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Stephen Elop Nokia

Perhaps you've heard the rumour by now of Nokia putting Windows Phone on their smartphones; if not, you're welcome.  But is this really a good strategy for Nokia at this point?  What are their alternatives and which is the best?

The first thing we need to do here is admit that Nokia has a problem.  I get the irony of that statement coming from a long-time Windows Mobile user, but there is no denying which way Nokia's sales charts are pointed (at least for smartphones).  Microsoft went through the same thing and came out the other side smelling like roses...just not many roses.  While there are a lot of die hard fans of Symbian it certainly isn't winning over many new initiates. 

Nokia's problem really is not hardware.  They know how to build excellent phones at a competitive price.  In my opinion the E71 was a fantastic looking device that suffered from OSitis (man, I can hear the rush of hate mail coming down the hall).  As great as that hardware is, their OS just has not kept pace.  It is certainly functional but not in the least inspiring.  When was the last time the masses drooled over a new release of Symbian?

This is not news to anyone, including Nokia.  They are fully aware of their sales trends just perhaps not aware of the solution.  Revamping Symbian or developing an all new OS is a huge undertaking, and while it is probably still what Nokia is planning to do but they need something in the meantime.

The easy answer that everyone wants to throw around is 'Android'.  "Hey, it's free!"  Yes, Android is free to use...if you don't want any consulting services from Google while in development, and you don't need any of the Google services to be included.  Plus, it's highly likely using a "freely" available OS leaves you wide open to patent lawsuits which might cost you some chump change; just ask Motorola.  Honestly, maybe those costs are worth it when spread over the sales of millions of devices;  Manufacturers of Android-based devices don't seem to be complaining too much.  But perhaps this requires a manufacturer to have very long-term goals for Android to invest that kind of time and money.  If Nokia is truly considering using an alternate smartphone OS (and I'm not sure they are) it is probably only as a stop-gap while they create the Symbianator.

So, is Windows Phone a decent alternative for them?  Perhaps.  It would allow them to license the OS for a term and have a very straightforward reference design.  They can focus on devices for now while the secret OS ninjas build something new.  The problem with using Windows Phone?  Well, I love it, as do a lot of people but it isn't exactly tearing up the record books in sales.  There are a lot of people that are too nervous to jump into the Microsoft swimming pool just yet and those who just love to hate the evil Redmond monster.  Putting Windows Phone on Nokia hardware may be the equivalent of outfitting an aircraft carrier with oars.  I'm not saying Windows Phone is a bad option but its a risky one, is its unlikely to draw in the masses.  Nokia would need to rely on stellar hardware design to gain attention.  This doesn't need to be Nokia's saving grace and a runaway success, just enough to stabilize their sales while they rework their own OS.

Still, are there many options for Nokia at this point?  Do they continue on with a failing OS, switch to Android and perhaps get lost in the crowd, or jump on board with Windows Phone, a rather slow moving hay ride?

Image via TechTickerBlog


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25 Reactions to this post

"Hey Nokia, is that a Windows Phone in your pocket?"


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Prabhath Jay android android
Rich Welch Why would you want anything but open code? I suppose it scares some people or they just don't know how to put it on. WP7 isn't that great.
Nicholas Ether @Ron Bragg -Not only is android linux based, and everyone that claims to know anything about a computer has used linux at least once, (I currently dual boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10) but Mac OS is BASED on linux! If that isn't as close to a "Windows Killer" as anyone is going to get, idk what is. Bottom line, linux is better, it has beat Windows. Windows isn't dead, but linux has won. It is on every mac (and we know how many people stockpile those in their homes) and many governments and businesses are turning to linux because it's free and they can easily adapt it how they would like. You just try to come up with an argument for that?
Tony Ward @ron Bragg, Linux is better now but how long has apple been around, and they are still rubbish over priced, yuppie toys. Nokia will eventually go with android as will all the other company's, apple will then go back to its 3rd rate status and android will take over the world and make us all mindless over weight zombies LOL.
Anthony Alecseenko They should go android as well. Then nokia could become unstoppable! :)
Daniel Molina I think that windows phone 7 is de best option for nokia
Jason Vargas Yea I think this is good although I thought they would have gone with android WP7 is a good choice. WP7 really is a good OS. Better than blackberry and has good competition on iOS. Although I see Android being at the top spot in the future. I think WP7 can give iOS good competition when it comes to 2nd place.
Peter Kis Windows Phone 7 may me nice, but it's not selling. Why bet on a losing horse? Google put it nicely: two Turkeys don't make an eagle
Roger Rodriguez Nokia continues making fatal mistakes! This is one more proof. They are their own worst enemy! So sad cuz I like Nokia phones. I used to own a 6682 smart phone. I loved that phone.
Marcus Bröker @Ron funny that you bring it up because I am actually running Ubuntu 10.10 64bit on my home computer and 10.04 on my netbook. Nice try though :)
Josh Rankin Short of designing and implementing a proprietary OS, Android would be their best option at this point. I imagine since Android is open source, the overhead would be lower than, say, Windows Phone.
Ninh Rango I think this is possible. I like Nokia device running WP7. Why not
Ron Bragg @Marcus Is that why you don't have it your home computer? Back in the day Linux was supposed to be the MS killer,but..... We see were that went.. Lol.
Anwar Khan If nokia puts WP7 on their smartphones, then i will never buy a nokia again. My dad has a HD7, and i did not like it. I dont want to see nokia become just a smartphone manufacturer like htc. Nokia created the smartphone, and a Decision like this is clearly out of order.
Gary J Krusch Doesn't make sense to take a software (Win7) that may or may not survive, and pair it with a company that feels they are losing the Smartphone share of the market. Android is on a rise, and strong. Wouldn't hurt to go with them.
Jose Garcia I just rec'd my HTC HD7 and was unimpressed with the OS. The hardware is great but Microsoft has a long way to go to compete with Android and Apple. My gmail and Facebook don't sync. It really should be plug and play. Microsoft takes notes from Android.
Mikhail Korolev If the battery life wouldn't be drained as fast as on Androids, I'd def go for a Nokia WP 7 device.
Robert Centennial WP 7 is a great OS and once it gets updated it will take a big chunk of Rim's and apple's customers.
Marcus Bröker @Ron Bragg Linux is very popular. Want proof? Android is Linux based.
Facebook user I thought that internationally Nokia did well. I'm a little surprised by this. Nokia makes good quality smartphones.
Ron Bragg I hope they take the lead and just make one WP7. Stop making it on all phones. Ya know why Linux is not that popular, it's open. Lol.
Jon Jerico Calanio It could have gone with Android.
Donovan Blink Vejar Or are you just happy to see me?
Jeffrey Anderson NOKIA and ANDROID <3




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