Would it be fair to suspect that Tomi Ahonen has mental issues? Would it turn this blog into a hatred site?

He has again written a blog post about Nokia and Elop. The post offers nothing new and claims in it have been pretty much covered in this blog already. Why does he do this? It must be quite time-consuming to write those posts. I think it’s already filling up the criteria for unhealthy obsession. Especially if we consider that he has been doing that for… How long?
Now that’s a good question.

As I said in my open letter to Tomi Ahonen, he has not always been so hostile towards Stephen Elop. He changed on the road. So it got to me that there might just be a certain point in time where it took place. I try to fork the exact time when that took place. Let’s start some rather recent post:

if Nokia fired its CEO and ended the Windows misadventure, Nokia could easily bounce back too releasing a series of MeeGo powered smartphones instead.

March 2013 [1]

Okay, this we know. Elop needs to be fired blahblah. How about if we jump back to time when Elop was hired?

Good luck Stephen Elop. You are landing in the coolest job on the planet and may your reign be long and prosperous.

September 2010 [2]

Obviously Tomi is not demanding Elop to be fired (although in his post he gives the impression that any monkey could take the CEO job and Nokia would nevertheless be dominating the smartphone space). Let’s now start forking: I’ll take a post from between these two:

This is what ‘any monkey’ could have done by simply continuing Nokia’s existing strategy in 2011.
By every measure this guy is the biggest flop ever seen in management history. But most of all, if you set the world record for destruction of market share – and you fall from being twice as big as your nearest competitor to one fourth the size of the world leader – you are not just a fool, you are an idiot. And need to be fired.

June, 2012 [3]

Well, at least he kept the monkey theme. This means anything newer than this post is in the “Elop needs to be fired” theme. So we need to go further back. Perhaps it would be good to check the Burning Platform memo era?

Having Microsoft as the operating system will not sell any more handsets in America than Symbian, because the bottleneck was not the operating system, it was Nokia’s poisoned carrier relationships in America.

11th of February 2011 [4]

I thought Elop and Microsoft poisoned Nokia’s carrier relations? You know, as bad that Verizon did not take any Lumias? Perhaps we check another post from same era?

“First, we cannot blame Elop for this. He did not kill MeeGo in February 2011. He was one of the finalists for CEO, who had to propose a plan to solve Nokia’s severe crisis. That involved painful cuts no matter how you looked at it. The Board approved a plan in September, where one part meant MeeGo was dead. Elop didn’t kill MeeGo now. It died last September and the Board approved that plan where MeeGo would go.
Nokia was on the same trajectory as previous giant rivals Motorola and SonyEricsson (and also LG) and Palm in pure smartphones – Nokias profits had vanished – and look, Motorola lost 9 out of 10 customers in recovering – and even then it sold part of its assets and split into two. Palm was sold to HP. Nokia Board knew that the trajectory Nokia was on, in the summer of 2010, was a certain road to death. That the Board could not obviously accept.”

14th of February 2011 [5]

Okay, this is new. Elop killed Symbian and MeeGo but we cannot blame him for that. In 2013 Tomi Ahonen tells us how MeeGo was pure gold for Nokia and that Nokia was “winning” with Symbian in 2010 but when he wrote in February 2011 Nokia in the same year 2010 was “on certain road to death” and axing of MeeGo was just bypassed with “the Board approved that plan where MeeGo would go”. Perhaps I took us too far back in time? Let’s try mid-point of June 2012 and February 2011:

Usually when CEO’s preside over a year when the share price falls by half, they get fired. Elop accomplished that in half a year… He must be fired.

October 2011 [6]

Okay, we are back on the “fire Elop now” track. Let’s fork between February 2011 and October 2011:

This was the right thing for Stephen Elop to do. We may agree or disagree on his choice of Microsoft Phone 7 as his new smartphone operating system but once that decision was made, he had to get rid of MeeGo, Qt and of Symbian, all which have no place in the future with Microsoft (Ovi will be obviously refocused to utilize the Microsoft partnership). This was the right thing to do.

May 2, 2011 [7]

Oh. My. Elop is STILL doing right things? Killing Nokia’s in-house OS’s and throwing Qt away is seen as  “this was the right thing to do” by Tomi? There HAS TO BE sharp turning point.
Well that was May. Let’s see if we can get to June without Tomi turning into Elop hater…

“Nokia had great news in its smartphone unit, just conveniently in time for Stephen Elop’s first full quarter of stewardship. Nokia seemed to be legitimately turning the corner. Its Ovi app store was the second bestselling app store in the world behind only Apple’s iPhone App Store (ahead of many supposedly strong rivals like Microsoft, Blackberry, HP/Palm and yes, Android).

In the same category was Symbian. The much-maligned ‘old’ operating system was showing very strong form with S^3 powering the new N8 and other premium Nokia smartphones and winning lots of converts in the tech press and accolades, that Symbian was still viable (again far ahead of other older operating systems that had tried to do touch screen interfaces such as Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and RIM’s Blackberry OS).

