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Product description Product Description Women who have faced pain, loss and heartache. Twice the work, no more money. And then the hassle is not over. The package is opened, you have to now take the returned Lumia. It means you the supersmart supersmooth salesrep of the month, just wasted 3 times the work, for one lousy sales. The sales staff learn VERY fast which phones have highly satisfied customers and don't get returns, and which phones are hated by customers back home, and get high return rates.
Have a guess which phones sell in that store, and which don't. Spoiler alert - Lumia series has the highest return rates in Nokia smartphone history. The sales hit a wall almost instantly in all markets and now many retail outlets don't even stock the Lumia models they still show in their window displays. That was the worse scenario. Want to see the worst scenario for our salespal?
There is a worst case. The customer comes back, makes a scene, demands a refund, won't accept a replacement. You have to give the customer his money back!!!! This is a nightmare and of course every salersrep instinct rebels against paying back the commission you got paid last week, so they deduct it now from your next paycheck. You are literally in a hole!!! So this gets ugly. That customer now threatens to sue the company - and sue you the saleshero personally!
The angry customer yells at your boss, makes all the customers in the store very nervous did you see the video of the UK middle-aged man who tore up literally the whole T-Mobile store out of a refund dispute. He literally tore every display case and demo phone out of the walls and smashed the whole store up. When the police came up he smiled and was calm, admitted to the whole thing.
Yes, when its not Angry Birds its Angry herds of returns customers. Won't take a replacement, accuse you of lies or misrepresentations and threaten you about their brother who works for the local newspaper or cousin who is a lawyer or uncle who is somewhere in government overseeing telecoms or retail.. Who wants that? So, now you have to go through first, the irate customer, hear his complaints and try to sell the replacement double time for no extra commission.
After that, he or she is still upset and refuses, demands the refund. Now you have to get your boss, the store manager to approve it. He or she of course won't want to give away store cash and commissions, also to the manager so the manager tries yet one more time to get the angry customer to accept a replacement instead. That goes nowhere.
Now the store manager comes back to you, tells you to process the refund, gives the appropriate management codes to enter into the system, and your paperwork nightmare starts. Now the sales hero has spent at least 3 times the amount of time with this same customer, and has to give back the money, and gets no replacement sale, meaning the total sales commission from yesterday is wiped out too.
Three times the work for zero money? This is sales rep hell. And it happens every day. What they don't want is the phones that have any risk of such severe disappointment. So if they know its a suspect phone that is often returned and this current moron walk-in came asking for a Lumia, just tell the idiot customer you don't have it in stock, make him or her walk to the next store to try to get it.
Or, if the customer is really insistent and saw the phone in the window and is willing to be put on some waiting lists or whatever, then spend time with him or her, Mr Customer-Knows-Best and list EVERY known problem and all imaginary ones that rumor has it, might also be true to bombard the idiot customer with the facts, that they really don't want this horrid device. And sell them the Android instead. Did I make my case? I should know, I've spent most of my professional career in various posts in sales, sales management, pre-sales, marketing, consulting and related activities.
Yes, from literally encyclopedia sales early in my career to network equipment sales to such cool customers as the United Nations Security Council. I've set sales records, I've taken top sales reps to international trips as sales contest winners, and I've entertained top CEO clients with wives at international sporting events etc. I know sales. Oh, and I wrote literally 'the book' about sales and marketing in mobile telecoms 3G Marketing, my third book, which just happens to have been the fastest-selling telecoms book of all time, said my publisher back then.
In sales, you have to get to the soul of the sales reps.
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They are motivated by their commissions and their other sales bonuses. Nokia knows this. Nokia sales knows this. So what of Microsoft? Microsoft's reputation with mobile phone handset sales was horrid. Stingy selfish company, not in the happy corner of the sales staffs' hearts. Nokia since Elop took over? Become every more hostile with carriers, ever more like the Evil Empire, Microsoft. Like I call them, the Evil Twins. Part of the Axis of Evil in telecoms with partner number 3 obviously being Skype. So what has Elop been doing? Right from the start, when he saw problems, he blamed sales yeah, they don't like that.
