Maemo UI improvements blog.

February 13, 2011

Thoughts on “Elopocalypse”

Filed under: Light UI modifications, Slight off-topic — Tags: , , , , — Andrew Zhilin @ 11:29

Fellow Maemo and MeeGo developers. Dear Nokia lovers.

Lot’s of things have already been said around the internet, both apocalyptic and joyful, about this agreement between Microsoft and Nokia. But mostly people somehow felt “betrayed” or something like that.

Let me ask you a question: would you like to see your favourite company dead? I really doubt it. But you still want Nokia to devlop only their own products, without realising actual states of them right now.

1. Symbian. This is a long story, this OS has both pros and contras, but it has one only downside that ruins the whole story – right now Symbian is the syninim to “Old”. You can argue with that as much as you want, but it’s true. And it’s suicidal for marketing to have “old” OS onboard. You just won’t be able to sell it to ordinary people, who just watch the ads and listen to their quasi-geeky friends.

2. MeeGo. MeeGo is a great and abitious start, but it needs money and work to make it useable for casual user. Meanwhile Nokia needs to sell something, anything. Maybe you’d suggest just not to develop any high end smartphones untill MeeGo is ready, but that not sounds  like a great plan for #1 phone manufacturer, eh.

So, Nokia needs to sell devices and it needs to sell it right now. I don’t know why the developement of symbian is taking so long, but right now it’s clear that Symbian is being developed much slower than competitors. And that will make a gap between them even wider.

Android is really the worst choice possibe and the reason has already been discussed thousand times.So there was pretty much one option – WP7

As for connection between Mr Elop’s past in Microsoft and current actions – I see pretty clear sense in it. He needs to do something right now, today, with no “dating” period for him and his future possible partners. So he started to work with people that he already knows well enough to do business. If I’m starving to death and have nothing to eat at home – I won’t be riding to some unknown grocery across the city.

And right now Nokia has only 3 things to eat at home: haribo bears, very old donut and half baked wedding cake.

So please, don’t feel betrayed when your favourite company is trying to breathe in to continue their marvelous work. Nokia still does the best hardware on the market, it searches for breakthroughs in every direction, it tries to do something with this difficult situation in software. Nokia does, Nokia will do.

Thank you.



  1. You say “So, Nokia needs to sell devices and it needs to sell it right now”.
    How does going WP7 solve this problem? There will be about 1 year until Nokia can get a WP7 phone out through the door, and that’s even later than Meego.
    What they managed to do however, was alienate an incipient developer base (who will develop for mobile Qt now that everyone knows it will be phased out?) and appear thoroughly inconsistent and untrustworthy (as recent as 1-2 months ago the tune was develop for Qt, Qt is the future).

    Comment by dna — February 13, 2011 @ 13:39

    • You can’t know how much will it take to release WP7 phone, cause we don’t know how long and how productive coworking has been going. Same with MeeGo btw.
      And nobody said anything about Qt, so it’s just rumors that it will be phased out.

      Comment by Andrew Zhilin — February 13, 2011 @ 20:37

      • I never said Qt will be phased out (and I do hope it won’t). I said that potential developers would not use it to develop mobile software for Symbian or Meego, since Symbian will be phased out, and Meego’s future is very uncertain. I’ve read the Qt development board this morning, there were a LOT of angry/disappointed devs there, most of them vowing to take their business elsewhere after investing time in the Qt develop-once-run-everywhere idea Nokia was promoting until a couple of months ago.

        Comment by dna — February 14, 2011 @ 00:32

  2. Again, you say “2. MeeGo. MeeGo is a great and abitious start, but it needs money and work to make it useable for casual user.”
    As per a recent article on engadget – “Such is the word from TechCrunch’s well placed sources, who also say that Nokia dedicated only a three-man external team to the development of UI customizations for MeeGo”.
    That shows pretty much that Nokia made a mess of the MeeGo development, and it’s only Nokia’s fault.

    And in regard to this – “Meanwhile Nokia needs to sell something, anything. Maybe you’d suggest just not to develop any high end smartphones untill MeeGo is ready, but that not sounds like a great plan for #1 phone manufacturer, eh.”
    Yes, Nokia is selling mid to low end phones, and isn’t doing that bad on that front. Regarding high end, can you please point out a high end phone from Nokia in the recent years (N900 excluded, that was a development phone)? The N8 was unfortunately outdated by the time it came out, and is definitely not high end – in the world where it came out, mainstream high end was considered 1GHz CPU, 800×480.
    And now they went with WP7, just a direction, no WP7 device announcements, nothing. How long will it take to get a device through the door and sell WP7? And btw, how well is WP7 selling around the world right now?

