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Jolla (the company) in financial trouble, laying off staff

asked 2015-11-19 11:47:49 +0200

nick75 gravatar image

updated 2015-11-24 12:10:35 +0200

According to article in today's Aamulehti, Jolla is in financial trouble

Summary in English, from Reddit:

  • Jolla is said to be in financial turmoil
  • Half of staff is to be put on forced leave (also referred to as temporary layoff). Confirmed by Jolla spokesperson Juhani Lassila
  • Key persons remain on staff
  • They try to ensure delivery of the tablets to customers

Article in Finnish newspaper Aamulehti

Another English summary, at Review Jolla

Article from Finnish public service YLE, in Finnish adding

  • A financing round was supposed to close during November, but has been delayed
  • Tablet shipments depend on securing financing

I am so hoping this is not true!! So sad for all the Sailors loosing their jobs!

Update 2015-11-20: Official press release from Jolla

Update 2015-11-24: The promised blog post

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It is true, but I sincerely hope that they can close the funding as soon as possible to keep the boat afloat. As Saarnio said in SLUSH, they seriously need another big partner in addition to Intex, to have income from licensing the OS, otherwise the company won't survive long. This is sad, but true. I love Jolla, for giving an alternative, but as someone in the Reddit post said, if they do sink, it's not sad because they seem to have failed as a company, but because it's an indication how hard it is to introduce a great OS in these days when the market has been devided byt two multi billion (not sure if that's even enough) companies.

Sail on Jolla, sail on! (pretty plese..)

raketti ( 2015-11-19 11:53:58 +0200 )edit

I am gutted. This again proves that supporting the big ones only pays off in the short run. In the long run all alternatives get lost, and all evolution and improvement runs sub-optimally.

lakutalo ( 2015-11-19 12:02:03 +0200 )edit

Jolla need to open source the whole OS and focus on porting Sailfish on every possible hardware. There is no chance to fight with Google's Android. Jolla should join forces with Raspberry-Pi and other manufacturers and build a common ecosystem. Let linux community to develop OS and applications further and let Jolla focus on specific manufacturer or region needs.

tvicol ( 2015-11-19 12:08:35 +0200 )edit

Not that I was expecting anything different... Now, what about those who downvoted my speculations about the delay in tablet shipping?

Giacomo Di Giacomo ( 2015-11-19 12:20:53 +0200 )edit

@tvicol - they need to license the OS, or they will not get the money to survive. The OS is already approximately 80% open source (when counting packages), so that's pretty much when comparing to the others out there. Open sourcing isn't going to solve the financial issues Jolla is having. They need HW vendors to push new devices out with their OS in them, to get some revenue.

raketti ( 2015-11-19 12:21:17 +0200 )edit

10 Answers

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answered 2015-11-19 18:01:44 +0200

launchpad gravatar image

updated 2015-11-27 18:52:14 +0200

Time / chance for community shareholdership

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How about private offering of stock to all that pre-ordered or funded the tablet?

alloj ( 2015-11-19 18:34:31 +0200 )edit

@alloj Even if tempting ( for backers ) - it probably won't solve the current situation. IMHO it is so crucial for them to deliver milestones - even if (quite) late. HW & OS milestones are crucial for SFOS / jolla credibility.

launchpad ( 2015-11-19 19:17:36 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-11-19 22:10:53 +0200

bilgy_no1 gravatar image

What happened to:

"It will be late, but I guarantee you will get it." @anttisaarnio on the #JollaTablet

It's very sad they're in trouble, but also a fact of life for startups. I think Jolla should have been more commercial from the start: why no batteries in the store; they can sell them for 80% margin or even more! TOH's were always sold out. Why not work with to provide a secure and private email service for a monthly fee? Still no paid apps from which Jolla can take a share. All these revenue streams may not be huge, but every little bit helps. If anything, it does show investors that the company can generate recurring revenues, making fundraising a little easier.

