Spanish whispers on Microsoft and Nokia
From the bars of Barcelona ...
MWC 2011 Once the condition of offspring has been established, and the second round is on the table, conversation in Barcelona quickly turns to what everyone expects of Nokia's deal with Redmond.
And the MWC attendees are surprisingly positive, once the sense of betrayal has been exorcised. The feeling among them is that Nokia has chosen the lesser of necessary evils, and so the discussion turns to how much Nokia is going to spend showing support for its legacy platforms, and what it is going to do on tablets, before the enthusiastic analysis of what went so badly wrong to put the Finns into this impossible position.
On that there are enough theories to full many a night's drinking, but Nokia's apparent lack of tablet strategy is more immediately concerning, along with when we're going to see the first Nokia handset running Windows, and which version of Windows Phone it will run.
The consensus is that Nokia will have to get a Windows handset out this year, alongside some sort of MeeGo device that the company is obliged to launch as a toy to mollify the hackers and geeks. What version of Windows will bless a Nokia handset is less clear; lots of people noticed Steven Elop's reluctance to attach a version number when talking about Microsoft platforms, and there's no shortage of speculation on why that might be.
There are dissenting voices, but most of the bar-fly pundits reckon Nokia won't launch with the existing Windows Phone version, but equally can't wait for version 8. They believe an intermediate instance will probably be launched late in the summer, and will include a few features the competition doesn't have – though as those competitors are also Microsoft licensees, any innovation lead won't last long.
On the tablet question, the thought is that Microsoft will be able to convince Nokia to go with full Windows. Nokia has form here, having used Windows on its not-net-book-but-sure-looks-like-one product. Nokia's backing could be a significant boost for Windows as a tablet platform, especially when Microsoft's traditional allies are less loyal these days.
And so, inevitably, the conversation moves on to tablets and how they're being used, and which bits of hardware have caught the eye, and, more importantly, who's going to pay for the third round. ®
The lesser of necessary evils?
Nokia has gone from a producer of handsets with multiple differentiating features, to a producer of one which has few, if any. And they're now competing in a stable of other manufacturers who also have few differentiating factors. The difference is their stablemates like HTC, LG, Samsung, Dell haven't bet the farm on WP7 like Nokia has. I really don't see why anyone in Nokia considers that a good idea. They've just lobotomised their company.
It may well be that neither Symbian nor MeeGo had any substantial chance of long term recovery and their strategy needed some correction. But this is just nuts. They may as well licence the Nokia brand out to HTC or some no-name OEM for all the difference it would make to the phones they'll be making from now on.
I strongly feel that either webOS or Android would have been far better choice. Both would offer that differentiating factor while allowing Nokia to compete with other smart phone manufactures. Oh well, so long Nokia.
Nokia are dead
With Google activating another 1m smartphones every 3 days, they can't wait till late 2011 for something, and even then consumers don't want an inferior WindowsMobile based "smart"phone.
Nokia didn't choose WinMo7, it was the other way round, Microsoft infiltrated Nokia and then pulled the strings to suit their game.
Had there been no Microsoft influence at Nokia, clearly Android would have been the perfect fit.
2 years from now we will be talking about the suicidal decision to put a ex-Microsoft bod as the CEO of Nokia, and how Microsoft drained them of anything worthwhile and then discarded them in a Finish lake outside Oulu.
Sorry, you lost us here
And how does this bloody differs from a stable of manufacturers producing hadnsets to an IDENTICAL spec defined by Microsoft?
In fact, in that case unless Microsoft relaxes its grip on WP7 definition Nokia is clearly _WORSE_ off. It now not just has to compete with LG, HTC and Samsung on price but it is not allowed to have a different phone to do so.
If Microsoft relaxes the definition that will make the platform identical in terms of competitive environment - Nokia will have to compete in the shark pool against LG, HTC and Samsung on price yet again with the platform promptly balkanized into an Android look alike, just a .Net/C# based one.
So going with WP7 is in the realm of Dumb, Dumber, the Dumbest.
When you are the size of Nokia using an own platform or at least a huge chunk of own customisation on top on an existing platform is not a choice, it is a necessity. That is the laser on the frikkin' shark head which makes it different from the common dogfish in the shark pool.
Choosing a platform that explicitly disallows you to customise and differentiate and build that frikking' laser is not just stupid. It is criminally stupid.