Advice for Nokia: Abandon Ship. And then burn it.

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As we have posted many times before, Nokia has spent the last two years

. But the company's trajectory keeps getting uglier - I can now imagine my kids seeing photos of life in the 1990's and asking earnestly, "daddy, what was Nokia?"

The most depressing sign of Nokia's emergence as a soon-to-be-extinct great civilisation - a kind of Aztec of the mobile world - is the gradual exodus of its biggest fans. And

, via

, is one of the roughest yet.

Symbian Guru, one of the web's best known sites for Nokia fanboys, is shutting down - not because the guys behind the site wanted to try new things or spend more time away from the computer, but because they can no longer evangelise for a company whose phones they consider junk.

has to be one of the toughest emails doing the rounds in Finland these days:

Quote
"To Nokia, you guys are losing. Hard. Wake the hell up. Doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results is the definition of insanity.  I've been a huge Nokia fan since my 2nd cellphone, and I just can't do it any longer. You guys aren't competing like you once were, and everyone but you seems to see that. You used to build the world's best smartphones, the world's best cameras, the world's best GPS units - you've lost pretty much all of that, and with nothing to show for it. You unveiled your Ovi vision over 2 years ago - I was there. Today, it's still a complete mess...."

It just seems flamingly obvious right now that to get a seat at the grown-ups table of the smart phone game, you need a massive community of outside developers building applications for your phone. Nokia doesn't have it, and does not seem likely to get it any time soon.

The choice seems pretty clear: it needs to abandon its doomed mobile operating system and jump on the Android bandwagon, or graciously exit the upper end of the market and focus on what it has always been good at: mid-low end devices that are affordable and available to the 80% of the world who will never own a $600 phone and subscribe to a monthly data plan. From here onward, every man-hour invested into rolling out a Blackberry / iPhone / Android competitor is an hour wasted.

, often used when discussing how print publishers need to shut down their printing presses, works well here. In short, when Spanish colonists arrived in South America, their leaders burned their ships to the ground, letting the men know that there is no possible way they are going home. Nokia needs a similar burning of boats, a gesture of no turning back to the dark days of

. It involves abandoning one of two things: its useless operating system, or the ambition to be a top-level player in the market.

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