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Nokia and Microsoft: a few thoughts

By now, you have probably heard the news: In an effort to turn around its decline, Nokia will partner with Microsoft and mostly go Windows Phone 7 (WP7) in the future. This post contains my thoughts on this.

  • Windows Phone 7 is a smarter choice than Android, because there are already so many Android licensees. Nokia might actually be able to differentiate itself with a good WP7 phone.
  • Microsofts WP7 partners: Where does the Nokia deal leave them? Will they be 2nd-class citizens? Partnering with Microsoft is clearly a risky proposition (PlaysForSure comes to mind, where MS abandoned its partners in favor of the in-house Zune).
  • MeeGo: seems to be in too bad a shape to be even a mid-term option for Nokia. This is very sad. Foregoing MeeGoo is sure to damage morale at Nokia. It will also cost them the demographics of software tinkerers, as those tend to stay away from MS technologies. They will probably migrate to
    WebOS or Android. That group is small, but contains many creative developers.
    • That Nokia hasn’t been able to create a competitive smartphone OS by now shows just how bad things are. Daring Fireball links to an ex-Nokia exec’s reaction to Elop’s leaked memo. That reaction is indicative of how much in denial Nokia’s management has been. And its chaotic, lengthy style also speaks volumes.
  • How much of this had been planned all along? When the Nokia board hired then-Microsoftie Elop, was that already part of the deal? They must have at least favorably considered the MS option. [1] is the latest update on this issue.
  • Long-term relevance of Nokia: At least the decision brings focus to Nokia. But one has to wonder how Nokia will remain relevant long-term. Nokia should probably have bought Palm, which might have been a better match for both companies. (I’m skeptical about HP as a company, but so far they have made some positive moves.)

Related reading:

  1. Nokia hints we'll see first Windows Phone 7 device this year

    According to Stephen Elop, the “final decision” to go with Windows Phone “just happened on Thursday night of last week.” Elop later expanded – in response to a question audience about whether he was a trojan horse – that the “entire management team” was involved in the process, and that “of course the board of directors of Nokia are the only ones that can make this significant of a decision about Nokia,” which they made on Thursday night [a week before the Friday event, 2011-02-11].

  2. Nokia CEO: Nokia to get billions from Microsoft

    Elop said Finland-based Nokia had been courted by Google Inc. as well, which sought to convince it to use its popular Android software for smart phones. Microsoft's payments are a recognition that Nokia had "substantial value to contribute," said Elop, who until recently was a Microsoft executive.

  3. Nokia's marginalization of MeeGo came as a surprise to Intel

    [...] would you have also guessed Nokia kept Chipzilla in the dark about its new direction until the day it announced it to the world? [...] Nokia dedicated only a three-man external team to the development of UI customizations for MeeGo. Not exactly the hugest investment in the world, we'd say, and when you consider Nokia and Microsoft already have concept devices drawn up, you've got to think plans to abandon MeeGo as a sincere flagship strategy were materializing in Espoo a long time before this event.

  4. Intel promises, teases MeeGo smartphone and tablet for MWC

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