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Nokia Considers Windows Phone 7, As Vanjoki Lets Rip

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Could new boss Stephen Elop bring the Windows Phone 7 OS with him from Microsoft for future Nokia phones?

The new boss of Nokia, former Microsoft manager Stephen Elop, is reportedly considering running Windows Phone 7 on the Finnish giant’s smartphone handsets, in a move that will surely raise a few eyebrows around the world.

Up until 20 September, Elop was a part of Microsoft’s senior management team responsible for group strategy, but he was appointed to the top position within Nokia after its former chief Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo was ousted. Kallasvuo’s departure had been predicted for a while.

Elop was brought in to reinvigorate Nokia’s smartphone business which is still the world’s largest, but is losing share to Apple and Android-based systems.

Windows Phone 7

And now according to Venture Beat, one of the most surprising moves is that he is considering the adoption of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. This is apparently according to ‘trusted sources’ close to Nokia, who spoke to VentureBeat.

Nokia has publicly dismissed reports that it plans to adopt Microsoft Windows Phone 7, telling Bloomberg that its software platforms are Series 40, Symbian and MeeGo, and it’s not planning to add others.

“This stance was strongly reinforced by our management during Nokia World, and we have no plans to use other operating systems,” spokesman Leo McKay told Bloomberg by text message, in response the VentureBeat report.

However VentureBeat was unrepentant. “Update: Nokia disagrees with our report. However, we have two additional sources which agree with it,” it said.

Nokia Disarray

There is little doubt that Nokia’s platform strategy is in disarray at the moment. It publicly stated that it was going to drop Symbian^3 OS from its flagship N range handsets, but then seemed to backtrack on this. And Nokia continues to work on the open-source MeeGo operating system in conjunction with chip giant Intel, although it has yet to appear on any Nokia handsets.

Meanwhile, a fasincating insight into the upper management at Nokia was provided by Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s executive vice president responsible for smartphones, who in mid September announced he would leave the company in six months time.

His departure came hot on the heels of the hiring of Stephen Elop who replaces former CEO Oli-Pekka Kalasvuo. Subsequently Nokia’s chairman, Jorma Ollila also announced his decision to step down. And UK boss Mark Loughran also announced his resignation.

Vanjoki Lets Rip

In surprisingly frank comments, Vanjoki explained why he was leaving Nokia, and admitted that the key reason was because “I didn’t become CEO”.

“I didn’t become the CEO. It is as simple as that,” Vanjoki said, speaking to the Wall Street Journal at the Nokia World event in London, when asked why he resigned.

“You know who the guy is it’s not you…so what do you do, you stay or you leave. I decided to leave,” the 54-year-old executive said.

Vanjoki blamed Nokia’s problems on two things. The first was the fact that Nokia didn’t have the right operating system to compete with Google and Apple, which he calls a “niche player.”

Peeing Your Pants

Nokia’s OS of choice till now has been Symbian, despite its user interface which is often criticised for being clunky. Vanjoki told the WSJ that he doesn’t regret sticking with the open source operating system.

And Vanjoki was pretty scathing of Android after he likens manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC, who are firmly in the Android camp, to young, experienced boys in Finland, who “pee in the pants” to keep warm in the winter. He felt that this strategy is a temporary fix for growth but it will only hurt their brand later.

“First it gives you a warm feeling, but boy is it cold after that,” he said.

  1. This make perfect sense for Nokia. Nokia is good in hardware and early indications show that WP7 will rule. The only way Nokia can survive is to adopt WP7 or Android . It would be good to stay with WP7 right now, because of several reasons
    1) Android cannot be a choice anyway because at the low end market Nokia needs to compete with Android phones in the market.
    2) So far indications, WP7 will be nothing short of a blockbuster. Microsoft with its strengths of cash and infrastructure within two three years they can easily ensure that WP7 survives.
    3) Android market is getting too fragmented and compared to the 15$ license fees MS charges, development over Android is much costlier.
    4) Nokia gets an out – of- the- box platform which is guaranteed success, at the same time they have enough scope for differentiation. XBOX-Zune-Office integration itself is a pure sell.
    5) It’s hard to believe Nokia can turn around Meego or Symbian which can compete with Android or iPhone. Even if they do , by the time they do it, market have moved ahead.

    So nothing insane about this. Then there are Droid fans , MS fans, Apple fans, Symbian fans Meego fans either trying to save jobs or trying to save investments. But day by day its becoming clearer that Android and WP7 will be the remaining platforms in the race. Of which I see possibly WP7 will emerge as the leading platform in 4 years timeframe. In two years’ time Android may put up a show , but compared to the infrastructure MS can put up and money they can throw at this, it’s difficult to assume Android emerging as the main platform. MS has the inherent capability to chase and beat, its proven time and again. One can argue it happened only in PC, but it seems that’s happening everywhere now take XBOX take Silverlight . There are failed project with MS but they had either stopped at very early stage, and if they continue they are formidable force. I believe MS will never discontinue WP7 as its going to be their bread and butter for the next several years. There is an early advantage for Microsoft if Nokia adopts WP7, but for Nokia it’s going to be last chance in the smartphone segment !

  2. @microsoft.evangelist.singaroo:
    “early indications show that WP7 will rule”.

    Well, yes in Microsoft’s dream. For anybody else, this is just wishful thinking.

    “There is an early advantage for Microsoft if Nokia adopts WP7″

    Thanks, but, no thanks. No need to go south like many others that trusted Microsoft in the past.

  3. Nokia will be releasing MeeGo based handset in first quarter 2011.

    Biggest problem for Nokia is that it need more partners on the *hardware* side.

    Samsung is gaining fast on Nokia in all segments and here is why.

    Samsung has taken what is best of breed this year ‘android’ and embraced it ( Regardless of what the fanboy above thinks windows on phones is a has been )

    Samsung have major hardware experience and as a group manufacture (under license in some cases) a range of hardware from processors to large screen televisions.

    Samsung have embraced android because it is the hottest thing around just now. However they have not dropped their own offering named Bada which is their long term future.

    Nokia short term future is built on Symbian.

    Nokia long term future is by partnering closely with both ARM and Intel through MeeGo. Doing this gives Nokia shared development of a next generation operating system, and access to advanced hardware (and hardware implementation expertise) through its partners.

  4. Hmmm….

    I dont know where to start. Reading through your entire article, i highly doubt you have even seen the OS in action or kept abreast of the latest information and opinion on the phone right now.
    Windows Phone 7 is not “a mere rebadge of the Windows mobile OS” as you state. That line itself discredits your entire article and show that you do not know about Windows Mobile 6.5 or the new Win phone 7 OS. It is an entirely redesigned OS from the ground up and its user interface is really looking sharp. The goal is to provide a fluid user experience without having to jump in and out of apps for every single thing you do on a regular basis and it does it really well.
    Next time you write an article please gather the right information about the product and not base your articles on hear say information. It will be really misleading for readers who do not have rior information about said topic.

  5. Thank you. Developer – you make some very good points about Windows Phone 7.

    But… are you actually talking to someone else here?

    We don’t say anywhere that WP7 is a “mere rabadge”. We certainly never would say that, and I can’t Google it anywhere else on our site.

    Even the public demonstrations make it clear that it’s rather more than that!

    It’s fairly clear that Microsoft is doing something that needs to be done – making an attempt at a new interface model, not just a me-too app store.

    Too early to say whether it will work, but we’re interested to see how it does.

    Peter Judge
    Editor, eWEEK Europe UK