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Google-translate this :

.... dated Nov.19th tablet delivery ( fortunately ) still is a communicated commitment.

launchpad ( 2015-11-20 09:53:27 +0200 )edit

google-translated ( Finnish ) comments for the link above:

11.19.2015 19:39 Not subscribed in connection with the Slush event but IndieGoGossa.

11.19.2015 12:56 Really unfortunate news. Hopefully tablet anyway be supplied for all to investors. It is well enough that a new sail fish OS is operated on the phone, if the mail pop out the tablet so great is the danger that the ipad apt to children as a toy.

11.19.2015 12:22 The world is full of tablets, apparently trying to invent the wheel again.

11.19.2015 11:29 What to do with a device that the future is already history?

11.19.2015 11:12 fine aim of which was not realized even before the layoff !!

launchpad ( 2015-11-20 09:57:41 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-11-19 15:33:15 +0200

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2015-11-24 14:41:53 +0200

cemoi71 gravatar image

hehe... I give some good (or bad) ideas for inspecting further money entries...:

  • why not ask to nokia to make possible officially to provide their tablet with sfos too?
  • why not ask to BQ to sell their phones with sfos too ? (they do with ubuntu, why not an other one).
  • Maybe Jolla could get some money from the Europa antitrust program against a big one (google,apple don't know which one)? I'm pretty sure that the activities of a big one, make jolla life more complicated. And we have in Europa fast nothing of good firms in this branch.
  • May Finland government some help to some specific firms? for specific market or business
  • make a viral campaign with the last, money to spread so much devices as it could be that people, speak about it, show it to others... (really mad, but why not?)
  • Find other investors under the new and really active emergent firms like netflix, or providers. and works on a partner space with them.
  • Why not have/search an investor per continent, to widely spread your products easily ? Regarding your community, you have fans from every where in the world, and may have more from every where.

I made this as wiki to let other people bring other ideas (good or bad, maybe mad). Maybe it could give some inspiration...

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Certainly some interesting points. I also wonder what's up with those BRICS/Russia meetings? Russia seems to be very interested in alternative software against anticompetitive companies like Google. They also might demand user data of foreign services to be stored on Russian ground and I remember reading that HP said that Russians embraces Linux more than in EU/US. So it's hard to believe that there is no interest in keeping an European, independant system alive and make it stronger. Of course there is the work of lobbyists in my country (which I experienced myself during an apprenticeship working with government offices) and also in the more and more by companies dominated EU. A lot happens behind closed doors against alternative and open-sourced software, but still, it must be in the interest of many people to promote something like Sailfish OS (also privacy-wise).

I'm very sorry for those news and I hope for the best. I wished we could do more to support good companies in this capitalistic world where power and money rules everything.

molan ( 2015-11-19 16:21:45 +0200 )edit

good point. that interest me the point that you told. that was a big meeting. but what are resolution? hope that was not just for the wind...

cemoi71 ( 2015-11-19 16:50:59 +0200 )edit

@cemoi71: I really don't know. Last thing I heard about was the BRICS IT-Ministers summit in Moscow (22/10/15). Jolla's Antti Saarnio had a pesentation there. Intex might be one of the results of those BRICS meeting, but that was never communicated this way.

Btw: With my country I mean Switzerland, which is not EU member. I think, from experiences. that we are more in love with propretiary software (on federal and company level) than other European countries.

molan ( 2015-11-19 17:19:49 +0200 )edit

I believe the most important "why not" was forgotten in this answer: why not making the whole stack free as in freedom ?

if Jolla is yet-another-vendor, then I'm yet-another-buyer, no loyalty, product being judged by it's current value. however, if Jolla has a public agenda that I should care about (Linux mobile, secure mobile, you name it) then only by setting the source free can a real community be created around this agenda. like most people, I choose to only be loyal to things that are shared with me, in this is to be implemented by FOSS license for every SailfishOS component.

