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I Love It When A Plan Comes Together
February 17, 2011 11:35 AM   Subscribe

After Nokia announced its strategic partnership with Microsoft (here), howls of protest came from various directions, with the one getting the most attention being 'nine young investors' proposing a 'Plan B'. But wait...

After only about 36 hours, the "Plan B" group declared defeat, citing lack of institutional investor support. BUT WAIT...

Only a few hours after that, the "Nokia Plan B" website (Google cache) was taken down and redirected to a twitter account that declared it was all a hoax by "one very bored engineer who really likes his iPhone". BUT WAIT!

During the short lifespan of Plan B, a bunch of other generally less serious "Plan" websites popped up including Nokia Plan C, Nokia Plan D, PlanE and PlanES, Plan ET (surprisingly not a planet), Plan F (for Fail), Plan G (huh? is this one SERIOUS?), Plan H (an interesting concept phone), PlanK (yeah, same gag), Plan L (using another Finnish icon and web meme), Plan M (scroll down), Plan ARRRR (inevitable) PlanT (slightly different gag), Plan V (for Vote, an online poll), Plan X (a random plan generator), Plan 2 (or Pun 2) and, of course, Plan 9, as well as a prediction of the result of Plan A.

A still-being-updated list of Nokia Plan Single Serving Sites can be found at Nokia PlanS (of course).
posted by oneswellfoop (42 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
They say any publicity is good publicity, but perhaps they were wrong.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:43 AM on February 17, 2011


Whoever came up with Plan A is a meany.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:47 AM on February 17, 2011


I would have been even more disappointed in humanity if there were 19 diffferent plans and no one thought of Plan 9.
posted by Daddy-O at 11:51 AM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know how anyone took Plan B seriously. Every aspect of the plan was aimed at maintaining and increasing jobs in Finland at the cost of shareholder value, it should have been called the "Finland Full Employment Act". The few goals aimed at creating new and compelling products were fairy dust at best.

People like to think that a certain company (in this case Nokia), has such a strong history with a country (in this case Finland) and that the people of that country identify so strongly with the company that it would never leave.

Companies have a well defined and well understood fiduciary duty and investors have tools to enforce that goal. Companies don't have and don't recognize patriotic duty except insofar as it harmonizes with their fiduciary duty.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:53 AM on February 17, 2011


Actually, one the reasons I really liked Symbian in the early days was because it reminded me of Win 3.11 as compared to the hideous OS's that most phones had at the time.
posted by wcfields at 11:53 AM on February 17, 2011


So... this is like the Plan in Battlestar Galactica?

one very bored engineer who really likes his iPhone

Who were the final 8?
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have one of the n810s and..it's not great. They basically took a good Linux distro (Debian), broke it, threw some barely functional software on top of it and shipped it out. I've actually been tempted to "accidentally" drop it so I have to buy something else, but I know any other mobile is going to be at least as bad. It's a problem of input, IMO. You still can't beat 10 fingers on a keyboard.
posted by DU at 11:56 AM on February 17, 2011


Companies have a well defined and well understood fiduciary duty

US companies do. Not sure that either of us understand how that the courts feel about this in Finland. But when your company and its subcontractors account for half the labor force, its probably not so cut and dry.
posted by pwnguin at 11:57 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Irrelevant company is irrelevant.
posted by tommasz at 11:58 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some of these URLs are great.

Nokia Plang! Fuck yes! Nokia makes the best goddamn Plang.
posted by kenko at 11:59 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Companies have a well defined and well understood fiduciary duty and investors have tools to enforce that goal.

What Obligation? Maximise What?
posted by kenko at 12:01 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


A plan that makes for short-term benefits for shareholders does not necessarily help the long-term profitability of the company.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:05 PM on February 17, 2011


Plan A doesn't seem to be doing that well either, as Nokia has stated it will ship Windows 7 Phones after the start of next year. As in 2012.

I actually think the plan might work, if executed quickly. But no phones for most of the year? What will the iphone, or androidn whatever look like then?
posted by zabuni at 12:05 PM on February 17, 2011


DU

When I have an e-mail or a longer piece of work to write, I always use a bluetooth keyboard. Windows Moble v6 was compatible (not sure about v7), iPod Touch (and presumably iPad) became compatible as of iOS4, and Android had established some level of compatibility as of a year ago.
posted by The Confessor at 12:06 PM on February 17, 2011


Plan 9 was cool.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:06 PM on February 17, 2011


I like Plan 0. Though, I am curious about which of Elop & Ballmer gets to be Pinky and who gets to be the Brain?
posted by msjen at 12:07 PM on February 17, 2011


I think the Microsoft partnership is a good idea. I have a Nokia770 (which is gathering dust) and the lack of Maemo programs for it was disappointing. The Wi-Fi on it was always stubborn. I was never convinced Maemo or Meego could be viable platforms having used it.
posted by Calzephyr at 12:08 PM on February 17, 2011


I did wonder what was in this for Nokia - they're basically ditching an aspect of their business that they've been working on for years (decades?) and bringing in an outsourced solution instead, so that they become just a manufacturer of handsets with little oportunity to differentiate them.

