period.

    • cloud

      Window phone was THEEEEEE BIGEEEEEST MISTAAAAAAAAAKE for nokia

      • Sasa

        I agree a 100%!!!

  • capedonut

    At least as I see it, Android was the only viable option in 2011, but then Nokia’s mapping platform would’ve been redundant

    • stound

      well not totally, while Google maps may have superior data worldwide, features like true offline, offline navigation are unavailable

      • capedonut

        In fact Nokia has superior data in many of the developping countries, but unfortunately google maps is such a core part of android that I highly doubt that Nokia could’ve made any meaningful contribution

      • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

        Nokia was not able to replace Google maps if they chose Android. And wanted to use Nokia’s maps.

        Using two set of maps would have been not a very smart idea.

        • incognito

          Using two set of maps would have been not a very smart idea.

          Care to elaborate?

          • spacemodel

            Houston, we have a problem…

          • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

            It’s not a good idea if applications offer one set of maps when you use an application with a maps view. Nokia was not allowed to replace these maps with their own if they wanted to access Google Play.

            The second set would be Nokia’s own maps for offline navigation.

            This is certainly not a problem for geeks, but then again, geeks are not buying too many phones.

            • noki

              omg how can you live in IOS having to use multiple providers for maps you must be completely confused 🙂

              • Capedonut

                Yeah I don’t think that multiple maps is a problem per se, it is just that there is a trend towards deeper integration, where the mapping platform is connected to the overall experience with apps and services, thus making it more desirable to have only one system

                Although iOS failed miserably with their maps, they clearly see the problem with having to rely too much on google

              • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

                I’m and advanced user and I can even make applications, or apps. Most people can’t.

                So, you are ok with the used maps changing all the time?

  • Ruben

    a sad story. let’s just get over it and enjoy the gift that has been given to us (Meego)

  • Luisito

    Intel, Intel… That’s what goes wrong with Meego..

    • Pökö

      Exactly. What went wrong with Meego, answer is Meego.

      Sticking with Maemo the situation could be different now.

      • Luisito

        Basically… That’s all… All the goodwill around the N9 goes just for the swipe UI!!!… It’s like magic, a shame Nokia let it fue (no, no and NO, the lastest touch asha with it’s version of “swipe” feel special, nor act equally golf)

  • Marko Sapre

    All this is story is irrelevant as MeeGo Sailfish samrtphone from Jolla will be demoded on May 20th, and will show that MeeGo is the hit of the market, wish it was Nokia. Whatever. Excuses gives us nothing, but Jolla gives us MeeGo device and that counts I think. I follow the solution, not building castles with sand.

  • sbw44

    Nokia should have never made this deal with Intel! They should have stayed with Maemo! Even now, why couldn’t Nokia release just one Maemo phone with their Lumia line ups?

    • Marko Sapre

      Intel successfully has made a deal with Samsung, and Tizen is coming. Perhaps that was not intel where things went wrong?

      • sbw44

        I never said Intel was the problem, just that what Nokia had in Maemo5 in the N900 was really promising! All they needed to do was to make that better and they would have had a perfect replacement for Symbian.

        • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

          Maemo was missing one of the hardest components ever, a good User Interface.

          N900 had a rather geeky one. It wouldn’t have worked on mass markets.

          It would have been promising if they had introduced Qt support for Maemo in 2009 and there would have been lots of commercial applications, say 30 000 in the end of 2009.

          • jiipee

            that wouldnt have helped. The core problem was the creation of working UI concept. They just couldnt decide.

            • Capedonut

              Yes, they clearly lacked a true visionary in that sense

            • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

              Yes, Apple already invented iPhone and Nokia was just too arrogant to copy it. They should have copied the UI from iPhone and only after copying and implementing it, they should have started to improve it.

              But in reality they just couldn’t decide. What a shame!

        • Marko Sapre

          I agree. That was perfect replacement for Symbian, hence I think a lot of previous or current Symbian users will take Jolla as replacement. As I think Sailfish is just that better Maemo5. I think Intel cooperation has introduced some elements which are better eg. RPM instead of DEB packages. Whatever this is better for evolution in mobiles.

      • zlutor

        Tizen is still not in the market…

  • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

    Nokia was evaluating MeeGo long before N900 was released. I’ve seen some documents about MeeGo predating N900.

