Why Nokia will survive (and so will Stephen Elop).

Quality Above All

One word: Quality.

There. I said it.

I've seen articles posted by investors, bloggers, fans, etc. as to why Nokia is doomed this way and that. They say Nokia is doomed because of their stock price, their financials, their leadership, their strategy. But what you never hear them say as a reason is this: Quality. In fact, you hear the opposite. "I wish Nokia chose android." Why? Because they wish they had an OEM dedicated to producing quality products focused on their preferred OS. Cases in point: here, here, here, etc.

I just find it curious that you will hear all sorts of reasons that Nokia is doomed to fail except the ones that count like:

"Does Nokia have terrible customer service?" Nope.

"Does Nokia make poor quality products?" Nope.

"Does Nokia drag its feet on innovating new functionality?" Nope.

Don't Sell Them Short

So if Nokia has proven that it delivers in the three things that we demand of our hardware providers, e.g. service, quality and innovation, then why are people rooting for them to fail? Perhaps because they've already made their uninformed bets and have a vested financial interest in seeing them fail.

Btw, here's one more argument that you may have heard: There's no room for a third ecosystem.

Well, dozens of articles that now place the 920 in the same context as both the Galaxy s3 and iphone 5 say otherwise. Like here, here and here.

In the end, you can't argue that Nokia is hurting financially, but these things don't recover overnight. What you also can't argue, is that throughout all this turmoil, Nokia has never cut corners, never gotten complacent and never failed to deliver on time.

Zen and the Art of Polycarbonate

As a final point, I wanted to post a quote from a book called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which I think perfectly sums up the difference between Nokia and other companies let alone other mobile manufacturers.

"...a person who's lived in a prison of ugly plastic technology that started with his childhood toys and continues through a lifetime of junky consumer products is likely to see this material as inherently ugly.

But the real ugliness of modern technology isn't found in any material or shape or product... the real ugliness lies in the relationship between the people who produce the technology and the things they produce, which results in a similar relationship between the people who use the technology and the things they use."

In a nutshell, plastic gets a bad rap, to the point that it is now a negative adjective, "plasticky". Sadly, this isn't because plastic is inherently a bad material but rather because these OEMs simply don't treat it and, by correlation, their products with a high level of respect. If they don't respect it, then how can they expect customers to do the same? Simple answer is they can't, and the result is that even when they use the exact same materials, they get lesser results.

On the other hand, you have Nokia and its usage of polycarbonate plastic. By respecting the material and its unique qualities, Nokia is able to achieve excellence in form, both from a technical and design perspective.

TL;DR:

Nokia didn't take the easy way out. They have sacrificed a lot but have never sacrificed their crown jewel asset, their product quality. They believe that if they do what they believe and put their heart and soul into products, customers will ultimately appreciate this and the dollars will come. Isn't this something worth rooting for?

PS: I wrote some of these thoughts to Stephen Elop himself and, in a few hours on a sunday afternoon, he responded "Thanks for the great note. Stephen." This is another reason they will survive. Because they care.