Interview with Eldar Murtazin, part 2. Nokia’s reaction to N8 leak, security issues at Nokia, and a bit about Eseries.

This is the second part of an interview with Mobile-Review.com’s Eldar Murtazin, about Nokia N8 and  media/Nokia  reactions to his original thoughts about the device.

In the first part we covered Eldar’s thoughts about Symbian^3, Nokia N8 handset, it’s prospects in the market, and some business processes inside Nokia.

Today we talk about Nokia’s reaction to the N8 leak, general device security issues at  Nokia, cooperation with media, Eldar’s plans for a full N8 preview/review, and promised article on Nokia’s strategy for 2010-11. And, we also have some interesting thoughts about Nokia E-Series product line.

S.B. What do you think about Nokia’s own reaction to your impressions about N8 – I mean the “One of  children is missing” post?

E.M. Actually, I do not know anything about Nokia reaction. I know that there was some kind of post on Nokia Conversations blog. Today I received a message (from Nokia), that this post is not connected in any way to Mobile-review.com, or personally me. That that post was just some thoughts from a Nokia employee, about the situation in general, and is not connected with us.

So, yes, Nokia overreacted, because I unofficially talked with many people from Nokia. Not Nokia Russia, because they have a very strict security measures right now. They are forbidden to talk with me, or any Mobile-Review.com employee, not only about these issues [N8], but about anything at all. I tried calling different people [in Nokia Russia office], I tried to write, and there was no answer.

But that’s Ok. From our side, we are not in a state of war with Nokia, if they want to act as they are acting right now, they have a right to do that. But during previous leaks, we’ve had a lot of discussions with Nokia global security officer, about how to handle them. We had a very good conversations several times, and I don’t see any big issue here. From our side, we are just doing our job. If Nokia really wants to close leaks – they have instruments to do that.

I think, Nokia overreacted only in one way. They are trying to create a lot of buzz around N8. Their PR campaign is, that Nokia is returning to the high end device market with N8. But, in terms of hardware – N8 is just a regular device,  in terms of software, which is part of the product package – it’s old fashioned. People do not discuss how many engineer/programmer hours were spent on this device. People are just looking at the screen and saying – it’s so boring, so old fashioned, etc;.

For Nokia, all this was so hard, because they themselves do not really believe that N8 is an exceptional product. In all terms, it’s not an up-to-date product, it’s an average product. And the price was established at that level due to the same reason. They do not believe that they could sell it for higher price. They have to believe in their product, but they do not. And this is the difference.

S.B.: You tweeted that you are now playing with one (or several) upcoming Symbian^3 E-Series devices. Which, now we know, will also be priced around 400 Euro. What do you think about them?

E.M.: Let me answer like Nokia employee :)  “ No comments about future products”.

I can only talk about some things in general. In terms of software, I always prefer Eseries devices to Nseries, or other series. Because the product team which is working on E-Series devices, is much stronger then any other product teams inside Nokia. Well, except some product teams.

Talking in general, if we would compare device like Nokia N8, and some imaginary Eseries device, these imaginary Eseries devices are really better then N8 in terms of software. Software glitches, which were very well known from previous versions, they were corrected. Software for that (E-Series) device, would not be as mature as the software  for N8 now. But even today, a lot of mistakes are already corrected.

It depends on business process and product teams only. It depends on people. And when we are talking about that, it’s a  good example of how two products, based on the same version of OS, could be totally different in terms of user feel, in terms of stability, in terms of correction of previous mistakes, etc;

S.B. You mentioned that you are working on a full N8 preview, and also an article about Nokia strategy for 2010-2011. When can we expect to see that on Mobile-Review.com?

E.M. It will take some time. But, first of all, I’d like to say that it is not some attempt to harm Nokia, or disclose some confidential information. The article about Nokia strategy will be based on Nokia documents,  which are available from public sources. Which were published by Nokia, or their partners, and which you can find yourself on the Internet, etc;.

I want to show the way in which Nokia is developing as a company today, because it’s very interesting, and no one was talking about this until now. From  this new philosophy of Nokia as a company, maybe we can understand more about why we see the new price segments, like for N8, why we see a lot of   services coming for free from Nokia. And which companies Nokia is considering to be it’s competitors.

From that point of view, it will take some time. I hope, that in 1 or 2 weeks,  I’ll be able to finish this article and publish it in both, Russian and English.

About Nokia N8, Symbian^3 preview. I’m not sure I want to publish that preview, because there will be  a lot more misunderstandings, like with my thoughts about N8. Because, while it’s clearly a preliminary version, it’s also clear, that some of the things will not be corrected in the final version.

But in any case,  I will wait, maybe, for some previews from other sites, and after that, I will publish it. Actually the preview is  already ready for some time. Full N8 (pre) review, with good pictures, video samples, camera samples, etc;, has  been ready for 2 or 3 weeks now. But when I consider, that a full  N8/Symbian^3 review now,  can be really harmful for Nokia, I decided not to publish it. Because my thoughts (in Biriulki column), were just just the impressions from this review. And I believe that Nokia could make a better device, I believe that they could try to change something in this device, and we have to wait for that.

