Never say never. Itulah salah satu semboyan yang saya yakini dan tanggal 11 Februari kemarin, kita semua menyaksikan contoh konkrit dari semboyan tersebut. Masih segar di ingatan saat saya menanyakan kepada salah satu petinggi Nokia apakah mungkin Nokia mengadopsi platform smartphone lain. Pertanyaan yang ditanyakan sekitar 3 tahun lalu itu dijawab dengan meyakinkan bahwa Nokia punya komitmen pada platform Symbian dan kelompok penggunanya. Tapi pengumuman resmi dari Nokia yang menjalin kerjasama dengan Microsoft untuk memproduksi smartphone berbasis sistem operasi Windows Phone membuktikan bahwa di dunia ini semuanya mungkin.

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Apa pemicunya?
Sebenarnya apakah ini langkah yang dipicu dari kepanikan karena turunnya pangsa pasar Nokia tahun 2010 dari 40% menjadi 31%? Tentu tidak. Menurut saya, keputusan ini diambil atas dasar kebutuhan. Walaupun di depan media dan masyarakat, Nokia masih menyatakan komitmen pada Symbian, tapi pada nyatanya kemajuan Symbian kalah jauh dibanding dua platform yang merajai pasar smartphone dunia, yaitu iOS dan Android. Lambatnya perkembangan Symbian bukanlah hal yang mengherankan. Mengapa begitu? Karena Nokia bukanlah perusahaan software. Nokia mampu menghasilkan produk (hardware) yang berkualitas tinggi, tahan lama, dan handal, tapi untuk urusan software, mereka masih dalam tahap belajar.

Kontras sekali dengan Apple dan Google yang memang mengandalkan nasibnya dari pengembangan perangkat lunak. Berbagai peningkatan fitur dan perbaikan bug berhasil mereka gelontorkan dengan cepat dan rapi. Sebaliknya Nokia masih berkutat dengan interface Symbian yang terasa “membosankan” dan kurang modern. Alasan di balik dipertahankannya interface Symbian adalah untuk memberikan konsistensi cara penggunaan yang berimbas pada kemudahan pemakaian. Yang terjadi, Nokia akhirnya tidak dipandang lagi sebagai produsen smartphone kelas atas. Solusi mereka dianggap ketinggalan atau bahasa gaulnya “so last year”. Konsumen beralih ke platform baru yang lebih modern seperti iPhone dan Android, menggerogoti pangsa pasar Nokia yang sepertinya tidak tergoyahkan. Bahkan platform Android berhasil menyelamatkan dua vendor besar, Sony Ericsson dan Motorola, dari kematian. Pendapatan kedua merek ini yang sebelumnya minus, akhirnya bisa menjadi plus akibat mengadopsi platform Android. Platform Apple dan Google tersebut tidak hanya mampu menarik minat konsumen, tapi juga developer. Peranan developer inilah yang menjadi kunci keberhasilan sebuah platform, karena dari tangan mereka lahir berbagai aplikasi hebat yang ujung-ujungnya bisa menarik minat konsumen untuk menggunakan sebuah platform.

Nokia sebenarnya masih mempunyai satu senjata di kancah pertarungan smartphone dengan platform Maemo, yang kemudian berevolusi menjadi Meego. Namun, sekali lagi, lambatnya pengembangan platform tersebut membuat konsumen tidak sabar menunggu Meego keluar. Bahkan sampai saat ini hanya N900 yang berbasis platform tersebut.

Di segmen kelas menengah ke bawah, Nokia harus menahan gempuran berbagai merek lokal yang tumbuh subur di negara berkembang seperti India dan Indonesia. Mereka harus memangkas harga, yang berimbas pada menurunnya margin laba, guna menyaingi ponsel-ponsel merek lokal tersebut. [/one_third]

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Nokia dan Microsoft: Pasangan Baru
Bermula dari ditunjuknya Stephen Elop, mantan petinggi Microsoft, sebagai CEO, sebenarnya sudah tercium akan adanya perubahan besar-besaran di Nokia. Ini terbukti dari lengsernya beberapa petinggi kunci Nokia Global. Tanggal 9 Februari 2011, Stephen Elop mengirimkan memo internal dengan isi yang sangat jujur dan patut diacungi jempol.

