So I was reading Andrew Orwlowski’s “What sealed Nokia’s fate?” which concludes elegantly:
The problem Stephen Elop faces now is not a technical one. I’ll offer another Unpopular Opinion here: that WP7 is really remarkably good already. If it wasn’t called Microsoft Windows Phone 7, and had it instead originated with a plucky startup more people would be able to appreciate it better. The Microsoft imprimatur ensures WP will never be cool – but does at least give it some assurance of backing.
Elop is correct in identifying Android as a mad sharkpool of manufacturers thrashing around in pursuit of a tiny profit, eating each other in the process. If he had to plump for an OS to license, of the two, WP was the better choice.
Elop’s problem is that historically you can’t really take a large bureaucracy and expect a lean, mean fighting machine to emerge. You usually just get a smaller bureaucracy.
and Adam Greenfield’s blogpost on working inside Nokia:
Nokia’s problem is not, and has never been, that it lacks for creative, thoughtful, talented people, or the resources to turn their ideas into shipping product. It’s that the company is fundamentally, and has always been, organized to trade in commodities. Whether those commodities were stands of timber, reams of paper, reels of cable, pairs of boots, or cheap televisions for deployment in hotel chains, much the same basic logic applied: acquire, or manufacture, great quantities of a physical product for the lowest achievable cost, and sell for whatever the market will bear.
Which got me thinking: well, then, Nokia is a bureaucracy. A formidably effective one, but a bureaucracy nonetheless; and of course the purpose of a bureaucracy is to sustain its processes – not to change.
In that light, what sort of organisation is Microsoft like? In my opinion, a political party. Because: it has certain core principles (revenue from Windows must be protected, revenue from Office must be protected) but it is willing to reinvent itself around other areas of what it “believes” – so it’s perfectly willing to dump Windows Mobile and cook up Windows Phone instead. It’s just like the way that New Labour reformatted itself – dumping “old” ideas like Clause 4 while holding on to “core” beliefs such as social justice (don’t let’s argue about whether it managed that; just that it was in its manifesto) or the Conservative Party under David Cameron, (doing its best at) dumping European hatred but holding on to other core Tory beliefs such as smaller government.
Looked at through that lens, you can see Microsoft reinventing itself with the Xbox, and Kinect, and Windows on ARM, while remaining true to its core principles.
In which case, what is Apple? Please don’t say “cult” – that doesn’t embrace its willingness to tear apart things that are working, such as its readiness to dump the iPod mini and replace it with the iPod nano. And how about Google, with its multifarious products swimming in a sea of competitors?
In each case, what is the best analogy or metaphor for those two? Is Apple like an army led by generals who are ready to tear up the rulebook? Is Google like a university? Over to you. Suggestions please..