Case #1: Will Windows 8 be a complete failure?
1. IDC Predictions 2012: System Infrastructure Software, Dec 15, 2011
2. A recruing twitter [Dec 2, 2011] for that event by an IDC person:
#IDC SIS 2012 Prediction 10: Windows 8 Will Launch with Split Success
3. Mary Jo Foley is bloating this as:
“Windows 8 will be ‘largely irrelevant’ to traditional PC users: IDC” [Dec 5, 2011]
4. In Hungary it is evolving into a gloomy question mark: “Totális bukás lesz a Windows 8?” [Dec 6, 2011] i.e. Will Windows 8 be a complete failure?
All in just 4 days (from 2. to 4.)!
Case #2: Silverlight is dead
The damaging communication situation has been described within A too early assesment of the emerging ‘Windows 8’ dev & UX functionality[June 24, 2011]
The root of the bloated wave of web communications was a simple twitter message:
Right now there’s a faction war inside Microsoft over HTML5 vs Silverlight. oh and WPF is dead.. i mean..it kind of was..but now.. funeral.
This how the bloating communication the next 4 days has been described by the author of that twitter message himself:
I am a little shocked at how fast my tweets spread across the interweb this week regarding my thoughts on HTML5, Silverlight and WPF. I’m not shocked by how fast people picked it up, or the fact that a well-respected journalist like Tim Anderson was able to take these tweetsand built out quite a comprehensive story around it that actually fitted to the context of my tweets – I love Tim’s work, as he is one of the few journalist online that actually has integrity.
What shocked me is how arrogant Microsoft staff was to the reaction or the sense of false belief that this was all some secret that everyone outside of Microsoft wasn’t privy to? Again, take a few tweets piece them together and a journalist was able to weave these threadsinto a pretty informed article or two around it all. I know Mary Jo from ZDNet has similar notes and so on.
From: The rise and fall of Microsoft’s UX platform – Part 1 [Scott Barnes, Sept 13, 2010]
The real factual evidence behind all this was however quite thin. As described again by the originator in a self confessing blog post a year later:
… I was asked by a friend of mine in Seattle if I was open to some remote work. I said sure, and began working on a Silverlight based project for the Windows team. It was some stupid 3D rotating cube problem they were having and so I said fine, if they pay I’ll do it – I’m that much of a Silverlight whore.
I was in a meeting with Arturo when I get an email. The email is from a person I won’t name, but asked if I was keen to catch-up today while I was on campus?
I said fine, and meet with this person.
We started to talk about Silverlight and he was trying to gauge what I already knew so far, I didn’t have a lot of details at this stage as I really didn’t care about what Silverlight 5 was going to have as in reality any new features they were going to add had to be ground breaking and more focused on the workflow before I’d give a shit anyway?
He then told me about Windows 8 plans. I mean he put it down on the table, and just unloaded. He told me about how HTML5 was the major focus and that Silverlight was being switched off. I sat there thinking this guy is full of shit but I’ll listen anyway as what if he’s right?
We talked for a good two hours before I just left the room feeling deflated. Steve Sinofsky’s team were about to do some heavy deletion and this is not cool!
I had to verify this information though but I had to do it in a way that wasn’t obvious. I meet up with some others that I knew on campus and I’d start the convos with “So, HTML5 huh” mixed with a big grin.
You have to understand inside Microsoft a secret is only as good as those who are confident your in the dark about them. Once you persuade them “ I know as well” the flood gates open and open fast. Meanwhile I didn’t have the information and I was bluffing!
Sure enough the more people I talked to the more they confirmed the original meetings theories, Silverlight is going to die and WPF is dead right now.
I finished out my contract with ZAAZ (Actually I did as little work as possible – fuck you ZAAZ, signed me). And was sitting in a LAX Qantas lounge (after having a brutal flight from Seattle to LAX).
In the lounge I’m thinking about HTML5 and Windows 8. It doesn’t make sense!! This is stupid? Wtf would they do that to Silverlight? It was always an odd product but why kill it?
I tweeted about it all, frustrated in part but also keen to break the story so I can learn more from others reactions.
Journalists picked up on it and by the time I landed in Brisbane the next day (yes it takes forever to fly home) I had text messages, inbox was filled with “WTF BARNES!!” . I hadn’t honestly realized people paid attention to my tweets, but sure enough I had attention now and I am slowly but surely breaking the IE9 release secrets along with Windows 8!
I even got an email from Brian, that said:
- I don’t know what you are trying to accomplish – but it’s not helping us but in fact is making life for me pretty miserable. I just thought you should know that.
