Nokia’s As the World Turns soap opera episode: Eldar from Mobile Review
We all know about the ugly way the whole Gizmodo – Apple iPhone 4 affair ended with the police being way too aggressive with a tech blogger’s house and belongings. It seems that Nokia is propogating its own soap opera episode starring the Nokia N8 and Mobile Review’s Eldar Murtazin. A couple of months ago Eldar posted a preview of the N8 that I didn’t link to directly because I didn’t think it was fair to uninformed readers to hear about software that wasn’t finalized. Nokia will have a difficult enough time convincing us that the N8 is a solid product, especially after the N97 issues, without having preconceived opinions of pre-release software on an early device.
I understand that Nokia wants and needs to protect its intellectual property, but it isn’t like the Nokia N8 is some secret device that hasn’t already been shown off to various members of the press and online by Nokia itself. Eldar posted a review of a Nokia N8 that did not appear to have the final software build installed, but he never revealed anything we didn’t really know or expect about the device. Neither Nokia or Eldar have stated how he came into possession of the N8 and as a journalist I do not think he needs to reveal his source either. Nokia also claims in their post that Eldar works as a consultant to other manufacturers and Nokia is concerned about having their intellectual property shared directly with competitors. In this Mobile Review forum discussion Eldar states that this consultant allegation is a lie, although he did consult in the past. Eldar just recently appeared on TechCrunch TV too telling his side of the story and stated that he doesn’t have a N8 from Nokia and he is not working as a consultant for Samsung. I met Eldar once in person, but am not personally familiar with him and how he operates so I cannot say anything about this other possible work.
We see early devices written about on The Boy Genius Report, Gizmodo, and various other websites all the time and this is actually something I visit Mobile Review for because Eldar seems to always get the scoop on devices months before others have a chance to get their hands on them. He has posted reviews of many Nokia devices in the past and this is the first time I have heard of Nokia asking for it back.
I also understand that Nokia has every right to ask for the N8 back and if I had such a device I might return it, but I cannot say for sure because I am not in that situation and by returning it outright Eldar may incriminate the person who he got it from. He may tell Nokia that he returned it to the person who he received it from and left it up to them to return it. It is tough to say what he should do unless we were in that situation.
Eldar posted a fair take on the upcoming Symbian^3 software and an updated Nokia N8 preview over the last month. In this second look he even concluded that, “To conclude, it is an excellent update to the Nokia lineup but not a market breakthrough, a happy occasion for Nokia enthusiasts while just an interesting photo solution for the rest.”
Is Nokia being aggressive with the N8 because they need a big seller to get back in the game and do not want any bad press before the final product is released? I think it would have been better for Nokia to handle this privately with Eldar as this just opens up Nokia to more criticism at a time when they do not need bad press. If the Nokia N8 is truly as good as they state, then every other tech review that comes out after the device is finalized will easily overshadow a critical preview of an unfinished device.
I have to say this whole issue stinks and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
UPDATE: You can read a full statement from Eldar here and read the other side of the story. Nokia really should have contacted Eldar directly first to discuss the issue before demanding something back that he never had in his possession to begin with. It really makes them look a bit sad to have gone to the authorities without further discussion with Eldar and it should not have been so public.