yorambh ( 2015-11-19 17:27:40 +0200 )edit


I remember reading that HP said that Russians embraces Linux more than in EU/US

As a Russian, I have quite the opposite impression. Since Windows is essentially free of charge (because penalties for using unlicensed software are non-existent) very few people even think about looking for something besides it. When I lived in Germany I remember meeting a lot more people who use Linux in everyday life. We have nothing which even comes close to Electronic Frontier Foundation or anything like that

ScumCoder ( 2015-11-19 17:58:43 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-11-20 00:02:21 +0200

Antti22 gravatar image

Truly sad news. But I cant say I am that surprised, because just last week I was googling for this news, wondering if Jolla is in financial trouble, because after reading about tablet deliveries being delayed and some other signs, it seemed to be. The only official seller of Jolla in my country (Estonia) did put Jolla on clearance sale a few weeks back and the price was so good, that I as a true Jolla fan bought 5 brand new Jolla phones last week for my small company, to be used as work phones for employees. Trying to spread the love for Jolla. I just could not resist and truly thinking of buying some more just to keep, because the price was ridiculous for a brand new phone with all its features. Even if Jolla phone dies, I truly hope they manage to save the SailfishOS, it is the best OS out there to be used every day. The multi-tasking in Sailfish is truly on another planet compared to Androids and iOs. Also the speed of it is very good, even tho the hardware is quite outdated compared to new androids and iphones. Its not only a fanboy in me talking, because I have used all the latest Androids and iPhones. Just 1,5 weeks ago I walked into a apple store and bought 2 new iPhones, one 6s and one 6s plus. They do have some neat features and the hardware quality is much better, but I still wont switch over from my Jolla, which I have been using since early 2014, because useability on SailfishOS is still superior, even with all its small bugs that might occur from time to time. I might however replace my Jolla with a new Jolla, just because the outside of my used Jolla is not that good looking anymore.

Good luck to all the Sailors and Jolla executives, I truly hope you find new funding and continue this path. For the last 6 months I have been googling any kind of info that might come regarding a new Jolla phone. But no luck. Find a way to make the Tablet more available, because I dont like waiting for my stuff, which is why I didnt crowdfund nor pre-order the tablet. But I would buy it whenever it comes to sale. And im sure im not the only one.

Also, honesty towards your community is key, please dont forget that. There are a lot of fans, treat them right and they will worship you. Treat them badly and they will find themselves hating you sooner or later.

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answered 2015-11-19 20:44:36 +0200

Makeclick gravatar image

Please, take some money from us! Jolla is too cheep to own (not bad thing), but you will need other money than only from HW! You do not have adds or anything, why the Jolla not even take money, when someone donate to some app in the Jolla store????

Sold something!! Sailfish ampiances? I don't want to by 7x Jolla phone to support you :D. I only need one.

Donate way is no no (thank you finland laws), but figure out something fast we will help!! Indiegogo "we need more nails and wood"? :)

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They could 'sell' another 3 months of updates/support if donayion is a no gogo (no idea where the guy who did maths and claims 10k people giving 10€ would support 1 developer, if developers make 100k per month, yeah this is unsustainable)

szopin ( 2015-11-19 22:08:40 +0200 )edit

Yeh, just put up a show with some adequately priced trinkets to get around that. My suggestion - hand hand signed postcards! Simple to implement yet heartwarming. :)

MartinK ( 2015-11-20 00:51:22 +0200 )edit


(#sailfishos 11:55:23) rweickelt: 1000 people paying 10€/month could fund ~1 developer in europe.

(#mer-meeting 16:25:10) entil: as it was said on one of the channels, if 10k people paid 10e/mo you'd roughly pay for one (1) developer, so crowd funding sounds like a real risky deal

Please find the error yourself. Hint: it's not related to math ;-)

rweickelt ( 2015-11-20 08:54:43 +0200 )edit

Crowdfund a top-end phone at the same price as the latest iPhone. The Lamborghini of phones that was speculated on. I'd sign up for one in a second.

