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Topic # 86785 13-Jul-2011 16:17
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A very interesting blog here http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/06/will-the-real-stephen-elop-please-stand-up.html

The writer Tomi Ahonen, who, by his own admission is biased, makes some very interesting comments.

It is quite a long article about the way Stephen Elop has managed Nokia, and if you hadn't guessed from the articles title he is not a fan of Mr Elop. 

One comment I found very interesting was Tomi's reasoning why WP7 will not succeed on Nokia devices or any other devices for that matter, and why Nokia have announced the use of Symbian through till 2016 at least and in his opinion the strong likely hood that there will be more Meego devices from Nokia.

I don't have an opinion either way about Tomi's point of view but I found it an interesting read and wonder what other Geekzone members think of his reasoning regarding WP7 not succeeding on Nokia devices.




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  Reply # 493069 13-Jul-2011 20:37
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if all this sheet hadnt hit the fans...  i think that you, me, and everyone else would probably be saying "meego who?" about now.

whatever else, all the publicity re-focussed the world on nokia. 


"rim who?"  'blackberry who?"    




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  Reply # 493233 14-Jul-2011 10:20
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I should have put a precis of the blog in my original post since it is quite a long read.

Basically Tomi is saying that Stephen Elop is saying different things now to what he said with his "burning platform" statement back in February. 

Things like

"We find ourselves years behind (Apple)." in Feb

to  "We are very pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees. This settlement demonstrates Nokia's industry leading patent portfolio." in June.

or  

"We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones (but it is not capable of that)." in Feb

to "(N9 running MeeGo) brings innovations to the marketplace such as the industrial design, user interface, and elements that will be seen in future Nokia's products." in June.

or when talking about innovation in Feb

"If we continue like before, we will get further and further behind, while our competitors advance further and further ahead." 

to saying in June "Mismanagement - not a lack of innovation - is what ails this company."

I have cut and pasted quotes from the blog, these are the words used by Tomi and not necessarily the exact words that were said.

Tomi's reason for the apparent change in what Stephen Elop is saying is tied to Microsoft's purchase of Skype in May and Microsoft's Steve Balmer saying Skype will be incorporated into Windows Phone and the adverse reaction to this from the carriers who will be selling Nokia WP7 phones and other WP7 devices. Tomi thinks Elop is back pedalling as he/Nokia realise that an alternative may be needed for WP7.

According to Tomi mobile providers detest Skype as it has the potential to cut across their market significantly, and the carriers have said they will not sell WP7 phones with Skype.  It is for this reason he says that WP7 is not going to succeed as a mobile platform. 

I'm not sure I agreed 100% with his analysis but he does make an interesting point.  Apples "Facetime" doesn't seem to have hurt their sales though it is only available from Apple device to Apple device and not to the whole world as Skype has the potential to reach.

 




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  Reply # 493259 14-Jul-2011 11:24
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^ But Skype has been available for iOS and Android devices for a while now and the carriers are happy to sell both OS's.

If N9 turns out to be a hit, Nokia will keep it and promote it even further. Why would any company want to kill a product that is selling well. I am glad that Symbian is being phased out because the sales just keep dropping and because if this Nokia has next to nothing marketshare in US. WP7 on Nokia is going to succeed.




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  Reply # 493399 14-Jul-2011 15:22
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billgates: ^ But Skype has been available for iOS and Android devices for a while now and the carriers are happy to sell both OS's.


Symbian too for that matter.

So far as i know none of these OS's come with Skype pre installed or built in which is what is rumoured to be happening with future versions of WP7.  Hence the claim that carriers will not promote WP7 devices.

Nokia's lack of market share in the US is less to do with how good or bad Symbian is perceived to be, but more to do with politics between Nokia and the local carriers plus the fact that Nokia isn't a US company and Symbian isn't a US designed OS.  The Yanks are very good at supporting their own home grown products and to their credit generally are very patriotic, however they can be a bit one eyed when it suits them.