Over at Nokia, Elop was firing Nokia sales reps of very long standing, as scapegoats to hide Elop's own mistakes like the Burning Platforms memo and the premature announcement of Windows. Then came the obvious retail boycott against Nokia. And Elop has been accusing the sales channel ever since. He was feuding with them on minimum purchase limits for Lumia threatening stores would not get any, if they would not buy very large initial orders.
Did you see the latest Quarterly results disaster? Who is featured as the head villain? How about Nokia's shareholders' meeting. Elop blamed retail for not supporting his beloved Lumia sales. What of the profit warning just now? Same thing, the sales channel ain't supporting sales. But what does Elop do? He changed the long-standing distributor in Britain. He ended the long standing distributor deal with the main distributor for Africa. And meanwhile the relationships with the exclusive Nokia 43 store dealer chain in Russia?
They got so fed up with Elop, they just switched exclusive deals to.. Samsung of course. Elop has a genuine, global, not just smartphones, all Nokia related retail problem. And he is not fixing it. He is spending his time playing with Microsoft, plotting if they should buy RIM, and selling his Romanian factory and buying a Swedish imaging provider. He likes dealing with the impressive stuff, he does not like dealing with his day job - fixing Nokia's execution probles, the very reason he was hired for.
If your retail channel refuses to sell your product, you die. This is not a 'gray area' matter. This is not in any way open to debate or something with options or alternatives. Nokia's retail problem started last February with the Burning Platforms memo, but it has gotten progressively worse. It was at corporate suicide levels this Spring. That was before the retail channel learned a week ago with Windows 8, that all Lumia series are now Osborned. Now every sales dude and dudette fears seeing customers coming to their stores in the next weeks clutching Lumiaboxes, demanding refunds or replacements.
This problem cannot and will not be solved with Windows Phone 8, because salesdudettes and dudes are not dumb. They know, their April sales job, that took 11 minutes to earn them their little Lumiacommission, was rudely revoked by Nokia's Elop and Microsoft's Ballmer that one July afternoon when that old lady walked in and said she wants to return the Lumia. These sales reps are burned for good on Lumia and on Elop and on Windows Phone. Nokia's heart attack started last February, it is now in cardiac arrest and Nokia is dying.
Don't take my word on it, the fall of Nokia's smartphone sales has literally set a world record over the past 15 months and the sales collapse is only increasing in its speed. What did Elop recently do to his departed long term veteran Nokia global sales rep? Did Elop replace him with another gold-standard super veteran everybody-trusts-this-guy type, whose blood does not run red, it bleeds Nokiablue?
Elop brought in his Microsoft Mafiadude who had never sold a phone in his life before Elop grabbed him, as now the global handset sales chief? You truly take the red flag to the bull and anger these guys with the Micrsosoftie to 'fix' this problem with his game of lies, deceit, bullying and arrogance. Sure, Elop, that will fix the problem!
The definition of madness is to continue doing exactly the same thing, while expecting a different result. Can a crazyguy in charge of Nokia be good for Nokia? When your retail channel refuses to sell your product, you die. The Board has heard it loud and clear, past Chairman and former Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila knew this, he heard it, he deplored it, but he did nothing to fix it.
The solution - fire Elop's sorry ass. New Chairman and anti-virusdude Siilasmaa is also fully aware that there is an ongoing severe retail problem. He hasn't fixed it? The way to fix this, is to first fire the Microsoft Muppet, and make Elop take his little Microsoft buddy salesguy with him too.
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Nokia is doing the most rapid death in the shortest period of time ever, for a global market leader Fortune sized company. This is management failure at its worst. Literally Elop is presiding over the biggest management fiasco ever seen. The point has long since passed that Elop might be able to save this. He can't. This is yet another ELE, by this action alone, Nokia's existence was put into threat and Elop must be fired for it and this single fault alone qualifies Elop as one of the worst CEOs ever.
We continue with..
Sun Tzu taught us: "The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals. Apart from the retail troubles there are the carrier relations, which are similar and often closely linked but not the same. There are retailers who sell phones who are independent of carriers like Carphone Warehouse or Radio Shack etc. There are carriers who don't even have stores of their own. These are closely linked, but separate issues and problems for Elop now.
