If MeeGo is this good, why was it dropped?

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Nokia N9

When the new Nokia CEO announced the adoption of WindowsPhone as the company’s primary smartphone platform, the impression given then was that MeeGo was not in a state anywhere close to deployment.

However, this week’s unveiling of what has turned out to be an absolutely fantastic smartphone, the N9, running on a game-changing OS and UI, MeeGo, has got me stumped. Actually, it has got the entire mobile industry stumped.

Traditional Nokia critics are drooling over the N9 and MeeGo. Die-hard Nokia fans are ecstatic about it. For once in a long time, Nokia looks outstanding. The N9 is without contradiction the most amazing thing that has come out of Nokia ever. Think about it.

Any Advantages of WindowsPhone over MeeGo?
Of course, this now begs the question, Why drop MeeGo for WindowsPhone?

Why throw away a fortune of investments in MeeGo research and development? We are talking about obscenely huge amounts of money here. Why not reap from those investments?

MeeGo and the N9 already have features and services that WindowsPhone wishes to have when it grows up. The N9 has a minimalist user interface that seems even better than WindowsPhone’s. The N9’s user interface certainly packs a greater WHAOH! factor than WindowsPhone, not to mention that it seems to work better too.

I also understand that the MeeGo team at Nokia re-wrote the whole UI to make it what it is now in just 9 months. What? Brilliant! Amazing! Those guys should take a group shot and have their faces plastered all over the Internet.

Confusing Signals
I don’t get it anymore. Nokia is sending out confusing signals to everybody. Developers don’t know what to make of this Symbian-MeeGo-WindowsPhone dance anymore. Consumers don’t. The press don’t. Network operators don’t. Retailers don’t.

Perhaps only a handful of people on Nokia’s board do. Just perhaps. Or perhaps they are just as confused as the rest of us?

The Iron is Hot: Strike!
Nokia has lost a lot of mindshare and marketshare in the last few years (smartphone Market, that is). On a personal note, I have remained a Symbian fan, but delays in updates have gotten me weary, and I am looking elsewhere already. I will certainly get the N9 when it hits the Market, even if Nokia foolishly relegates MeeGo to experimentation satus.

Yes; it will be foolish of Nokia’s decision makers to ignore the opportunities presented by the buzz that the N9 has generated and continues to generate. It is foolhardy to ignore what the consumers say they want – and we are saying it loud and clear: “We want MeeGo and more devices like the N9”.

From North America (the continent that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has been courting) to Europe, Asia, and Africa, it is the same thunderous applause for the N9. Leaking a Nokia WindowsPhone that uses the same hardware of the N9 the next day hasn’t muted that applause and desire for the N9.

For the first time in a long, long while, Nokia have almost everyone happy about a Nokia product.

The Logical Things To Do
Nokia needs to re-consider certain things, including the following:

1. Do WindowsPhone if you must, but not at the detriment of MeeGo and an excellent product like the N9. Other manufacturers have multiple smartphone platforms. Samsung produces Android, Bada and WindowsPhone. That’s three. Why can’t Nokia, a much bigger manufacturer, do two? Let’s all agree that Symbian is dead, but seeing that MeeGo is like Symbian or steroids, no-one is going to cry over that.

2. Commit to one MeeGo handset a year. Just one. The iPhone is not selling in droves because there are multiple form factors and variants. Make MeeGo smartphones something for us to look forward to every year. Make it exclusive. A collector’s item. Whatever, just give us one every year.

3. Ride on the current waves of popularity of the N9 and push that device and its successors like crazy in the Market. It is sheer foolishness to ignore or muzzle whatever gets your customers excited. The N9 has got both fans and critics alike excited. Even Engadget has glowing praise for the N9!

A Timely Warning
Nokia have prided themselves in standing out with regards hardware and multimedia. That is changing fast. Samsung is catching up fast in those areas. Apple is catching up there too. Both are unrelenting, tireless innovators.

Perhaps someday, Nokia smartphones wont have the best cameras anymore. What then would Nokia be pushing? What would stand them out? What? History? Maybe. Just maybe.

In the meantime, what the Nokia MeeGo team have done shows in-house innovation, differentiation, and creativity that should be praised and encouraged to high heavens. The N9 is a device that truly beats with the Nokia heart that we used to know.

