Nokia, Microsoft; I now pronounce you partners!

Darren Humphries
Columnist from  Oshawa, ON Canada
| February 12, 2011


Have you ever met a couple that seems like there is no way they could be together but are somehow defying the odds?  Welcome to the Nokia/Microsoft partnering!

While there has been a lot written recently (including my article from Thursday) about the possibility of Nokia using an alternative OS who would have truly thought it would be Microsoft’s Windows Phone?  Even in my article, while I speculated I also said I didn’t think it was going to happen.  Today we wake up to pigs flying, cats and dogs marrying and Nokia and Microsoft holding hands.

Nokia had to make some kind of change, that was clear.  While some of the finger pointing was toward Redmond it was always followed by a pause and a shake of the head.  But in looking at its merits you can see that there is a lot that makes sense in this.

As mentioned in my article on Thursday, Nokia does very well with hardware.  They are also very dominant in markets that Microsoft doesn’t even touch.  This will open up a massive channel for Microsoft and potentially roll out the North America red carpet for Nokia.

Microsoft Win!

This is certainly a great win for Microsoft; there is no other way to look at it.  They have a new, and HUGE partner to license their OS but more importantly a renewed vigor for their own platform.  Developers, while perhaps slightly disillusioned with recent app sales, can certainly get excited about this huge new market.  With this potential developer groundswell comes many more apps and creative mobile solutions, which in turn will interest and hopefully draw in new users.  No matter how much growth there is in this there is little that Microsoft can lose; scaling upward presents very few problems for a software company.

Even Microsoft’s image will get a boost here.  The fact that Nokia chose Microsoft over others is going to feel like a shot in the arm.  No doubt Redmond (and Finland?) will see Steve Ballmer strutting along with more gusto than usual, and who could blame him?!

Nokia Win?

Is this a big win for Nokia?  I would like to think that it will be but we won’t know the answer to that for some time.  This decision by Nokia was not really made from a position of strength or confidence; it truly is a lunge for slipping marketshare.  Nokia couldn’t continue to limp along with Symbian and MeeGo doesn’t appear to be ready so Nokia had to make this change.  I am a bit surprised they are calling it a “long term” partnership as I figured it would only be until they develop their own OS.  Maybe that will be the case but for now it’ll be a focus on Windows Phone for their smartphone lineup.  Will this push with Windows Phone turn around Nokia’s fortunes?  I haven’t a clue but I hope it will.

Current Partner Response?

Wouldn’t you give anything to listen in on discussions at other Windows Phone partners? Ya, me neither, but still...!  To some degree current partners such as Samsung, LG and Dell are going to feel like old dance partners cast aside. They are bound to feel the potential Windows Phone market is being carved up a bit with less for each partner.  That may not be the case in the long run, but it’ll still be a part of the grumbling in these darkened boardrooms, no doubt.  The reality is that they all need to just suck it up and compete with Nokia.  It’s not likely any will drop Windows Phone but ya never know.

Consumer Win!

Absolutely!  Nokia knows how to make great hardware (I may have mentioned that already).  I would LOVE to see a Nokia smartphone running Windows Phone with a 12MP camera!  It sounds like the camera app is one area that Nokia is going to be allowed to innovate beyond the standard Windows Phone, and that is a very good thing indeed.

It drives me nuts when I hear short sighted people saying that there is no room beyond iPhone and Android.  What a horrible fate for users if choice were to be limited that severely.  This reinvigoration of Nokia and renewed interest in Windows Phone is ALL GOOD for consumers giving us choice and prompting competition, which in turn produces more choice.

Nokia and Microsoft, enjoy the honeymoon (but spare us the details)!

Image via The Tech Herald