Carriers have to authorize phones that are supported in their networks. If carriers subsidise phones like they do in the USA, France, Japan for example, then those 'down payment' prices that are advertised 'with contract' are totally in the control of the carriers. So yes, if you read this in America, and you 'know' the price of the iPhone 4S is dollars with contract, that 'with contract' part is this thing here.
The real price is as Apple tells us, dollars. That is what you will end up paying. Does that dollar deal now sound as good. They are tricking you, you are charged dollars but they hide the in the fine print. So obviously, if the carrier subsidises your purchase price by forcing you to take a contract so they get their money back in monthly payments of course that carrier has total control which phones to sell and make this sweet deal to which customers they trust.
So yes, this decision 'to subsidise' is irrespective of whether those subsidised handsets are then sold through the carrier stores or independent stores. This is a carrier handset strategy, choice and support issue. T-Mobile was willing to take one, the Lumia In some countries, some carriers have approved all four Lumia phones to their networks, others pick some, yet others still, say no to all, like China's two largest carriers, China Mobile and China Unicom have done.
In some countries the carriers have enormous power to decide exactly what phones and in what configurations are allowed into their networks, like in Japan for example. In other countries like often in Emerging World countries the carriers seem to not even care, and any GSM standard phone for example will do, new or old, genuine or pirated. This carrier decision is for the most part, in most countries an entry-level barrier that either opens or closes the door to that phone model in that market.
Even if it technically were to function on the networks with the correct GSM frequencies, on a prepaid SIM card subscription basis, most retailers would not bother to stock any phones that have not been approved by the carriers. In some countries, the national telecoms regulator takes a very strong, pro-active role in testing and approving handsets, independent or in conjunction with the carrier community of that country.
This is a total make or break situation for any new handset model. The iPhone was not originally approved for Japan for example. None of the networks wanted the original iPhone. Didn't matter if some consumers in Japan loved Apple, used iPod Touch and Mac devices, there would be no iPhone sales until the right type of models were offered, that at least one of the carriers would want to approve, as eventually Softbank the smallest of the three carriers did with the iPhone 3G.
To the degree the carriers have their own stores, they then have far more power to influence that sales pattern. They may make phones specials in their consumer advertising, their billing inserts, etc. They can make special bundle offers that certain service packages like say entertainment, music, TV etc might be tied to certain phone models on certain price points.
This will typically greatly increas that given phone model market success at that carrier at that time. Two quick case examples. Nokia's N-Gage the original gaming phone. Nokia wanted carriers to sell it but the carriers hated the idea, that Nokia was setting up its own app store and offered sideloaded games that didn't go through the carrier network.
The carriers told Nokia to stop it, and started a global slowdown of Nokia sales. Nokia got the message, changed N-Gage handset design, the app store format, offered carrier support to the games and the carriers mostly forgave Nokia and in a few quarters, Nokia's share jumped back to nearly where it had been. Second example, Microsoft's Kin. Microsoft made the expensive Danger acquisition and pursued its highly funky youth-oriented handset line.
They lined carriers around the world to sell it. Then as the launch date came near, carriers suddenly pulled out. Most of the promised carrier subsidy deals vanished and the Kin phones lingered in limbo for a while until Microsoft learned globally that there was nothing to be had. Microsoft shut the Kin project down in 6 weeks as total failure not even attempting the international part of the launch plan.
Dead in six weeks. A world record in fact. Killed by carrier relations. Microsoft was confused and didn't understand what it takes to win or not lose in mobile. You cannot feud with the carriers. That is a game where you - at least the handset makers as such - cannot win. So how is the Nokia carrier relations situation now? When Elop took over, Nokia had by far, by a wide wide margin, the world's best carrier relationships.
The early commitments and communications from Elop seemed to extend just the right messages and tone that the carriers wanted, and Ollila was also in synch, assuring all that Elop would not make major strategy shifts, he would only help Nokia execute better and faster. The carrier community was betrayed starting with the February Elop Effect , in small part in the Symbian, MeeGo and Windows statements, but more in the Ovi store, Qt and related ecosystem castration that Elop has pursued relentlessly since, against all complaints and protests from the carrier community.