Those are my thoughts about this handset. Because at the end of the day, Nokia N8 is not a bad device. Some people say that “Eldar said, that N8 is no good at all”. It’s not true. Nokia N8 is not impressive device. But as an average device from Nokia, it’s not bad.  You could compare it to Nokia X6, which, at the new price level, ain’t bad today too.

S.B. And, just for the record, people were saying that Nokia N8 you have, is a very early, pre-production prototype, with very early software.

E.M. It’s not true

S.B. So you have a pretty up-to-date software, more or less the same Nokia has right now?

E.M. Actually, Nokia Security, they really want to know exactly which version of software I am using, which devices, which hardware version I have, or do not have on hand. I get a lot of these questions about software, coming from different sources, sometimes Nokia Security asks this in our forum, through e-mails. This way they are trying to figure out from which sources it’s coming, etc; So I will not comment on exact software or hardware versions.

But I have to say, that Nokia has some very big issues with security, and not only with me. A lot of companies (competitors) in the market, have Nokia devices in their hands. They have the latest development software from Nokia side, latest custom software, etc;

Nokia couldn’t say anything about the version of software we have on our device. It’s because they don’t have an idea, through which sources, [prototype] devices are getting out of Nokia. How they can say anything about software or hardware versions we have, when they haven’t been able to keep their own secrets for ages.?

It’s been going on for 8 years now. For 8 years they are trying to stop these leaks. A lot of people changed inside the company in that time. They’ve spent a lot of money to find these leaks. The end result – nothing. The leaks still happen every single month.

At Mobile-Review.com, we have a very simple rule. If the information about a product, it’s pictures, leak on the net, we have a right to publish about it too.  With our thoughts about it, preview or even review that product. We talked a lot of times with Nokia about our position on this. It’s alright with us, when someone else publishes the name, picture or some specs of a device. We do not want to be the source of those leaks.

The main difference between our site and other sites, is that we do  not publish just a picture, or some specs of the device. We also have/publish our own vision of this device, our thoughts about it and it’s future. And people in companies do not like that, because they would prefer us writing some sort of PR review, that it is a great device.  They do not want us to publish information  about it’s [market] positioning, etc; And they tell us these things repeatedly.

If we are talking about Nokia, sometime their PR Agency would tell us – you are not getting this device, because another site will write a positive review. Even before they had a chance to try the handset, or e.g. Nokia netbook – Booklet 3G, they say that review will be positive. We can not say whether review will be positive or negative before we had a chance to try the device. For me, it’s a very bad practice in the market, I do not believe in it.

From that point of view, I can say Nokia has some problems. They have some problems with openness.  Because they really do not care much about what people are saying about software, about product condition on the market. They have to be more open to end customers. And, of course, to the media. Because we are working with different companies, and Nokia is not open. Nokia is strictly closed. And, on the other hand, they are not able to keep their own devices secret.

It’s hilarious. On the one hand, we have their high end [prototype] devices, on the other hand – they wouldn’t give us their low end/budget models, which we cover too,  for a review. It’s funny, and I do not understand why Nokia is not working more closely with the Internet media. Why they do not do pre-launch events, like other companies. A lot of questions.

We are trying to show Nokia’s global PR team, that they could work in other ways. That they could work with different sources, bloggers, sites, off-line media. Without any results so far, because they do not want to change the ways they do business today. Which is not working for Nokia.

This is the second part of the interview with Eldar Murtazin.  For the first part, where we talk about his impressions and market prospects of Nokia N8, Symbian^3, business processes inside Nokia,  check out the first part of the interview.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • JackiLL

    ???????? ????????! ???????.

  • http://runningdigital.com David Hroncheck

    I appreciate this interview and look forward to more insights from Eldar on Nokia's business. The sites/blogs that published their extremely positive N8 counter-perspectives came across as a bit desperate, imo. Cheering on-the-fence brand switchers into buying Nokia's latest now will not build brand-loyalty. Nokia has to do that on their own, and right now they're not getting the job done.

    I'd like to see more fans discussing Nokia's business model, but it's such a taboo. Speaking critically of your favorite brand in times like these is difficult, but it is necessary.

    Something is wrong at Nokia. There's been a lot of chatter about this in the stock markets for quite some time, and it's not because of Eldar. Today NOK is trading at a 52wk low.

  • jke

    Agree.

    + Nokia shd be happy that ppl like Eldar really care about Nokia and their position. Who else does this?

    I think a lot of this comes from the fact that hardware-wise, most of their phones are brilliant. It's only the software and mentioned user experience which …. ah well… sigh.

    (I've recently switched from an E72 @ V 31 to a jailbroken 2G iPhone after 12 years of using Nokia phones only…)

  • zane

    I think Eldar actually cares about Nokia, when he published good reviews in the past before lunch date, everyone was HAPPY.

    Now that Nok isnt doing too well, they NEED this harsh criticism.

    Eldar is giving it to them and I hope they heed his advice…same way SE should have.

    Good going Eldar hope you publish the report and looking forward to N8 review.

  • Richie

    There has been a lot of discussion about Nokia, but I notice that Samsung is mentioned heavily in part one and on Mobile Review. Clearly Eldar is a fan, his relationship with Nokia has been discussed at length but there is little or on the other manufacturers. What has he to say on his relationship with Samsung etc.