Microsoft: Nokia kept some of its Lumia hardware features secret from us

There is perhaps no tighter partnership between an OS company and a third party hardware vendor than the one between Microsoft and Nokia. The two have collaborated on developing the Lumia family of smartphones that have various versions of Windows Phone installed. However, there were times when the two companies didn't know what the other was doing.

In a new interview on CNet, Windows Phone head Joe Belfiore stated that Nokia sometimes kept out details of what new hardware features they were putting into their Lumia products from Microsoft. He said:

We would make changes in the software, or prioritize things in the software, unaware of the work that they're doing. And then late in the cycle we'd find out and say, "If we had known that we would have done this other thing differently and it would have turned out better!"

Of course, now that Microsoft is planning to buy Nokia's devices and services business, there should be no more secrets between the two groups. Belfiore stated in the interview that should result in "even better" smartphones that will be released at a faster rate.

And what about the other remaining third party Windows Phone OEMs? So far, none of them have commented on their future plans in the wake of the Microsoft-Nokia deal. Belfiore seemed to not be too concerned about that issue, saying, "Some of our partners have come, and some of them have gone over the years. It's not likely to change the big picture."

Source: CNet

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This isn't surprising when you go back through some of the main designers at Nokia. (Especially the couple that made news by resigning when the deal was announced.)

At best they were 'reluctant Windows Phone' supporters and wanted Nokia to keep their OS alive. They did not like being held to Microsoft's standards and it was a constant problem for Nokia and Microsoft.

Even the mapping division created problems for Microsoft by delaying content for Bing, after Microsoft had already dumped their own mapping work in preparation for the Nokia content.

One reason IE11 added WebGL support was Nokia was only willing to develop their newer mapping features for WebGL instead of HTML5. The HTML5 version ran as fast on IE9/10, but was too slow on Chrome and Firefox, and Nokia wasn't willing to alienate the other browsers. (Remember IE9/10 handles graphical HTML5 content far faster than Chrome or Firefox.)

Mobius Enigma said,
This isn't surprising when you go back through some of the main designers at Nokia. (Especially the couple that made news by resigning when the deal was announced.)

At best they were 'reluctant Windows Phone' supporters and wanted Nokia to keep their OS alive. They did not like being held to Microsoft's standards and it was a constant problem for Nokia and Microsoft.

Even the mapping division created problems for Microsoft by delaying content for Bing, after Microsoft had already dumped their own mapping work in preparation for the Nokia content.

One reason IE11 added WebGL support was Nokia was only willing to develop their newer mapping features for WebGL instead of HTML5. The HTML5 version ran as fast on IE9/10, but was too slow on Chrome and Firefox, and Nokia wasn't willing to alienate the other browsers. (Remember IE9/10 handles graphical HTML5 content far faster than Chrome or Firefox.)


From Belfiore statement:
"In developing countries, end users share files over Bluetooth commonly, and in the US people just don't do that," Belfiore said. "We didn't even have that feature, and we didn't even understand or appreciate the degree to which it was critical."
Would have been so hard for Belfiore and Co. Just monitor MS own forums and check what users
requested?........

Nokia were probably suspicious of MS releasing a Surface phone, so likely held back anything they didn't want MS to copy. I imagine the Pro Camera app is something Joe is talking about. Nokia essentially developed a better camera app than Microsofts specifically for the 1020. Nokia could have told MS what features they wanted and the WP eco system as a whole could have benefited from a better camera app

He's right about OEMs. Who cares what OEMs think. They bitch the same about Google when it bought Motorola. If OEMs wouldn't junk up a phone w/ crapware, then maybe they wouldn't have to worry about losing sales as much. Thankfully, OEMs can't touch WP source code.

But in the end, OEMs can either choose WP (who they are bitching about now), or Android (which they bitched about Google w/ Motorola before).

Chances are that 3rd party OEM will just abandon Windows Phone.
HTC will probably be the first to quit.

And since other vendors only count for about 20% of the Windows Phone sales, Microsoft took a very good decision by securing the best one.

TheCyberKnight said,
Chances are that 3rd party OEM will just abandon Windows Phone.
HTC will probably be the first to quit.

And since other vendors only count for about 20% of the Windows Phone sales, Microsoft took a very good decision by securing the best one.

Why would HTC quit? They're barely hanging on with Android, IMO Windows Phone is just as important for them as they are for Windows Phone.

TheCyberKnight said,
Chances are that 3rd party OEM will just abandon Windows Phone.
HTC will probably be the first to quit.

And since other vendors only count for about 20% of the Windows Phone sales, Microsoft took a very good decision by securing the best one.

Except Windows Phone needs OEMs more than OEMs need Windows Phone, not everyone wants and MS/Nokia Windows Phone!!!!

I don't think HTC will willingly quit. HTC needs to sell as many phones as possible to whomever will buy at this point. If HTC quits it's because they're running out of gas and could be gone soon. Recently it's sounded like HTC will follow Samsung's model and release their old Android phones with the Windows OS. (HTC One with Windows)

Samsung is also selling 1M Windows Phone a quarter. While that might be a drop in the bucket relative to Android, it's almost free money since all Samsung does is just re-release their Galaxy phone with Windows OS flashed on top of it. An ATIV S is just a Galaxy S3 with Windows OS. Samsung has also been releasing more and more exclusive apps for Windows Phone which suggests they're getting more interested with the uptick in popularity.

