The CEO Talks Bollox As The Share Price Collapses

Amazing the bollox these top chaps talk. Here’s the new boss of Nokia saying in Barcelona that Nokia’s battle with Apple and Android is ‘a war of ecosystems’.

Silly ass – it’s a war of phones.

When Apple stuffed Nokia with the iPhone back in 2007, it didn’t need an ecosystem. It just needed, Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ive, the Apple team and a fantastic phone.


No one else. No ecosystem.


CEOs like to talk about things like ecosystems because it’s something they can influence. They like ringing up other important CEOs and discussing hook-ups.


When what they should really be doing is figuring out what people want from the next generation of mobile phone. But, for CEOs, that’s difficult work. Down to earth work. Work that’s probably beyond them.


So the CEO babbles on about ecosystems while Nokia’s stock exchange valuation falls by $7.7 billion in the two days after the announcement of the Nokia-Microsoft hook-up.


That shows what the market thinks about ecosystems.



  1. Apple’s ‘genius’ is in putting out a series of place-holder products with just enough features to keep the proselytising fan-boys on-side, while they play catch-up on the actual required technical features for future releases.
    Let’s not forget that the original iPhone wasn’t even a smartphone by the definition that is couldn’t run multiple apps simultaneously, something Symbian had been doing since before it was called Symbian.

  2. I agree Tom, but is hardware + content the sole and whole definition of an eco-system?

  3. I’m afraid it is about eco-systems and specifically about DRM’d content such as apps, movies, music and now books.
    You buy an iPhone and after a year or two your investment in content is far greater than the price of the phone. Lots of 2 or 3 pound purchases add up. Then everyone in your family wants switches to iPhone and the family iTunes account so they can get the content you bought and you can get any new content they buy.
    Then you buy an iPad so you can see your content on a larger screen. Maybe you buy an Apple TV so you can watch the movies you have bought on a big screen.
    The content is the lock-in – once you have a lot of content tied to iTunes DRM you are going to stick with Apple.

  4. Certainly Apples genius was they figured out how to make people pay for apps using itunes. When I think of apps I think of java micro edition which was/is the SDK of choice for most phone makers prior to the iphone/android. However there is/was not a central storefront for J2ME apps, partly because there were so many different screen sizes on the many different J2ME phones. I was downloading nokia java apps 10 years ago. I read an article on google the other day where they suggested that while android is currently outselling iphone, these same customers are not inclined to pay for apps like iphone customers are. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at apple to see whats been happening to iphone app sales over time.

  5. I agree with Joop and Mark – Apple’s genius was to recognize the emerging importance of the app ecosystem and harness it – add to that their cool phone capabilities and you have a potent commercial mix.

  6. I’m not sure about eco-systems… sounds a bit wishy washy to me but I do think prior to Apple moving into the smartphone space the industry was treading water, having run out of a few idea’s under the relentless push commoditize phones.
    In my view the eco-system that was created with the introduction of the iphone is based around the OEM/provider relationship. I think exclusive relationship with AT&T was fundamentally anticompetitive and was something that Nokia couldn’t crack basically because the providers were only pushing low cost phones. I actually think nokia had great smart phones through this entire period but simply didn’t have major provider support in the US – mostly due to the cost of those phones.
    Funilly enough though I think the iphone will eventually suffer the same fate. The push is really on now to commoditize iphones and the advantage will again swing away from OEM’s towards providers.
    To break through this there will need to be fundamental value creation. I don’t know what this will be but I think its unlikely that a Nokia-Microsoft bureaucracy will do it. If I were nokia I would be diversifying into other markets. In fact if I were apple I’d also be thinking about something other than the iphone powering long term future profits as well.
    Trouble is I think we will be treading water again in the wireless space in a couple of years. As they say… the secret of business success is being a good middleman.

  7. Thanks, Stooriefi, that’s exactly how I see the different definitions of ecosystem. To my mind it’s the IBM model, and Apple certainly doesn’t follow that.

  8. In as much as being vertically integrated to the point of paranoia means Apple had to develop their own ecosystem in order to develop the iPhone successfully, the ecosystem by one definition is important.
    The key thing that Apple did differently from all previous mobile handset developers is to observe: “Hang on a minute; we’ve had to develop iOS and XCode to be able to put this product together. It isn’t a massive step forward to let others use the same tools to develop Apps for us in the same way we let others develop applications for OSX by giving away XCode with all OSX shrink wraps. People might like that. But bugger, there are no ports on the hardware to get new Apps onto the phone. What if we create a distribution channel which lets the dog (developer) see the rabbit (user) by building it into the tether package we need anyway in order to back up the phone and put music on it? We could take a healthy chunk of sales and still encourage the development community because xx% of some cash is better than xx% of no cash.”
    Nokia had the chance to do this and didn’t. So did Microsoft, and all the other mobile OS players. It is arguable whether Google would have bothered if Apple hadn’t set the example.
    I believe the ecosystem MBA numpty is talking about is the IBM PC style ecosystem – diverse suppliers working to a common standard, a very horizontal business model. This looks nothing like what Apple did.
    Sexiness sold iPhones, iOS and the App Store brought the development community along. That’s just good engineering coupled to good business, not ecology.

  9. I’ve said it before, Nokia is dead but unfortunately you can’t legally bury, them until they exhaust all their cash and loose their corporate pulse. The good news is that Nokia management is doing everything they can to accelerate the burial process.
    As for the rest of the industry, they are gleefully sharpening their knives and looking forward to a well deserved feast.

  10. I have to agree with Joop, the ECO system is very important. Smartphones need to look cool, but then its all about apps. People are voting with their money, not because they are disagree with the ecosystem statements but because they don’t believe that Nokia and MS can build an ECO system, apps store etc to rival Apple or Android.
    When did you last play Angry Birds?

  11. I think we may be working from different definitions of ecosystem, Joop, but on the wider issue it’s not just me – the fact that 25% or $7.7 billion was wiped off Nokia’s share price inn the 48 hours after the announcement shows a lot of people were voting with their money – and voting against the value of the collaboration from Nokia’s point of view.

  12. IMHO you could not be more wrong, Nokia and MS are absolutely right, ECO systems are vital for the survival of smart phones. Steve Jobs is the genius that recognized this to it’s full extend and bet big on this with the iPhone and build it from the ground up. And yes you are right that next to ECO system there needs to be a whole lot more right, cool form factor, quality (questionable given the iPhone 4 antenna flub), etc. But without a proper ECO system even the coolest phone doesn’t stand a chance because there won’t be any apps to buy.
    Of course I am just and engineer/consumer and don’t know about these things that are clearly far beyond me.

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