Nokia had been the most open of all handset makers. Nokia had always promoted open standards , openness, Linux, standards, etc. And cooperation. And ever after N-Gage, Nokia had prioritized cooperation with carriers first! Now with uber-brain Elop in charge, Nokia abandoned all that and went to the most closed, restictive and even punitive system.
Where the carriers could not even trust Nokia's word, because there was a dictator in charge, known for its unpredictable and vengeful whims: Microsoft. And Microsoft not only rejects carrier inputs to its system, it even won't let Nokia help develop Windows or allow the Nokia Qt tools to work with theirs. There are only carriers. About operators have 5 million or more subscribers. The 25 largest carriers control half of the planet's mobile accounts.
You really don't have to piss off many of the big ones to ruin the rest of your year. And what Elop has done?
He quit because of Elop and his meddling and arrogance and contempt of the carriers. Same of the USA top sales guy. And the top Windows Phone marketing chief - a high profile 'capture' from Samsung to Microsoft. Quit because of the poisoned relations that follow Microsoft everywhere. Look at this example. And since then, they have kept innovating and inventing. They were the first 3G operator, the first mobile internet provider, the first app store provider, the first WiFi phone supplier, the first NFC mobile wallet provider, the first mobile advertising agency, the first..
Millions of guaranteed sales just there. Did Elop not tell this important a Nokia 'partner' that he intends to kill Symbian? Elop doesn't consider carriers as allies, he thinks like a Microsoftian, he thinks of all others as his slaves. Can you imagine the insult this is to the Japanese? Do you think there is the slightest chance, that every one of the other carriers didn't notice this enormous slap in the face from Nokia to the legitimate grand old company of the mobile industry - a company by the way known for enormous kindness and oppennes and helping others NTT DoCoMo obviously.
Domo arigato Stephen-san. What an asshole! If you are Boeing, then American Airlines and Air France and Singapore Airlines are among the most important possible customers to you. Because Mom and Pop's ice cream shop will not be buying a Dreamliner any day soon, even if the dad has a Cessna monoplane daylight flight pilot's license. Elop came from the Microsoft Way of bullying its little customers and trampled developers and VAR reseller chain. That is not how handsets are sold. The new Nokia global handset sales head, is another Microbrain. Nokia once had the gold standard in carrier relations.
Now Elop has been bullying his way to destroy all that and adding the top Ignoramusdude to 'fix' those problems. Elop has been poisoning every carrier relationship he has found at Nokia. Elop is to sales what water is to fire. By this reason alone, he is most definitely one of the worst CEOs of all time. When fully connected and the Qt project is completed soon, it will be by installed base and by new sales far bigger than all of Microsoft's Windows - of every generation and every device from smartphones to desktop PCs and enterprise file servers. Of all Nokia platforms the only one excluded from this electronic eldorado is..
You think the Nokia 'partner' carriers who signed on this 'dream' had happy thoughts when Elop suddenly out of the blue cancelled their future? This is no 'work in progress' some future ecosystem. I am sure you've heard the kind Apple propaganda tell you how massively the iPhone App Store has downloads and apps and makes money.
Apple from America. Where they speak the English. Now, would it surprise you if I told you that in Finland, where they don't natively speak the English, but speak the Finnish, it is actually Symbian based ecosystem which is biggest by developers, by apps, by downloads and by revenues? Probably not surprising in Nokia's home market. So what would be a fair comparison then? Lets find a neutral market. Where Apple is not at home, neither is Finland.
And lets even be so kind, to not use Europe the continent, so lets not consider Nokia's close neighbors either. Do I need to go on? A year after the assassination of Symbian. Nokia Ovi Symbian. On the continent of Asia. Which is more than ten USA's in size. Yes, where literally more than half of the planet lives - the biggest app store is Nokia Ovi Symbian.
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And for the record, the Windows Phone based app economy and 'third' haha ecosystem - does not register in countries where the domestic language is not English. Yes, I know the Apple reality distortion field is powerful. But I don't deal with imaginary economies here on this blog, I deal with cold facts.
