To anyone commenting:
I am now covering the Global operator/carrier/sales channel boycott.
Not the actual reasons behind Nokia’s Market share collapse (even though I’m touching that too). Nor am I taking a stand on Nokia Windows Phone Strategy. If you want to argue on those topics, please do that on the Blog of Tomi Ahonen or wait that I form my stand on those issues.
(If I’ll ever form my stand on those. Dammit, Jim – I’m engineer, not marketing expert. I’m not going to challenge valid marketing research when it takes place, I just happen to have enough common sense to see through lies no matter how nicely they were wrapped.)

Edit: I have additional blog post about resales boycott in shop level here.

Another edit: Tomi is still going for this at full speed, but this time I really am worried if he is in full health. He has gone into really weird invented stories and I have covered that issue here.

Now that all the updates are done:
I think I’m finally ready to wrap up the global resales boycott described by Mr. Ahonen. But before I go to my rationale on it NOT being true, I’d first like to give you all a good glance on what we have coming from Tomi Ahonen himself:

I warned my readers in May that when Microsoft bought Skype, it would unleash a backlash from the carriers. I was right. We heard in June that two separate surveys of US reseller stores from Boston and San Francisco had found that the carriers had in fact put all Micrsoft based smartphones into a sales boycott. That has been a continuous problem reported for example by the New York Times still in December that both sales staff at Verizon and AT&T were ‘refusing to sell Windows Phone devices to customers’.” [1]

This is one of the many versions in his blog, very descriptive, good with references and – let’s admit it – really bad sounding. Furthermore, Mr. Ahonen very well describes the problems Nokia is having:

The best market reporting was the Netherlands (smallest of the six big European launch countries for Lumia) where one carrier said Lumia had climbed to bestselling phone for December but hadn’t been so in November or October. In Germany (four times bigger than the Netherlands) the biggest German carrier/operator doesn’t find Lumia phones in the top 5 bestselling smartphones (which are of course iPhones and Galaxies).” [1]

In fact no Nokia-branded smartphone, either Windows Phone based or Symbian based made it to the December ten best-selling phones of Britain.” [1]

Bad news for Nokia. Let’s see if we can see this in Statcounter data (Statcounter makes monthly readings of mobile phone operating system installed base, divided by country, market area or global data): Here’s Germany [2] and UK [3].


Both problem areas. Now this is even WORSE than it seems – statcounter said they have counted ALL Nokia devices (S40, Symbian, etc.) as same bundle under “Symbian OS” up to April 2012, when they finally fixed this unfortunate issue. So what we see here in Germany is Nokia going from 6% installed base (smartphones AND feature phones) to 4% installed base during the past year. Except Windows Phone fixes that Up to 5%. In UK it’s roughly from 3% to…
…3% (about 1.5 Other Nokia OS’es, 1.5 Windows Phone).

Now here’s the trick: Installed base increaes if you sell with larger market share than the previous installed base was. It decreases, if you sell with smaller market share. So from the direction of the installed base we can tell whether Nokia’s market share of sold devices is below or above the figure. Now 3% market share is NOTHING. Let’s face it, Nokia is DEAD in UK. We have real issue for Nokia, so it seems. Really bad.


Tomi Ahonen has clearly indicated that when a customer comes to store buying Nokia Lumia, he’s offered Android or iPhone instead. [7] Except I already pointed that to be a lie, since the reporters in question DID NOT ask for Lumia, they asked for “a smartphone”. And when there are two valid devices with better application offer, ANY sane salesman recommends one of these devices to a customer. That is no sales boycott, it’s good customer service. I hate to admit, but Tomi Ahonen is feeding blinding obvious lies to the mass and I don’t like it. Let’s go and see the depth of this lie:


Let’s look at the carrier boycott for a moment. Of course Mr. Ahonen blames Skype for this. I already pointed out that the operator sales boycott based on Skype just does not make sense. But since all the fouled up data needs to be revealed, I’m going to go through this too: Tomi Ahonen himself said that “There will never be carrier-supported (for example subsidised) smartphones that run Microsoft, even if those phones have Skype crippled” [4]

And then we got Lumia 710 selling on T-Mobile for zero dollars (with 2 year contract). Lumia 900 on AT&T sold with 99 dollars (also with 2 year contract). Orange UK giving out Lumia 800 FREE with 2 year contract. So this must be the “never be carrier supported smartphones running Microsoft”? Furthermore, Elop said that T-Mobile sales of Lumia 710 are “exceeding expectations”. In fact, it was 3rd best selling device in TMO catalog still in February 2012, getting 4.7 stars out of 5 rating. [5] Whereas AT&T Mobility CEO said AT&T is “very pleased” with Lumia 900. [6]
That much for US. For Finland Tomi Ahonen continuously refers to Sales boycott being visible even in there [7], which I have already proven not to be true.
And please remember: Lumia 710 is the “basic, very modest smartphone”. Device like that does NOT fight with Samsung Galaxy S2 or iPhone. And STILL it makes 3rd most selling phone? Sounds like operators really suck at implementing a global resales boycott. Or then the boycott claim is just pile of fouled-up data.

On the other hand, Tomi Ahonen offers more “proof”. He claims Stephen Elop himself has admitted there is global operator boycott originating from Microsoft’s Skype acquisition. A blatant false I have already also pointed to be complete FUD. That claim is even more ridiculous since the question made in shareholder’s meeting is so loaded the guy making the question could have just as well asked “have you already stopped beating your wife?”. And Elop did not fall into that trap, so the claim is FUD. Did I mention FUD already? Total FUD.

