So it’s a done deal, Nokia and Microsoft joining forces.

I think this is bad news for Nokia, and bad news for the Nordics that was once an epicenter for Mobile technology.

Why? In spite that I think Scoble is most likley right that Windows Phone 7 has an something in terms of appeal, but:

  • Microsoft need a lot of hardware backing, HTC and some of the loyal Windows phone makers, have pushed Windows phones. And they will continue to do so. Most of them are more excited about Android though, for lot’s of reasons (they can extend, adopt etc). Carriers like Android (not for all the good reasons, but they can change the OS to create consumer lock-in). Nokia for Microsoft is a great choice, a full commitment for a full range of hardware devices, will help Microsoft move forward with Windows Phone 7.
  • But Nokia is missing out on the whole app opportunity. That is where the game is being decided right now, and Windows Phone 7, sorry there are no apps to speak of. And anyone of the developers I talk to every week here in Silicon Valley, Windows Phone 7, is platform no 5 or 6 on their list (Apple iOS and Android be the top two).
  • Nokia would have needed to create something that has great appeal for app developers, Android would have been the logical choice, lot’s of developers and momentum. Nokia could still done what every other mobile phone manufacturer do with Android, build custom UI and other components and apps on top to make it unique enough.
  • I don’t think Microsoft still has made any money out of their mobile OS franchise, they certainly have the cash to keep going for quite some time, but they can not pay developers forever to develop for the platform. And I don’t hink Nokia have the time to wait for the critical mass to emerge around Windows Phone app development.

Microsoft is desperate in the mobile space and need somebody to push hardware with it, problem is Nokia is just as desperate… Two bad does not mean synergy…

However with the resources Microsoft and Nokia have for this, something will happen, and Nokia still creates great hardware, so I think we will see some interesting phones coming out of this. But IMHO the long-term (regained) success for Nokia will not be on a clear path by this move.

Been a bit slow with the posts, it’s partly because I have been quite busy with my startups, traveling, and my MacBook Pro is being serviced by Apple (or their partners).

Since this fall I have been a happy Apple user, and now it was time for a check-up, it have been behaving oddly for a few months, but I was just too busy to not have a my laptop. Apple had it for 10 days, and they are not yet done with it, which is really bad (that are “hoping” to have it to me before the end of this week!!!).

I think the Apple service in Europe might not be as good at it has to be to be feasible for typical business users. I am not upset that I need to service it, every manufacturer of a portable PC’s have these issues (some more, like a friends Dell had to be repaired 5 times the first 3 weeks), some less (IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads have served me well in the past), but speedy service is essential, and in using Thinkpads since 1996 until last fall service has always been swift everywhere in the world.

So although happy with my Mac, if Apple won’t improve warranty service response times, this is a major drawback for going for a Mac for business use.

Lot’s of people have written about the iPhone experience and about touch, and gestures and the obvious UI paradigms that the iPhone brought (no matter if Apple did not invent it, they did bring it to market in a nicely designed package).

After using an iPhone for a few days, quite intensively, here are my thoughts:

– Web surfing; To compare with my Nokia and Sony Ericsson devices I have used, put simply: It works. Even if I have my laptop in my bag, it is actually easier to pull up the iPhone and check something on the web. And Ajax works, and Videos, and most things you expect in a normal web browser. I have used lot’s of PDA type phones from Nokia and some from Sony Ericsson, and a bit of Windows devices, but no one is even close here.

– Internet connection. The iPhone seamlessly switch between any number of WiFi networks (and here in Silicon Valley, they are everywhere), and the Edge network, so I don’t really need to know. On the spec sheet a Nokia will as well, but in reality I get so many pop-ups requesting me to choose connection access points that I don’t really bother.

– E-Mail, have not tried this as throughly, but it seem to work well this far.

– Typing, not as good as a Nokia Communicator, but after some practice, in equal terms to my Nokia E61.

– Positioning and Maps, it just works, positioning is not very accurate, but good enough to be useful.

– WiFi. My Nokia E61 has WiFi, but won’t connect to many Access Points. I think the WiFi implementation is buggy in the device. And when it connects it’s quite slow (connecting and transfer) compared to the iPhone.

There is a lot in store for the iPhone in terms of software updates, but I don’t think we will see any major hardware updates soon (perhaps more memory, only thing is a 3G type device for Europe). Except for 3G (and possibly a GPS receiver), the device has a powerful CPU, lot’s of memory, Bluetooth built-in, fast WiFi and using that capable hardware, Apple can bring lot’s of new functionality on the existing hardware (much of which is not fully utilized today, like Bluetooth).

… Or perhaps you get fans like this because of an excellent design strategy.

(Read more on Gizmondo)

Perhaps apple won’t make this MacBook Touch type of slim notebook (I would agree with Gizmondo that a small/slim notebook more like the Lenovo Thinkpad X-series is more in line with what Apple would do, and what would make sense in generating revenue), for quite some time yet. However Apple’s design department get ideas and design concepts from their fan and customer group. Have you ever seen Sony-Ericsson, Nokia, or Microsoft getting this type of mockups of potential products for them to produce “designed” by their customers?

