We had no immediate use for the silicon fabrication plant where memories were made and had to shut it down - Andy Grove - Only the Paranoid Survive
A POLL conducted by Nokia to find out what most excites its users about the recent deal with Microsoft drew what we can only assume was a disappointing answer - not much.
The Finnish phone firm, which recently hopped into bed with Microsoft, polled its customers on its blog asking them what features they are most looking forward to on a Windows Nokia handset. It asked, "Looking forward, what are the best new features you'd like to see on a Nokia Windows Phone?"
Rather than just leave the options blank, which could have been particularly unwise, the firm suggested a handful of options: Xbox games, Unique UI, Windows desktop integration, Internet Explorer 9, Rapid Update schedule, Silverlight, Integration with Outlook, a higher resolution screen, or Other, which was divided into some 100 sub categories.
Embarrassingly for Nokia it was the 'Other' category that drew the lion's share of votes with 22.6 per cent. The next most popular was the unique user interface with just over 22 per cent, while IE9 got just around nine per cent and Silverlight got a pitiful two per cent.
'Other' responses had a pretty even three-way split, which Nokia admitted was divided into three camps, none of which were particularly enamoured by the Microsoft deal. "A third agreed that Windows Phone was not what they wanted, period," admitted the firm, continuing, "MeeGo received just over eight per cent and Symbian just under eight per cent".
This unenthusiastic response is not new, it's been the trend ever since the tie-up was first announced. What might surprise Nokia, however, is the fact that its customers would prefer to see it keep hold of its Meego and Symbian operating systems and throw out Windows Phone, as opposed to the other way round.
When Stephen Elop and Steve Ballmer announced the partnership few could think of anything positive to say. Nokia might have been floundering in the smartphone market, but it is the biggest mobile phone seller overall, while Microsoft seems to have the same impact on mobile phone sales as scare stories about cancer.
Elop had earlier suggested that Nokia was in crisis, more accurately he said it was on fire and considering whether to drown in icy water. It appears that the firm took the drowning option when it hopped into Ballmer's leaky dinghy, as ever since its share price has sunk further and further.
Even those people that did see the marriage as a positive might change their minds, as this week Microsoft showed just how adept it is at mis-managing mobile phone operating system updates.
At the start of the week it said that it was pleased to be rolling out the first Windows Phone 7 update, but two days later it was tackling questions about problems and by this morning it was withdrawing it wholesale on Samsung handsets, having successfully turned a number of them into bricks.
That's pretty embarrassing for a company that has a desperate need to be big in the mobile phone market and it is hardly reassuring for Nokia's customers and shareholders.
Still, the writing was always on the cards, even if Elop could never see it. However to the outsider the clues to failure were there, and perhaps most tellingly in the Elop crisis email.
"We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time. At that time, we thought we were making the right decisions; but, with the benefit of hindsight, we now find ourselves years behind," he explained.
How he expected to change this by tying Nokia to a software company that is equally years behind the curve is anyone's guess and a question that only Elop can answer. µ
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