Andy Branson ( 2015-11-20 10:13:17 +0200 )edit

@rweickelt: 10k x 10€ = 1 developer? apple/googe developers must be angry (oooh, timestamps help, also not typoing when passing info I guess ;)

szopin ( 2015-11-20 11:51:54 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-11-19 19:46:00 +0200

mlwn gravatar image

How many sailers are there around the globe? What's the amount of employees salaries and uncovered costs????

If Jolla puts an amount/user, wouldn't all of us try to collaborate and pay monthly fees till the financial problem is over?

I guess this is a practical and good way to solve the problem, and keep jolla alive...

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hey thats a good idea i aggree. i would also spend a monthly fees. jolla can on their homepage a click button or something else. with a flattr or PayPal account.

monkeyisland ( 2015-11-19 20:03:28 +0200 )edit

cost of doing business in Finland is quite high though... meaning if you have 100 persons on the payroll, and the average salary (let's say 80% IT, 20% support functions) is 5000€/mo. with mandatory expenses (which are paid by the employer) you are looking at 0,5MEUR a month just for payroll.. add capital charges (they have loaned money right?), fixed costs (assets, rent, any patents etc) and you'd have to get quite much a month from Sailors given that, per Jolla people, the phone has "sold only in the tens of thousands" i.e. less than 100k units. let's say 80k units sold, 700k€ monthly costs and 20% of Sailors get onboard, the monthly "keep it alive" would be like 44€. each month. not going to happen.

allu ( 2015-11-19 20:58:34 +0200 )edit

i would pay 44€/month...

mlwn ( 2015-11-20 10:14:35 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-12-10 10:50:33 +0200

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2015-12-10 16:35:29 +0200

Mohjive gravatar image

There's a new article in the Finnish news, but since it's in technical finnish google translate doesn't help that much. Could someone who reads finnish please translate it?

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Basicly it says court (tingsrätt) has approved Jolla's aplication for debt restructuring. The measure was urgent, Jolla has criticaly short of funds and lot's of debt.

finfly ( 2015-12-10 11:17:23 +0200 )edit

The article also says that the due debts are many, and the situation is severe. The court approved the application without hearing the creditors, since the situation is considered urgent.

nick75 ( 2015-12-10 11:23:23 +0200 )edit

It says that Jolla doesn't have to pay for the creditors and due to the situation being critical/urgent the creditors weren't consulted. The debt restructuring hasn't been decided yet.

raketti ( 2015-12-10 11:31:07 +0200 )edit

Yes, like @raketti says, the point of the article is that to make it possible for the debt restructuring to happen, they need to be protected from those they owe money to, since "active debt collection could endanger the whole point of restructuring and make it harder to implement the essential agreements and investments that are important for the business".

zagrimsan ( 2015-12-11 05:37:22 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-11-21 03:56:47 +0200

vaa gravatar image

Jolla communication now appears to be dishonest, not inept as I thought. Looks like Jolla, instead of keeping their promise to deliver a tablet and keep tablet customers privy to the process, misappropriated gogo funds to finance „the other half” of Jolla, SW developement. I accept bad things may happen. But being lied to is not acceptable. Or is there some gag-order in place?

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The Sailfish 2.0 can be considered a vital part of the tablet. Also producing software costs much more, than manufacturing and delivering hardware, so Jolla has been doing the roght thing if and when they directed the money to SW and QA

tuomakin ( 2015-11-21 09:28:56 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-11-30 02:39:23 +0200

juzupuh gravatar image

Last week there was this unhappy news stating that part of the salaries of the employees are not paid since August/September...

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Article also mentioned the funding should be sorted mid December according to Antti Saarnio. He said everything is looking good at the moment, but nothing is certain until the funds are in Jolla's bank accounts.

avhakola ( 2015-11-30 04:17:40 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-11-19 23:11:52 +0200

Miikka gravatar image

I've being working with software management from companies and as far I am programmer I have the other view (management and business) on software and I have give few problems which Jolla has.