Nokia's Symbian based Ovi app store today is the bestselling app store ecosystem in every country where the domestic language is not English, or Japanese, or Korean. This is what the Nokia that embraced open systems, partnerships - and built patiently across languages and - with the help of the domestic carriers - had built. Every expert in mobile apps and services will tell you, the hardest thing to achieve in mobile is carrier billing.
You know who leads in carrier billing. Who had in fact more than three times the carrier billing deals than its nearest rival. This is the biggest key to generating MORE revenue for developers? Nokia has produced more millionaires, in more languages, on apps than any other platform.
But the Apple reality distortion field is strong, we all hear about the massive free downloads on the iPhone. And why? Because of the painstaking long building process Nokia had fought through to get - over carrier billing relationships!!!! This was the most 'open' and specifically global, affluence-level-neutral ecosystem ever built.
You didn't even have to have a Symbian smartphone to live in the Ovi world. It works even on Nokia featurephones running S The carriers had invested enormous time and effort to nurture this world. Elop spoke eloquently about the need to have a winning ecosystem. Nokia did. Nokia had by far the biggest, strongest and healthiest ecosystem in mobile, stretching across the whole planet and all major languages, continents, carriers. But no, it didn't have as many apps or downloads as the iPhone App Store.
Not yet. Shortly after Elop took over at Nokia, the Ovi store became the second bestselling app store on the planet even including Apple's iPhone App Store and including the English-speaking world. How's them apples then? Didn't know that did you? Or that Apple wasn't running away from Nokia, no, Nokia was closing the gap to Apple at that time. Second bestselling app store. And Elop calls this - a burning platform, lets shut this down and join - who was it? The tiny one. Not second, third, fourth, fifth or even sixth ecosystem.
Windows Phone was the seventh ecosystem at the time - and its sales were declining as they did from that point on for the next 9 months straight until finally, Nokia's massive sales organization churned out Lumias for unsuspecting customers. Nokia did not need Windiws. Microsoft desperately needed Nokia just to survive. Elop knew ecosystems are a key to victory in mobile. He found the strongest. He set it on fire like an arsonist. If this is not grounds to fire the CEO, nothing is. And this is obviously a sign of a pathological psycopath and patently unfit to lead any company.
Definitely one of the worst CEOs of all time. With his forces intact, he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. How poetically appropriate, that the greatest strategist of all time, General Sun Tzu, in his masterpiece the Art of War, in the one part where he describes the pinnacle of strategic military excellence - the very best possible performance of a General, our example should also be specific to China, Sun Tzu's homeland So then China Mobile.
This time it was China Mobile. China Mobile is so enormously huge, it alone has more subscribers than Thats two whole USAs from sea to shining sea. China Mobile alone serves telecoms services to literally one out of every 12 people alive on the planet. And Nokia had been courting China Mobile for decades, providing it with everything from custom handsets to networking equipment on the China-only 3G standard called TD-SCDMA the iPhone doesn't even come in this configuration, Nokia provides many phones on it. China Mobile was so essential to Nokia's future, Nokia built the world's largest handset factory to Beijing, just to serve China's domestic handset needs.
Talk about commitment! And yes, China Mobile loved Nokia and Symbian. Note, China is the world's largest smartphone market too, far bigger than the USA and growing far faster. In fact, China Mobile rejected both the iPhone and Blackberry altogether! Think about the power of that relationship.
All iPhone markets and countries combined. Nokia in one sweet carrier deal with China Mobile through MeeGo had the 'inside track' not just to match MeeGo sales to iPhone today, but also through this warm, trusting, long-term ecosystem-building and Chinese language, currency, character set etc customization, also EXCLUDE the iPhone and Blackberry totally from the world's biggest market.
If you were only slightly smart, you know this is the single most customer relationship in the telecoms industry. And somehow his predecessors and carrier relationship geniuses had won it for Nokia. The Nokia China Mobile sales rep is literally your most important person. If China Mobile asks you to join them to watch the take off of the new Chinese rocket to space, and its your 30 year wedding anniversary and the simultaneous birthdays of each of your 17 children and by weird coincidence also your mom's birthday and your very frail grandmom's birthday too and she is now strapped to a bed,..