As I said originally, I'm not sure I agree 100% with what was written, however it is a scenario I hadn't considered.

Also one does have to wonder why there appears to be a change of direction in what Stephen Elop has been saying. 




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  Reply # 495370 19-Jul-2011 17:48
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I've been following this thing over at The Register for some time now. There are definitely some points to make. 

I think the first is that for all the talk of 'burning platforms' Nokia pre-Elop was still a company making lots of money. They were never popular in the US, probably because they aren't American and because they supported GSM over the US mish-mash and arrived late in that market. 

What Nokia did have a problem with was US media coverage and their inability to raise money there because a lack of print leads to -> low stock prices -> no venture capital.

Symbian is a great OS built from the ground up for mobile, it gives functionality for a fraction of the power consumption that iOS or android do. However, the UI and therefore the UX are god awful by comparison. These are what sells phones. 

Maybe if Nokia had held on 'just a little longer' Meego would have been the go, it is making its way into cars and 'things which are not phones' so it can't be a complete dog. But Nokia has had how long to bring a decent smartphone to market which can compete with Android / iOS? 

So Nokia / Windows. I like the idea of a Windows phone that can talk seamlessly with my PC and x-box and Windows tablet and all that. It that WP7? I hope so but the first generation has had problems and gen two may suck. Remember how the first iPhone was 2G? 

Nokia doing hardware and Windows doing software sound like it should, I said 'should', work great. I'll give them till gen 2 to see what they come up with. 

I think something had to happen at Nokia. I don't think they will back track on WP7. I don't think they can afford to take the time to come up with a smartphone OS from scratch. 

Well, that's my 2, and a bit cents.

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  Reply # 495423 19-Jul-2011 20:01
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Crackedbycracku

I agree 100% with your comments re the reasons for the low popularity of Nokia in the US and to some extent on the UI experience.  Personally I don't find the UI all that bad. I think the main difference being the European approach of functionality over form (in this case flashy UI) of the US approach.  

I agree the flashy nice looking UI is what sells, which has been to Nokia's disadvantage. Many of the critics of Symbian have never bothered to learn how it works and in many cases never bothered to learn about all the functions that Symbian has.

I too, like the idea of seamless integration between the phone and PC etc. Can Microsoft achieve this?

I think the future of other OS's at Nokia depends on whether or not Nokia just want to be another WP7 handset maker or they want to stand out from the crowd, and how well WP7 performs against the likes of Meego. I'm not convinced yet that WP7 will be the one and only smart phone platform for Nokia.

They don't need to come up with another smart phone OS from scratch, in Meego they already have a very capable OS as demonstrated with the N9.  Also they have Symbian which can/is being tweaked.  The after market SPB Shell UI demonstrates very well what can be achieved with Symbian.  The imminent Symbian ^3 Anna release is rumoured to be bringing a whole new interface to Symbian.  There's already talk of a successor to Anna, - Belle.

Interesting times ahead 




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  Reply # 495633 20-Jul-2011 10:58
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Technofreak: Crackedbycracku

I agree 100% with your comments re the reasons for the low popularity of Nokia in the US and to some extent on the UI experience.  Personally I don't find the UI all that bad. I think the main difference being the European approach of functionality over form (in this case flashy UI) of the US approach.  

I agree the flashy nice looking UI is what sells, which has been to Nokia's disadvantage. Many of the critics of Symbian have never bothered to learn how it works and in many cases never bothered to learn about all the functions that Symbian has.

I too, like the idea of seamless integration between the phone and PC etc. Can Microsoft achieve this?

I think the future of other OS's at Nokia depends on whether or not Nokia just want to be another WP7 handset maker or they want to stand out from the crowd, and how well WP7 performs against the likes of Meego. I'm not convinced yet that WP7 will be the one and only smart phone platform for Nokia.

