Has anyone wondered where Tomi Ahonen (author, consultant, speaker) ever got the idea that Stephen Elop (the CEO of Nokia at the time) has somehow “admitted” that there is a carrier boycott towards Microsoft/Windows Phone because Microsoft own Skype?

To start with the Skype-based carrier boycott towards Windows Phone: Tomi Ahonen first introduced the idea that Nokia is having problems with carriers (due to Skype) in his blog post from June 7th, 2011 [1], but it took until June 10th before he started calling it a boycott [2]. From that day on he has kept on insisting there exists a carrier boycott towards Windows Phone (and Nokia at the time they used Windows Phone), no matter how illogical it would be.

And Tomi Ahonen is the lone voice on that one. Try to find a reputable news source stating there is (or was) a Skype-based boycott towards Windows Phone. Exclude news titled “Nokia critic Tomi Ahonen says there is a boycott” – find a reputable news source that actually handles the boycott as a fact, not as a “this goofball came up with an idea”. You won’t find it. Go ahead, I dare you.
Or try to find any news source (even if it would be less reputable) that is not using a chain of sources that eventually leads to Tomi Ahonen as the sole source of the idea. You won’t find it either. I double-dare you.
So how come Tomi Ahonen says Stephen Elop has “admitted” the boycott if there seemingly is nothing to admit? Here’s how it went:

During the Nokia shareholders meeting, Helsingin Sanomat had a live web page that was kept constantly updated [3]. You know how it is – try to type fast, the topic moves on. Double the hurry by the fact that meeting was in english but live updates were made in Finnish. One of the short updates was this:

Mika Hasanen kysyy: Nokialla näyttää olevan ongelmia jakelussa Skypen takia. Miten aiotte päästä ohi tästä ongelmasta?
Elop vastaa: Jos operaattori ei halua meitä, niin se ei halua. Vetoamme kuitenkin operaattoreihin toisin argumentein. Meillä on tarjota heille muuta. Skype-keskustelusta on hyvä lähteä liikkeelle.


Mika Hasanen asks: Nokia seems to have distribution problems due to Skype. How do you plan to get over this problem?
Elop Answers: If operator does not want us, it does no want us. We will use other arguments to appeal to them. We have other things to offer. Skype discussion is a good starting point.

The text is not what was said there. We know this today as we have both the actual question and the answer available, as video and as text [4]. Blame the damn hurry, the reporter was listening to a long answer in English and tried to summarise it in three Finnish sentences. Mistakes happen.
However this invalid translation is the one that Tomi Ahonen read live from hs.fi website and went ballistic. He immediately rushed to his blog, telling everyone that Elop had admitted the boycott:

We just had the Nokia Annual Shareholders Meeting. In that meeting Elop was asked directly about the Skype related carrier refusal to sell Lumia. Elop admitted this is the case, some carriers are refusing Lumia explicitly due to Skype, but he said Nokia will try other arguments to try to win those carriers over to Nokia.
The matter is now closed. It is true that there is explicit anti-Microsoft and anti-Lumia reaction by carrier community due to Skype. After the CEO admits this problem exists, this blog will no longer tolerate any nonsense comments that say it isn’t happening. And I told you so – when – I was the first in the world to say this is going to happen – and then reported when it started to happen – last June. Is this value to my readers? I think so. I will delete every person who comes here to comment that there is no boycott of carriers because they hate Skype from now on.

–Tomi Ahonen, May 03, 2012 [5]

Let the dust settle and the actual transcript arrive. We then get to see where the Helsingin Sanomat journalist made the error in translation by reading the original transcript and/or watching the video. As you can see, the question actually is pretty much correct (which makes me suspect the person making the question was reading Tomi Ahonen a lot). The answer however is a mess. The part that was unsuccessfully translated to hs.fi live feed was actually this:

Operator can choose not to have Skype in their Windows Phones. Microsoft (and Nokia) can offer more to operators than iOS or Android could, including creative ways to make extra revenue from Skype calls. Operators actually want to engage in a conversation about what does this mean and how could we do something that we couldn’t do before.

Now when the video was released, it became obvious Helsingin Sanomat made a mistake as the original statement was exact opposite of what was written in the live feed.

Tomi – on the other hand – has known issues in admitting his own mistakes and this case was no different. One could assume Tomi Ahonen would just admit he made a mistake and there was no “admit” from Elop. Instead he (up to date) says that Stephen Elop admitted Skype-based operator boycott. And Tomi has not changed his mind even though by now Microsoft has made agreements with operators/carriers where Skype calls can be charged via operator billing – one of the ways for carriers to make revenue from Skype calls like Elop said in his response.

So there. The story of the “admit of Skype boycott”; where it came from, why it appeared and why it still flows around in Tomi’s works after so many years. [6]

My apologies for repeated content. I realized that my old “Elop did not admit Skype boycott” – post spends too much time on irrelevant stuff so I took this part from my other blog post to here. In that post it was just lost in the middle of totally different topic.


[1] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/06/the-patient-heart-has-stopped-now-the-doctor-helps-by-starting-to-strangle-the-patient-too-stephen-e.html

[2] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/06/to-save-nokia-would-take-these-steps-urgently-as-in-right-now.html

[3] http://live.hs.fi/Event/Nokian_yhtiokokous_35_2012?Page=1

[4] http://mynokiablog.com/2012/05/07/part-1-transcript-nokia-agm-stephen-elop-on-skype/

[5] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/05/are-we-ready-for-the-numbers-nokia-smartphone-market-share-projection-2012-ends-year-at-3/comments/page/3/#comments

[6] https://twitter.com/tomiahonen/status/571067619467399168