Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nokia has a poor sense of corporate responsibility for product quality

Apparently, as early as November 18, 2010, Nokia was aware that a "small number" of their flagship N8 units had a problem either with not powering up or powering down unexpectedly. Here is a transcript of an interview with Nokia’s Excecutive Vice President Niklas Savander at the Nokia Conversations Blog. 
Savander: I have heard of the same through our customer care, we have heard that a limited number of Nokia N8 customers are experiencing a power down or not power up of the device. 
x x x
Phil: Do we know the source of the problem
Savander: Yes we do. We have traced it down to the way we assembled the engines, we have as a precautionary taken immediate action across the product line.
Phil: How many will be affected.
Savander: If you look at the total number of N8's we have shipped, it is a small number.

Almost two months later, there are still units being delivered which have are afflicted by the problem. 

What Nokia could have done when they discovered the problem was to halt all sales of the unit and recall the units that had not yet been sold or delivered to customers. They decided not to do that and instead treat it as an ordinary warranty issue. The economics of recalling all units for a "small number" of defective units would be staggering. In fairness, I would not expect that. 

Not doing that, Nokia should have advised their partners and service centers so that phones which had the known problem would be speedily replaced. Apparently, they did not do that either. 

In the end, Nokia's indifference cost me seven hours of my time, gasoline, parking fees and a fair amount of stress. The Nokia Care Center insisted on opening up a less than one day old unit, with a warranty sticker covering one screw to make sure I did not tamper with the unit. After that, the recommendation of Nokia Care was not to replace the unit but to update the the software and replace parts. Of a one day old unit with a seven day replacement warranty and a one year parts and service warranty.

Needless to say I did not take the unit and had it replaced with aother brand. The Nokia brand used to mean something. Now, the company is content to leave defective units in the field and after that not even to provide an expedited return and exchange process for units which exhibits the known defects. 

If Nokia had implemented a quick exchange system, I would be the happy owner of a Nokia N8, and would have left being surprised with how good their customer service is. Instead, what was supposed to be my fourth Nokia smartphones will be my last.
Although it is the world’s largest cellphone company, Nokia’s (NYSE: NOK) reputation for the quality of its smartphones is in tatters. The company received the worst possible grades in JD Power’s 2010 Mobile Phone and Smartphone ratings for customer satisfaction for physical design, ease of operation and overall satisfaction. The only smartphone company with worse scores was Palm. (Source: ITWorld)


  1. I used to love Nokia phones but its is a fading memory now. It is not able to compete with android and iphone.

  2. Windows Phone 7 look pretty good, and I think that would be a viable competitor to Android and iOS with enough backing. With MS now supported by Nokia on WP7, I think this could be a three way fight be 2012.


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