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07-31-2013 12:02 PM
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  1. a5cent's Avatar
    So, I remember something like that (with the core OS) from when they announced they will be producing Windows Phone devices. But what does that mean, is this still valid with Windows Phone 8 and why aren't they doing it then?
    TBH, I am not 100% sure it is still valid. The last time I discussed this issue (unofficially with Microsoft employees) was back in January. It was valid then (for WP8), but anything can happen in six months. However, Nokia has many reasons not to modify the core OS directly themselves, and I doubt those have changed. I'll give you just three:

    Cost of reassigning responsibility:

    Google delivers to OEMs a pile of source code. However, Google isn't responsible for the OS functioning as intended on any device. They make it absolutely clear that any bugs are the OEMs problem, not Google's.

    For WP the exact opposite it true. It is MS' responsibility to deliver a reasonably bug-free OS. Failing that, it is MS' responsibility to fix OS problems. Here too the situation is clear. This is part of what justifies the cost for a WP license (we could dispute that this cost is justified, but that is the theory).

    As soon as Nokia starts modifying OS code themselves however, the boundaries between Microsoft's and Nokia's responsibilities are blurred.

    If Microsoft's engineers spend three weeks tracking down a bug, which they determine was caused by one of Nokia's modifications, should Microsoft be reimbursed? If so, then at what cost? What if Nokia discovers a bug in Microsoft's code, which is only revealed by one of their own modifications? What if Microsoft's engineers determine they could have tracked down the bug in half the time (which is likely since they developed it) and think it unreasonable to reimburse Nokia for all their efforts? Literally thousands of different and difficult situations can arise, not all of which can be forseen...

    Anyway, in a nutshell, this is entirely unworkable for software development. In this situation someone must take full responsibility, and just as with Android, this would have to be the OEM: Nokia. Obviously, this would incur a very significant additional cost to Nokia's WP development efforts...

    Cost of merging OS versions:

    Delivering updates to existing handsets is a rather costly business for Android OEMs. Imagine a code base with millions of lines of code, in which an OEM made thousands of modifications. When Google delivers a new version of Android, OEMs must reapply all their modifications to the new code base. Although much of this can be automated, many situations remain in which people must undertake extensive reengineering efforts to correctly recombine the two. Retesting is also costly.

    WP OEMs are spared such expenses, because they are neither able nor required to modify the OS themselves. Obviously, if Nokia decides to start modifying OS code themselves, then they are sacrificing those savings...

    Nokia's (or any other OEM's) ability to request low-level OS extensions

    Nokia has no reason to do any OS modifications themselves. Whenever they determine that the OS wont let them do something, they just call up the WP team, explain what they need, and let Microsoft add in some extra flexibility for them.

    This doesn't mean that Microsoft develops Nokia's features for them. It just means that Microsoft gives Nokia more extension points, where Nokia can add their own processing to what the OS already does, but in a way that allows them to specify that extra processing in their own firmware... without having to modify the OS. This is so much simpler and cheaper than digging into the OS code, that doing so really just would be stupid.
    07-27-2013 07:15 PM
  2. snowmutt's Avatar
    Amazing post, A5cent. Thank you.

    Nokia has every right in the world to call out Microsoft, and may be the only OEM with the stroke to do it as far as mobile partners go. Nokia's success as a company is resting on MS to live up to it's mobile vision. If they drop any part of their ecosystem- entertainment, apps, support, features, or supporting top end hardware- Nokia fails.

    Enough with the Android talk. Yes, Nokia could put out amazing devices, but so long as MS is kicking 250 mill a quarter, it is not wise. Plus that, the 65% of the worldwide sales looks nice on paper, but you are really fighting the other 25 OEM's for about 15-20% of that sales, as Sammy owns 40-45% of the worldwide Android purchases. That puts Nokia still in the single digit sales. They NEED WP to work. It was the right decision. Now, MS just has to attack the features of Android and iOS to allow Nokia to do what they do best. Put out great hardware, distribute it worldwide in a way only a few manufacturers can, and support and promote.
    07-27-2013 11:02 PM
  3. Razdek's Avatar
    MS should just hand over the OS development to Nokia as it looks like they're the only ones interested in it. MS is going way too slow and the GDR updates don't have enough features in them.
    Jupast and vish2801 like this.
    07-27-2013 11:35 PM
  4. tungha's Avatar
    TBH, I am not 100% sure it is still valid. The last time I discussed this issue (unofficially with Microsoft employees) was back in January. It was valid then (for WP8), but anything can happen in six months. However, Nokia has many reasons not to modify the core OS directly themselves, and I doubt those have changed. I'll give you just three:

    Cost of reassigning responsibility:

    Google delivers to OEMs a pile of source code. However, Google isn't responsible for the OS functioning as intended on any device. They make it absolutely clear that any bugs are the OEMs problem, not Google's.