They don't need to come up with another smart phone OS from scratch, in Meego they already have a very capable OS as demonstrated with the N9.  Also they have Symbian which can/is being tweaked.  The after market SPB Shell UI demonstrates very well what can be achieved with Symbian.  The imminent Symbian ^3 Anna release is rumoured to be bringing a whole new interface to Symbian.  There's already talk of a successor to Anna, - Belle.

Interesting times ahead 


I think on interesting aspect of what you refer to as the "European approach" is this; Americans love powerful things. You compare an American sports car and a European one and you will see what I mean.

In this context I would say it is seen in the push for ever more powerful processors in phones, now 1 GHZ is standard and duel core is preferred.

Nokia always had very low power processors but the Symbian OS didn't need a lot of power to get the job done. What are we going to do if things continue the way they have been? Charge our phones every hour? If I could have it my way Meego would be it, the thing was designed with Intel so you know it would have been great on phones. 
 
You are right. It is not that the Symbian UI  is 'god awful' as I said. I was wrong. It is that it isn't as intuitive to use as Android / iOS. This is really sad for a company that set the standard for intuitive phone OS in the 90s. I had a 5110 which I loved in the 90s, I then lived in Japan for several years and on returning bought a new Nokia phone. I was amazed that I was using it with ease about 5 seconds after I turned it on.

What the hell happened? And how hard can it be to re-skin an OS for crying out loud? The iOS / Android ideas get copied all the time, what was the problem? 

I don't know if WP7 or Microsoft can achieve this idea of a 'joined up world' where phone, x-box, PC all live in together singing kumbaya in multi-part harmony. I do know that they better try something before the web-centric world of Google rolls right over them. The concept of a 'local/home cloud' is one way to fight back. Your PC now works as a server for all your other devices. Your data is under your control, not someone else's. Yeah, you might back some stuff up to the cloud but you also have local control, not access; control. 

If anybody can win this fight it is Microsoft.  

I don't think Nokia will be 'another WP7 handset maker'. MS has talked about having a 'special relationship' with Nokia which sound like them being first among equals. If I was any body but Nokia my response would be: 'I ain't first and I damn sure ain't equal. But with WP7 hardly being dominant so who cares?'

Nokia but a lot of it's rep on excellent hardware build. If they can take this to tablets, can't see why not, and build this special relationship into: Nokia is the builder for anything MS that isn't a PC. Well, then we would have an interesting world indeed.  

I do think there is space for third mobile OS. Somewhere between the Apple Walled Garden and the Android Wild West. Might as well be Microkia

I was sad to see Nokia go this way as I like the idea of a European alternative to America, Japan, South Korea. But this may just be a part of the journey, look at where Apple has been.  

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  Reply # 496958 22-Jul-2011 22:19
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crackrdbycracku: 

I think on interesting aspect of what you refer to as the "European approach" is this; Americans love powerful things. You compare an American sports car and a European one and you will see what I mean.

In this context I would say it is seen in the push for ever more powerful processors in phones, now 1 GHZ is standard and duel core is preferred.

Nokia always had very low power processors but the Symbian OS didn't need a lot of power to get the job done. What are we going to do if things continue the way they have been? Charge our phones every hour?


I'd never though of it like you do with your comparison between the European and US sports cars, that is a very apt way to put it.  So many of the reviews particularly those originating out of the US harp on about Nokias lack of processing speed or lack of dual core but the writers of these reviews never really sit back and think about the what the trade offs and compromises are for having high speed processors etc.

I'm not sure how much battery life the iPhone has now but I did hear plenty of complaints about the battery life of the earlier iPhones.
 
You are right. It is not that the Symbian UI  is 'god awful' as I said. I was wrong. It is that it isn't as intuitive to use as Android / iOS. This is really sad for a company that set the standard for intuitive phone OS in the 90s. I had a 5110 which I loved in the 90s, I then lived in Japan for several years and on returning bought a new Nokia phone. I was amazed that I was using it with ease about 5 seconds after I turned it on.

