Around January 2011, the blogosphere was abuzz over the “Burning Platform Memo” by Nokia’s new CEO, Stephen Elop.

The following is an excerpt from that clarion call of a memo:

Nokia, our platform is burning.

We are working on a path forward — a path to rebuild our market leadership. When we share the new strategy on February 11, it will be a huge effort to transform our company. But, I believe that together, we can face the challenges ahead of us. Together, we can choose to define our future.

The burning platform, upon which the man found himself, caused the man to shift his behaviour, and take a bold and brave step into an uncertain future. He was able to tell his story. Now, we have a great opportunity to do the same.

Stephen.

This memo set the stage for what was a turning point for Nokia.

Stephen Elop decided to stake Nokia future on the Windows Phone platform and had simultaneously, announced the termination of Symbian.

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I feel something terrible has happened.

The Symbian faithful were shocked and outraged by the announcement. The release of the Nokia N8 and the streamlining of Symbian after its rather protracted “open-source” incubatory period with the ill-fated  Symbian Foundation had given the OS some hope of renewal.
Of course, the new CEO was branded as a trojan horse, sent by Microsoft to acquire Nokia. Detractors felt Stephen Elop’s days in the company were numbered.
Two months post  announcement,the death of Symbian appeared greatly exaggerated as the company announced plans to support Symbian handsets up to 2016. However, the development and support of Symbian was being transitioned to Accenture in a move to focus Nokia’s time and resources to Windows Phone. This was a confusing period for company as mixed announcements were sent out from Nokia’s PR department.

Nokia, towards the 2nd half of 2011 went on an active rebranding exercise. Ovi services were being rebranded as Nokia services(a  logical but belated move) and the upcoming iterations of  Symbian were being christened with names such as Anna, Bella and Carla. The name Symbian was eventually dropped in favour of Nokia. Again, a step in a branding consistency.

The Nokia N9 was announced in June 2011 and marked a new phase in the company’s design DNA. The unibody construct of the Nokia N9 became the basis for the Nokia Lumia 800 and 900 Windows Phone devices. The Nokia N9 became a one-off MeeGo Harmattan device for the company and marked an end of an era.

“You have taken your first step into a larger world.”

January 2012 led to the introduction of Nokia Lumia 900 series at CES,Las Vegas where it was awarded Best of Show in the mobile phone category. This was a positive response to the company in the United States as the latter has been an elusive market to the Finnish handset maker.
Last week saw the rollout of Nokia Belle to devices such as the N8 , C7 and E7.
Now, there are rumblings of the Nokia 803, the last Nokia Belle( Symbian) device that is possible successor to the Nokia N8. This device is meant to be the last Symbian device from the Nokia.
Thereafter, it is Windows Phone all the way.
In the battle of mobile ecosystems, Symbian lacked the edge in comparison to iOS and Android.
Nokia’s choice of Windows Phone was the best bet the company could make as it has a genuine opportunity to strike a new identity with the flegdging OS. Windows Phone has not gained much traction and Nokia coming on board may  give Windows Phone the attention it needs.Definitive success is something that can only be seen in the medium to long term.  The company from Cupertino still holds sway over consumer mindshare and it is a tough one to beat.

“In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.”

Whatever said and done, there is no denying that Nokia is forging ahead with renewed vigour and a clearer roadmap.

May the force be with you.

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