    For WP the exact opposite it true. It is MS' responsibility to deliver a reasonably bug-free OS. Failing that, it is MS' responsibility to fix OS problems. Here too the situation is clear. This is part of what justifies the cost for a WP license (we could dispute that this cost is justified, but that is the theory).

    As soon as Nokia starts modifying OS code themselves however, the boundaries between Microsoft's and Nokia's responsibilities are blurred.

    If Microsoft's engineers spend three weeks tracking down a bug, which they determine was caused by one of Nokia's modifications, should Microsoft be reimbursed? If so, then at what cost? What if Nokia discovers a bug in Microsoft's code, which is only revealed by one of their own modifications? What if Microsoft's engineers determine they could have tracked down the bug in half the time (which is likely since they developed it) and think it unreasonable to reimburse Nokia for all their efforts? Literally thousands of different and difficult situations can arise, not all of which can be forseen...

    Anyway, in a nutshell, this is entirely unworkable for software development. In this situation someone must take full responsibility, and just as with Android, this would have to be the OEM: Nokia. Obviously, this would incur a very significant additional cost to Nokia's WP development efforts...

    Cost of merging OS versions:

    Delivering updates to existing handsets is a rather costly business for Android OEMs. Imagine a code base with millions of lines of code, in which an OEM made thousands of modifications. When Google delivers a new version of Android, OEMs must reapply all their modifications to the new code base. Although much of this can be automated, many situations remain in which people must undertake extensive reengineering efforts to correctly recombine the two. Retesting is also costly.

    WP OEMs are spared such expenses, because they are neither able nor required to modify the OS themselves. Obviously, if Nokia decides to start modifying OS code themselves, then they are sacrificing those savings...

    Nokia's (or any other OEM's) ability to request low-level OS extensions

    Nokia has no reason to do any OS modifications themselves. Whenever they determine that the OS wont let them do something, they just call up the WP team, explain what they need, and let Microsoft add in some extra flexibility for them.

    This doesn't mean that Microsoft develops Nokia's features for them. It just means that Microsoft gives Nokia more extension points, where Nokia can add their own processing to what the OS already does, but in a way that allows them to specify that extra processing in their own firmware... without having to modify the OS. This is so much simpler and cheaper than digging into the OS code, that doing so really just would be stupid.
    I think you're the one who understand a lot about WP Team do you have any idea about their plan, updates, development process?
    07-27-2013 11:46 PM
  5. Chregu's Avatar
    Thank you for your post A5cent, it's always a pleasure to read your explanations.

    Nonetheless I still feel a little confused. What you write makes a lot of sense and I also thought about some of these points. But why should the entire topic even been brought up then?

    Personally I would feel confused as a Nokia customer. They say they can change the core OS different to other OEMs, but if they would never do it, then what's the point?

    Maybe this is a hypothetical question, as it was only brought up officially back in the WP7 days, at least as far as I remember.
    wpn00b likes this.
    07-28-2013 12:29 AM
  6. Reflexx's Avatar
    So, I remember something like that (with the core OS) from when they announced they will be producing Windows Phone devices. But what does that mean, is this still valid with Windows Phone 8 and why aren't they doing it then?
    They said that they aren't doing it because they need other OEMs to succeed with WP. In the short term, it's important for WP as an OS to gain success. Having one version of the OS so functionally superior would discourage other OEMs from competing.

    But that was over a year ago. Other OEMs haven't been putting much effort in. With Nokia holding back, they're still dominating. Might as well go for the gusto.
    07-28-2013 03:21 AM
  7. tissotti's Avatar


    Personally I would feel confused as a Nokia customer. They say they can change the core OS different to other OEMs, but if they would never do it, then what's the point?
    Well they do have the possibility and that's enough. Also camera kernel was restricted before, but was opened last year. Nokia has had the keys to play around the camera kernel and has been working with the algorithms for at least a year (on 808 Nokia said that the camera hardware was lesser taking than the software around it). Maybe MS decided to open it so other manufacturers would not be left out?
    Lets not also forget that Nokia can push independent of OS updates its own features to WP settings via extras, like the screen color options and glance screen. Just like a5cent nicely explained, those are the kind of things Nokia will be bringing. That Nokia experience, but not braking or changing anything radical on WP.