    How about blaming Elop for that?

  • alsocan

    The initial mistake was that meego was not bringing any technical benefit over symbian. The missed technical opportunity was to build a standards based mobile os but meego was not offering that, being built on top of the clumsy c++ dialect that is qt (symbian was already built on top of another c++ dialect). Tizen is essentially correcting this mistake.

    • incognito

      Qt is a ‘clumsy C++ dialect’? You have no idea what are you talking about, don’t you?

      • zlutor


        It was targetted to be ‘esperanto’ of app. development instead…
        And it is progressing…

        What an irony that Nokia who once wanted to use Qt/QML as cross platform development environment on all(!) of its OSs abandoned it but it will be available in almost all other OSs:
        – Android
        – iOS
        – BB10
        – Sailfish
        – Windows desktop
        – Linux
        – many embedded systems

        But not a single one from Nokia (except the dying ones)

        • dss

          Windows as well..

          • dss

            I see now

        • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

          Will be…?

          Just promises like all the time.

          How many iOS apps have been shipped, made with Qt?

          Android support is also not fully compatible.

          • noki

            heee over 100.000 ??? on bbrym

            • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

              BB uses iOS apps?

              Besides, I think BB uses applications and not apps.

              Really, How many iOS apps have been shipped, made with Qt? That’s a serious question.

              • noki

                since support is only in beta not many, I’m currently working on 3.. android using Qt’ I have already worked on 5.

                Cool part is that I’m mostly reusing the code I have done for the bb10 apps 😉

                • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

                  Qt apps for iOS is still just a promise. It also remains to be seen how well Qt will keep up with the latest features iOS has to offer and what will be done when one platform offers feature(s) the other doesn’t have.

      • noki

        that made my day 🙂 FUUUUUUD 🙂


    thank goodness Nokia finally partnered up with the worlds biggest software company,

    • zlutor

      Oh yeah, dinosaurs rule the World – wait they have disappeared!
      Aaa, mammoths were much more vitals – oh no, they have also died all!

      Evolution never stops, we will see soon whether it was a good idea or not…

      • dss

        aha.. they have been saying that about Microsoft for over 15 years.. they are dying, la la..

        sure they are..


        True evolution never stops, watch as Nokia evolves.

        Who could Nokia have partnered with?

        The Intel partnership was a failure and disrupted Nokia’s smartphone output.

        Google offered Nokia nothing in the way of financial support or cross patent licensing or exclusive rights to change android,

        Apple doesn’t licences out iOS

        Lucky for Noika that MS was desperately trying to grow its WP market-share.
        Lucky for MS that Nokia was desperately trying to grow its smart-phone sales.

        • incognito

          The Intel partnership was not even close to the magnitude of failure and disruption of Nokia’s smartphone output with Microsoft partnership.


            lots of Lumia smart-phones with WP are being released and selling out,
            how many smart-phones did Nokia release with Intel?

            • noki

              DELUSIONAL realy you still buying that sold out crap??? REALLY is any one here still buying that, cmon if its was really selling out its would be sealing far mor2 that a mpathetic 5 M per quarter with over 12 different LUMIAS its under 150k phones per terminal per month world wide its pathetic. a couple of stores selling out every day for a month would be able to do that….


                blame nokia for not making enough, while many large retailers are often sold out, check out china and india online stores and witness the truth for yourself 😉

  • Windows Phone Sucks

    MeeGo UI/OS is multiple times better than stupid Windows Phone UI/OS! Windows Phone doesn’t even have a notification center!

    • Brian

      but the always updating err distracting pics on homescreen make up for that 😛

    • RogBrazil

      +1000 !!

      WP doesn´t even has a Universal Search !!

      And…what about the windows 8 desktop media WP app ?
      It can´t even handle playlists, can u believe ?

  • Otto

    There is no error in him talking about N900 and N9. Nokia had Maemo in shape and he talks about that.
    Honestly – what improvement does N9 have over N900 that could be credited to Intel? It still runs Maemo. Intel cooperation was supposed to be seen in “true MeeGo” products, none of which we have seen even a prototype and according to Elop they could have had 3 of those out in 2013, tops.
    So yes, Nokia had winner in N770 and successors but brought in “Intel the anchor” to sink the ship.

    • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

      Yes, let’s blame Elop for killing Maemo and starting to work with Intel in orger to create MeeGo.