    Just my 2 cents

    Comment by dna — February 13, 2011 @ 13:50

    • As for high-end smartphones, I’m talking about Nokia’s lineup particulary, not the whole market (cause it’s difficult for me to determine “high-end” specs, I’m definitely not a “the bigger numbers – the better” guy)

      As for MeeGo developement team I can’t comment these rumors unfortunately, cause I beleive only in oficial statements ;)

      Comment by Andrew Zhilin — February 13, 2011 @ 20:43

  3. Sorry, one more comment regarding “2. MeeGo. MeeGo is a great and abitious start, but it needs money and work to make it useable for casual user.”

    Do you think now that WP7 gets center stage that MeeGo will be allowed to see even the level of investment that it’s got until now? We’re talking Microsoft here, under Steve Ballmer who famously commented that Linux is a cancer that needs to be eradicated. Or do you think MeeGo will be allowed to compete with WP7? I’m not even sure there will be more than one MeeGo device from Nokia, if any.

    Comment by dna — February 13, 2011 @ 13:57

    • Microsoft is one of the biggest contributers into the Open-Source world, as I heard, they reconsidered their position long ago. And I’m definitely sure that MeeGo+Qt will be a major part of the market in the future, but, as maemo was before (or even maybe is), right now it’s the next generation concept OS, with completely different paradigm and you need to create enough momentum for it to reach the sky or it will fall down and break into pieces. And it takes time unfortunately.

      Comment by Andrew Zhilin — February 13, 2011 @ 20:50

      • Maemo/MeeGo has been turned into a big mess the way Nokia handled it. N900 was step 4 or 5, and Maemo 6 was being announced as a breakthrough OS. And then out of nowhere comes the MeeGo announcement, and suddenly Maemo 6 is not the future anymore, is another intermediary step to MeeGo, is compatible with MeeGo but not quite MeeGo. Messy. And then MeeGo is being touted as the breakthrough OS, THE thing for the future. And about one year with no real news passes, and suddenly we have the WP7 announcement, and MeeGo is again relegated to the experimental state Maemo was before. The future after the future, because WP7 is the future. Now if this isn’t a mess then I haven’t seen one :)

        Comment by dna — February 14, 2011 @ 00:44

      • “as I heard” – then PLEASE listen better

        Microsoft is also one of BIGGEST enemies of open source – especially Mr Ballmer. His constant accusations of Linux making infrigment of MANY Microsoft patents are just sick to listen – with denial to point out at least one patent.

        I see that there are some questions answered – if they’re comfortable one. Some very non-comfrotable are just left without any answer.

        I agree that at this point no serious thinking developer would invest more time in learning QT.

        I’ve invested last 2 years in Nokia and Maemo, and lately 1 year in QT – having an option to go for Android 2 years ago.

        What is future for my apps in such SICK environment?! I’m really angry and I’m not alone.

        I WILL NOT WRITE SINGLE LINE OF CODE FOR QT/SYMBIAN/MAEMO ANYMORE (not when I pay for this) And I’m sure that nobody sane will.

        Comment by JD — February 14, 2011 @ 02:15

  4. I dont think you will be that possitive 2012 when Microsoft buys Nokia and kills QT platformm. Sorry too say it but history has shown it has happen before :(

    But I agree in a way Nokia did a bigmistake last year continue development with symbian inststead of give meego more resources.

    So I guess WP7 was a panicdecision. But still it can end bad and company dies anyway if Microsoft buys it.

    there is also another problem with this decision Meego/symbian will probadly selfdie cause lack of apps etc… Reason too that is simple: No app developer beleives Nokia will fully support it in longer run “so why even bother too learn qtquick”.

    Nokia is onfact playing VERY high risk where Miocrosoft very well can manipulate out Nokias old platform or kill Qt :( and that is hell more bad than Nokia itselfs die imh…

    Comment by mikecomputing — February 13, 2011 @ 14:23

    • You should realize the size and importance of Nokia, before considering that it could be bough by Microsoft or die :)

      As for MeeGo and Qt – it’s definitely not ready for mainstram developement. Qt creator is an awesome tool, but it needs to be more stable and polished. For instance, current stable release of Qt creator has almost no QML tools.

      But Qt has such possibilities, that you should be absolutely dumb to kill it. Like totally.

      Comment by Andrew Zhilin — February 13, 2011 @ 20:56

      • There was once one company – amazing in their field. They decided to do a switch and do “ground-breaking revolution”. They’re gone now. Pretty gone. And they seemed indestructible. Netscape – anybody remembers?

        Comment by Relic — February 15, 2011 @ 14:03

  5. People who are complaining now usually don’t see Nokia as their favorite company. They either see Symbian as the only capable true smartphone platform out there… or have high hopes for MeeGo as the first commercially successful, non-experimental OS based on a real, desktop-like GNU/Linux stack.

    Nobody gives a * about some “Nokia” company that may or may not survive by producing WP7 phones. Why should I buy a Nokia WP7 if I didn’t buy other WP7 models before?

