26 Comments

Summary:

I, like a bunch of other bloggers, jumped on the report of Nokia considering Windows Phone 7 as an operating system. But the hook-up, something I said would reek of desperation, is not going to happen, according to a soon to be ex-Nokia employee.

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I, like many other bloggers, jumped on the report of Nokia considering Windows Phone 7  as an operating system. But the hook-up, something I said would reek of desperation if it came to pass, is not going to happen, according to a soon-to-be-ex-Nokia employee. Watts Martin, who will be laid off next month, wrote on his personal blog that Nokia is just as controlling as Apple and as such, would have little reason to adopt Windows Phone 7, even as a stopgap measure.

He said in a blog post that Nokia likes to control its ecosystem and is focused on doing that through its Qt API, which unifies the Symbian^3 and Meego platforms it uses. He said Nokia won’t abandon Qt in favor of Windows Phone 7, which he says doesn’t provide any real benefits over MeeGo or Symbian.

“Some have theorized that they’re looking at (WP7) as a ‘stopgap’ until the MeeGo strategy is ready, but again, give me a reason that it’s a better stopgap for Nokia than a Symbian^3 phone with Qt,” wrote Martin. “Nokia really does have their OS strategy figured out, and it’s a good one. What they don’t have figured out is user experience design, a way to compete with the ‘$85 smartphone’ Horace Dediu envisions, and, oh yes, the whole damn North American market.”

Martin actually calls me out in his blog post for stoking the speculative fires. To my credit, I said my advice for Nokia is to stay in-house and get it done before they go looking at Windows Phone 7. That seems to be in keeping with Nokia’s vision. Nokia mobile VP Anssi Vanjoki memorably dismissed the idea of Nokia using Android, calling it no better than a boy who pees in his pants to keep himself warm in the winter.

As I wrote earlier, it’s in Nokia’s best interest to rely on its own operating system. It allows the company to have its coveted control and add value through it’s combination of software, hardware and services rather than be relegated to a simple hardware manufacturer. The only problem, as Martin points out, is that the company should have been on the ball three years ago. That’s why we have all this speculative talk in the first place. If Nokia was better equipped to weather the iPhone and Android assault, no one would be entertaining thoughts about whether it makes sense to look at Windows Phone 7 or Android. But until Nokia shows that it has things in hand internally and is prepared to compete at the highest levels in the smart phone market, reports like the one about Windows Phone 7 will get some play because even its own employees know the company needs to do something.

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  1. Fair play, Ryan, I agree with your analysis.

    I think if Nokia ever use another OS such as WP7 or Android it would be for the US market only so I’m not entirely ruling it out. It is very unlikely though.

    The point about being on the ball three years ago is also good. When Steve Jobs released the iPhone he said it was five years ahead. As it turns out it looks closer to being about three and a half to four.

  2. Francis Sepparton Thursday, December 30, 2010

    The other factor is that Windows Phone 7 has suffered abysmal sales since it launched.

    As such, Windows Phone 7 itself is now in peril. After a high-profile advertising push which some reports said was part of a half-billion-dollar marketing budget, it makes you wonder what Microsoft can possibly do to turn its lackluster sales around.

    Nokia must learn from Microsoft’s failure in mobile, and make sure that MeeGo tacts a different course than Windows Phone 7.

    1. Yes 1.5 million.
      Reaching 1 million first before the first iphone or Droid did. Fastest pace of either in Apps being created with no sign of slow down in pace.

      How is that a flop again and why is that abysmal?
      Sounds like smug users of other phones that seem to have tied their popularity and status to it – that bash Microsoft. That’s the long explication for the term: sheep.

  3. The Nokia N8 smartphone is widely considered being a flop. It was sold during the last months 4 million times. All WP7 phones together even did not reach the sales figures of this Nokia flop by 50%. So why Nokia should seriously consider to step into such a loser game like WP7?

    1. Because WP7 Mobile is growing faster than Nokia, Droid, or the first iphone did in the past.
      Ya know small reasons like that.

      1. Really? You have evidence of that do you?

        I mean, sure, zero sales to 1.5 million is growth but it’s not exactly stellar, is it especially when Microsoft’s competitors all look to have grown unit sales by a considerably higher margin (with the exception of RIM possibly) than MS.

    2. That 4 million figure is not official. Even if Nokia sold 4 million, they are just selling to old Nokia customers. Except for camera, N8 is a pathetic smart phone. Windows Phone 7 is clearly superior to anything Nokia or Blackberry offers.

      1. Really? Do you have one? I do.

        Incidentally let me know when WP7 gets Copy and Paste and multitasking will you? We might actually have something to compare at that point.

    3. Oh look it’s an I-Tard

  4. Does Nokia matter to us? | SysNet Thursday, December 30, 2010

    [...] Nokia will not use Windows 7, nor will it use Android. This has been a source of debate between Tomi T Ahonen and Robert Scoble [...]

