Partnerships are great when things are going well, but when they're not it's all too easy to point the finger.
Which is exactly what Nokia vice president Bryan Biniak has done, suggesting the main reasons the Windows Phone partnership with Microsoft has failed to really take off are failings on the US firm's side.
And let's be clear: despite whatever reasons for optimism you might have (such as “at least Nokia's not in BlackBerry's shoes right now”), even Steve Ballmer and Stephen Elop themselves have all but openly admitted it hasn't entirely gone to plan so far.
So what's Biniak's beef?
Mainly that while the WP arrangement is make or break for Nokia, Microsoft's primary focus is actually Windows and PCs, plus there's the gaming thing too with the Xbox.
Those were already there when Nokia agreed the deal in the first place of course, but anyway. Biniak points at how Microsoft muscled in on the console game alongside Sony and Nintendo by introducing exclusives like Halo, and suggests the same is needed to get Windows Phone fighting on the same terms as iOS and Android.
“To give you a reason to switch, I need to make sure the apps that you care about on your device are not only on our phones, but are better,” he told the International Business Times last week. “I also need to provide you unique experiences that you can't get on your other devices.”
Two problems. First, mobile apps are not games. Well sometimes they are, obviously, but still. The most downloaded apps on mobile platforms are free or extremely cheap, mainly by being either affiliated to existing online services or companies (like Facebook, Whatsapp etc) or having the massive user numbers you only get by being on the most popular platforms (and not just one of them, either).
You simply can't muscle in by offering true game-changing exclusives.
And the second problem is to whatever extent you can even try, Microsoft is already doing. It offers more up-front developer incentives than either iOS and Android by a long shot (well, except the promise of large download numbers) – in fact, both Nokia and Microsoft could hardly spend any more cash on incentives and marketing right the way through their 'ecosystem'.
Where Biniak was right, though, was in pointing to apps not present on Windows Phone at all as being a major hurdle to gaining new users. Once again he suggested Microsoft was to blame, in that the company's culture just wasn't compatible with the faster pace of mobile.
“We are releasing new devices frequently and for every new device, if there is an app that somebody cares about that's not there that's a missed opportunity of a sale,” Biniak reasoned.
“We are trying to evolve the cultural thinking [at Microsoft] to say 'time is of the essence'. Waiting until the end of your fiscal year when you need to close your targets, doesn't do us any good when I have phones to sell today.
“You can't sell a phone without the apps, you just can't,” he continued.
“People rely on applications for their day-to-day life and if you don't have something which I use in my day-to-day life I'm not going to switch [operating systems] because I don't want to compromise the way I live my life just to switch to a phone.
“It's not just about the hardware, it's about the tools that are on the hardware.”
At the same time Biniak claims there isn't a single developer on the planet who has created an “important app” who Nokia and Microsoft aren't talking to, and says any gaps in the WP portfolio will soon be filled.
Reading between the lines (always a subjective exercise, I'll freely admit), it seems Biniak's frustrations are that Nokia is doing absolutely everything it can, and all indications are it's just not enough.
Maybe the writing was on the wall anyway after the mistakes of the second half of the last decade, but the reality is that Nokia gave up full control of its destiny when it partnered with Microsoft, and there's no point in raising concerns now that were already evident then.