Nokia workers know a bad thing when they see it.

Thousands of Nokia workers walked off the job for the day in protest of the Microsoft-Nokia deal.

First there was the "Burning Platform" memo:

In Elop's 1300-word memo ... the ex-Microsoft exec likens the company to an oil platform burning at sea while the hands try to put out the fire by dousing it in gasoline instead of water.

We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses," Elop wrote. "We haven't been delivering innovation fast enough. We're not collaborating internally. Nokia, our platform is burning.

... The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable...

We have some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia, but we are not bringing it to market fast enough. We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.

Then the walkout:

After the announcement of the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft this morning workers voiced their concern with the deal by walking out of Nokia facilities. It is believed that as many as a thousand workers marched out today (or took the day off using flex time) so that the company would know that they don't believe the partnership is in their best interest, even after CEO' Stephen Elop's startlingly frank "burning platform" memo earlier this week.

Many of the protestors work on the Symbian software so their jobs will be in jeopardy as Nokia begins to implement Windows Phone 7 on its handsets.

Read about it here:

Nokia workers walk out in protest after Microsoft news


Nokia CEO calls company "burning platform," kills first MeeGo phone


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"Thousands of Nokia workers" > "as many as a thousand workers"

Symbian is crappy compared to Android and iPhone. They had their chance to 'fix' that and failed. Don't know if WinMob7 is an improvement but they have to do something or die.

Symbian is slow, inconsistent, difficult to use and feature poor. Nokia turned their company's competitiveness inward and fed one division on another rather than going after external targets. Time to pay the piper.

A solution looking for a problem. Analysts who have studied Nokia's situation blame it on the earlier strategy of dividing the company into silos which spent as much time and energy competing internally as in pursuing customer needs.

I don't see anything in the recent news to indicate that the silo strategy (and the people who turned silos into competing empires) are being tossed. All that I see in this is the Consultant Syndrome: an outsider is always more respected than an inside expert.

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 13 Feb 2011 #permalink

Greg, would you consider the #2 comment to be an example of the mindset you discussed concerning firearms and firings?

Chris: Well spotted. They were not as good as we thought they should have been so they should be fired!

So, MikeMa, what do you have to say for yourself! Perhaps you should be killed!

One of the things that gets me with this is:

The adverts I have seen for the Windows Phone have as its catch-phrase "Its time for a phone, to save us from our phones."

Now I am a consumer, I am hearing this and what goes through my mind?

"So, you are telling me that your major selling point is that your product sucks so badly that people won't want to use it for extended periods, thus granting them more time as they avoid using it? That is your advertising campaign?"

By Bruce Gorton (not verified) on 13 Feb 2011 #permalink

I wonder who in their right mind would see a "partnership" with Microsoft as something else than a complete disaster. Sure, a small company might profit by such a thing by eating the scraps MS misses, but Nokia is way too large for that. Just remember past Microsoft "partnerships": with Apple -> Windows, with IBM for OS/2 -> Win95, with Sybase -> MySQL, and so on. So, the only sane way to look at this is that Elop is a MS mole, and this move is just a hostile MS takeover.

That's too bad, i was hoping MeeGo would offer an alternative to Android, should Google turn too much evil. But this kills it.

Bruce, i thought the same thing when i saw the WP7 commercials: funny, but pretty much the wrong idea.

There's a second prong to this fork. HP is essentially giving MS the boot. They're putting their R&D behind WebOS, and that's probably a good thing. Assuming their strategy stays on course, they'll have a late contender in the tablet/hand computer race, one that might actually rival Apple, unless of course the wheels all come off.

Thing about WebOS is that HP apparently plans to release it as a desktop platform in addition to a mobile one - something totally integrated across devices. This is very, very close to what Apple's doing, the main difference being that OSX/iOS is all *nix under the hood, and I don't believe WebOS is.

Meanwhile, MS is reeling. WinPhone 7 appears to be a solid, well-designed mobile OS, and should be the one they're porting to slate use. However, Ballmer - who is apparently a foaming-at-the-mouth cretin - is obsessed with shoving Win7 - all of it - onto tablet devices. Let's ignore for a moment the insane silicon requirements and the battery suckage that will certainly ensue; Win7 is a mouse-driven OS, not a finger-driven one.

MS had some passably good projects over the years. As far as I can tell, their handwriting recognition is absolutely unparalleled. Xbox is fantastic. Zune had some real possibilities. And MS Foundry consistently cranks out high-quality fonts. Yet all these projects are either orphaned, or running under separate departments and management. Ballmer's fingerprints are on none of them, to the best of my knowledge. That's a telling fact.

Meanwhile, Nokia did in fact have a lot of advance warning, and a lot of time to get their shi'ite together. Just like MS, there's been a succession of spectacular and baffling failures, a corporate myopia that essentially left them in no position whatsoever to respond meaningfully, or even adequately, to the mobile computing revolution. Nokia's tack seems to have been, "We make phones, not computers"; MS's seems to have been "We make desktop computers, not handheld ones." How is this not a formula for corporate implosion?

With manufacturers such as Acer already saying they're going to stop manufacturing netbooks in favor of tablet machines (Android driven, not MS driven), with the plethora of Android-based devices already available and more in the works, with HP using its buyout of Palm to assert itself into a market that many industry "experts" were dismissing as ludicrous just eighteen months ago, both MS and Nokia are far, far behind on the development curve.

I really don't think either corporation had much choice but to do what they did. I'm definitely no fan of MS - I do prefer Apple, because I like the *nix stability of the OS that lets me fire up a console window when I need it, which is rarely - but frankly the best thing MS can do right now is fire Ballmer and put someone in charge who has a real grasp of the way the tech world is evolving. MS just looks sad and battered. The only thing that makes them real money any more is the Office suite. That's not sufficient, they know it, and yet Ballmer is still flying them right into the ground.

The Nokia workers get my sympathy, because we're talking about a radical shift of direction for the company, and it's always awful to have your job yanked out from under you by shoddy management decisions. I've been there. The seeds were planted years ago, though, and rather than the Nokia rank-and-file being out of work, I'd rather see Nokia's directorate on the sacrificial platform. Right along with that cretin Ballmer.

Oh, and yes, I've done a lot of Linux as well, but there simply are not adequate tools available for high-end graphics production. The GIMP doesn't cut it (no native CMYK colorspace), Inkscape is not a quality page-layout program (really ghastly color issues when exporting to EPS or PDF), etc. If I were still hacking code I'd probably lean more toward Linux, but in my current life it still doesn't have the software I really need to get things done.