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Dr. Axel Rauschmayer is a freelance software engineer, blogger and educator, located in Munich, Germany. Axel is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 246 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Nokia and Microsoft: a few thoughts

02.14.2011
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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
References
Published at DZone with permission of Axel Rauschmayer, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

Jacek Furmankiewicz replied on Mon, 2011/02/14 - 10:19am

It may be entertaining to see what is going on on the Qt mailing lists. I bet you they're not too happy...maybe this deal will make financial sense for Nokia but I think they will lose a huge chunk of their developer base. I don't see the Linux-happy Qt crowd going down the Silverlight route any time soon.

Axel Rauschmayer replied on Mon, 2011/02/14 - 11:46am

@Jacek: I don’t understand why Nokia could not do more with MeeGo and Qt. Were the teams underfunded? Incompetent? Did something else get in the way?

Philippe Lhoste replied on Mon, 2011/02/14 - 11:57am

I haven't touched a Win Phone 7 yet, but from some reviews, it seems that there is little room to "differentiate itself" on this platform, the phones are said be almost clones because of strict MS rules.

And well, some companies doesn't hesitate to make phones using various systems (WP7, Android, etc.), so perhaps Nokia can do that too.

Claude Lalyre replied on Tue, 2011/02/15 - 4:59am

The only truth is that MS did not bring any innovation these 15 years ! They only copied innovations from others, and tried to avoid any competitors with trials and patents (on double-click for example), ...

The only truth is that Nokia relied on its past success and did not bring anything relevant since...

And the only truth is that Apple was so innovative with their iPhone, iOs and AppStore concept. Then Google came into the party, and they were damned good with their Android platform. But the key success is the fact that it was Open Source, open for every body, and that's the master key of their success !

Be open minded, and respectfull of engineers around the world those who are coding the Smartphone applications, that is the explanation of the Google success ! And because of this, Apple should take care that Google should not defeat them definitively on the Smartphone business.

This is as simple as that !

Anthony Bennis replied on Tue, 2011/02/15 - 8:24am

It's going to be hard to differenciate their product with Windows 7. One of Nokia's strong selling point wasn't their sexy devices, it was the usability of the platform (a little bland, but useable).

If I were Nokia CEO, I'd go with Android. Android is completely customiseble, so they could release a Nokia themed OS with Nokia apps. Maybe they could extend Android to support their Ovi apps, support Qt developers? At any rate, it would leverage the benefits of Android and free them to extend it with unique Nokia selling points.

 

 

Axel Rauschmayer replied on Tue, 2011/02/15 - 9:42am in response to: Anthony Bennis

Qt plus something would have been nice.

To stand out on Android, you have to be really smart. An example of a company making smart moves is Amazon. Their app store is "yet another one", but they are putting a lot of effort into UI, curation, and billing. As a result, it is a worthy addition to the Android ecosystem.

If Nokia gets paid a lot of money and is able to collaborate closely with MS, then that might make the deal interesting enough (for Nokia). I agree with you on Nokia’s selling point, but in collaboration with MS, Nokia might actually produce a phone that is unique among all WP7 phones. Something that would be harder to do on Android.

Axel Rauschmayer replied on Tue, 2011/02/15 - 10:00am in response to: Claude Lalyre

I agree, but other factors come into play, too.

  • Google’s openness has many aspects to it: Not all of Android is open (not all Android phones have all of Google’s apps or the Android Market), you still have to root (=jail-break) your device if you want to tinker with it freely, the freedom to change the OS is used by many carriers to add their bloatware. In case I sound like an Android hater: I’m not! I like the environment and think that Honeycomb will be a fine tablet OS.
  • What I have seen of WP7 actually looks quite promising, they are making good decisions (especially usability-wise), but have a lot of catching up to do.
  • Apple’s control is not all bad for developers.

Prashant Murthy replied on Tue, 2011/02/22 - 5:40am

I agree with you and i Am excited about MeeGo device launch. I love Qt and i think Nokia is not dumping it as it has around 75 million symbian devices with Qt framework in market and going to launch 150 million more so its pretty much clear that Qt's future is good.Lets take it as Nokia added a new OS to its Os family and its going to be an added advantage for all the developers to not only create and sell the symbian Qt apps in its store but also to create and sell for windows as well. :) Also take a look at what Rich Green of Nokia has to say about future of symbian, Qt, MeeGo: http://conversations.nokia.com/2011/02/16/the-future-for-qt-meego-and-symbian-cto-rich-green-explains/

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