Nokia Lumia sales are “mixed”, will Apollo come to the rescue?

By Kip Kniskern | Posted April 19, 2012 22 comments

nokia 900Nokia released its first quarter earnings today, and as expected, the news isn’t good.  Posting a $1.7 billion quarterly loss, on net sales that were down 30%, Nokia continues to struggle with “greater than expected competitive challenges”, and “mixed’ sales of its new Lumia Windows Phone devices:

 We have launched four Lumia devices ahead of schedule to encouraging awards and popular acclaim. The actual sales results have been mixed. We exceeded expectations in markets including the United States, but establishing momentum in certain markets including the UK has been more challenging.

.. said Nokia CEO Stephen Elop in the earnings report.  That “mixed” situation can’t have been helped any by the recent flurry surrounding whether or not current Windows Phones will be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8 (the evangelist who made the initial claim has now retracted claims that current phones would be upgradeable).

But a couple of points need to be made about Nokia’s situation.  First, the reason that Nokia switched to Windows Phone in the first place was because the company was in such a mess.  A sense of entitlement and lack of execution permeated the company, and that doesn’t go away just by jumping the burning platform.  Elop and the company have been working hard to change the culture, but that takes time, even in a good economy without competitive “challenges”.

And secondly, and the no-upgrade-to-Apollo news highlights this, Nokia’s focus on Windows Phone has far less to do with the Lumia 900 (or the other current Lumia models), and far more to do with their upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices.  If the 900 can establish a “beachhead” on US shores, getting the buzz going, establishing connections with AT&T and retail stores, and getting the word out that Nokia phones are beautiful and inexpensive, then it will have done its job.

If there isn’t an upgrade path to Apollo (and by now it’s pretty clear there isn’t), then at some point Nokia doesn’t even WANT to sell a lot of 900s, if it can use it as a springboard to push Apollo phones (and even Windows 8 tablets??) this holiday season, where the bulk of phone sales for the year will occur.

If Nokia can continue to create the buzz, and Stephen Elop can crank up the “clock speed” at which Nokia operates, and then hit the holiday market hard with NFC, PureView, Nokia Music, etc., things might not be so bleak at this time next year. 

Posted April 19th, 2012 at 11:11 am
  • fleon888

    If WP7 devices aren’t upgradeable to WP8, then Microsoft has a serious problem on their hands on a number of fronts:

    1) The early adopters- the people who have pushed the system to be even as trivially popular as it is will jump ship.  Including me, and I’ve had 4 Windows Phones from the day the Samsung Focus was released.  As have all the members of my family- again because of me.  But if my 6 month old Nokia 900 doesn’t get WP8, I’m going to iPhone.

    2) Fragmentation.  MS has talked a lot about fragmentation on Android.  If they don’t get some semblance of WP8 on current devices, they just lost that argument.  If even some Android phones can get upgrades from Gingerbread to ICS with the wide range of hardware that exists in that ecosystem, MS should be able to do the same with the very restrictive types of WP7 hardware.

    3) Advertising.  What do you advertise?  “Here get this beautifully different WP7 phone, and it’ll be beautifully different when WP8 comes out because yours will look completely different.  Oh, and by different we mean outdated”

    4) Policy.  It’s been clear that MS has stopped listening to consumers, and that may be the death knell of this platform.  (This was particularly clear in WHS2011 with the lack of Drive Extender) They haven’t pushed back on carriers when consumers complained like crazy about the disappearing keyboard bug.  They haven’t listened in getting Skype integrated faster and more completely (why can’t Skype be as integrated as Tango’s video chat?)   They don’t appear to be listening now about WP8.   

    I’m particularly anti-Apple’s policies.  Not their hardware, which is good.  But I haven’t bought an Apple product in quite a while because I don’t like the way they treat people.  However, there’s a limit where the phrase “cutting off your nose to spite your face” comes into play.  I’ll just go back to iPhone if MS completely gets this wrong. 

    And if we’re all wrong and current devices are getting WP8?  MS needs to stand up and say something.  People aren’t buying because they don’t know if they’ll get an upgrade.  Even if they say “no upgrade” it’s not going to change that.  Nowhere to go but up here.