From the Why Silverlight was destined to fail and my time as one of its custodians. [Sept 21, 2011] post of Scott Barnes, which has since been deleted by him and only available on the FeedShow.
Case #3: Disappointing sales of Lumia phones from Nokia
While FUD has been a very powerful means of competition weakening efforts for decades it is nothing compared to the force of deliberate web rumors.
Here is a recent Nokia case: Nokia: Will Anyone Buy The Windows-Based Lumia Phones? (Updated) [Forbes [and a huge number of other media players], Nov 21, 2011]
Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette wrote in a research note that shipments of Nokia’s Windows Phone 7 units in the December quarter could prove disappointing. “We believe that shipmentsof Nokia’s new Windows Phone 7 products have been lower than we had previously anticipated,” he writes. “We had expected that the company could ship as many as 2 million units into the six targeted markets for the holidays; however, we now believe that those shipments are likely to be less than 1 million for the quarter.” He adds that sell-through checks find “disappointing sales” for the Lumia so far, and that December quarter sales could be under 500,000 units.
The effect was a share price drop last week from US$6.33 to US$5.29, i.e. by 16.5%:
source: Google finance for NOK
For the last 6 months the current price is almost the same as the worst one in the summer:
source: Google finance for NOK
And in such cases even an analyst report of a somewhat opposite view cannot change the fast spreading negative perception and further downward slide of the stock:
Deutsche Bank Securities Reiterates its HOLD Rating on Nokia [Nov 24, 2011]
New York, November 24 (FinanceEnquiry.com) – Analyst Kai Korschelt of Deutsche Bank Securities reiterates his HOLD rating on the shares of Nokia (NYSE: NOK). The 12-month target price is set to $4.5.
Analyst Kai Korschelt, in a research note published yesterday mentions that Nokia had decent sell through in the US, with 30% share of smartphone sales from independent retailers, but significantly lower at carrier-owned stores. In Germany and France, the sell through was hurt by lack of carrier/promotional support and concerns about the still subscale Windows ecosystem as compared to Apple and Android, the analyst says. The analyst expects limited to 2m Lumia channel sell-in for Q4. The HOLD rating is reiterated due to the uncertainty on the long-term market share opportunity of Nokia/Windows smartphone, the analyst adds.
Meanwhile in countries not reported above the Nokia situation is much better:
The other day we told you aboutthe Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette prediction that Nokia WP devices will have a dismal quarter and will hardly sell the targeted quarter million units. Now we’ve got some sites closer to Nokia saying that the report was basically full of it and the demand for the Lumia 800 is quite high.
And here come some facts to back up those claims. The Nokia Lumia 800 is the second most-popular smartphone in the Vodafone UKwebsite, just behind the black iPhone 4S. What’s more the cyan version of the WP smartphone comes in third and that one is still on pre-order.
The online store of the Netherlands carrier KPN tells a similar story, with the Nokia Lumia 800 the second best-selling smartphone there. Someother Dutch stores also list the Lumia 800 as sold out, though we are not sure if that’s due to high interest or low supply.
We also got word that many Orange stores in UKare out of Nokia Lumia 800 units to sell.
We’ll only know for sure when the Q4 numbers came in, but for now it seems there’s more truth to the Nokia reports that they are having the best first week of sales so far, than to that Pacific Crest analysis.
China is Top Smartphone Buyer [The Wall Street Journal, Nov 24, 2011]
Deliveries of smart phones to operators and retailers in China grew 58% in the third quarter from the previous quarter to 24 million units. That surpassed 23 million units delivered to the U.S. market, down 7% from the previous quarter …
Nokia Corp. had the largest share of China’s smartphone market in the third quarter, with 29%. … Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is chasing hard with 18% of the Chinese market …
Strategy Analytics estimates that 57% of the world’s handsets were manufactured in China in 2010. … two of Nokia’s eight production facilities are based in China and the company said China is also one of its bigger suppliers of mobile handset components.
Meanwhile for Lumia 710 manufactured by Compal the outlook is not bad at all:
Buoyed by orders from Nokia, Compal Communications is expected to ship over 600,000 handsets in November compared to 200,000 units shipped in October, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Timesreport.
Compal shipped only 470,000 handsets in the third quarter of 2011 and a total of 2.1 million units in the January-September period, according to earlier reports.
With Nokia planning to expand the sale of its Lumia Mango smartphones to more than 30 countries in 2012, orders received by Compal for the first quarter of 2012 will more than double than the volume it landed in the fourth quarter of 2011, said the paper.
Nokia will begin to market its Lumia 800 and 710 Mango phones in the Taiwan market on November 22, the paper noted.