What the hell happened? And how hard can it be to re-skin an OS for crying out loud? The iOS / Android ideas get copied all the time, what was the problem?
 

What did happen? Perhaps just sitting on your laurels as market leader being "fat dumb and happy".  As I said above there are after market skins that work very well on Symbian, it has been done, just not by Nokia.

I don't know if WP7 or Microsoft can achieve this idea of a 'joined up world' where phone, x-box, PC all live in together singing kumbaya in multi-part harmony. I do know that they better try something before the web-centric world of Google rolls right over them. The concept of a 'local/home cloud' is one way to fight back. Your PC now works as a server for all your other devices. Your data is under your control, not someone else's. Yeah, you might back some stuff up to the cloud but you also have local control, not access; control. 


Yep, I too like the idea of having my data under my control.


I was sad to see Nokia go this way as I like the idea of a European alternative to America, Japan, South Korea. But this may just be a part of the journey, look at where Apple has been.  

CrackedbyCracku 
 Amen to that.  I presume that your comment "Look where Apple has been" is a reference to the fact that they were nearly out for the count a few years ago. Indeed I think a new journey has begun at Nokia, it just remains to be seen what and how many vehicles are used along this journey.




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  Reply # 497342 24-Jul-2011 13:50
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Hi,

I have finally had the time to read the original article you posted. It as interesting, damn but that guy hates Elop. It also sounded a bit like that old song; 'If only I was the boss, I could do a better job than you'. You hear teenagers singing this one to their parents a lot. 

That original blog was also interesting when I read the name at the end, I am guessing Tommi is Finish. It is important to remember the 'Finish perspective'. Particularly when we think on problem Nokia struggled in the US market is that it isn't American.

It is in this light I post this link

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/22/nokia_manifesto_risku/

 It is over twelve months old and gives an interesting 'what if' management structure for Nokia. One of the interesting aspects is that the CEO should be a 'Nokian' which is PC for; 'Finish, not some foreigner'.

The Register is where I have got a lot of my information on this. 

Your thoughts would be interesting. 

http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Knock+Knock+Nokias+Heavy+Fall/1135260596609

This is also old but give a really good description of just how bad it got.

I think we have reached common ground going forward. 

  • We are not over the moon about Nokia 'hooking up' with MicroSoft at the expense of Symbian and Meego but we can live with it as something had to change.
  • We are hoping the new WP7 phones that come hopefully at the end of the year or early next open up something new with better integration.
  • We accept that this isn't 'the end' of Nokia any more than those crazy candy coloured computers were the end of Apple. 
Kind regards.




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  Reply # 497344 24-Jul-2011 13:59
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It's worth noting Tommi is an ex Nokia employee and yes, he is Finnish :)



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  Reply # 497461 24-Jul-2011 23:13
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Two very interesting articles. 

This is not the first time I have read of the problems within the organisational structure at Nokia. These two articles confirm what I had already read and give a bit more detail.  Something had to had to be done.

After reading both articles I came to the conclusion that Nokia's problems are not the OS or lack of innovation but the inability, due to management attitudes and processes, to bring developments to the market quickly.  I still wonder why WP7 has been given preference over Symbian and Meego when it seems the real problem is the management structure.  Perhaps they are the sacrificial lambs, but without some serious changes in the way Nokia brings innovations to the market changing the OS will achieve very little. 

I think the appointment of an outsider is a good way to bring about changes. While I don't believe this person needs to be Finnish this person needs to have an understanding of the Finnish pshycy and be able lead to get the Nokia team to follow him/her.  This person also needs to know the market, not just be another manager, something that was alluded to in one article.  Perhaps Stephen Elop is that man, though my feeling he doesn't have the "Steve Jobs factor"  which is something that would make a lot of difference.




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  Reply # 499808 30-Jul-2011 17:06
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We have both made passing reference to it in previous posts but the comparison to Apple is interesting.