I am not saying that Nokia WindowsPhones will be terrible. We will have to wait for the jury on that. But if MeeGo is making people look in your direction, and you are in the market to sell to those same people, it is madness not to capitalise on that.

Stephen Elop and Nokia’s management need to wake up to reality. The cookie may just be crumbling. In the meantime, the world watches. And waits.

13 comments

  1. Well said … Nuff said.
    This is a lovely piece which Elop himself should read.
    I think Nokia is basically confused and are overwhelmed by the drive to regain/maintain a top spot in the smartphone reign – which if not strategically done could forever spell doom for them.

  2. I see a fifth columnist at work in Nokia probably to make the brand self destruct while at the same time some die hard core Nokia loyalist who just will not give up but rather become much more innovative than ever before and Nokia will be better for it most probably without Elop & his’ kill joy team ‘

  3. well said. The truth is that the entire problem lies with Mr Stephen Elop (and the board of directors). This is a classical example of bad leadership. What Nokia needs is a visionary leader, someone who actually believes in his company. Someone like Steve Jobs who creates things which arent necessarily flawless polishes it with nice ads and calls it magical and everyone buys it. Nokia needs to get rid of Elop and find someone who will believe in them. Nokia could have made the microsoft deal and even android if they wanted without jumping the gun by announcing that they were ‘on a burning platform’. They are still doing damage control till now. Fire Elop, eat your words and make great phones. I still believe in symbian os the 6 million downloads per day says it all.

  4. I for one feel that Nokia should really commit to Meego and also WP7. Samsung can run three platforms so can Nokia all they have to do is to push one at a time. Give Meego a fighting chance in the market. If it does well Nokia makes profit, the Nokia (Ovi) Store should be used to sell Apps to Symbian, S40 and Meego for the time been and also leverage WP7 too. That would give their customers ample choice of devices to pick from.

  5. Well said.I still believe that Elop is up to something with nokia symbian/Meego. No wonder mr Richard Green the CTO of nokia resigns in protest for Elop’s decision to discontinue with Meego despite its glaring potentials.I mean just look at the blogsephere since the launch of N9.Even the critics are still dumb founded.I in particular has filled my N900 with videos of its demos and reviews that i plugs to my TV always to watch the mobile innovation at its best.I surely will buy that phone with nokia support or not.After all n900 is still recieving it support from various dev communities after more than 2years of its release.However LG is also warming up to release its own Meego phone any moment,so apps shall not be an issue at all!

  6. old story-Elop’s anti-nokia activities are already well documented even on this blogsite.as usual yomi is an expert on nokia’s survival.my final suggestion is that yomi should pass this write up to mr ELOP,perhaps the devil would leave him for a season

  7. There is more to this Meego ditching saga from Nokia than meets the eye. If MeeGo is that good and garners accolades from both fans and critics alike, so why in Heaven’s name would Nokia Ditch it?

  8. Gentlemen, the situation here is very clear, the board of directors have no faith in the brand, they wasted no time in hitting the self destruct button. It would have made more sense to advertise meego as ‘the next big thing’ and fight it out in the market. It is a terrible thing that the nokia research and development team does not have the support of the management. Anyway its a game of numbers and if Meego proves to be a commercial success, they will have to reconsider. Am the only one who thinks the man’s name sounds like ‘FLOP’

  9. It’s all good to have Meego but do we have an ecosystem to support it….Meego can run android apps…Is that a good strategy for nokia’s store…It is just a thought…It takes time to build an ecosystem after we are all bored with a phone it is the apps that we all fall back to….I have built some apps for Meego using Qt ..I belief it is a great platform compared to symbiam…Everything boils down to time….Do we have the luxury of time to populate a meego ecosystem…On the other hand I think nokia is up to something… I love the N9 any way.

  10. Nokia’s first meego phone didnt do well despite all the money spent on the platform & publicity of the N900. The phone was/is a failure sales wise.

  11. It amuses me that a CEO will say that even if a product succeeds, they still will not continue that product.

    It further proves that Microsoft has taken over Nokia Mobile.

    Well, Stephen Elop has his arguments and we wait patient for Nokia Windows Phone 7.

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