Elop, the first non-Finn to run the company in its 140-year history, joined Nokia less than nine months ago from Microsoft, where he was head of the division responsible for the Microsoft Office line of products. He subsequently drove through a tie-up with Microsoft to develop Nokia smartphones on the Windows Phone 7 platform, a deal that took the industry by surprise when it was announced in February.
Except of course if you were involved in the industry. For anyone who was remotely connected this wasn’t a surprise. During the summer of 2010, Nokia was pushing Symbian when we all wanted to hear about Meego. Symbian was already a dead platform that you’d have to pay developers handsomely to even consider developing for it.
When they changed their tune before Xmas 2010 and decided to talk to us about Meego, we already knew they were going Windows Phone 7. Any discussion of Symbian was pointless and even Meego with the lack of shipping hardware was a non-starter.
February and the subsequent changes since then have just proved us right all along. Symbian is now in sustaining with an external company, Meego is some sort of red-headed stepchild and the future is all WinPho7. And when the industry is rumbling that the Nokia phone business might be up for acquisition by Microsoft, I think others would be stupid to ignore it.
- Sony Ericsson, Motorola going Android
- Apple growing in strength.
I’m bullish on WinPho7 anyway. I like the fact they haven’t just cloned the icons of the iPhone. It shows some of the brains that have been working at Microsoft over the years – innovation that rarely sees the light in a finished product due to the complex relationships within such a leviathan of a company.
The mistake Nokia made with WinPho7 was announcing the partnership in February and leaving it for at least 6 months before any hardware would be available. That’s just suicide.
Nokia as a company will come to depend utterly on Microsoft as a partner. I would be interested to see how they compete with the other WinPho7 partners. And at that point they may be an independent company or they may be part of the Microsoft machine. We are left to wonder who will care.