The fastest growing hardware business of all time. The industry that made Apple the most profitable company in the world. The industry that will cannibalize and dominate countless others from music and gaming to PCs, the internet and even payments and money. A platform that requires Hotmail to use, a service almost unused in China. A phone that requires you use Zune to make even the simplest picture transfers from your phone, Zune which..
And one where many benefits come from Xbox - a service that is literally illegal in China. Did you really understand what I said? I'm sorry this is a long blog. But let me be blunt. The China Mobile problem alone - means Elop blasted an Apple iPhone sized hole in Nokia's future business from here to eternity.
I think this is not a far fetch to say, Elop is the evil-Anti-Steve-Jobs of the industry. Elop is truly starting to sit well in that picture, as the Duhanov to Steve Jobs's Siilasvuo applying our search and analogy from the Battle of Suomussalmi, doesn't he? The greatest business leader ever and the worst CEO of all time. If you are able to somehow achieve in one year the destruciton of an iPhone-sized hole out of your phone business, you must be one of the most detrimental CEO's ever seen and utterly incompetent to boot. He must be fired now. Sun Tzu taught us: "What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.
Elop wrote in his Burning Platforms memo that Nokia had fallen years behind. He has since regretted and reversed many parts of the memo. He has for example issued totally opposite statements this time more accurate that Nokia is in fact years ahead of Apple, such as the evidence of the massive patents lawsuits out-of-court settlement that Nokia signed with Apple.
Nokia pays Apple? Not one red cent.
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Apple pays Nokia for numerous patent infringements? For every single iPhone sold. So just from Apple, Nokia earns about million dollars per quarter currently. This is all work completed years before Elop came in. Who proves Apple stole from their patents? Don't tell me your company isn't one of the dominant ones if Apple - Apple for goodness sake - succumbs and agrees to pay you for ripping your inventions off.
Who is better than Apple for heaven's sake? Nokia thats who, from before Elop the Clown brought his Microsoftian Circus to town. What of the future? The Mobile Advertising industry has passed 10 Billion dollars in value annually, and the advertising industry projects nearly doubling in size this year again.
What of money? Visa is one of many financial industry giants who now say the future of money - not just credit cards, money - is mobile as in your mobile wallet on your phone. Meanwhile the IT tech industry talks of two giant trends they are witnessing. One is social networking, the other is cloud computing. Both are by wide consensus seen to head directly to smartphones. So how of our Microsoft Microbrain? Elop has sold Nokia's mobile advertising arm, one of the ten biggest on the planet! Elop quit the Nokia social networking services. Elop says 'thank you' and takes all of Nokia's most forward thinking, not experimental projects but fully functional, operational, future-oriented mobile businesses and sinks them all.
For what? This is a man with 'anti foreknowledge'. He sees the future as something he can go and destroy. He is the Terminator. He is literally a menace. This is yet another, independent reason why he is one of the worst CEOs, to take all of Nokia's clear well-established early 'bridgeheads' as he likes to use the word, into the real areas where this industry is going, and far ahead of his rivals - look at Google whose Chairman Eric Schmidt wrote in Harvard Business Review that one of Google's top priorities is mobile money?
Google - come on, last year - Google - says they want to own this space and Nokia had a lead of many years. Now Elop abandons all that and why? Because he needs to push unwanted Osborned Lumias down the throats of customers not wanting them and his disasterous actions cost too much. So he sacrifices Nokia's massive lead - who has a massive lead on Google?
Come on! Its strategic direction? And Elop throws that away. Sun Tzu taught us: "So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak. Then about his make-or-break product line, the Lumia smarthpones. I wrote in February last year, that I felt the Windows Phone choice as likely to fail and a high-risk venture with very low chance of success. But I also wrote, that it might work, as yes, Microsoft was the biggest software house who had dabbled in phones and failed there.
Nokia was the giant handset maker who had for a long time struggled on its software side. If these two got togeher, and 'stick to their knitting' - then yes, it might work. Every single Microsoft mobile venture ends in the tears of the other partner. Microsoft is the cruel, abusive, sadistic, treacherous and thieving widowmaker.