Nokia, Microsoft, Stephen Elop & Uncertainties


11th February was the date when Nokia announced its partnership with Microsoft. It’s was just the last month but it already feels like an old story.

I thought the same until I picked up this month’s issue of the most reputed local internet magazine and was disappointed to read the same pre-calculated analysis published in it (which is circulating all over the web).

So let’s dissect & clarify this issue once and for all.

Let’s go couple of years back, when Nokia started losing its market share to iOS and Android and it strongly needed to come up with a competitive product but this time it was not about cutting edge hardware, but it was about the software and the user experience.

Nokia’s answer was not customized Symbian but Maemo which later turned into MeeGo, which was going to be the future of Nokia’s smartphones – but something didn’t go right.

During all this, iOS was advancing, Android was expanding its user base, HP bought Palm and released WebOS 2.0, RIM launched a new & improved version of its BlackBerry OS & a BlackBerry tablet, one company was left without an Eco System of their own & it was Nokia.

They had to act and act fast.

Now if we believe Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop, he said in an interview that when he arrived at the company (Sep. 2010), Nokia then knew that it has to make a strategic assessment & CEO’s job was to lead the company through that.

At this point Nokia weighed all of its options from continued investment in Symbian to MeeGo to other platforms and finally partnered with Microsoft for Windows Phone 7.

You may argue why Nokia didn’t partner with Android then?

Here is the reason: Back in September 2010 Google asked Motorola to stop using SkyHook’s location services on the Droid X, which Motorola had decided to use instead of Google’s Location Services.

If Nokia was in place of Motorola (and considering the fact that Nokia owns Navteq (a $8.1 Billion acquisition)), it would never had nodded the Google’s call.

But now, look at the complete freedom Nokia has – it can modify Windows Phone 7 in any way it want. So definitely WP7 was the choice.

will Symbian Die after WP7 Phones?

So is Symbian dead? MeeGo gone? N-series phones soon to be history? The answer it not what you have been listening to and it is, No.

Symbian is staying in its current status till the end of 2012 and until than it will be actively developed and modified. One example is the new set of icons, animations, customizable widgets and the addition of my favorite feature, the drop down notification bar (yes, they way Andriod has it).

This update is coming soon.

What will happen after 2012? The Smartphone’s from Nokia will transition to Windows Phone 7 & Symbian (particularly Series 40 & variants) will continue to be a part of the low-end phones or plain Mobile phones. So it is more of relegation than plain death. But where does MeeGo fit in?

“We are not thinking about MeeGo as the Plan B but we are thinking about MeeGo as what’s the next generation”, “What’s the next wave of business and technological disruption (beyond iOS, Android, WP7). We want to make sure we are leading through that as well”.

These three lines summarize the future of MeeGo as it is the OS Nokia will develop to lead the future platform/OS wars beyond the current ones.

What the future holds, no one knows for sure. Huawei is manufacturing low priced cheap Android phones, there are rumors that Apple is working on a smaller or cheaper iPhone & that too is the plan of Nokia to bring WP7 to all the different price points instead of just a premium product.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is for sure, the consumer (you & I) will benefit.

  • — So is Symbian dead? MeeGo gone? N-series phones soon to be history? The answer it not what you have been listening to and it is, No.

    Ha ha, but then you say it only gets updates until 2012. Just one year!

    It’s dead.

    • No its not dead. It will get update’s from Nokia. Someone from nokia said in Philippines that we will use symbian in our smartphone’s untill its profitable to us. And will be used in mid range phones and MeeGo and Win 7 in high end phones. So symbian is not going anywhere nor it is dead. And Nokia still plans to sell 150 milling Symbian powered devices.

      • They would never consider outside software (like Windows 7) if symbian worked as well as everyone says.

        Symbian is dying.

    • No my friend, lets look at the local market. Symbian will continue to be used in the low-end phones like the new C1, C2, X1 & X2 series. If Symbian is dead, completely, which OS will Nokia use in these phones than?
      Let’s assume that 50% of the mobile phones that Nokia sells in Pakistan are Smartphones.Than again Symbian will account for the remaining 50% of the mobile phone sales (by volume, not by profit margin)… 50% by numbers isn’t dead.
      But if you think an OS is respectable until it is used in mainstream phones than you are correct because it (symbian) won’t be used in the smartphones anymore.
      “…So it is more of relegation (demotion) than plain death….”

      • We are entering an era where even android smartphones cost less than nokia 5250. in a few years, who knows maybe Rs 5000 for android.

        Android is eating Nokia’s profits

        • Android is easting Nokia’s profit very fast.
          Phones less than $100 are mostly not smartphones and I don’t see the price coming down. I own one of those low-cost android phones and it’s not worth it, seriously, for the average user. I can cope with it but majority won’t/can’t. For Android I would suggest at-least an 800Mhz processor or a good supporting graphics chip if a lower clocked CPU.
          And Windows Phone 7 has very good technical reviews, someone just needs to bring it to the market. Vast Market. I know people who are Android/iOS users but are waiting for Nokia’s WinPhone7 phones to shift.

          • — Phones less than $100 are mostly not smartphones and I don’t see the price coming down.

            You’re not following the trends very well. What was the cheapest smartphone five years ago? Three years ago? Today? You don’t see the price coming down? Do you see it going up???

            You think Windows 7 will cost under $100? When? Five years from now?

  • Nokia is history in smartphone race. I think they will still lead in lower end models i.e. in s40 based phones.

  • :p Windows Phone 7 is truely best phone OS.

    Will be waiting for Nokia’s 1.6Ghz, HDMI supported WP7 :P

      • If you believe in numbers than Nokia is the largest smartphone seller in the world.
        Numbers only, is not the Metric of the Quality of a product. If you do a satisfaction survey you will see that Windows Phone 7 users will be more satisfied with their phones than Android ones. WinPhone7 needs market penetration and Nokia can do that (provided they act fast, they are already late).

        • — If you believe in numbers than Nokia is the largest smartphone seller in the world.

          And losing grownd! Look at the second table here:

          Symbian dropped from 44% in 2009q3 to 36% in 2010q3. JUST ONE YEAR. Blackberry also dropped. Android 3.5% up to 22.5% in the same period.

          So follow the trend. Loosing badly.

        • Exactly, Rameez! Thats what i call a To-The-Point call.

          Windows Phone 7 is truely impressive in terms of Speed, Style, Ease of use & top of all Quality.

          ATM it lacks Exposure to masses which HTC alone can never Bring, so Nokia will be filling up the blank space very soon, and than it will hit the masses i am sure.

          Android is simply Over Rated (old styled) mobile os for Dummies mostly attractive to people who are still using Windows XP (on their PC’s). So thats simple fact.
          The day people who live in OLD days will come to Future, they will start liking Windows Phone 7 :)

          I Expect that WP7 will be cheaper to Price of PKR 20000-25000 when nokia will release to masses.

          • FUNNY Android for Windows people. Why did microsoft call it Windows Phone 7 if not to emphasis WINDOWS? You are funny and i think threatened by Android.

  • I really dont know who writes such a stupid article. Nokia could have never partnered with Google. It would have been blocked by the Anti trust laws. The major competitors can never join hands. Does the author really understand the legal complications behind such issues.

    Pathetic post!

    • So how is Microsoft (remember Windows mobile???) partnered with Nokia? They are in the same market — smartphones! Why no antitrust laws here?

      Come up with a better reason.

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