  1. C++ Eh, now when I start with this I maybe dig my grave, but the main problem is C++. C++ is reaaaaaally outdated language, it is hard to code and when everything is ready and perfect, you start finding weird bugs, phone crashes usually, etc. and when you start fixing you break something else and you have lost 1000x more time on developing, debugging and in the maintenance of the code even if you are god of programming. I am sad to say this because old Nokia guys from Finland (as I have seen) are the 90's C++ programmers. When they need a tool for their software they make it with QT and C++, spit on to the agile programming and doesn't comment or write enough documents. This is the problem. I have so many holes in the phone that is contingently crashes. People should have used python, GO or even Java and this wouldn't be a problem because with those languages you push features not code. It's not always about the speed or the resources. If you need speed and resources e.g. with python, extend with C. This also affects the apps, now when people makes apps with C++ the apps are pure Linux command line apps with automatic command under Jolla's own hidden dropbox menu. You have ugly software with ugly buttons and the only thing you win is that the flashlight button is 3ms faster than with higher level language.

Well you can make Android apps but then you lose a lot of possible features.

  1. The hardware
  2. It's horrible and this should be only software. I understand that in the beginning there was a need for HW, but now the system needs to drop it and start using some kind of licensing or something and making the SW more open. You can't push more features if you don't have enough hands, if you want more hands, you need to be more open.

  3. Camera

  4. The phone's camera is horrible and this is the number one thing why people (non-90's Linux coders) change from the Jolla.

  5. Unreliable software

  6. Crashes, the millions of crashes I get. The terminal which I need to use to get my auto correct away. I don't want to do those. I just want good and simple phone which just works 100% out-from-the-box and it is easy to use without internet guides and it looks good. Yes the main UI is great but still I am sorry to say this that this was maybe the largest mistake which I have ever made. Last January to the release of Sailfish 2 the phone just crashed multiple times a day and that was the final nail to the coffin. I am mainly kernel driver programmer but my phone should be for 3 year old babies. I just want my phone to be just a simple tool with extensions, not pocket Linux.

  7. No clear markets

  8. You have problems with money and it is because no one want's your phone. It is made by old programmers to programmers. It should be "programming artists" to the public. If you add Linux extension features and the fastest superturbo pocket computer (SEGA) you get 10 000 in sales. If you make a simple, working and technically not so brilliant phone which looks good and which pleases the public (Nintendo), then you get 100 000 000 in sales. It seems you have taken the Sega path.

How to archive this? Damage is already done. Everyone who has Jolla has told to other people that don't buy the Jolla. First it was a great utopia and people bought it. It has been destroyed by the bad management and lack of knowledge in modern software development. Next phone I have is probably One plus or Windows phone because I don't care if they analyze my information if the OS just works and I don't have to fight with it all the time. All the best for you, and I hope this feedback helps. It might get a lot of negative stuff but I don't care this is my last visit at All the best.

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I can agree. Also the massive bottleneck is that the Jolla are known by people with IT skills (bloggers, enthusiasts). But usual people, who is not attracted to IT things doesn't know what is Jolla...

iKeivs ( 2015-11-19 23:43:43 +0200 )edit

Small comment - if you want a phone that shines in speed then C++ really is the thing. Python and java are orders of magnitude sliwer and just as easy or even easier to create fantasticly complicated bugs with. If you dont like SFOS conceot stick with something else.

polarphone ( 2015-11-19 23:48:00 +0200 )edit

C++ is reaaaaaally outdated language

I LOL'd. Keep it up.

ScumCoder ( 2015-11-20 17:22:49 +0200 )edit

I disagree. With C++11 the language has really been brought up to date, even so with the Qt framework, which is an industry standard in many areas. At least where I work.

tuomakin ( 2015-11-21 09:30:49 +0200 )edit

Actually, most of the UI is coded in QML, not C++. This argument is invalid. The others are agreeable, although a bit biased.

Venemo ( 2015-11-21 19:30:16 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2015-11-19 11:47:49 +0200

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Last updated: Dec 10 '15