  • fleon888

    If WP7 devices aren’t upgradeable to WP8, then Microsoft has a serious problem on their hands on a number of fronts:

    1) The early adopters- the people who have pushed the system to be even as trivially popular as it is will jump ship.  Including me, and I’ve had 4 Windows Phones from the day the Samsung Focus was released.  As have all the members of my family- again because of me.  But if my 6 month old Nokia 900 doesn’t get WP8, I’m going to iPhone.

    2) Fragmentation.  MS has talked a lot about fragmentation on Android.  If they don’t get some semblance of WP8 on current devices, they just lost that argument.  If even some Android phones can get upgrades from Gingerbread to ICS with the wide range of hardware that exists in that ecosystem, MS should be able to do the same with the very restrictive types of WP7 hardware.

    3) Advertising.  What do you advertise?  “Here get this beautifully different WP7 phone, and it’ll be beautifully different when WP8 comes out because yours will look completely different.  Oh, and by different we mean outdated”

    4) Policy.  It’s been clear that MS has stopped listening to consumers, and that may be the death knell of this platform.  (This was particularly clear in WHS2011 with the lack of Drive Extender) They haven’t pushed back on carriers when consumers complained like crazy about the disappearing keyboard bug.  They haven’t listened in getting Skype integrated faster and more completely (why can’t Skype be as integrated as Tango’s video chat?)   They don’t appear to be listening now about WP8.   

    I’m particularly anti-Apple’s policies.  Not their hardware, which is good.  But I haven’t bought an Apple product in quite a while because I don’t like the way they treat people.  However, there’s a limit where the phrase “cutting off your nose to spite your face” comes into play.  I’ll just go back to iPhone if MS completely gets this wrong. 

    And if we’re all wrong and current devices are getting WP8?  MS needs to stand up and say something.  People aren’t buying because they don’t know if they’ll get an upgrade.  Even if they say “no upgrade” it’s not going to change that.  Nowhere to go but up here.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rsadykoff Rustam Sydykov

    Hello, fellows.

    Totally agree with fleon888. I wish MS & Nokia said something about this. I want to buy Lumia 900 for me and my wife, so I do not want to pay hefty money for something that will be outdated in a few months, especially if I would be locked into 2 years contract.
    MS should do something like Apple: clearly state what devices will be upgradable, for how long, what featurs might be missing…

    Cheers,
    Rustam.

  • Rustam Sydykov

    Hello, fellows.

    Totally agree with fleon888. I wish MS & Nokia said something about this. I want to buy Lumia 900 for me and my wife, so I do not want to pay hefty money for something that will be outdated in a few months, especially if I would be locked into 2 years contract.
    MS should do something like Apple: clearly state what devices will be upgradable, for how long, what featurs might be missing…

    Cheers,
    Rustam.

  • Asbjørn

    And that is precisely why I bought an Android phone and not a Windows Phone. Microsoft hasn’t demonstrated that they’re trustworthy when it comes to software updates for Windows Phone. And this was exactly was I feared would happen with Windows Phone 8.
    I really wanted to like Windows Phone, but knowing that a major news version was coming up and with no promises for updates, I’d rather have Android where you can always just root your phone and update anyway. That is not an option with Windows Phone (at least not yet) and that is why Microsoft needs to at least match Apple – and better yet exceed them.

  • Asbjørn

    And that is precisely why I bought an Android phone and not a Windows Phone. Microsoft hasn’t demonstrated that they’re trustworthy when it comes to software updates for Windows Phone. And this was exactly was I feared would happen with Windows Phone 8.
    I really wanted to like Windows Phone, but knowing that a major news version was coming up and with no promises for updates, I’d rather have Android where you can always just root your phone and update anyway. That is not an option with Windows Phone (at least not yet) and that is why Microsoft needs to at least match Apple – and better yet exceed them.

  • http://twitter.com/jwk6 Jason Kohlhoff

    The launch WP7 devices are great devices that people are very happy with right now!  And honestly most people just want the minor updates to these devices now.  For example, Verizon just released build 8107 (with the keyboard  fix) for my HTC Trophy last week.  I have a new found respect for Verizon because of it.  I’m really hoping to get the Tango update (Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh) and I really don’t care about Apollo/WP8 at this point, because no features have actually been annouced yet. 

    fleoon888 – Frankly you’re just overreacting.  FYI – Microsoft dropped the Drive Extender in WHS 2011 because they were working on something MUCH better that’s now baked into every version of Windows starting with Windows 8.  It’s called Storage Spaces –

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/01/05/virtualizing-storage-for-scale-resiliency-and-efficiency.aspx (There's even FAQ there related to Drive Extender)

    Microsoft does listen.  However, sometimes they have to do what’s best in spite of what we say and think though.

