Jolla had a dream, to take succeed where Nokia failed in the smartphone industry after the latter’s acquiescence to Microsoft. The software part was relatively easy. It already had the experience in Nokia’s previous failed attempts at creating its own platform. Hardware, however, was probably more than it could chew, which it found out the very hard way. Jolla has practically given up on that and is focusing on software development and licensing instead. In that vein, it just secured $12 million in funding, which would eventually help the company continue refunding its disappointed, perhaps even disgruntled, customers.
Jolla doesn’t have a shortage of believers willing to put their money where their mouths are, if the pledges for two Jolla Tablet campaigns were any indication. Sadly, due to a series of unfortunate events, most of which have been well reported, Jolla was unable to fulfill almost all of those tablet pre-orders. In the end, only 540 units would be shipped, with the rest of the backers getting refunds instead. And even then, those aren’t completely guaranteed.
Jolla has called it quits on the device-making business but its ambitions haven’t completely been doused. It still dreams of seeing devices running its Sailfish OS, but this time made by other companies instead. It has refocused its efforts and has redefined the company into a software development and licensing business. We’ve already seen a first glimpse of that last February, with Turing Robotics and Intex Technologies putting their eggs in the Sailfish basket. To that end, Jolla is proudly announcing that it was just able to secure $12 million in funding for continuing the development of Sailfish OS.
Why would that be of interest to Jolla customers who have already been burned before? The alternative is, of course, worse. As long as Jolla remains in business, the chances of it being able to refund those customers is greater. Jolla has split its refund process into two, and the first one is expected to end soon. The second one will start next year, depending on Jolla’s financial status. So yes, there is a chance it might not able to fulfill those refunds at all. While the funding of course won’t be used for that purpose, it indirectly helps by keeping Jolla from shutting down. At least for now.
It will be quite interesting to see how long Sailfish OS will be able to keep Jolla afloat. As Nokia, then under ex-Microsoft exec Stephen Elop, often remarked, the smartphone market has become a two-horse race, between iOS and Android. While Sailfish OS definitely offered a breath of fresh air, much of that good feeling has been swept away because of the financial and corporate controversy. It still has a lot to prove as it competes with other smaller players like Ubuntu Touch, BlackBerry 10 (which the company insists is still a thing), and, yes, even Windows 10 Mobile.