Think about things from Samsung's perspective for a moment. Let's say Samsung abandons Windows Phone and the trajectory of popularity in some parts of Europe/Latin America/Asia continues to grow thanks to Nokia. If Windows Phone eventually gains 15-20% market share in those regions Samsung has fallen behind in mindshare with those customers. If however Samsung continues making Windows Phones there is the potential for them to disrupt Microsoft/Nokia in a cycle with a much better Windows phone and a distinct suite of apps for the OS.

Samsung's app folders on WP8 is a great example of a feature many customers want that only Samsung is currently providing: http://www.wpcentral.com/app-f...ased-samsung-windows-phones

If they build up a suite of unique apps like this they can begin wrestling back control of the Windows market from MS/Nokia.

" Belfiore stated in the interview that should result in "even better" smartphones that will be released at a faster rate."

The problem with the growth of Windows Phone in the US has nothing to do with releasing phones at a faster rate. Why do they need to release phones at a faster rate?

Because there's a whole world outside the USA and because the American market is more focused on the iPhone and Android. Americans just don't like Windows Phone.
Sad but true.

I think it might mean rate of innovation or larger platform features. It took long for LTE. Then for dual core support. Then for 1080p screens (GDR3).

Windows Phone should just leapfrog the competition and release a phone with 16 cores, a GTX Titan, 8 GB RAM, 8K screen and a battery belt to power it.

Enron said,
Windows Phone should just leapfrog the competition and release a phone with 16 cores, a GTX Titan, 8 GB RAM, 8K screen and a battery belt to power it.

With support for all that hardware coming in GDR587

Enron said,
Windows Phone should just leapfrog the competition and release a phone with 16 cores, a GTX Titan, 8 GB RAM, 8K screen and a battery belt to power it.

And restrict access to it so you can only get it if you support a kickstarter with a $32m goal.

TheCyberKnight said,
Americans just don't like Windows Phone.
Sad but true.

That's not true. The issue is Americans just don't know what a Windows Phone is. Whenever I go on the bus or show people they think it's super cool but they don't know what it is. Also, the terms "iPhone" and "Android" are etched in people's brains so many non-tech consumers just call any smartphone that now. No matter how much marketing Microsoft/Nokia do, it's all about word-of-mouth by the users themselves. So spread the word ppl

BigBoy said,
I think it might mean rate of innovation or larger platform features. It took long for LTE. Then for dual core support. Then for 1080p screens (GDR3).

Long? They released all those updates within a year. You don't see iPhone and Android sending out major OS updates like that in the year. I'd say for a company they're size, they're moving quite rapidly. They were able to reach an international marketshare that all other competitors have been dying to have, and it's only getting better now that they own Nokia.

j2006 said,

Long? They released all those updates within a year. You don't see iPhone and Android sending out major OS updates like that in the year. I'd say for a company they're size, they're moving quite rapidly. They were able to reach an international marketshare that all other competitors have been dying to have, and it's only getting better now that they own Nokia.

I would not call GDR2 a major update.... As for doing better when MS will complete the take over process, assuming that everything will go as planned, is something I wish although not a fact.

TheCyberKnight said,
Because there's a whole world outside the USA and because the American market is more focused on the iPhone and Android. Americans just don't like Windows Phone.
Sad but true.

Many in the US are heavily/personally invested in iOS in a way that is not happening in the rest of the world. Nokia is succeeding in most of the world because their phones are more affordable at a higher quality level than the competition. In the US we are extremely reliant on subsidies so the price of the phone is almost completely irrelevant here. To an American an iPhone is $100 and a Lumia 520 off contract is $100. While the Lumia is a much better deal it isn't as apparent in this market as it is in a country where an iPhone is $600 and a Lumia is $100 or $200 or $300.

The carrier/subsidy system has sort of slowed Nokia's opportunity for growth in the US. Even with that being so Microsoft has still gained .5=1% market share in the US over the last year.

The other factor is that Nokia was thought of as a low quality/undesirable brand in the US for a long period. This is because Nokia abandoned the US market for the better part of a decade, so the last memory Americans have of Nokia are cheap old fashioned cellphones and for some the terrible NGage gaming phone. Nokia is starting to change minds in the US though with the Lumia line and especially the 41MP phone which has gained notoriety.

Apps are also a factor, even though they shouldn't be as much since Nokia/Lumia's primary target is first time smartphone buyers. Unfortunately the US media attacks Windows Phone app store every opportunity it gets (see the Verge) to try to convince potential customers that Windows Phone has no quality apps. The fact that Google does not support Windows Phone directly is all that matters to some in the US media. Media like to ignore the 3rd party Google apps on Windows/Phone and act like you can't use those services if you use Windows. Can't tell you how many people I've seen make comments like you can't use YouTube on Windows Phone or you can't use Instagram on Windows Phone. Even saw someone recently say you can't use Facebook on Windows Phone. People have been completely misled on Windows Phone. Add on top of that the retail store employees at wireless carriers who have never used a Windows Phone and scare people away from them with misinformation/discouragement.

Microsoft really needs to get into those wireless retail stores in the US the way they are doing in Best Buy with the Windows section. They need to sign a deal with AT&T/Verizon to have a Windows store inside of AT&T and Verizon. Then maybe they'll have a chance of selling people on Windows tablets and phones.

Seriously. Though documentation is a whole other can of worms the development world struggles to get right, and I think disregard for its usefulness contributes to that.

But people write books about these things--that's how huge the topics are. There's nothing meaningful I could say in just a comment thread.

DARKFiB3R said,
Perhaps somewhat relevant...

"If you want people to RTFM, write a better FM".

Pretty sure that's from TED talk.


I've long concluded that the frequency of "RTFM" goes up as the likelihood of a product's commercial success goes down.