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Eldar Murtazin's Official Statement on Nokia Situation

The recent drama surrounding Nokia has thrown up a great deal of information for people to pore over and unfortunately much of it has been taken out of context or poorly understood, the result being that people are left confused and asking more questions than they get answers to. Since Nokia themselves appear to be contributing to the confusion by feeding blatantly false information through their official blog and interviews with the media I felt it necessary to give you the facts of the matter away from the corporate spin and PR machinery that Nokia is employing so you can judge for yourself.

1. Nokia's Property

Just how did we gain access to the N8 to be able to render an opinion on it? It's pretty simple really, like any journalist worth his salt I have sources I receive information from. This particular source, who isn't a Nokia employee or in fact an employee of any mobile phone manufacturer, provided me with access to the N8 prototype at the time. Note that that is all I had, "access". I didn't actually own the handset or have it in my possession, at best I would be allowed a few hours a day with it. My source provided me with pictures of the handset and received no compensation for that. With the limited access I was afforded, I was able to draw some opinions on the device and publish them in my weekly Spillikins column. Later, as I have gotten considerably more play time with the phone from various sources, I was able to examine the phone much more and use this knowledge in other articles.

Now Nokia are demanding their property back from me. There's a slight problem there though ... I don't, and never did, have the N8 in my possession. It's physically impossible for me to return something I do not have. Nokia can write whatever they like and throw insults my way and drag my name through the mud, but at the end of the day it does not change the fact that I simply cannot return a device I do not have. My sources provide me with information because I am a journalist, I don't pay them or give the gifts, and as a journalist it is my job, my duty, to report on issues that are of interest to the public. That is what a journalist does.

2. Consultancy work

The rumors, likely spread by Nokia that I'm working as a consultant for Samsung are false. These are clear attempts to compromise me and my position. I have never ever participated in any capacity in any kind of design or development of any device competing with N8. As for the suggestion that I am passing information about the N8 to Nokia's competitors, well frankly it's a puerile slander. It's actually laughable in a sense because they single me out for accusations despite my public profile when prototype units are given to dozens of testers, developers, engineers and partners around the world. If a competitor really wanted to get their hands on a device there are easier, and more discrete ways, than to contact a journalist with a prominent public profile. It's also worth pointing out that were I to pass on information to Samsung would Samsung then trust me enough to work with their own products? I don't think so. Reputation of an honest journalist sustained me through the years and there isn't an amount of money in this world that is worth to sacrifice my reputation, livelihood, business and career for. At any rate, why would I bother showing Samsung, or anyone, a handset I clearly have little regard for?

3. Journalist or a Blogger

I'd like to make a point that I am a journalist. I am a member of the Professional Union of Journalists of Russia and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) as you can see from my journalist ID card below.

Nokia's PR machinery has been very careful in their language; they have so far refused to recognize that I am a journalist; instead they label me a 'blogger'. I guess they consider "blogger" to be some kind of an insult, but there is another, more practical, and perhaps more sinister, purpose behind their language. By labeling me as a 'blogger' Nokia are looking to remove any legal rights I have as a journalist in protecting my sources.

4. Why?

How did it start? It all started with a Nokia 5800, when we published a very positive review of a handset that offered at the time unparallel functionality for the money. Nokia loved us, but the love began to evaporate when we began to study the defect all Nokia 5800 handsets had - a faulty earpiece. We spent money, purchased many phones, had them tested and retested under various conditions and as a result wrote articles on the issue putting Nokia into a very peculiar position. In the process we informed the company of the results, hoping it will either recall the phones or take measures to fix the problem, but nothing was happening. Nokia was very unhappy about the investigation we did and it began to show.

Then there was N97, when we published the first review in the world where I wrote about the prototype I had that widgets are not working well. Overall the review was positive because Nokia assured me that this is an early sample, the phone will be a much more stable. Coming from the company that used to keep its promises I trusted these assurances and, risking my reputation, wrote a more positive review than I should have. The result is known to the whole world - N97 went on to become a symbol of failure for Nokia. We began to say what we saw, calling a spade – a spade and the relationship began to deteriorate more and more, eventually coming to this. While Nokia claims this case has nothing to do with our position, the reality is very simple: for years other journalists and us had access to various Nokia prototypes and company never had such a problem with it. Even now, we just saw another Nokia prototype (N8 with QWERTY) leaked without any repercussions from the manufacturer. I therefore consider this case to be precisely that – revenge for the negative opinions I expressed about the current and upcoming product line, and the company's future under current management.

Now we have the present situation with Nokia's PR machine spreading rumors about me personally and making false claims about their dealings with me. I don't have millions of dollars or legions of PR specialists to back me up, and even if I did, I have no interest in trading insults. Nokia is a great company and I respect what they have done for the market, it's just a shame that because I dare to offer criticism of their products they launch a witch hunt against me. I am just a journalist doing his job, and my job is to report the news as I see it. My first loyalty is to my readers.

Nokia, is it really you?

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal

Published — 12 July 2010

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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