    • JSYOUNG571

      How the heck is he overreacting? Do you think it is fair for customers to buy a Windows Phone 7.5 such as the Lumia 900 and HTC Titan 2  and it is already outdated? This is exactly what happened with Windows Mobile 6.5 and why customers dumped Microsoft and fled to the iPhone and Android. Microsoft begged and pleaded for people to give them a second chance with Windows Phone 7 and people did. With the release of Apollo and people not being able to get their new devices updated, it was all a waste of time.  I am really convinced that Microsoft is trying to destroy their own platform. They have basically buried themselves and will lose the little customers they gained. 

      • http://twitter.com/jwk6 Jason Kohlhoff

        They’re not already outdated.  The Tango update is still coming this quarter, and WP8/Apollo has not even been officialy annouced yet.

    • fleon888

      What?  Re WHS: I’m overreacting? They completely removed DE from WHS2011.  It made it a useless device for 90% of consumers- and it’s a consumer device.  Completely non-expandable.  Completely over-complicated.  These aren’t people who had a clue what “RAID” even means, much less stands for.

  • Jason Kohlhoff

    The launch WP7 devices are great devices that people are very happy with right now!  And honestly most people just want the minor updates to these devices now.  For example, Verizon just released build 8107 (with the keyboard  fix) for my HTC Trophy last week.  I have a new found respect for Verizon because of it.  I’m really hoping to get the Tango update (Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh) and I really don’t care about Apollo/WP8 at this point, because no features have actually been annouced yet. 

    fleoon888 – Frankly you’re just overreacting.  FYI – Microsoft dropped the Drive Extender in WHS 2011 because they were working on something MUCH better that’s now baked into every version of Windows starting with Windows 8.  It’s called Storage Spaces –

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/01/05/virtualizing-storage-for-scale-resiliency-and-efficiency.aspx (There's even FAQ there related to Drive Extender)

    Microsoft does listen.  However, sometimes they have to do what’s best in spite of what we say and think though.

    • JSYOUNG571

      How the heck is he overreacting? Do you think it is fair for customers to buy a Windows Phone 7.5 such as the Lumia 900 and HTC Titan 2  and it is already outdated? This is exactly what happened with Windows Mobile 6.5 and why customers dumped Microsoft and fled to the iPhone and Android. Microsoft begged and pleaded for people to give them a second chance with Windows Phone 7 and people did. With the release of Apollo and people not being able to get their new devices updated, it was all a waste of time.  I am really convinced that Microsoft is trying to destroy their own platform. They have basically buried themselves and will lose the little customers they gained. 

      • Jason Kohlhoff

        They’re not already outdated.  The Tango update is still coming this quarter, and WP8/Apollo has not even been officialy annouced yet.

    • fleon888

      What?  Re WHS: I’m overreacting? They completely removed DE from WHS2011.  It made it a useless device for 90% of consumers- and it’s a consumer device.  Completely non-expandable.  Completely over-complicated.  These aren’t people who had a clue what “RAID” even means, much less stands for.

  • http://twitter.com/veli_veli Veli Veli

    i would love my lg e900 to be upgradable. belive me i agree they should be upgradable to wp8/apollo. it thats thing that ms said the dont what any fragmentation. now dont get me wrong if it does not happy then its not the end of the world now. the phone is a solid phone to have for a 2 year contract. there is nothing really that my phone cant do when you compare it to the other more newer phones out there. i know my phone aint as fast as the iphone 4s but my phone can still hold its own. and as long as they add some new feature that we been asking for i am not that bothered. also by the time my contract come to an end i should be inline for wp8. but like i said my phone can still hold its own against all the big boys out there.
    if my contract was up now, knowing that wp8 is on the horizon i would be happy buying a lumia 900 it looks awsome. my sister has a lumia 800 and i love that phone. its such and amzing looking phone, even if i had that i would not be too up set even if my phone was not upgradable. the os is solid ovrall. i think alot of you are over looking this simple fact it works well as long as they give us a few things we’ve been askign for.
    but i do hope that ms make it upgradeable to apollo as this would show people that ms care about the first adopters and that they are sticking buy what they say.
    just to add i been using windows 8 and love it i hope that wp8  can take a few points from that.  