Hello there,
There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. He woke up one night from a loud explosion, which suddenly set his entire oil platform on fire. In mere moments, he was surrounded by flames. Through the smoke and heat, he barely made his way out of the chaos to the platform’s edge. When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters.
As the fire approached him, the man had mere seconds to react. He could stand on the platform, and inevitably be consumed by the burning flames. Or, he could plunge 30 meters in to the freezing waters. The man was standing upon a “burning platform,” and he needed to make a choice.
He decided to jump. It was unexpected. In ordinary circumstances, the man would never consider plunging into icy waters. But these were not ordinary times – his platform was on fire. The man survived the fall and the waters. After he was rescued, he noted that a “burning platform” caused a radical change in his behaviour.
We too, are standing on a “burning platform,” and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour.
Over the past few months, I’ve shared with you what I’ve heard from our shareholders, operators, developers, suppliers and from you. Today, I’m going to share what I’ve learned and what I have come to believe.
I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform.
And, we have more than one explosion – we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us.
For example, there is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem.
In 2008, Apple’s market share in the $300+ price range was 25 percent; by 2010 it escalated to 61 percent. They are enjoying a tremendous growth trajectory with a 78 percent earnings growth year over year in Q4 2010. Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.
And then, there is Android. In about two years, Android created a platform that attracts application developers, service providers and hardware manufacturers. Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under ˆ100. Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry’s innovation to its core.
Let’s not forget about the low-end price range. In 2008, MediaTek supplied complete reference designs for phone chipsets, which enabled manufacturers in the Shenzhen region of China to produce phones at an unbelievable pace. By some accounts, this ecosystem now produces more than one third of the phones sold globally – taking share from us in emerging markets.
While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time. At that time, we thought we were making the right decisions; but, with the benefit of hindsight, we now find ourselves years behind.
The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don’t have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.
We have some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia, but we are not bringing it to market fast enough. We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.
At the midrange, we have Symbian. It has proven to be non-competitive in leading markets like North America. Additionally, Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements, leading to slowness in product development and also creating a disadvantage when we seek to take advantage of new hardware platforms. As a result, if we continue like before, we will get further and further behind, while our competitors advance further and further ahead.
At the lower-end price range, Chinese OEMs are cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, “the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation.” They are fast, they are cheap, and they are challenging us.
And the truly perplexing aspect is that we’re not even fighting with the right weapons. We are still too often trying to approach each price range on a device-to-device basis.
The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we’re going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.
This is one of the decisions we need to make. In the meantime, we’ve lost market share, we’ve lost mind share and we’ve lost time.
On Tuesday, Standard & Poor’s informed that they will put our A long term and A-1 short term ratings on negative credit watch. This is a similar rating action to the one that Moody’s took last week. Basically it means that during the next few weeks they will make an analysis of Nokia, and decide on a possible credit rating downgrade. Why are these credit agencies contemplating these changes? Because they are concerned about our competitiveness.
Consumer preference for Nokia declined worldwide. In the UK, our brand preference has slipped to 20 percent, which is 8 percent lower than last year. That means only 1 out of 5 people in the UK prefer Nokia to other brands. It’s also down in the other markets, which are traditionally our strongholds: Russia, Germany, Indonesia, UAE, and on and on and on.
How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved?
This is what I have been trying to understand. I believe at least some of it has been due to our attitude inside Nokia. We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven’t been delivering innovation fast enough. We’re not collaborating internally.
Nokia, our platform is burning.
We are working on a path forward — a path to rebuild our market leadership. When we share the new strategy on February 11, it will be a huge effort to transform our company. But, I believe that together, we can face the challenges ahead of us. Together, we can choose to define our future.
The burning platform, upon which the man found himself, caused the man to shift his behaviour, and take a bold and brave step into an uncertain future. He was able to tell his story. Now, we have a great opportunity to do the same.

– Stephen.

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Memo ini benar-benar tepat sasaran dan menunjukkan “dosa” Nokia yang terlalu nyaman dengan posisinya sebagai merek ponsel terbesar di dunia.
Beberapa poin menarik dari memo ini:
– Di segmen atas, Apple mendominasi dengan pertumbuhan yang fantastis. Google, dengan Android, ikut membayangi.
– Di segmen menengah, Google juga semakin dominan, jauh mengalahkan Symbian di berbagai daerah.
– Di segmen bawah, produsen OEM asal Cina mampu menghasilkan ponsel murah dengan amat cepat. Bahkan orang Nokia sendiri juga bercanda, “Waktu yang dibutuhkan OEM Cina untuk menghasilkan ponsel sama cepatnya dengan kita membuat presentasi PowerPoint.”
– Para kompetitor Nokia tidak hanya mampu merebut pasar Nokia melalui perangkat yang inovatif, tapi juga dalam hal menciptakan ekosistem smartphone yang kompetitif. Jadi untuk tetap bertahan, Nokia harus menciptakan ekosistem baru (terlalu lama dan mahal sekali) atau mengadopsi platform lain.
– Minat konsumen pada merek Nokia semakin menurun, bahkan di daerah yang menjadi basis kekuatan Nokia seperti Indonesia, Rusia, Jerman, UAE, dan sebagainya.
– Menurut Elop, masalah utama terletak pada sikap di dalam Nokia.

Belum jelas apakah kolaborasi ini akan menjadi cerita bahagia bagi Nokia (dan Microsoft), tapi setidaknya kini kita bisa memasukkan Windows Phone ke dalam hitungan sebagai platform smartphone yang potensial menjadi platform terhebat. Kita tunggu saja ya.