  5. I linked to you mostly just because your article had the most editorializing-sounding headline I came across. Your article was really not bad at all, and I recognize that headlines tend to be written in a charged fashion. In a bit of internet karmic retribution, my blog post is now being rather unexpectedly linked everywhere with very charged-sounding headlines. :)

    1. Thanks for the link and the comment. I liked your post. And yes, our headlines can get supercharged at the end.

  6. I’m glad Nokia won’t go WP7, however I’m also worried about their strategy with Meego. Why make an open-source OS if you want to be like Apple and have full control over it? What’s the point of that? Just so they can say “we’re open source, too!”?

    An open-source platform should follow an open-source strategy, which means Nokia will have to not only let their competitors use Meego, but also encourage them to use it. It’s the only way the Meego platform will get enough traction in time before they get irrelevant.

    Even if Nokia releases 10, or even 20 Meego phones per year, it will still be too few models to make a big enough impact, for them to maintain their 35-40% market share.

    They need to think Meego first, Nokia second, because the popularity of the platform will sell their devices in the future. If Nokia is too isolated from the other manufacturers, it will become less and less relevant.

    If Android will really become the Windows of mobiles, then Meego will have no chance if it’s only used by one phone company, and even WP7 might prove to be a bigger platform than Meego, simply because it will be used by many manufacturers.

    It’s Android vs iOS all over again, except Meego is in a much weaker position than iOS is, and at least iOS led the smartphone smarket and created what is still the biggest eco-system around it, while Meego will be more like a follow-up OS.

    Personally, I’d like nothing more than for 2 open-source and free OS’s, Android and Meego, to be the top 2 dominant mobile platforms 5 years from now. The world would be a much better place than with dominant proprietary platforms and the amount of innovation would be much bigger. But, I worry Nokia will try to keep Meego all for themselves and ruin Meego’s chances to become a popular platform. For their own sake, I hope they won’t do that and try to get everyone to use Meego, just like Google and Microsoft are doing (and it’s working!).

    1. I totally agree, and a further point: if it’s anything like the Symbian Foundation experience, Meego’s chances will be grim.

      Meego, like Symbian, will lack a services layer platform. Nokia will push Ovi and such again, but say another manufacturer takes up Meego? What do service layer do they use? It’s the Symbian problem all over again, and the reason many are using Android; Google provides the services layer.

      And honestly, I don’t see Nokia opening Ovi to anybody else, similar to Apple not opening iTunes to competitors.

      1. Google provide the services layer… which is Google mail, maps and the Android store. Nothing else of note really there I’m afraid.

        Nokia have Ovi mail, maps and store so it’s the same really.

      2. And Mark, in his quick defense of Nokia, totally misses my point.

        The reason Android has taken off with other manufacturers is that Google provides their service layer and the Android store to everyone.

        Nokia has their Ovi services and store for themselves only, which is a huge obstacle for Meego to be adopted by other parties. It’s exactly why every non-Nokia phone that used to run Symbian was a crippled experience. You had a smart phone OS without any kind of services. And it’s one of the reasons manufacturers left the platform.

      3. Yes, Johnny because that closed model has really harmed Apple hasn’t it? I’ll also tell you right now that Nokia’s variant of MeeGo (and remember, MeeGo will come in a variety of products) will be Nokia only.

        Incidentally Google offer their primary services on any platform, it’s not OS dependent. The only differentiator is the Android market in this respect and app stores will be clones of each other within the year.

        The bit you don’t understand is it’s all really down to scale. Nokia have the volume to use their own services and as such can afford to do so especially given that the framework for those services will be usable by both Symbian and MeeGo devices. That rather is the point of the shift to Qt.

  7. The funny thing is that this “report” is just some guy’s opinion and is not based on any more straight up facts than the original rumor. Further, the paragraph noted here contradicts itself. Here is a hint – if you don’t have the user experience figured out (as he agrees they don’t), then you don’t actually have an good OS strategy. Ridiculous.

    1. Well the original article about Nokia migrating to WP7 was also just the opinion of one guy too. Didn’t stop the bloggers getting their knickers in a twist though.

  8. Palm uing Windows Mobile 5 as a stopgap between PalmOS and WebOS did not work, it only separated and confused its user base.

    Learn from Palm. Its not a wise action.

    1. windows 5 was a joke. Windows Phone 7 is the best OS for a phone out there. And that is without copy and paste. Best OS along with Best Hardware = Millions of phones sold. See, to your point… having a nokia with WM5 did nothing to make me consider the phone. Having a 12 megapixel camera with Windows Phone 7 makes me drool.

  9. MS numbers are SHIPPED not numbers sold. MS considers it ‘sold’ once it leaves their factory/warehouse … and many places just blindly run that press release without actually investigating. By Q1 – we shall see how many are actually being used versus sitting in a mobile store’s backroom.

  10. It’s not about Microsoft and Nokia. It never was. The grand wizard’s scheme is for Intel to buy Nokia. The chess pieces that have been moved are all about that. Once Intel buys Nokia, the WinTel alliance will do what it always does.

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