    Comment by Oskar — February 13, 2011 @ 15:05

  6. I will just support previous posts…

    Today two top phone OS-es are Android and iOS. MeeGo could be the third, making quite self-marketing thanks to it’s background (GNU/Linux). Look what Maemo did: even so called ‘development’ phone, it gained so much of attention from developers with open platform (sorry, Android is _not_ open platform). The only thing left was a little bit more support from Nokia.

    WP7 choice… oh man, I can’t even remember a single phone running this thing on the market now. After 8 years of using and developing for Linux and MacOS, how can you convince me to develop for WP7 or even, for god sake, to buy a phone running this OS?

    …or better that phone be soo good…

    Comment by John — February 13, 2011 @ 20:38

  7. Nokia’s stock value is decreasing very deeply and rapidly. Actually, what Elop says is the end of Nokia Symbian smartphones. What is the value of this kind of company, next to zero. Perhaps, this is the idea of giving MS a chance to buy Nokia very cheaply. Or, first they sell out everything valuable in Nokia to it’s rivals. (temporarily the stock price may bounce back)

    What it comes to panicking of Nokia. Why Nokia closed such a bad deal with MS? Did they know that their smartphones are not selling at all?
    Surely, Nokia managers have been far too urgent to see good results of their new Symbian 3 phones. Those phones are excellent, nothing wrong with them. Apple and Google(Android) have made giant success with their new phones. But, in the long run their succes will be decreasing and Nokia’s smart phone sales would increase and gain market shares from these two rivals. Why Nokia did not wait to see what will happen with their phone sales in a couple of years? The answer must be that MS had no time wait! MS knows they are totally out of Smart phone business. MS knows if they can’t get into that busines RIGHT NOW, the company simply running out of business. It was Microsoft whose platform is burning, not Nokia’s.
    Elop is a skilled manipulator and turned this upside down. He manipulated Nokia employees with the 1300 page internal memo which leaked out intentionally. Because Nokia is such a big and very IMPORTANT player on the crucial smart phone market, there might be some govermental involvment in this special business transaction as well: The fear that Nokia sold to Chinese. That would also explain the weird aspects of this deal!

    Comment by John — February 13, 2011 @ 21:59

  8. It would make sense if at the same time with this announcement they would have doubled MeeGo funding. Instead MeeGo is basically written off as an experiment and funding for it is reduced to around a quarter of the current one (according to the graphic from Elop to investors). So to go to your analogy the guy goes to eat at McDonalds and sets the half-baked cake outside on the odd chance that it will survive the winter and somehow bake itself in the summer sun. An then if such miracle happens, he only wants to look at it.

    Comment by Aigarius — February 13, 2011 @ 22:16

  9. “… good results of their new Symbian 3 phones. Those phones are excellent, nothing wrong with them. …”
    Oh … you mean the cameras better than those from SE? Or the screens better than Samsung or larger than those from HTC?
    Hardware from Nokia was “nice”, but never really competitive in Smartphone market, honestly speaking.

    Light at end of innovation-tunnel was Maemo/Meego — as part of a vision towards totally networked devices of all kind, of more mobile computers than phones. Nokia stoped this as it seems and waits until …. what? Right time to make money with a vision beyond Smartphone with Maeego would be now. With a lot of money and effort. And a boooom when selling *first* Meego device.

    Sad, incompetent management without any vision and no competence in Computer Technology is again on best way to ruin a company with potential to become leader in a totally networked world.

    PS: In my lecture I mention a cite from (don’t have it here now) the great company that made CP/M OS stating that for sure nobody would like to have a computer at home. Guess I will add cite from Nokia CEO to next lecture.

    Comment by Xris — February 13, 2011 @ 23:04

    • Why do you talk down the abilities of Stephen Elop?

      Why is he stupid when he manages to change one of the main potential competitors of his Microsoft to become a Microsoft OEM? Seems like a huge win for Stephen Elop to me.

      It makes total sense for a major Microsoft stock owner. Stephen Elop is a major Microsoft stock owner!

      Stephen Elop is a Microsoft owner, but not a Nokia owner.

      Sue him.

      Comment by Martin — February 14, 2011 @ 11:26

  10. This still doesn’t explain the part of the announcement that said they don’t have any intention of supporting Qt on WP7, which doesn’t fit at all with their strategy of “use Qt and your apps will work everywhere”.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2011 @ 01:00

  11. Petition to Nokia: Reconsider MeeGo as strategic platform!

    Comment by Lucius — February 14, 2011 @ 01:45

  12. Hmmm maybe the CEO isn’t that incompetent as I thought in my last post.

    Just read that he is 7th largest owner of Microsoft shares.

    Comment by Xris — February 14, 2011 @ 03:10

  13. Oh Andrew, why you also are writing this brain washed b*llsh*t? OSS at Nokia will be dead. They also destroyed their whole (developer) community with their lies.

    I also was one of the guys spreading their Qt message everywhere. I feel some kind of “used” by them and also a little bit naive to trust their lies.

    Comment by Uwe 'jukey' Kaminski — February 19, 2011 @ 02:09

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