On the other hand, I wasn't lining up to buy a Symbian smart phone and neither were many other people, including a lot of the interweb folks moaning about this.
posted by Artw at 12:09 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Far from invalidating it, the existence of bluetooth keyboards proves my point. We need a general-use higher input bit rate into mobile devices than "mash it with your finger" which, depending on the size of the device and your finger, is probably like 20-30 b/s. Abysmal. No real "symbiotic" (i.e. between the human and device) computation can happen at that speed.
posted by DU at 12:09 PM on February 17, 2011


no Plan 867-5309?
posted by edgeways at 12:13 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This leaked memo from Elop to Nokia staff answers the "why did they jump" question:
Consumer preference for Nokia declined worldwide. In the UK, our brand preference has slipped to 20 percent, which is 8 percent lower than last year. That means only 1 out of 5 people in the UK prefer Nokia to other brands. It's also down in the other markets, which are traditionally our strongholds: Russia, Germany, Indonesia, UAE, and on and on and on.

How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved?

This is what I have been trying to understand. I believe at least some of it has been due to our attitude inside Nokia. 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. We haven't been delivering innovation fast enough. We're not collaborating internally.

Nokia, our platform is burning.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:16 PM on February 17, 2011


Plan Burn Baby Burn
posted by jeffburdges at 12:22 PM on February 17, 2011


Companies have a well defined and well understood fiduciary duty and investors have tools to enforce that goal. Companies don't have and don't recognize patriotic duty except insofar as it harmonizes with their fiduciary duty.
Is that actually true in every country in the world? And anyway, shareholders can't sue just because they think the management is engaging in a bad strategy. They could, in theory fire the CEO but that's really rare. An actual shareholder lawsuit is even more rare. Also the corporations are not required to "make as much money as possible", that's actually a misconception.
I did wonder what was in this for Nokia - they're basically ditching an aspect of their business that they've been working on for years (decades?) and bringing in an outsourced solution instead, so that they become just a manufacturer of handsets with little oportunity to differentiate them.
More companies should be willing to ditch stuff that's not working. The reason people are upset is that they hate Microsoft. If they were switching to android people would be salivating.
posted by delmoi at 12:24 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty much. See also the ridiculous nonsense about GPL licenses doing the rounds...
posted by Artw at 12:27 PM on February 17, 2011


Or they could've kept Maemo's superior gsm, sip, and skype integration for "differentiation" while still running Android apps.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:29 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


More companies should be willing to ditch stuff that's not working. The reason people are upset is that they hate Microsoft. If they were switching to android people would be salivating.

Well, yeah. But Android is winning the market, and could also have been modified to have a QT layer that would have enabled Nokia devs to target iOS and Android with one codebase as well as Win/Mac/Lin on the desktop with the same coding skills. Right now Nokia has just cut all of their devs off at the legs, and has a year of huge market share losses to come. This current plan is a giveaway to Motorola, Samsung, Sony and HTC.

I don't like MS, no. That analysis isn't about that, though.
posted by jaduncan at 12:36 PM on February 17, 2011


WP7 doesn't offer multitasking or cut & paste. lol
posted by jeffburdges at 12:53 PM on February 17, 2011


So Nokia wants to fire all the devs and plan B is to keep the devs?
posted by Ad hominem at 12:58 PM on February 17, 2011


Ah, that wasn't what I meant. They spent the last couple of years telling the developer community who work on apps for Nokia phones to learn the QT app toolkit. They now all know this language. All of the developers outside of Nokia are now extremely annoyed, and are probably going to leave and work on Android.

The internal developers are a different case, but yes, plan A basically involves sacking almost all of them, severely damaging the economy of Finland, and then merely producing handsets for MS. That's the short version. The stock went down so much because Nokia just went from owning their own future to being the Dell box-shifter of phones for MS on an OS that isn't even succeeding in the market.
posted by jaduncan at 1:05 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, if Nokia has lost all faith in it's internal development it is logical to think they would do no better with Android than it has been doing so far. I suspect we wouldbe celebrating now and cursing a botched rollout of a Nokia Android device.

As for WP7 there are alot of people who know WPF, the only thing stopping me from writing apps for WP7 is low adoption of the handsets.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:13 PM on February 17, 2011


My neighbor is an MS PM for WP7 and I have seen it operate and I think it is very nice.
posted by bz at 1:23 PM on February 17, 2011


Whew, am I relieved. I actually spent half an hour or so trying to understand how the "engineers" from Nokia could be such morons when I read the Plan B manifesto... I concluded it was either (a) the translation from Finnish was particularly inaccurate or reluctantly (b) that I was starting to lose my ability to translate engineer-speak into human-consumable language, which has kept me employed for twenty years...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 1:35 PM on February 17, 2011


Nokia: Rearranging the deck chairs on their burning platform since the launch of the iPhone. I knew they were in trouble 3 years ago when I read an interview with one of their chief engineers who said Nokia wouldn't release a new phone until they got the tactile feedback "just right." They had four years to wake up before Apple ate all their lunch. And then they hire a Microsoft guy to switch them backwards in time. Nokia had great multi-tasking years ago. How to kill a great company.
posted by psyche7 at 1:43 PM on February 17, 2011


My neighbor is an MS PM for WP7 and I have seen it operate and I think it is very nice.

