Five Reasons to be cheerful about Nokia-Microsoft
There's a Silverlight at the end of the tunnel...
Elopocalypse, Day Six: The Nokia-Microsoft deal has by now been thoroughly
flogged to death analysed from every quarter, with much of the emphasis on the risks and the negatives. Yet there are some positives. Here is a selection, ranging from the flippant to the frivolous.
5. Dave Stewart Will No Longer Be An Agent of Change
Nokia staff insist that its services chief, Tero Ojanpera, is still playing an active part in the "Transition Team". Last Friday's press release suggested he was "acting" head of services – a less than permanent addition to his previous job description. Either way, it now looks as if the UN Young Leader may be removed from doing any further harm. Sending Ojanpera into battle against Steve Jobs was always a mismatch. He may have been a distinguished radio engineer, but he was supposed to be Nokia's media visionary and deal-maker. The job called for a Sam Goldwyn: nobody had a higher profile in the United States. Instead, Nokia got a New Age Basil Fawlty, for rarely can someone have been so out of their depth.
Ojanpera said Nokia would become a media company, and appointed Dave Stewart as "Change Agent". How would this be achieved? Nobody knew, but Tero seemed thrilled, just thrilled, to be hanging out with Dave's friends, like Bono. Dave Stewart created an "Artist Advisory Council" and discovered a nubile young singer Cindy Gomez, who Stewart suggested "would change the way art is made". Gomez was to music what Nokia was to phone production: she could be bland in seven languages. She currently has 823 Twitter followers.
While iTunes went from strength to strength, Tero's big idea was Comes With Music, which baffled punters in 27 markets before being withdrawn from most of them without making an impression. Tero 'n Dave's last venture was a multimedia interactive adventure game that drew a smaller audience than the number of participants. Good for cocktails at the next meeting of the UN Young Global Leaders, but an expensive and slightly creepy vanity exercise. As for Ovi? You already know how good that is.
4. There will be far fewer Nathan Barleys in London's Pubs
Nokia's bottomless budgets, determination to do something webtastic, and its manifest lack of a clue how to go about it, meant that it became a magnet for flakes. Nokia's funding now underpins much of London's social media and strategy boutique "industries", and you can't throw a stone in Soho without it hitting somebody doing something for Ovi. When you hire web-purtifyers from full-service ad agencies, rather than engineers, to build your key services, you get a pretty roof without foundations. And so it has proved – Nokia's software is as flaky as the people who write it. Nokia succeeded only in creating a vast parasitic bureaucracy, all on expensive retainers. Elop has already been scathing about outsourced services and this looks to be one of the kinder cuts.
Expect sales of Malcolm Gladwell books to take a nose-dive, as trend-sniffers return home to buff up their CVs.