I think if had said to someone in the late 1990's that Steve Jobs had an idea to make Apple a globally dominant company by selling music players and then phones the rest of us would have gone "Yeah, good luck with that" and backed away slowly.

I'm not an Apple Fanboi. I like the stuff but the more time goes on the more it becomes buy all Apple (phone, PC, tablet) or don't bother, the Walled Garden as it is known

Anyway, in the context of this discussion the important aspect is what you refer to as the 'Steve Jobs factor'. Love Apple or hate them there is no denying that Steve Jobs is a major factor in Apples success. He drives the company. I don't know if he actually comes up with the ideas, whether he actually said something like 'I know, let's do a phone' but it doesn't really matter.

What he does do is allow Apple to relentlessly pursue a strategy.

The original iPhone was released in 2007, the next one is due in September. Over that time Apple have never deviated from the following line; "The is a high end product, it is expensive but it is the best you can get. If you don't like it buy somebody else's phone". To a lesser degree this strategy is seen across all of Apples products.  

We see this also in the development of apps and the famous App Store. I am certain that to a greater or lesser degree the development of apps is a response to the fact the Flash video doesn't work on iPhone. It forced people who wanted to put content on the iPhone to design apps to get around this. If you don't have an iPhone you are now saying: 'So, this app thing is really a link to the website, right? Why are people so excited about apps again?'. 

Now, I am not saying that Steve Jobs the only person at Apple or that he saw how app development would go. What I am saying is that there must have been pressure to do a 'budget iPhone' and allow Flash and a lot of other things. Steve Jobs created the environment where Apple was able to say 'no' to these pressures. Steve called it right and they have done very well. 

If you contrast this with Nokia over the last few years you can see the difference. Design by committee doesn't work, how many times will this lesson need to re-learned?

The original Nokia Communicator was possibly the first real smart phone. But the ten years since then did not see Nokia capitalise on this at all. We saw a succession of average phones and the rise of 'strategy boutiques' in London. Then we saw the N-Gage. The most successful part of the Nokia business became selling cheap phones, this was never going to be sustainable when you have to compete with China. 

Symbian is a good phone OS but the Meego phone that needed to follow it just didn't arrive and it appears there was no strategy to re-vamp the Symbian UI. The Nokia smartphone line just isn't as slick as the competition. I know some people say "It works and there is nothing wrong with it" but that isn't how Nokia became dominant in the 1990's, they became dominant because they were the best.

The N8 was a good phone but it was about 2 years too late. Nokia was already on the back foot at this stage, they were always playing catch-up.

So, can Elop change this? 

I think the geographical shift from Espoo to the US is a mistake.  

Nokia has historically been strong in Europe, Microsoft sells in Europe and people are not that fussed about who made the OS. They want to have the best phone. 

To me this shift to the US looks like a solution to the question "How can we do better in the US?" but the problem is that Nokia will never dominate the US, ever. Nokia doesn't have much of a future as a second rate Motorola, with the only difference being Windows Phone.

The Burning Platform memo was one of the stupidest things I have ever read. Everybody is suspicious of the new CEO. The last thing you tell them is that the house is on fire. The amount of ill-feeling this caused amount the engineers and designers Nokia needs was significant. 

Is Windows Phone the way of the future?

Maybe, but again, it sounds like the answer to a different question. If the question was 'Which is the better OS for Nokia between Android or Windows Phone?'. Yeah, nobody wants to fight it out with all the other Android makers so Windows sounds like the better option. But it ignores the development work that had been done on Meego. This doesn't actually make a lot of sense. 

If the question is: 'How to we re-focus Nokia to design, build and market the best phones on planet earth like we used to?' then things are a bit different.

This is actually a much harder question to answer. 

There is only one Steve Jobs and Elop isn't him. My biggest criticism of Elop is that we just haven't seen him address this question. Elop blamed the platform, the platform wasn't the problem. It was a the management structure, the process of bringing phones to market. 