Sure, maybe. Windows was popular. Dell still operates on insanely tight margins. Hence the share price has gone down as controlling your own destiny is better long term. Even HP has purchased WebOS to be able to do so. Apple's cloners never made and would never have made as much as Apple. Nor will Nokia.
posted by jaduncan at 2:37 PM on February 17, 2011


WP7 doesn't offer multitasking or cut & paste. lol

The partnership statement says that Nokia will release handsets running Windows Phone, not necessarily Windows Phone 7. Check the tech gossip blogs for speculation on when those features will be released.
posted by rh at 3:09 PM on February 17, 2011


The partnership statement says that Nokia will release handsets running Windows Phone, not necessarily Windows Phone 7. Check the tech gossip blogs for speculation on when those features will be released.

Yeah, Nokia doesn't have WP devices out until next year. The utterly glaring issues should be fixed.
posted by jaduncan at 3:28 PM on February 17, 2011


Companies don't have and don't recognize patriotic duty except insofar as it harmonizes with their fiduciary duty.

For any country, capitalism is not an end, it is a means to an end, the end being national well-being. The basic problem of the zealous capitalist is when the efficient placement of capital conflicts with national interest.

This is the economics lesson that the American right has not understood and never will understand until Chinese companies take over the country for its low cost labor.

Janis had it right all along: freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose.
posted by three blind mice at 5:21 PM on February 17, 2011


I wish I could play with Symbian^3 phones and judge for myself, but that's kind of difficult when no one has them.

I think the problem with Nokia is exemplified by its Vertu brand. Extremely expensive (like, stupid expensive), but with the guts of the Nokia 8290 that I had in 2000. My E71 is a pretty decent phone, but it's a few years old, and it was very disappointing seeing a brand spanking new model a few months ago with exactly the same UI.
posted by 1adam12 at 5:52 PM on February 17, 2011


Calzephyr wrote: "I think the Microsoft partnership is a good idea. I have a Nokia770 (which is gathering dust) and the lack of Maemo programs for it was disappointing. The Wi-Fi on it was always stubborn. I was never convinced Maemo or Meego could be viable platforms having used it"

You shoulda put Diablo on it..

jaduncan wrote: "The reason people are upset is that they hate Microsoft."

No, the reasons I'm upset are a) WM7 is not feature-complete and b) Nokia had a strategy going that would have cost them essentially nothing to continue with at least until the release of the N9. There was absolutely nothing stopping them from quietly developing a WM7 phone while waiting to see how MeeGo would do and then announcing it when/if MeeGo failed to meet targets after release.

If they had a WM7 phone ready to ship now, it would make sense. Instead, they're saying they'll have a WM7 phone come December, when the MeeGo phone was only a couple of months out.

I'm upset that Nokia has replaced its historic long term vision with a focus on next quarter. I'm upset that Elop sent them into full retard, essentially guaranteeing an even faster drop in market share over the next year than they would have had otherwise and pissing off all their developers.
posted by wierdo at 8:58 AM on February 18, 2011


jaduncan wrote: "The reason people are upset is that they hate Microsoft.".

Yeah, that wasn't me. It should have been in italics, it's what I was responding to. Sorry about that.
posted by jaduncan at 9:00 PM on February 18, 2011


I'd agree with wierdo that all the anti-Nokia noise, this post included, stems primarily from feelings of disappointment & betrayal rather than anti-Microsoft feeling per se.

There are many people who loved Symbian for rescuing them form the horror of Windows Mobile; both emerged about the same time, but WinCE had started building hate several years earlier. And there were many people who preferred Nokia for using slightly higher end hardware, like the better camera lenses, and/or all specific Nokia features, like the FM transmitter & receiver.

Nokia hasn't released an impressive smartphone since the N900, which they never considered fully formed, and the N95/N96 before that. Any given N95/N96 users have either jumped ship for Android, WebOS, or Blackberry, or been patiently waiting for another impressive Nokia phone. Afaik, those still waiting on Nokia were please about the move towards Maemo/MeeGo because they never liked the iPhone/WP7 style interface and N900s feel like a real computer.

In short, all Nokia's loyalest smartphone buyers who've been waiting for two years just learned their next phone must be Android, WebOS, or Blackberry, so they're understandably pissed. All the early adopters who switched away but'd happily blow $500 trying out a finished MeeGo phone too. I'll be laughing if Android outsells WP7 in Finland come December.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:58 AM on February 20, 2011


jeffburdges: "Nokia hasn't released an impressive smartphone since the N900"

The argument could be made that N8 is pretty impressive. It's got a fast CPU, by Symbian standards, a fair amount of memory, and that camera that I hoped to have in my next phone. It's really too bad that they couldn't finish the package and toss in an 800x480 screen, instead choosing to go all 3Gs on us.

Its biggest problem is that it's unmarketable, simply because people who don't know any better want to see the magical term "1GHz".

P.S. Sorry for putting delmoi's words in your mouth, jaduncan
posted by wierdo at 11:02 AM on February 20, 2011


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