And just for a backup plan, Ahonen also claims that it’s resellers (the actual sales people) refusing to sell Windows Phone due to high return rates. But he is repeating that statement without being able to provide a single evidence to support it. FUD (unless I get a valid reference, that is).


But hey, there is obviously something wrong here since Lumias do not sell. Well, let’s be more specific: Lumias do not sell in Germany and UK. We have just witnessed the slow (but promising) progress in US and Finland. Tomi Ahonen also listed Spain as a pain point for Nokia Lumia, so I’ll go for these three next.

We saw the Statcounter data for last year previously. How about we look for the trend before that year for a change? Nokia closed its Bochum factory in Germany at beginning of 2008. It infuriated German consumers and caused a consumer-originated boycott of Nokia. (Not really helped by recent closing of Ulm site, either). I would love to take this from November 2007 to June 2012, but Statcounter only goes back to December 2008, when boycott was already there. Still, this is how that looks: [8]

Not nice, huh? Tomi Ahonen keeps saying that Nokia was increasing smartphone sales in 2010 Q4 and Elop destroyed that trend with Microsoft Alliance. From this data we can see that in Germany Nokia indeed increased sales shortly in 2010 Q4 (had to, since installed base increases), but it was preceded by loss of roughly 40% of installed base Nokia had – and this in 2010 alone. You don’t lose 40% of your installed base by selling “a little below the installed base (16% at beginning of 2010) – you need to sell really bad. And the trend goes down, with actual stop of installed base decline (market share of sales matches the installed base) in February 2011 (Microsoft alliance) and in June 2011 (Skype Acquisition). Tomi Ahonen tries to proof global sales boycott with industrialised world trend that originates years before the boycott should have taken place. Consumer boycott. From 2008 and continuing. Loss of Brand. No operator boycott.

How about UK? In United Kingdom customers owning Nokia phone were reported NOT to recommend Nokia to their friends (Now this is something Tomi Ahonen keeps saying as a proof of Lumia failure). We have this study coming from…
…late 2010! That’s right, Tomi Ahonen is claiming Lumia Windows Phones destroyed Nokia Brand almost a year before there were any available and months before Nokia changed strategy to Windows Phone. Yes, there is a consumer-originated dislike of Nokia products. Yes, it was already in place way before Microsoft alliance took place. And yes, we can see that in Statcounter too. [9]

Installed base of ALL Nokia phones was in decline well before 2010. And get this – had market share of Nokia in sold devices been same for the whole time, we would have a curve that slowly turns to horizontal. We don’t, since the decrease is linear. It means Nokia was constantly having smaller and smaller market share of sold devices – from Q3 2009 to Q3 2010. Nokia manges to level it a bit – for a market share below 6% – in 2010 Q4. Trend begins to decline again in January 2011 – before Windows Phone strategy is even announced! Consumer boycott. Loss of brand. From 2008. No operator boycott.

Spain? Mentioned by Tomi Ahonen. Let’s take a look at that too, just to make sure. Once again, started way before 2010. And interestingly, installed base in Spain is in fact taking same stall in decrease as we have seen in graph from Germany. [10]


So what happened? I’ll tell you what happened. I was there in Nokia all the way to end of 2011 before I was downsized. Nokia lost it’s grip on industrialised world already in 2009. iOS and Android started to eat Nokia alive what comes to market share. We saw that in Nokia. We were shaking our heads in disbelief during 2009 and ripping our hair in 2010. What Tomi Ahonen so eagerly ignores is the fact that Nokia used its growth in emerging markets to hide the industrialised world collapse from its global statistics. The truth became apparent in mid-2010 and when cheap Android devices entered the stage in 2011, game was over. At that point Nokia did not have (and until very last weeks still did not have) full-touch device reaching sub-100 euro price points. Cheap smartphones at that price point stole the market share in 3rd world within 12 months. And trend is continuing.

I’m done wrapping this up. There is no indication of anything like global resales boycott. Anywhere. Except for deliberately fouled-up data and news made intentionally to interpret studies to look like that. FUD. Case closed.


Tomi Ahonen has not stopped with this subject. This is the most recent about it (July 20th):
AT&T did exactly what all other carriers/operators did, who said they want the third ecosystem etc. They took happily the Microsoft Dollars and Nokia Euros and used the money for big extravagant marketing, and then ignored Lumia – and sold Android and iPhones !!! Exactly like European and Asian operators/carriers did before.” [11]
Have to give the guy credit for persistence.


[1] Smartphone Form Book 2012 part 3 – For Nokia it is Elopwatch



[4] Will the Real Stephen Elop, Please Stand Up?

[5] Nokia: T-Mobile’s Lumia 710 Has Exceeded Expectations

[6] AT&T ‘Very Pleased’ with Microsoft, Nokia Lumia 900

[7] Disappointed Buyer = Returned Lumia = Salespeople Avoid = Growing Nokia Retail Problem





Guideline for commenting:
I hate the way Tomi Ahonen deletes criticizing comments from his blog. However, I plan to follow three of his principles: I’ll delete comments that are

  1. Personal insults to someone
  2. Duplicates
  3. Spam

In addition, if you wish to challenge my previous posts, please comment to those.