Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's "burning platform"

Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's "burning platform"

Summary: As Nokia finds itself in need of a new partner, Google and Microsoft face off again - but this time, there's only one obvious choice.

TOPICS: Google, Microsoft, Nokia

When Nokia CEO Stephen Elop takes the stage at an analysts meeting in London tomorrow - days after his infamous "burning platform" memo was leaked - he'll presumably begin outlining Nokia's new strategy.

At the center of that strategy are the forces of two technology powerhouses - Google and Microsoft. Certainly those two companies aren't strangers when it comes to meeting on technology battlefields. They've been battling over search, productivity apps and e-mail contracts for some time now. But this may be the first time they've come head-to-head over mobile.

Until now, Google has been fighting Apple on that front, working to elevate Android in a fast-moving swoop to catch-up with the iPhone. And it's largely worked - mobile has largely become a two-man race between Apple and Google. But now Microsoft, which is very late to this latest stretch of the mobile game, needs something to help it get back into the game.

And the savior may be the company that just discovered that it's standing on a burning platform: Nokia.

Related: Nokia's problem: Is there time to change culture amid a burning platform?

Nokia may have slipped in the worldwide market by hanging on to the Symbian OS. But make no mistake, the company still sells more smartphones that any other company out there. For Microsoft, Nokia could save Windows Phone 7 and help elevate it into a worldwide contender. For Google, a deal to bring Android to Nokia devices could pretty much lock in Google as a powerhouse in the mobile industry.

An unnamed source told the New York Times in an article this week that both companies are offering hundreds of millions of dollars in engineering and marketing resources to Nokia. And George F. Colony, chairman of Forrester Research, told the NYT that “Nokia doesn’t have the weapons to fight this fight on its own” and that a deal with Microsoft represents a higher risk. "The obvious choice for Nokia is Android,” Colony told the Times.

I agree.

If Elop is serious about transforming Nokia, then it cannot afford to take great risks on another company that, quite frankly, hasn't recognized yet that it's also standing on a platform that's starting to burn. Consider this excerpt from Elop's memo:

How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved? This is what I have been trying to understand. I believe at least some of it has been due to our attitude inside Nokia. We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven't been delivering innovation fast enough. We're not collaborating internally.

Is he talking about Nokia - or is he talking about Microsoft? I can't imagine that Elop would want to jump from one burning platform to another. Instead, I would hope that Elop would want to jump on a high-riding wave of a platform that has already proven that it can move fast to not only adapt to new technologies but to also set the bar higher for others.

For Nokia, the smart move is to "Go Google."

Topics: Google, Microsoft, Nokia

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  • I think it's already too late

    Nokia was never a major player - at least not in the Greater Pennsylvania area. I've always ranked their phones with the like of Boost, Sprint, and T-Mobile - They're just kinda 'there' - Offering nothing but cheap, straight to the point phones.

    I'm pretty sure they could do whatever their little heart desires, no one will switch over.

    Everyone here is pretty much AT&T or Verizon.

    I disagree about WP7 though, Microsoft may be shaking things up inside, but the WP7 team has dedicated themselves for the long fight ahead. If you ask me, the game will boil down to 3 players - iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      Dude, are you sure you understand the subject? You are mixing cell phone manufacturing companies with phone service providers. Nokia makes hardware, Sprint, ATT, Verizon...all the rest you listed are phone service providers who don't make hardware. Nokia and Sprint don't compete. Get it?
      • Oops.


        That's what you get for bein AT&T or Verizon only area.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RIM Said to Plan PlayBook Software to Run Google Apps

      @Cylon Centurion 0005 RIM is already joining the Android platform indirectly. RIM's Playbook tablets will run RIM's own OS but will use Android Marketplace to buy and sell apps. I see this extending to all of their devices. This is actually a win win for both RIM and Android because RIM will be able to retain their current customers who love RIM which also keeps RIM relevant and also Android will gain a bigger audience too and RIM customers can add hundreds of thousands of Android apps to their device they would otherwise be left out of. See here--> <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a>
      jack of daniels
      • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

        @jack of daniels
        I surely hope RIM did work on their homework. With being prone to spyware easily, I doubt RIM customer base would really want it. RIM customers really look for Security. I think it will be beneficial to Google, but I am totally doubtful for RIM. It may lose their customer base eventually, RIM's major customers are enterprises not regular consumers.
        Ram U
  • If I ran the circus

    If I ran HP, I'd be talking to Elop about a lot more than offering him an OS. I'd be talking about acquiring Nokia. As HP, I don't have a serious presence in handsets, and buying Palm didn't give me one. That scares me, because no one knows how powerful these little buggers are going to get and how much of the PC business phones and tablets are going to eat. I want a presence, and I want it now. Nokia has it, worldwide.

    Second, buying Nokia makes all the developers take a second look at WebOS. If Nokia uses it, there will be millions of units out there. Apps will make money. Apps help me sell HP stuff. If Android gets Nokia's volume as well as what it has now, it's over: I will never sell enough devices running WebOS to interest developers in my platform (unless, maybe, if I buy Moto instead).

    So for both offensive and defensive reasons, I have to buy Nokia. Should Nokia get away, I have to buy Moto. Otherwise WebOS will never amount to a hill of beans, I'll end up selling commodity Android tablets that I can't make any money on, and the world will suck.