  • http://twitter.com/veli_veli Veli Veli

    i would love my lg e900 to be upgradable. belive me i agree they should be upgradable to wp8/apollo. it thats thing that ms said the dont what any fragmentation. now dont get me wrong if it does not happy then its not the end of the world now. the phone is a solid phone to have for a 2 year contract. there is nothing really that my phone cant do when you compare it to the other more newer phones out there. i know my phone aint as fast as the iphone 4s but my phone can still hold its own. and as long as they add some new feature that we been asking for i am not that bothered. also by the time my contract come to an end i should be inline for wp8. but like i said my phone can still hold its own against all the big boys out there.
    if my contract was up now, knowing that wp8 is on the horizon i would be happy buying a lumia 900 it looks awsome. my sister has a lumia 800 and i love that phone. its such and amzing looking phone, even if i had that i would not be too up set even if my phone was not upgradable. the os is solid ovrall. i think alot of you are over looking this simple fact it works well as long as they give us a few things we’ve been askign for.
    but i do hope that ms make it upgradeable to apollo as this would show people that ms care about the first adopters and that they are sticking buy what they say.
    just to add i been using windows 8 and love it i hope that wp8  can take a few points from that.  

  • Damaster – LiveSide.net

    Saw a tweet by @MS_nerd and I think it does make sense:
    “MS has not finalized upgrade plans for WP8 because currently user data needs to be backed up, followed by ROM flash & reinstall of apps”

    With WP8 rumored to be moving to the Windows 8 kernel (instead of WinCE), you can’t really “upgrade” existing phones like how existing updates are made (i.e. Mango, where you still retain all the same data and apps on your phone). As such until Microsoft figures out how they can backup all user data of current WP7 phones and restore them on WP8 seamlessly for the average joe, they’re unlikely to promise anything about upgradability.

  • damaster

    Saw a tweet by @MS_nerd and I think it does make sense:
    “MS has not finalized upgrade plans for WP8 because currently user data needs to be backed up, followed by ROM flash & reinstall of apps”

    With WP8 rumored to be moving to the Windows 8 kernel (instead of WinCE), you can’t really “upgrade” existing phones like how existing updates are made (i.e. Mango, where you still retain all the same data and apps on your phone). As such until Microsoft figures out how they can backup all user data of current WP7 phones and restore them on WP8 seamlessly for the average joe, they’re unlikely to promise anything about upgradability.

  • enduserbestpractice

    i’m all for a redesign of a car,  and hardware improvements.
     move forward not back, I have a lumina 900 and loving it.

     

  • enduserbestpractice

    i’m all for a redesign of a car,  and hardware improvements.
     move forward not back, I have a lumina 900 and loving it.

     

  • Fred A.

    Some people are never satisfied! I have a Lumia 710 for 3-4 months now, and I like it the way it is. It is the best phone I have ever owned…
    I really don’t give a rats arse if it won’t be upgraded to WP8. If it turns out that it will be, so be it. It will not be the end of the world if it isn’t, at least for me.

    What I have now is good enough for me, because I am satisfied Nokia/WP7.5 user. I have had no bad experiences with this platform. If I did, I guess I would try and find a solution first before I start hating.
    Some people just like to cry a lot. You are only on this planet for a short while, why not worry about more important things in life than a freaking phone…

  • Fred A.

    Some people are never satisfied! I have a Lumia 710 for 3-4 months now, and I like it the way it is. It is the best phone I have ever owned…
    I really don’t give a rats arse if it won’t be upgraded to WP8. If it turns out that it will be, so be it. It will not be the end of the world if it isn’t, at least for me.

    What I have now is good enough for me, because I am satisfied Nokia/WP7.5 user. I have had no bad experiences with this platform. If I did, I guess I would try and find a solution first before I start hating.
    Some people just like to cry a lot. You are only on this planet for a short while, why not worry about more important things in life than a freaking phone…