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Nokia, Windows Phone Bathing in Blood

Remember all the times we talked about horrible sales? With exception to the period before Windows Phone launched, Windows Phone’s most recent week is even worse than the weeks during which we had those talks. It’s worse than ever. As bad as you may have ever imagined it to have been, take that point in your mind, sort of picture it – it’s now worse than that. Sales for the year from the clues Microsoft offered in its annual report are being described with words like abysmal and disastrous. The same breed of adjectives come up with searches for Nokia.

In addition to losing their crown, Nokia lost $700m this quarter. That’s a YOY quarterly income cliff dive of $1.1b into bloody red snot. Their smartphone sales YOY change, 34% south. They’re still trying to sell phones, I checked, this is not Nokia going into Microsoft Windows hibernation mode, and the general public is still buying more and more smartphones — but a whole let less of them are Nokia-branded. Same with Windows Phone, small distinction being that essentially no one except a handful of still-so-called early adopters hopped aboard. Nokia had a solid base. Then they had a swiftly cooling base. Now they have a disturbingly rapidly eroding base.

Many of you have been under the impression that Nokia’s super global brand muscle would be Moses to Windows Phone. You’re thinking, hey, everybody buys Nokias all over the whole wide world, once they go all-in on Microsoft, bam, step aside Google and Apple! No, wrong! Firstly the brand is falling apart, secondly the loss of one platform and the introduction of another is too big a distraction for consumers for this perceived OEM brand momentum to register anywhere near the game-changer territory for either Microsoft or Nokia. Thirdly, don’t count on Nokia going all-in because they’ve been given absolutely but nothing other than negative indications of Windows Phone’s outlook since the deal. Look at you, you don’t care who makes your phone, just as long as it’s got Microsoft on it. Why do you think Nokia consumers are any different?

One of you said in an article about Nokia no longer being the biggest seller that they’ll get back in front once they “launch” Windows Phone. What is wrong with you that you actually think that? Nokia makes RIM look solid, and the dream_on_muralifew talking about Windows Phone, some of them are still mistakenly calling it Windows Mobile. For Windows Phone to displace Nokia’s other platforms suddenly as you expect it to and then drag Nokia, who is not in the Android business, to the top of all phone OEMs while also landing Windows Phone in first platform seat, tell me you were kidding and have a dry sense of humor that went over my head.

Got news for you champ, this time on the record: Windows Phone ain’t saving Nokia, Nokia ain’t saving Windows Phone. Nokia will end up drowning faster because of this deal than they otherwise would have. Elop hitched the wagon to a failing (or failed) experiment that Microsoft could do without (hence what reads to me as a substantial divestment to Nokia).

Here’s a thought for you Nokia (Microsoft, you already know my thoughts for you). If you’re not satisfied with Symbian and MeeGo, email Microsoft’s Shakedown Czar Horacio Gutierrez, ask him if he could cut you a deal on some Android licenses. It might have some conflicts with your current arrangement, but I assume, in spite of a series of big mistakes, both of you still want to make some money here, right? Think that would help maybe, now that you’ve had some time to wake up?

Nokia, hedge this Microsoft situation as much as you can. It’s toxic. Just be sure to let them down easy like a crazy girlfriend because they really like suing and have had tons of practice.  You’ve got too much to lose on a ridiculously wild bet so bail out, get the hell away from Windows Phone. By that I only mean don’t bet the company farm on the platform — I did not mean to discourage you from using the phones yourselves because they’re actually quite nice and you should try one with this Mango thing if you haven’t already. Terrific stuff.

Doug Simmons