  • BellGo

    MeeGo had some problems for sure. But what bothers me that after all the trouble of making it ready and good, THEN Nokia kills it. Incredibly stupid, if you ask me.

    • sbw44

      Thats what Nokia’s good at, killing stuff!

    • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

      MeeGo was hardly really good.

      It just had a smooth UI. Most of the infrastructure was missing.

      • noki

        Mika stop talking out of your ass what “infrastructure” was there missing? FUD yeah FUD, what has BBRYM now that nokia did not? Actually Nokia had far more…

        • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

          Mika is a Finnish name. It’s something like ‘Mike’ in English speaking countries.

          Mikä means ‘what’ in Finnish. It’s s huge difference.

          MeeGo was missing applications. Yes, even those planned 150 000 applications wouldn’t have been enough.

          MeeGo didn’t have a cloud services like Apple has.

          Where was the music store? In Piratebay? Connectivity with desktop computers? Moving some files is not that.

          They could have built those, biut they were not there in the launch. According to the Muropaketti article, all that wouldn’t have been there even if they didn’t cancel MeeGo. They just didn’t have the leadership to do all that.

          • noki

            Music store??? you meen the one nokia is using for wp? Nokias music store??? people seam to say that is a plus..

            Missing Applications again 2 years later out of the blue comes bb10 with that amount of apps surely meeggo would have not managed to do that?

            Cloud, men cloud is something that my dog has this days, every one as a cloud service, its trivial you can set one yourself.

            Again you miss my point BBRYM is in far worse shape than nokia is back then, from those POV’s. and the latest numbers point to 20M bb10 devices to be sold this year more than for example WP as managed in Nokia till this day cumulatively. after all this time…
            You keep on affirming out of your proverbial ass that meego had no chance, but have no answer to how come a extremely similar system, BB10 has?

            • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

              I don’t think BB can sell enough to be successful. I can accept your numbers as the limit for success

              “see my lower tier on the meego expectation?? reflect that into BBRYM so next quarter 3 M and the following 6M and then stabilize around 10-8 M that is currently the max output their factories have.”

              We will see in 2014 if they were successful or not.

              The amount of applications BB has is simply not enough. I have stated that several times. The same applies to WP. It doesn’t have enough applications so that it would have enough unit sales soon enough. It may have enough sales in future, but it’s not selling enough now.

              All those cloud services should be integrated to all the applications the device has. Setting that up is not trivial.

          • Please stop talking about apps, when Nokia launched the Lumia line up, WP didn’t have enough apps either.. And still doesn’t have popular apps/games.. Dont give me the not enough apps bs..

            • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

              WP didn’t have enough applications and it didn’t sell enough. MeeGo was doomed because it didn’t have those applications.

              It would have been very hard for MeeGo to reach even the same level of applications WP has.

    • Kyle

      It might be worth checking the backstory on MeeGo corresponding to the release of the N9. My recollection was that the Nokia-Intel relationship was bearing no fruit and it was being dissolved. The name “MeeGo” was reserved for that collective operating system.

      Considering what Nokia had already invested, they basically reverted back to Maemo and added their UI but asked Intel if they could use the MeeGo name considering it had become a ‘thing’ in the tech reporting world. Intel obviously conceded although with the hybrid naming convention of MeeGo Harmattan which basically indicated it was a variant.

      Intel obviously had no love for the MeeGo name as they continued on their own roadmap but ditched MeeGo for Tizen.

      So in terms of making something really good and then killing it, I would say that’s not really how things shook down. Nokia could have ramped up their Harmattan initiative after the fact, but that would have been a change in course, not the continuation of one.

    • noki

      yeah and there is no single piece of software and management without problems, A good management fixes those an bad one gives up.

      • Mikä ihmeen Uuno Turhapuro?

        Nokia didn’t have good management.

        It’s easier to hire talented coders than talented managers to lead those coders.

  • Sasa

    Nokia is wrong because of left MeeGo. Now it could be the smartphone in the rank of Samsung! So, ex workers from Nokia will develop MeeGo OS as SailFish for Jolla smartphones and it will be compatibile with android.
    So, Nokia could have OS which is in the rank of android OS or much better. Nokia is foolish and now have a problem on the market! Also windowsphone OS is so complicated than android OS. That was a big mistake of Nokia!!!