    I have to say that I'm a bit troubled by all this. I have been hoping 8.1 could finally give us peace with always needing to wait for the next thing. This kind of hints that inside Nokia its thought that tools and ability needed from MS to be able cut this cycle are not even present at the moment. You don't say something like that outside the company.
    Last edited by tissotti; 07-28-2013 at 01:57 PM.
    wpn00b likes this.
    07-28-2013 10:21 AM
  8. WavingReds's Avatar
    Hmmm reading this and reading all other things, I just hope MS and Nokia's relationship doesn't go sour after their contract ends...

    That's the only thing that really would worry me.
    07-28-2013 12:18 PM
  9. Jazmac's Avatar
    I can imagine come very contentious "planning" meetings that must be going on between Nokia and Microsoft. I hope Microsoft gets the message because Nokia put every egg it has into this and it has the development staff to do some really bold things on the platform. But Microsoft doesn't appear, at least publicly, to be ready to make the next move. If they don't, others will.
    snowmutt likes this.
    07-28-2013 12:41 PM
  10. Mroofieunblockm's Avatar
    Since Nokia has the ability to alter core OS functions, they should just start improving the OS to add more core features.

    Then tell MS that they'll either release all those OS improvements as exclusive features for Nokia, or MS could pay them a big chunk of cash to make it available to all OEMs.
    little biased are we ?? Who says they have the right to do so huh ??? -_-
    Im not talking about pr features im talking about the real core
    07-28-2013 02:23 PM
  11. wpn00b's Avatar
    You have a point, but where does "what they've heard on the internet" come from? Users who have actually experienced it maybe?
    People are dissing Windows 8 and Windows Phone without trying them at all. There is a vocal minority dissing it and the general public is jumping on the bandwagon. I've talked to several people at my workplace that haven't even touched a Windows Phone and they ask me "How can you use that?". I ask if they've ever tried it and they say no, but they've heard it's bad and lacks "apps".

    People panning the platform before using it far outnumber those that actually have used it.
    07-28-2013 02:33 PM
  12. Mroofieunblockm's Avatar
    Well all i can say Microsoft needs to get their hands out of their asses plain and simple

    People say Microsoft is doing alot which is probably true but you can still clearly see they are not that invested in wp :/
    07-28-2013 02:41 PM
  13. a5cent's Avatar
    They say they can change the core OS different to other OEMs, but if they would never do it, then what's the point?
    They said that they aren't doing it because they need other OEMs to succeed with WP. In the short term, it's important for WP as an OS to gain success. Having one version of the OS so functionally superior would discourage other OEMs from competing.
    Do you have a URL for that statement from Nokia?

    Someone may have mentioned that Nokia intends not to modify the OS directly, because Nokia is opposed to introducing OS fragmentation to the ecosystem (Good marketing line. Includes a negative buzzword. Good swipe at Android). That I would believe. I don't believe Nokia stated that they are holding back. Most certainly Nokia wouldn't state that they are refraining from making OS modifications they otherwise would, just to avoid discouraging their competition. Investors would tear Stephen to shreds if such a thing was even hinted at.

    Well they do have the possibility and that's enough. Also camera kernel was restricted before, but was opened last year. Nokia has had the keys to play around the camera kernel and has been working with the algorithms for at least a year (on 808 Nokia said that the camera hardware was lesser taking than the software around it). Maybe MS decided to open it so other manufacturers would not be left out?
    I've read something similar to what you've just mentioned before (I don't remember where), but it's just not true. There is no such thing as a "key" to the camera kernel. In fact, there is no such thing as a "camera kernel", so even if we had such a key it would be quite useless. WP has exactly one kernel. No more. No less. It's just the OS kernel. Furthermore, as far as Nokia is concerned, WP is open source. Consequentially, Nokia has absolutely no need for any type of key. Nokia already has full access to the entire WP code base. Finally, MS didn't decide to open anything that was previously closed. Like I said, Microsoft just added more points where OEMs can inject their own functionality into an OS controlled process, without OEMs having to modify the OS themselves.
    07-28-2013 04:45 PM
  14. agd87's Avatar
    Microsoft have a good starting point with their Windows Phone OS however, they really need to speed up their updates and introduce features that are commonly found in the other popular mobile OS'. How they haven't introduced a notification centre yet is shocking. I do really like the phone which is why I'm sticking to it for the time being. I do find it difficult to defend them sometimes and it's too easy for me to slip back into my iPhone. I'm confident that good things will be coming however long it takes.
    07-28-2013 06:00 PM
  15. drbanks's Avatar
    Well all i can say Microsoft needs to get their hands out of their asses plain and simple

