So here I am. Me. Ordinary guy with no credibility, no track record of hundreds of presentations to thousands of peoples.
And then there’s Tomi Ahonen, Author, Consultant and Motivational Speaker – Author of twelve bestselling books on mobile.
If I say he is spreading false claims, I get neglected as “Tomi-hater” or “troll”.

How about if I put his statements agaist the actual data he says his statements base on? My background or credibility should be insignificant, right? Let’s give it a go:

This is Tomi:

The REASON why Nokia’s sterling credit rating when Elop took over – yes, Nokia was rated by S&P, by Moody’s and by Fitch all as one notch below PERFECT, this at the time of global economic crisis when most Nokia rivals were reporting losses – the reason why those credit ratings downgraded Nokia, was not because the Lumia or Windows phones were bad, it was because there was no carrier support, the retail support was lacking. The ratings agencies listed this problem as the reason at EVERY downgrade, often as their only reason or the biggest reason. And you know the story, Nokia was downgraded so many times, today all three ratings agencies list Nokia as junk!!! Not because Windows Phone or Lumia are bad phones, its because the retail and carriers refuse to sell it.

–Tomi Ahonen, April 10, 2013 [1]

The issue with carrier relations and retail got so bad, that EVERY TIME there was a credit ratings downgrade of Nokia it was the reason. (Nokia was near perfect rating when Elop started and crashed all the way to junk status by the time he was removed from CEO.) The three ratings agencies, Fitch, Moody’s or S&P – every when they downgraded Nokia, they they mentioned bad carrier relations/retail support being the main reason – often the ONLY reason for the latest downgrade of Nokia’s credit worthiness.

–Tomi Ahonen, April 30, 2014 [2]

Okay, we have over a year between those two statements. I call it “old news” and something he very much insists, not a one-time mishap. And we have very clear list. It’s all three ratings agencies, Moody’s, Fitch or S&P – and every time mentioning bad carrier relations/retail support as the main reason.

Here come the downgrades:

  • Moody’s downgrade July 27th 2011 [3] lacks mention to carrier relations. The rating downgrade is said to reflect “a severe weakening of Nokia’s business position from one of clear leadership previously” and that “this deterioration has been caused by a loss of competitiveness of Nokia’s Symbian-based smartphone portfolio and the transition of its operating systems to the Windows Phone platform which we expect to take until the second half 2012 to fully complete, combined with increasing price pressure and gaps in the company’s mobile phone portfolio that are now being filled.
  • Moody’s downgrade April 16th 2012 [4] does not mention carrier relations at all. It lists reasons to be sales of Symbian-based devices falling off very quickly while Lumia sales are only ramping up slowly, in addition to low market share. It also mentions that “Nokia’s current Baa3 rating reflects Moody’s expectation that Lumia devices will be accepted in the market in 2012 with the help of price and marketing support and that it will become the third smartphone system next to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
  • Moody’s downgrade July 23rd 2012 [5] does not mention carrier relations at all either. It lists reasons to be loss-making of handsets unit, low market share of Lumia line/Windows Phone and “Windows Phone 8-based smartphone generation will find it challenging to achieve a level of differentiation and market penetration to become a meaningful income generator in the first few quarters after launch“.
  • Moody’s downgrade August 22nd 2013 [6] still fails to mention carrier relations. The downgrade reason is that “the company continues to face challenges returning to sustainable profitability in its core smartphone and mobile phone operations and because we believe that it is unlikely to reach break even on a cash flow basis before well into 2014, at the earliest”.
  • In June 7th 2011 Fitch downgraded Nokia, saying that the cellphone maker’s market share quickly deteriorated and will take time to recover. The ratings firm based its decision on Nokia’s continued market-share losses and its surprise profit warning last week, when the Finland-based company shocked the market by confessing that its core mobile-handset business might not make a profit in the second quarter.[7]
  • In April 24th 2012 Fitch downgraded Nokia [8] but does not mention carrier relations. Reason is “deterioration in the company’s core Devices and Services division in Q1, together with the company guidance of -3% non-IFRS operating margins or below for the division for Q2 and the general lack of visibility beyond this point.
  • In July 27th 2012 Fitch downgraded Nokia [9] without mentioning carrier relations. They say that “­Fitch had previously guided that it would take a negative rating action if it was not convinced that Nokia could stabilise the revenue declines and be capable of generating positive single digit operating margins in its Devices and Services division. The release of Nokia’s Q212 results indicate that the company is currently not near this position and Fitch is not convinced that this can be attained anytime soon.
  • S&P downgraded Nokia March 30th, 2011. The downgrade reflects the revision of our business risk profile assessment on Nokia to ‘satisfactory’ from ‘strong’, primarily because they expect that Nokia’s smartphone portfolio will make further significant market share losses during 2011 and 2012. The researcher further said that there is a pretty high chance of Symbian’s shares falling from 15% to 0.2% in the next four years. [10]
  • S&P downgraded Nokia again August 2nd, 2011. The rating agency still believes that Nokia could improve its currently weak position in the smartphone segment via its strategic cooperation with US software major Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT). However, it will take time to migrate to Microsoft’s Windows Phone software platform and during the transition period S&P expects low operating margins and further market share losses. [11]
  • S&P downgraded Nokia in July 27th, 2012 and instead of talking about carrier relations the Reuters quote reads: “S&P said its downgrade reflected its concerns that the decline in sales at Nokia’s phone business this year could be similar to the 18 percent fall in 2011” and “We still expect revenue from Lumia smartphones to grow over time, but not sufficiently to offset a rapid decline in revenue from Symbian-based smartphones over the next few quarters“. [12]
  • Next downgrade from S&P comes in August 15th, 2012. [13] Unsurprisingly we don’t hear about carrier relations but we do get the same old thing about bad Lumia sales, this time it says “Because Symbian devices still represent the largest portion of Nokia’s sales by volume, we think Nokia’s market share could decline further. We have also lowered our price assumptions for Nokia’s smartphones following the price decline of Lumia phones to €186 in the second quarter of this year, compared with €220 in the first quarter. To defend its market share, we believe that Nokia might lower the price of Lumia phones further in the coming quarters.
  • Last downgrade from S&P is offered in July, 2013. [14] The reason? “The ratings reflect our revised assessment of Nokia’s financial risk profile assessment to ‘aggressive’ from ‘significant’. We continue to assess its business risk profile as ‘weak.’

