Device operating systems

Nokia Boss Declares War on Android

SAN DIEGO -- Uplinq -- Despite what's been a trying year for Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), its new CEO remains optimistic about the future. Stephen Elop took the stage here Thursday to pitch Nokia's new Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)-focused ecosystem and ask others to join its fight to take down the Android empire. (See Euronews: Nokia Dismisses Sale Rumor, Nokia Lowers Outlook, Shares Slump , Windows Phone & World Domination and Why Windows Phone Will Beat Android.)

"Fundamentally, we believe that what has happened in the past couple of years was a shift from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems," Elop said. "We've competed with Samsung and HTC, but now we're shaking hands while also competing."

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is responsible for both creating the ecosystem approach and spawning Android as the anti-Apple. Elop admitted that a big part of the reason Nokia opted not to align itself with Android was that it would feel like giving in. (See RIP Symbian & MeeGo: Nokia Ties Future to WP7.)

The other biggest reason Nokia passed on Android was the need to differentiate. Elop believes it has a better shot at that with Microsoft. The companies now seek to complement each other and form a third ecosystem to take on Android and Apple, he said. To do so, he outlined a five-step plan to recovery:

1. Delight consumers: Elop borrowed a line from Microsoft -- even if it doesn't have Android's scale, the consumers that do own Windows Phones love them. Microsoft hasn't achieved scale yet because the majority of manufacturers today are doing their best work for Android, he said. (See MWC 2011: Nokia Guns for Android .)

2. Complete the ecosystem: Outside of just welding Microsoft's operating system with bits of Nokia's software remains, Elop said the Windows Phone ecosystem will incorporate enterprise and consumer features, unified communications and Skype Ltd. (See Microsoft Tangos With Mango, Nokia Dumps Ovi Brand Name and Microsoft Plans a WP7 Skype Soiree.)

3. Support operators: Glazing over the fact that all the U.S. operators have Android handsets and iPhone envy, Elop said that the Windows Phone ecosystem will be the most operator-friendly of the lot. He said operators don't like Apple's "strong point of view" and have concerns around monetizing Android because its profits are tied to Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) search. Nokia, on the other hand, has 132 operator billing relationships and customizes its apps storefronts for each market and local conditions. (See MWC 2011: Microsoft & Nokia Court Carriers .)

4. Broaden the ecosystem: Nokia wants to include tablets, TVs, gaming platforms and cars in its expanding definition of mobile devices. The company conspicuously lacks a tablet to date, but Elop said that's because it doesn't want to be the 202nd tablet to hit a market in which only one tablet is succeeding. It will launch a tablet when it has one that's fundamentally differentiated.

5. Build the developer community: To attract developers, Nokia and Microsoft are focusing on helping them make money, use operator billing and tap a "fresh collection of APIs," among other things like removing the registration fee for developers. (See OS Watch: Android Lets Developers Go Hungry and Biggest Losers in NokiSoft: Developers.)

"There is absolutely an opportunity for Nokia to disrupt the current trajectory of what's going on in the mobile industry," Elop concluded in his rally cry. "This requires we establish a platform that's attractive to consumers, a target for developers, and it has to be profitable to everyone."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

schlettie 12/5/2012 | 5:03:30 PM
re: Nokia Boss Declares War on Android

I think NOK is claiming that it will ship a WinMo7 phone by YE2011.

I don't understand the logic either.  Android is (ostensibly) free for the phone manufacturer; MSFT wants royalties for WinMo7.  If I'm a vendor, why would I prefer to pay royalties to MSFT?

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:03:30 PM
re: Nokia Boss Declares War on Android


So, they are not doing Android because it would be giving in.  But going with Microsoft is NOT giving in?  Then they want other handset makers to make the same choices they have to improve Nokia's competitive position?

Let me translate what I think is being said, "Yes, we are taking on the bottom feeder of the Mobile OSes.  However, we want to have a differentiated product offering and figure that if we have to compete against other handset manufacturers in a hardware on hardware battle we are likely to lose.  So, our only choice was to go with Windows.  Now, how do I spin that in a way that makes this seem like a bold statement of victory instead of a huge risk that very likely ends in defeat?"



joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:03:30 PM
re: Nokia Boss Declares War on Android

No Nokia-Msft phone til 2012 and somehow they're going to knock Android off its perch somehow? Pull the other one, it's got bells on it.

stelabokun 12/5/2012 | 5:03:23 PM
re: Nokia Boss Declares War on Android

Nokia is planning to start shipping WP devices before the end of 2011. Elop stated that they are currently in talks with operators about the exact date of launches in 4Q /I heard October/ . The plan is to come out with a number of devices over a period of several months – rumors are eight in total in 2012.
One of the problems that they may encounter in this plan is that Mango (which they will use for WP devices) may not be ready before 2012 (even though MSFT said it would, delays can happen).
I don’t think the idea is to take over the leadership from Android by the end of 2012, this is when Nokia hopes to ship WP devices “in scale.” If they bring the prices of the WP devices down, as promised, manage to leverage the relationships they have with operators (particularly in the emerging markets), and indeed create an environment that will be attractive for developers, everything is possible after 2012.

digits 12/5/2012 | 5:03:14 PM
re: Nokia Boss Declares War on Android

I think that irrespective of whether Nokia/MSFT has the capabilities to take on the Android market, this kind of verbal jousting makes Nokia look weak and desperate.

I think this is a massive mistake by Elop -- if I was a Nokia investor I'd be holding my head in my hands at this sort of approach, where the focus is as much on the perceived weakness of those that currently are the crowd-pleasers.

Elop needs to prove something to the market before taking digs at the rivals. 

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