Last year at a Qualcomm event in San Diego, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop declared war on a Google and invited developers, mobile operators and handset makers to join Nokia and Microsofts’ ranks in preparation for the coming smartphone armageddon. At an interview at Mobile World Congress on, Elop gave us an update on how Nokia’s war and recruitment efforts are going.
In short, Elop said, Nokia has found some new allies, but the war itself has only been characterized by early skirmishes – the big showdown has yet to come.
First, Elop pointed to the many Windows Phone 7 devices that have emerged in the last year. While those phones may be from competitors, Elop believes that the bigger fight is the ecosystem war brewing so he welcomed any device maker that was willing to join Nokia in promoting Microsoft’s upstart OS. Elop said he still considers Android the primary enemy, far more dangerous than Apple.
Second, Elop highlighted operators like AT&T and T-Mobile embracing Nokia and other vendors’ WP7 phones. Their support is key, Elop said, and they have every interest in providing it, given Google’s growing power in the smartphone space. “Operators are very interested in three ecosystems,” he said. “They will now have three knobs to turn.”
Lastly, Nokia is building up its own WP7 portfolio. With the unveiling of the Lumia 610 – which targets the lower end of the smartphone market — on Monday, Nokia now has four Windows smartphones with which to attack Google’s dominance. Elop added said he didn’t expect to add to that number much. Like Samsung and other smartphone makers, Nokia is moving toward a more streamlined portfolio, though it won’t go as far as Apple, Elop said. “We will be more pared down than we were in the past,” he said. “That said we’re not going down to a single-device strategy.”