    People say Microsoft is doing alot which is probably true but you can still clearly see they are not that invested in wp :/
    as I've said before, part of the problem is probably ambivalence on Microsoft's part given that they probably make more money per phone from patent license fees they've extorted out of the Android OEMs than they get from Windows Phone.
    07-28-2013 06:31 PM
  16. Jazmac's Avatar
    as I've said before, part of the problem is probably ambivalence on Microsoft's part given that they probably make more money per phone from patent license fees they've extorted out of the Android OEMs than they get from Windows Phone.
    Extorted out of android? How did Microsoft extort license from OEM's of android devices? You mean Microsoft should have allowed their competitors to use their property to make money and not pay Microsoft? How does that work?
    a5cent, snowmutt, hopmedic and 1 others like this.
    07-28-2013 08:42 PM
  17. a5cent's Avatar
    Nonetheless I still feel a little confused. <snipped>. But why should the entire topic even been brought up then? Personally I would feel confused as a Nokia customer. They say they can change the core OS different to other OEMs, but if they would never do it, then what's the point?
    Nokia wasn't directing that message towards consumers. It was directed towards investors. That Nokia gained the rights to modify the OS' source code themselves wasn't even a technical statement, but rather a business statement related to risk management.

    Nokia bet the farm on WP, making it particularly important that they can independently address OS needs in situations were Microsoft might be unwilling or unable to. Sacrificing that independence would have constituted an unacceptably large risk, even larger than what Nokia were already getting themselves into. The markets were already flushing Nokia's stock down the toilet. Piling on even more risk... well... you get the picture.

    Basically, this was Nokia telling their investors that they still had all the same freedoms as they had with Symbian, and that they should just calm down. Due to the costs involved (as explained in a previous post), Nokia just hopes never to have to use those freedoms. Modifying the OS' source code themselves is a last resort. Similarly to how most gun owners hope never to have to use one. It's there just in case...

    EDIT: I'm stating only why Nokia had to publicly mention this part of their deal with Microsoft. Although I could make a few guesses, some of which seem obvious, I'm not claiming to know exactly why Nokia was granted this ability as part of the deal.
    Last edited by a5cent; 07-29-2013 at 07:59 AM. Reason: See edit
    Chregu likes this.
    07-28-2013 09:14 PM
  18. Ultimate Insider's Avatar
    I think you're the one who understand a lot about WP Team do you have any idea about their plan, updates, development process?
    Maybe he is one of them.
    07-29-2013 12:40 AM
  19. tungha's Avatar
    Maybe he is one of them.
    then we should target him for the lacking of features haha
    //just kidding @a5cent
    07-29-2013 12:44 AM
  20. raacut's Avatar
    Nokia needs to switch to android. Stop being afraid of taking on Samsung. Producing featureless phones which are 5 years behind the current competition is no way to get out of a slump. Seriously nobody buys phones just for their camera. If basic phone functionality is missing the phone sucks , simple as that.
    07-29-2013 10:40 AM
  21. hopmedic's Avatar
    More people calling for Nokia to switch to Android. It's not going to happen. Elop already disclosed that they have a contract with MS for five years, so even if they wanted to, they are contractually restricted from doing so.
    07-29-2013 11:23 AM
  22. drbanks's Avatar
    Nokia switching to android would be the one thing that would immediately and irrevocably move me back to ios.
    07-30-2013 01:36 PM
  23. dipankar_mitra's Avatar
    Nokia has been suffering losses quarter upon quarter ever since they moved to Windows Phone. But, sadly, if they decide to move to Android (or Meego, maybe) now, it would probably effect them even more, and continue the loss-making streak. While I agree that MS's attitude to the OS (and indeed, the OS itself) needs vast improvement, Nokia is too far in now to pull out.
    07-31-2013 03:48 AM
  24. jpling's Avatar
    I agree somewhat. iMO. If they were to release an equivalent of the 1020 with android on EVERY carrier at once. It would be a huge success. I would almost bet the farm. If Nokia would release a flagship android phone I would honestly go back to android. I love my 928 a LOT. But I an missing features I had with android years ago.
    07-31-2013 04:32 AM
  25. Ian Too's Avatar
    There are two reasons why committing to Android would be suicide for Nokia.

    Firstly, as has been pointed out, they would be fighting for very small portion of the Android pie not owned by Samsung and that share of the pie is shrinking.

    Secondly, even if Nokia could build the best hardware, they would still be complete sh*t at the low end because Android uses so much memory. Even lacking so many features, Windows Phone is a superior OS and that is why it works so well at the low end.

    Given a5cent's comments, it's difficult to see why more OEMs aren't committing to Windows Phone, and in a big way.
    07-31-2013 04:33 AM
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