Over the last couple of days, rumours that Nokia would adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform started gaining momentum. I wasn’t suprised when they turned out to be true today. The leaked internal memo by Stephen Elop had made it very clear that drastic measures were in order, and this seemed like the most likely scenario.
Ever since the news was announced, I’ve been reading bitter tweets and blog posts in which Nokia developers and fans detail why they think this deal is a bad move for Nokia. But as understandable as their frustrations are, almost all of those messages are based on a single assumption. That Nokia would be able to maintain market share in the smartphone market with Symbian and/or MeeGo.
It’s been less than a year since I switched from Symbian to Android. The difference is unbelievable. Compared to Android, Symbian is a dinosaur. I personally believe there’s nothing Nokia can do at this point to make up the gap in end user experience. MeeGo on the other hand is in it’s infancy, and probably not ready for prime time. Plus it’s a completely new brand, which users aren’t yet familiar with.
This left Nokia without a marketable, modern smartphone operating system. Microsoft on the other hand had the exact opposite problem. Their new Windows Phone 7 OS has gotten rave reviews, but none of the major handset manufacturers has really dedicated themselves to WP7 hardware. LG and Samsung seem way too happy filling the huge demand for Android phones.
The way I see it, Nokia should make it a priority to have WP7 handsets out soon. The OS is ready. People are leaving Nokia for iOS and Android every day. If they introduce a viable upgrade product before the exodus is complete, brand loyalty may help maintain some of Nokia’s market share. Especially in the business market, where Microsoft and Outlook still reign supreme. It’s not going to be the big slice they have now (in Europe), but it’s a start.
I really hope the new Nokia/Microsoft partnership will become (or remain) a player in the mobile arena. As much as I love Android, I’d hate for it to be the only option. Competition drives innovation, and I hope systems like WP7, WebOS and Bada wil continue to challenge Google and Apple.