And most of all, Nokia now had scheduled two new flagship premium phones for early Q1 launch. The E7 was like a souped-up N8, adding the slider QWERTY keyboard and even more expensive but running the same OS version as the N8. And the first MeeGo powered smartphone, the N9, was also ready for launch in early in Q1. These would come in perfect timing for the Chinese gift-giving season of Chinese New Year, traditionally a very strong sales quarter for Nokia (as it turned out to be as well).

It is very legitimate to think, that Nokia, which had struggled for years to come up with a solid answer to the iPhone, had finally done it with the N8, and now had true iPhone killers about to launch both in hardware (E7) and the first MeeGo powered smartphone. (Elop killed the first MeeGo phone earlier this year)”

June 2, 2011 [8]

What happened to certain road to death? This sounds like Tomi we all know. He is now blaming Elop, though not really showing the Elop hatred we are used to. Perhaps if we take just one post forward?

Stephen Elop has not learned from that. He has not reacted with haste, attempting to save Nokia. He is now thinking like a Microsoft Muppet, what is best for Microsoft. In that process, Stephen Elop has seen a patient whose heart has stopped, and rather than try to revive it, he has now started to strangle that dying patient. Stephen Elop is killing Nokia.

June 7, 2011 [9]

Fine. We have now narrowed down the gap. Early May 2011 Tomi is still the well-known Nokia fan whereas in early June we meet Tomi the Elop-hater. Question is: what happened during that month?

May 10th Microsoft acquires Skype.
But Tomi does not write about it at all! (Interesting if you consider it has been his theme for over two years that carriers hate Microsoft because of Skype.) It is just that he first introduces the Skype boycott theory FULL MONTH later, June 10th. And don’t think he was on vacation or anything:

May 13th we have Tomi telling not to buy anything from yet another research company.
So ironically Skype acquisition was not problem when it actually took place (and Elop did not need to be fired).

May 24th we have Tomi’s E7 review.

May 27th comes the Q1 final numbers.
(no, Elop does not need to be fired in that post either…)

…and then we get to Nokia’s profit warning on June 2nd. THIS is where we had current Tomi showing his Elop hatred in our previous forking. But problem is: profit warnings have not made Tomi to start demanding CEO to be fired in the past so I’m not sure if that really is it.

Tomi has himself told the time he started to demand Elop to be fired. In his words:

When Elop made his incredulous CEO statement about MeeGo and the N9 (will never authorize more phones, no matter how well it might sell) – that is when I understood that Elop is going to wreck the company and is unsuited to run it. So from June of 2011, I have called for Elop to be fired.

Nice text but unfortunately that’s complete BS. N9 launch happened June 21st, Elop made that statement June 23rd. It all matches to June schedule, but problem is that already June 7th Tomi introduces his retail boycott theory (3 days before Skype Boycott theory and 16 days before the Elop statement he claims was the reason) and of course he demands Elop to be fired saying

No price discount, no new model, no marketing gimmick, no apology by the sales rep, the regional sales manager, the global VP of sales, not even a total retraction by the CEO is now enough. The retail channel is strangling Nokia in a death-grip choke-hold. They will not let go, until Nokia Board of Directors fires the CEO and reverses the stated strategic direction to Microsoft.

So despite his sayings, Elop’s statement to press is not it either.
What is left?
Well, I never bothered to read Tomi’s E7 review before but I should have. He lists tons of things that are (in his words) “to annoy and aggravate loyal nokia users”. (Please note this is the same E7 that mere 8 days later is described by Tomi as “true iPhone killer”). He sums his E7 review up like this:

I really really wanted to fall in love with this E7. Instead, I fell out of love with Nokia because of it.

That  sounds like my open letter – Tomi clearly does not love Nokia as it is, he loves it as it was. Unfortunately it seems the change took place when he was using Symbian^3 phone for the first time. And after that… Elop needed to be fired. But I think it merely highlights how little Tomi understands the handset production when he thinks that it is Elop who should be blamed for N8 and E7 drawbacks:

Nokia has started on that dumb path already earlier under Elop with the N8 being the first Nokia smartphone that didn’t let users replace the battery.


Not to mention he gave Elop his usual “advices” in February 2011 on how to fix N8 and E7:

Do an immediate redesign of the N8 and release an N8b version by Q2 that has normal battery change like any other Nokia phone. The missing microSD slot of the E7 – fix that right away, also by Q2.


…as if those can be changed in such a short time. It could be that it was mid Q2 when Tomi saw his advice was not taken and got mad at Elop. Perhaps coupled with profit warning, who knows. What is certain is that he decided that Nokia CEO needed to be fired and went in full steam. (This matches description given by people knowing him personally, BTW.) Also his attitude turned from “Nokia was in trouble” into “Symbian was winning” practically overnight.

So what triggers a die-hard Nokia fan to turn into FUD-spreading madman that goes on a crusade to get CEO of his 10-years-ago-employing company sacked? It requires a lot for average person and therefore I have to admit that when all it takes is Symbian^3 experience and a profit warning, I sincerely recommend to meet a professional. If for nothing else, then to check if you are OK.