    Answer your phone, Elop. I'll bet it's HP calling.
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

      @Robert Hahn

      Don't see Nokia being for sale. They are still the largest manufacturer in the world, with the largest sales. They are slipping, but still have a ways to go to even slip to second place. You don't sell a stable company, you stop the decline. That's why everyone is talking a replacement OS.

      Android is the only answer. It has moved into the second place OS and with Nokia it would assure them both the top spot.
      • Can't stop it

        @timspublic1@... Nokia's market cap has slipped below $50 billion. HP could easily put together a deal and mount a hostile takeover if the current Board doesn't want to sell. But it's a good deal: Nokia needs a serious infusion of computer smarts. Sure, they could hire it and grow their own, but do they have time? They don't have time for much.
        Robert Hahn
    • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

      @Robert Hahn

      Buying Nokia, no. But, making a deal with Nokia to build WebOS phones, absolutely. The world needs an alternative to iOS that does not include Google spyware. Android is the last OS Nokia should look at. And, unfortunately Microsoft was late to bring WP7 to market and seems unable to bring updates on a timely basis.
  • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

    Google ... Realy! I had an Android phone for 4 weeks and was very dissatisfied. I finally returned it in exchange for a Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7 and could not be more pleased. I personally found the Android to be a very 'geeky' and tempermental OS that was frankly, difficult to navigate. After growing frustration with the Android, I spent nearly a whole day at the AT&T shop comparing the IPhone and the Focus, and discovered that I could navigate the Focus with little to no learning curve compared to the IPhone and Android. The Focus has performed flawlessly for the past several weeks and I couldn't be more pleased with it and with my service.
    • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

      @nhrones <br><br>Sounds like an Apple/MS ad. Who ties your shoes in the morning?
    • I am sorry for you... :-(

      Could you describe your difficulties with Android phone?

      I will ask my wife (who is a housekeeper) to answer them. She owns EVO 4G. She will be glad to help you. :-)

      My wife is over the hill (if you are interested in our age).
      Solid Water
      • Fuggedaboudit

        @Solid Water Forget it. I looked him up. He's a VB programmer. An Android phone would be way too complicated for a VB programmer.
        Robert Hahn
  • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

    I don't know much about Nokia, but don't they have the less-expensive lower-powered phones out there? Wouldn't moving to WP7 and it's high-end requirements put Nokia out of its comfort zone?
    • You only know the US, yes, here mostly cheap stuff. Quite different in

      Europe and other places. Nokia is still the number one smart phone maker in the world.
    • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

      No. Nokia has some of the most sophisticated hardware out there. They have been putting high end cameras and stuff on their phones for years. The US carriers don't buy them, so we rarely see them here.

      They should be a good fit with WP7 and its camera requirements. I just hope they are ready for me to look at when I start phone shopping again a year from now. Until then I will be happy with my Samsung Captivate (Android 2.2), but even now I am sure I could get a smoother experience from a Samsung's WP7 offering. Playing with one convinced me that it is a better UI than any phone and the hardware is very VERY good.
      Schoolboy Bob
  • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

    Andoird may be riding high right now. But it is on the verge of being commoditized with every handset manufacturer dishing out one version of android or the other. Would Nokia want to compete with them (or) with the new Kid in town which started with a clean slate and has a lot more room to grow. I would say picking WP7 would be right choice, than using Android just because every other OEM is doing the same.
  • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

    Yeah I know, Sam Diaz aka DonnieBoy, what should I expect from him. Sam Diaz, FYI, I am not going to click on your articles any more. You said WP7 is a burning paltform, but you never ever dared to prove it, you can't because you don't have proof for that. It is just your disillusioned biased view seeing the world from Googles glasses. I don't want to fill your wallet by clicking on it. Hey ZDNET folks can put the author names also when you put links on your home page. Right now they just have titles and a trimmed version of first few lines. If you can put the author's name there, many of us wouldn't go there and waste our time by reading the biased views and paid news.
    Ram U
    • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

      You make accusations with no supporting facts. ie Donnieboy is Sam Diaz.
      • RE: Google vs. Microsoft: The ongoing battle moves to Nokia's

        Ouch. I have support for my facts:
        This is what Sam Diaz said: >>>And George F. Colony, chairman of Forrester Research, told the NYT that ?Nokia doesn?t have the weapons to fight this fight on its own? and that a deal with Microsoft represents a higher risk. ?The obvious choice for Nokia is Android,? Colony told the Times.

        >>>I agree.

        >>>If Elop is serious about transforming Nokia, then it cannot afford to take great risks on another company that, quite frankly, hasn?t recognized yet that it?s also standing on a platform that?s starting to burn.

        Just repeating someone's biased opinion doesn't support it. The facts include a lot of artifacts that represent a greater depth of industrial analysis and study. WP7 is still new born and haven't seen world no more than 70+ days. So, you can't really say it is a burning platform

        Also linking to another highly opinionated article without concrete proof written by himself doesn't count.

        So, these are nothing but DonnieBoy's kind of statements. And FYI, I am a mobile person, and I use, suggest, analyse, build, develop variety of mobile applications on variety of platforms ranging from Symbian to iOS to Android to WP7 daily. I know each platform's strengths and weaknesses.

        Ouch, it seems like you felt I criticized your fandroid and Google, but I didn't, all I asked was concrete proof when someone says a platform is a burning platform, which haven't seen 3 months yet. Just to backup his statements. Link to his other article on this blog, which says Microsoft management should shake up from CEO doesn't meet or Forrester's Charimans opinion doesn't count.
        Ram U