Reality – 12
Tomi Ahonen – 0

Must… Resist… Urge… To… Use… L-word…
(the one that rhymes well with “pants on fire”)

Help me out here: Why does a man with a good deal of reputation to lose spread fabrications that anyone can check to be not true, simply by using sources that are publicly available to anyone? He can’t really believe in that, can he?
Really – help me out. I am so dumb that I cannot see the logic or motive behind these actions.

EDIT:
Some links had problems. See my comment below for details.
Also: I could not find a link to all downgrades, I took the news article that had taken longest snippet of the text for e.g. S&P downgrades from year 2011. If you wish, you can Google for the other news articles, NONE of them mention carrier relations either.

REFERENCES:

[1] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2013/04/when-no-means-no-what-part-of-no-does-nokia-and-microsoft-not-understand-us-consumers-reject-lumia-a.html
[2] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2014/04/the-microsoft-handset-opportunity-with-nokia-the-full-analysis-of-potential-its-not-looking-good.html
[3] https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Nokia-to-Baa2-negative-outlook-Finland–PR_223254
[4] https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Nokia-to-Baa3P-3-outlook-negative–PR_243207
[5] https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Nokia-to-Ba3NP-outlook-negative–PR_251445
[6] https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Nokias-rating-to-B1-negative-outlook–PR_280209
[7] https://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/press_releases/detail.cfm?pr_id=748130
[8] https://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/press_releases/detail.cfm?pr_id=755621
[9] http://allthingsd.com/20110607/fitch-lowers-nokia-credit-rating/
[10] http://it.tmcnet.com/news/2011/08/02/5677885.htm
[11] http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/27/us-nokia-idUSBRE83Q0W620120427
[12] http://www.standardandpoors.com/prot/ratings/articles/en/us/?articleType=HTML&assetID=1245338584998
[13] http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/07/05/sp-downgrades-nokia.aspx
[14] http://www.itproportal.com/2011/03/30/s-p-lowers-nokia-credit-rating-first-time/

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