Nothing he has done has addressed this. OK, this is a hard thing to address but he is going to have to bring the rest of Nokia with him. 

If he doesn't we won't see a quality WP7 phone from Nokia sell in volume. Hell, Microsoft is already talking about Windows 8. Waiting for that could be a real problem for Nokia. 

Maybe they should look at tablets? 

Anyway, that's what I think. 

Kind regards, 

Jack  



 




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  Reply # 499818 30-Jul-2011 17:31
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crackrdbycracku: 
I'm not an Apple Fanboi. I like the stuff but the more time goes on the more it becomes buy all Apple (phone, PC, tablet) or don't bother, the Walled Garden as it is known 
Ditto


We see this also in the development of apps and the famous App Store. I am certain that to a greater or lesser degree the development of apps is a response to the fact the Flash video doesn't work on iPhone. It forced people who wanted to put content on the iPhone to design apps to get around this. If you don't have an iPhone you are now saying: 'So, this app thing is really a link to the website, right? Why are people so excited about apps again?'.  
 Ditto

Now, I am not saying that Steve Jobs the only person at Apple or that he saw how app development would go. What I am saying is that there must have been pressure to do a 'budget iPhone' and allow Flash and a lot of other things. Steve Jobs created the environment where Apple was able to say 'no' to these pressures. Steve called it right and they have done very well. 

If you contrast this with Nokia over the last few years you can see the difference. Design by committee doesn't work, how many times will this lesson need to re-learned? 
 Ditto again


I think the geographical shift from Espoo to the US is a mistake.  

Nokia has historically been strong in Europe, Microsoft sells in Europe and people are not that fussed about who made the OS. They want to have the best phone. 

To me this shift to the US looks like a solution to the question "How can we do better in the US?" but the problem is that Nokia will never dominate the US, ever. Nokia doesn't have much of a future as a second rate Motorola, with the only difference being Windows Phone.
Agree entirely

The Burning Platform memo was one of the stupidest things I have ever read. Everybody is suspicious of the new CEO. The last thing you tell them is that the house is on fire. The amount of ill-feeling this caused amount the engineers and designers Nokia needs was significant. 

Is Windows Phone the way of the future?

Maybe, but again, it sounds like the answer to a different question. If the question was 'Which is the better OS for Nokia between Android or Windows Phone?'. Yeah, nobody wants to fight it out with all the other Android makers so Windows sounds like the better option. But it ignores the development work that had been done on Meego. This doesn't actually make a lot of sense. 

If the question is: 'How to we re-focus Nokia to design, build and market the best phones on planet earth like we used to?' then things are a bit different.

This is actually a much harder question to answer. 

There is only one Steve Jobs and Elop isn't him. My biggest criticism of Elop is that we just haven't seen him address this question. Elop blamed the platform, the platform wasn't the problem. It was a the management structure, the process of bringing phones to market. 

Nothing he has done has addressed this. OK, this is a hard thing to address but he is going to have to bring the rest of Nokia with him. 

If he doesn't we won't see a quality WP7 phone from Nokia sell in volume. Hell, Microsoft is already talking about Windows 8. Waiting for that could be a real problem for Nokia. 
Ditto again

Maybe they should look at tablets? 


Have you looked here http://www.whoistabco.com/  




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  Reply # 505089 11-Aug-2011 16:43
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This is going from bad to completely bonkers. 

What next?

Stephen Elop is an alien in human form?


http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/10/nokia_n9_uk_no_plans/


I bet we won't see the N9 in NZ, but then again maybe we are a developing economy? 




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  Reply # 505122 11-Aug-2011 17:50
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I don't see why Nokia can't deliver a range of quality hardware with a choice of out of: Windows Phone 7, Android and their own OS.

This is exactly what HTC and Samsung do and has been highly successful.

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