Why Nokia left MeeGo behind: The multi-year backstory

Nokia N9 running MeeGo

Perhaps the biggest tech market bombshell in 2011 was Nokia’s announcement to partner with Microsoft and primarily become a Windows Phone hardware partner. After years of dominating the first smartphone age with its Symbian platform and later developing Maemo and MeeGo, Nokia’s move was a shocker. Clearly, something had to be done as the touchscreen smartphone age began dawning in 2007.

Nokia Lumia 920 smartphonesWe still don’t yet know now this strategy overhaul will play out for Nokia as the first round of Lumia phones debuted earlier this year and the next generation of those, running Windows Phone 8, hit the market in the coming weeks. And we also don’t know exactly how Nokia arrived at this destination, although many of the high-level details were reported along the way.

Sampsa Kurri, founder the technology-centered site Muropaketti, does know, however. Kurri culled together bits and pieces of the story through interviews with Nokia employees based in Finland and offers up what I consider a must-read history of Nokia’s response to change, development efforts and operational choices that profoundly affected where the company is today.

Many of the details confirm the thoughts we had about what was going on at Nokia as it saw its share of the smartphone market tumble: Good ideas that were too late to implement as compared to products from more nimble competitors; considering Android long after some had advocated it; and a strategy of constant change for user interfaces and app development platforms.

If you read just one article today, I highly recommend it be Kurri’s detailed history of Nokia’s plans to propel the company forward in the face of iPhones and Androids and how its Maemo efforts fueled MeeGo only to go up in smoke for Nokia.

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