Nokia’s shift to Microsoft

It is one of the biggest changes ever made in smartphone history and certainly the biggest change ever made by Nokia. This change has brought countless criticisms with many critics going as far as saying that this was all a move by the CEO to help out his former employer’s new but ailing platform. Yes, I am talking about Nokia’s dumping of its strategy with Symbian, Qt, Meego, Ovi and just about everything it have brought to the table so far. It is a monumental change, a massive transition that will either make or break Nokia, a truly once in a lifetime change.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

How did it reach this far?

My stance from the start is one of disappointment and confusion at Nokia’s strategy. My opinion is that Nokia can not be trusted and anything they say cannot be followed. I can imagine how the thousands of developers who have actively invested in Qt(me included) feel right now, those that have spent money learning the mobile specific APIs and training as well as countless man hours spent on developing Qt applications. These developers and companies were all of the view that this is Nokia’s strategy for the forseable future, that this Qt strategy was the way forward, because of this forum Nokia’s size ballooned for the last couple of months in 2010, all in anticipation of this new and uniformed Qt strategy. The OVI store was booming, one of the fastest growing appstores at 300,000 new registered users daily, at 4 million downloads a day and growing at a phenomenal rate, the Ovistore was THE store to watch in 2011.

The Symbian Platform was not all rosy with industry watchers but the truth is that it was in no way a “burning platform”, the market was growing, albeit at a smaller rate compared to Android and iOS, and it was shifting 30 million smartphones each quarter. Symbian and OVI with it’s revamped look and feel could have been a good competition to Android or iPhone aesthetic-wise, but that is all but lost now.

Where is it heading?

Nokia’s entire strategy seems to have been wiped overnight, millions of dollars worth of R&D, millions of loyal fans and customers, tossed out the window. This is all for a platform that have so far failed to attract meaningful support, a platform with an inferior appstore, an inferior operating system overall interms of function, and one that have not been able to compete with android and iOS since it’s release 3-4 months ago. As a matter of fact Microsoft claims that 2 million WinP7 devices were shipped during that time period, however several analyst believes that a lot less were sold and actually used. The OS is in poor shape despite the half billion US dollars pumped into it’s ad campaign, is this an OS you would use to replace an OS that have been allowing you to ship 30 million devices each quarter?

This deal by Nokia is clearly a deal that will almost wholeheartedly benefit Microsoft to the detriment of Nokia because even if Nokia’s active marketshare slips to 15 percent in a year’s time, Microsoft would still be in a good position because that 15 percent wil be all WinP7 devices, as opposed to the 1.5 percent they now have. Microsoft has everything to gain and Nokia has everything to lose.

Main Points:

  • Symbian will be phased out in 2 years.
  • Windows Phone 7 is currently struggling to gain any marketshare.
  • Symbian is still actively growing and shipped 31 million devices last quarter.
  • Nokia’s N8 has sold more than twice as much as all the WinP7 devices to date.
  • Ovistore is larger, growing faster and generating far more revenue than WinP7 marketplace.
  • WinP7 is functionally inferior to Symbian and also have limited programming options; certain APIs cant be accessed by developers.
  • Ovi maps, arguably the best mapping software available will now be used by Microsoft and all WinP7 devices in an attempt to attract other manufacturers to the platform(since they will get access to Ovi maps).
  • Nokia will lose billions in R&D spent over the last few years.
  • Microsoft will get a fixed partner to continously churn out WinP7 devices.
  • Ovistore will be scrapped and added to Windows Marketplace

With all these points read and analyzed who do you think benefits the most if not all? I leave that for you to answer.

Nokia n8

My final statement

I will rollback every development plans for Nokia devices and move to Android as well as retrain my staff to dalvik and Obj-c. We have an application that is almost ready to be released that is based on QWebkit and intended to use cloud services for storage, this application will either be mothballed or go through redesign for the Android platform. As for my former unwavering loyalty to Nokia and their products: My loyalty is all but gone, never again will I purchase another Nokia device out of fear that I might just buy it and hear later on that it won’t be supported in a few months because the company is going back to selling rubber boots…

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Horace is a military and tech enthusiast who spends most of his spare time listening to music or working on his many interests. He has a grasp of journalism and has been writing from he was 9 years old and has participated in several writing competitions throughout Jamaica.