Nokia and Microsoft: The Tale of Two Turkeys


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Since the burning platform memo was leaked 2 weeks ago, and when Google’s Vic Gundotra tweetedTwo turkeys do not make an Eagle” many have already speculated what was going to be announced last Friday. And when Nokia and Microsoft  jointly announced the strategic partnership on 11th of February 2010, Nokia workers walked out, in protest to the announcement. There were so much commotion about it as all hell broke loose in the Finnish company.

Nokia used to be independent with their software strategy but their declining market share and increasing competition with Apple and Google had allegedly left the company no option but to adopt the Windows Phone 7 strategy. This will increase their dependence with licensed OS and abandon the clunky Symbian platform while focusing on their strength in manufacturing and distribution.While it’s true that Windows strengths compliments Nokia’s strengths, and their products and services does not conflict much, they also share the same weaknesses. Both of these companies failed at making a sustainable ecosystem which is the primary driver of  the mobile market now. I dare say it, but at this rate, Nokia will become just another device vendor much like what happened to Motorola in 2003.

It’s also quite amusing how a reversal of role happened last week when HP announced that WebOS will come to PC and not just in Palm mobile phones. Nokia buried Symbian and  put MeeGo aside while HP pushed forward and put WebOS up the next level. Suddenly, the future of Symbian and MeeGo became bleak while the potential of WebOS looked quite promising.

Symbian sunset

What disturbs me about this deal is how Microsoft is benefiting in all areas while Nokia is taking all the bullet. One could say Microsoft have orchestrated the deal, making Nokia a Microsoft puppet. After all, top positions in Nokia are already being filled by ex-MS employees like the head of Nokia USA, Chris Webber. CEO Stephen Elop denied all rumors that he is a trojan horse planted by Microsoft to silently take over Nokia, quoting that the board of Nokia made the final decision for last week’s announcement. Interestingly,  Bloomberg reported that out of the 3 scenarios possible, only the Microsoft option was recommended by Nokia executives to the board. We don’t know whether the executives were influenced and how they came up with the unanimous vote but the board agreed to execute the most viable strategy.

Then came up Nokia Plan B that was believed to be created by a group of nine young investors that is plotting to fire Elop, take over company leadership and commit Nokia’s resources back to MeeGo. It was, in fact, a hoax created by one very bored engineer who really likes his iPhone. Many believed it was true which disappointed a handful of hopeful Nokia fans.

There are tons of reactions in the web about Nokia and Microsoft partnership, mostly negative, but it is most upsetting to those who have devoted time in Symbian development. I recently wrote  a blog post about my frustration with Ovi and Nokia software and I can attest that in order to make Windows Phone 7 attractive to developers and end-users alike, Microsoft and Nokia have to get rid of the bugs that plague most devices using Windows. Many believed that Nokia is Microsoft’s last bet on Windows Phone 7 and if the partnership becomes successful, Steve Ballmer has done a terrific good job in choosing the right ally.

Nokia's Global Reach is main source of Elop's optimism

I still feel terrible to all hardcore Nokia fans. I pity Nokia and the Symbian community. I’d say, it’s just about time to try other mobile phones, try to forget Nokia and move on. Change is good.

Until now, cloud of skepticism surrounds the infamous deal between Nokia and Microsoft. Elop has to win the investors back following the big stock drop and he must regain the trust of Nokia employees despite the planned downsizing. A lot of work must be done.

There will be more debates going on until Nokia release their very first Windows Phone 7 device. It seems we won’t see any until October 2011. So, all I can do now is wonder, just like what Om Malik wrote on his blog: what happens when Windows Phone 7 on Nokia gets a big thumbs down? Probably End-Of-Line.

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  • http://apendiks.com Derek

    This move made by Nokia is of no return, as they are completely going to put Symbian to rest. I think the Linux community is also upset as MeeGo will also be put into shelves. I also hope that the partnership would prosper, and hopefully not just for Microsoft, but for Nokia as well.

    But I really don’t know. I’ve been a Nokia user for years; heck, my first handset is a Nokia. At some point I enjoyed Symbian, but I can’t imagine Nokia handsets having Windows Phone 7 as its OS. I know it’s plausible, but I still find it weird.

    I am no longer interested in buying a Nokia phone really. However, I am still interested as to what this partnership will bring upon the mobile market.

    • http://www.vexite.com MV

      Elop is hoping for a “3 horse race” because he believes that the strategic partnership with Microsoft can put Nokia on the same race as Apple and Google. Good luck with that. I’m not saying it is impossible but it will be a difficult one. We already saw the initial backlash of investors, so only time will tell.

      The announcement last week scared off a lot existing and potential Symbian owners too but at least, it’s the last thing we need to know to ditch Symbian and move on.

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