Today’s date is October 11th, but yes you already knew that and so did the clock or computer that reminded you of that. But really, today is actually more than that. It’s been 112 days since Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 to the public and also 36 days since Nokia announced the Lumia 920 and 820 to the public. Pre-orders for these handsets in AT&T begin until October 21st which is 10 days from now, and you’ll most likely get any of these on October 29th which is just a couple of days after that.
Let’s do some math now. Samsung released the Galaxy S III 135 days ago, and just weeks before we wrote this, had already surpassed a staggering 20 million units sold. Apple, in a similar fashion, launched the iPhone 5 just 20 days ago and sold 5 million units in just the first three days. If we were to proportionally sum how many units have been sold for each of these two products since their launch until today, or to make it even more dramatic, until the date when the Lumia 920 will reach the market, how many customers do you think Nokia has lost?
Now the disappointing fact about all this is that the Lumia 920 is finished. It’s been finished since the first day they announced it 36 days ago when we had some hands-on time with it. Even more disappointing was that each time we wanted to hold the device to preview its features ourselves, the Nokia representatives would not allow us to use Windows Phone 8 because it wasn’t finished.
Think of it this way: Can you imagine how many customers Nokia would’ve nabbed if they managed to ship their new flagship that same date they announced it, a full two weeks before the iPhone 5 began shipping? In business we call this the opportunity cost of a product. The fact that even though you haven’t really lost any physical money, you lost the opportunity to make money.
I’m personally still trying to understand how Nokia, Samsung and even HTC are ready with their products, but Microsoft isn’t. How can it possibly be that each of these three OEMs is willing to sacrifice their opportunity to push their hot products into the market, because their software partner isn’t ready? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Isn’t it more difficult for engineers and manufactures to refine the processes to build a physical product than it takes for a team of developers to finalize the code you need to build an OS? I’m no expert in either of these, but I do know that the logistics involved in building a product vs. building a program sitting in a computer are vastly different.
That said, I do fear that Nokia is about to fail with their Windows Phones yet again. These are the reasons why:
Please, before you start bashing in the comments, let’s be clear that this has nothing to do with the product. The phones are gorgeous, and the Operating System is awesome. The problem here is timing and cost of opportunity. See, today, October 11th 2012 doesn’t ever repeat itself again in history. It only happens once in a lifetime, and yes, all those customers that bought an iPhone 5 or a Galaxy S III today are lost. Nokia might gain them in the future, but not for the Lumia 920.
In this industry, timing is everything. It can make your product hot or simply irrelevant. So many companies have lost some great opportunities to innovate because they weren’t able to push their products to market on time. Nokia has proven that they are right on the dot with their timing. They delivered on their promise of a better Lumia this year so many days ago. Their problem is not being able to sell it, give us a price, or hey, even allow us to test it.
Microsoft has turned into a government, not a Software company
I think Steve Jobs said it best when he mocked Microsoft on Stage on his launch of OS X Tiger almost 500 days earlier than Microsoft was ready with Windows Vista (codename Longhorn) in the video above.
I’ll give you a very simple example of why waiting for Microsoft doesn’t make sense. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was launched 94 days ago. Google was able to push the OS to some existing Galaxy Nexus smartphones that same day, but then the adoption by smartphones like the Galaxy S III has only taken Samsung around 80 days. How can it be that Samsung was able to do their work in a little over two months, and Microsoft hasn’t been able to pull it off in a year? Samsung is a hardware company, and still, their small software department was able to show such a software giant how things are done.
The reasons are seriously beyond me, but it makes you wonder if Microsoft really cares about Windows Phone enough to push it the way they have to. They are no longer the Microsoft from the Bill Gates era that you and I grew up with. This is now a money-making animal that is focused on the money and not on delivering on time. Sadly that strategy hasn’t proven smart for Microsoft now that both Apple and Google are worth more than they are, but it seems it’ll take them another couple of years and a thousand committee meetings to even figure that out.
The bottom line
Nokia had a real shot at not only reviving from the grave, but also of making Windows Phone matter. The Lumia 920 is easily the most innovative smartphone of the year. Those of you who consider this operating system to be great, or even Nokia to be great, are both with me on this. My first ever cell phone was a Nokia 250 NAMPS back in 1998, and my first PDA was a Microsoft Pocket PC Powered Compaq iPAQ h3630. I’m also bleeding with you on this one, since I do want both companies to return to their glory days as well.
You know, sometimes I get this stupid idea that Microsoft is just doing this on purpose to devalue Nokia and buy it. I mean, why not? Nokia is now worth only a quarter of what Microsoft is worth, and barely doubles what Microsoft paid for Skype a year ago. Google bought Motorola, Apple has their iPhone, so it only makes sense that Microsoft gives their own cellphone a shot.
Whatever the case may be, I too can’t wait to get a Lumia 920 and see if it’s as great as Nokia has marketed it to be. Sadly, there aren’t many of us left to wait.
What do you think? Do you forgive Nokia and Microsoft for taking too long? Leave us a comment down bellow.