Now then, design and product development is just one part (and not the most costly) of getting a new product to market, but it lessens the big risk between the “speculation” of a product/service design that your are making and what the market would actually buy, so I would argue that Apple has a great benefit from all this mockup’s and speculations floating around on the Internet.

Stefan Engeseth is right on the spot here with his book “One”.

But why do not Sony-Ericsson or Nokia get the same attention? With mock-ups of potential new and cool mobile phones?

I think it is because Apple built a “cult” around it’s design (and interaction design), and the design department at Apple report directly to the top management of the company, which is something you won’t see in almost any other consumer/computer/electronics company. I think it’s because of their attention to these matters, that they have attracted customers and “fans” that value these things, and come up with new ideas around it.

At one point Apple (or rather Steve Jobs) decided that one of Apple’s core values and “Key differentiators” is design and interaction, and by making the design department report directly to the top-management Apple made a clear statement internally and externally how important this is.

So my lesson as an Entrepreneur here (which I already knew, but need to remind myself of every now and then); is how important a focused and well executed brand strategy is. And it’s as simple as to find your core values and differentiators that will make your product and services distinctly different than the competition, and dare to “kill your darlings”, by making choices that also eliminate some potential customers but makes you more appealing for a group that identify themselves with those core values. And by building this into the culture of your organization, it will be a part of everything you do.

PS: I would actually buy a very slim MacBook Touch (half a page size iPhone type of device), so I do hope Apple will make one, and even though the tablet PC’s have not been a huge success, perhaps the general market is ready for an smaller tablet type device soon. Building a company that makes such a device is actually in my “business idea backlog” (but this is a though business to build from scratch!)

This is just so fun, check it out!

Thanks Erik for sending the link!

Can you spot the PC?These numbers are old; but they indicate that Apple was growing more rapidly in the begining of the year, and if looking at this picture it’s no wonder.

The question is can you spot the PC in the picture?

Still happy with my switch to Mac OS X, it’s working really well for me. The only hazzle has been moving my e-mails from Outlook, which I in the end decided not to do (in theory you can import into Thunderbird on Windows, and then import the Thunderbird files on the Mac Mail, but it will never import all of your e-mails, due some differences in how Thunderbird stores the files).

I think that Leopard will be a nice step forward as well, so will be interesting when that comes out, with some updated features.

Been quite busy working on the latest startup projects, most notably GlocalReach that is doing a funding round right now, and have not had too much time for blogging. Will do better to keep blogging a bit more!

So finally after many years with Windows, and lately with Windows Vista, I decided to switch my main work machine to a Mac. I already have a Mac Mini, but that’s just for fun, and I use it more as a PVR than anything else and I still do most of my actual work my Thinkpad Notebook.

I am not getting a Mac because they make better laptops than Lenovo, they don’t. They make good laptops, but Lenovo Thinkpads still are better laptops in terms of performance, durability, battery time etc and more suited for my needs. Windows Vista however is not suited for my needs, so that is my primary reason for switching to Mac.

Also I hope that Steve Jobs statements about “nobody is using Java anymore” was a mistake; with a few billion devices (many of them are mobile phones) that support Java, a lot more people use Java than Macs… Besides personally it’s a must, even though I don’t normally do any development work; I need to test things that comes from the development (which a lot of it is Java based server applications) in the various startups I work with and some of the most common productivity applications that I use everyday are written in Java, so when choosing Mac; Java support is a must for me.

So now that I got my new MacBook Pro yesterday, and started installing all the stuff I work with (including VMWare Fusion, to use my Windows artifacts during the transition), all in all I am happy with the 15.4″ 2.4GHz MacBook Pro that I bought, it is really fast, and even Windows XP inside VMWare Fusion boots in a matter of seconds (Windows Vista on my old Thinkpad, although the fastest available when I got it, 2GB RAM, High-speed disk, 2.0GHz Laptop takes almost a minute).

My first impression and thoughts about the machine (and ideas for improvement):

  • Higher resolution display for the 15.4″, my 4.5 year old Thinkpad, has 1400×1050 on 14″ display, which is actually a quite good resolution, 1440×900 is a bit low, a higher DPI gives much crisper graphics and text (even new mobiles like the new Nokia Communicator has a higher DPI than 15.4″ MacBook Pro).
  • Optional Trackpoint, I think I will get used to the Mac Trackpad, it’s quite good for Trackpad, but it do not have the precision and ergonomics of a Trackpoint (the latter, quite a good aspect of, you do not need to move your hand going between typing and moving the mousepointer).
  • Disk encryption like the Thinkpads have.
  • Built-in WWAN (but don’t do it like Lenovo, thery were the first in the world to launch this in 2005, but the models were only sold with SIM-locked subscriptions, which means these models where not sold i most parts of Europe, due to hard do agreements with all different small Telco’s). There are many
  • Longer Battery life, although it is quite acceptable, the Thinkpad X series is quite unbeatable (7 – 9 hours of actual usage, not fictive hours).

Overall I am happy with my Switch to Mac, and I think that both the hardware and the new environment will serve me well for my work needs. But I am hoping that now that Apple have a momentum (Apple grows faster than PC) they will keep it up and get some of the features needed to make Mac a fully-featured Business laptop as well.