Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

Summary: Nokia has managed to restructure, clear out inventory and set itself up for a long-awaited Windows Phone launch. Now the fun begins.


Microsoft and Nokia are getting closer to launching devices designed to bolster both companies' mobile strategies. After a year of talking, the fate of this duo will now be determined by consumers and business users.

In two separate events, Microsoft and Nokia talked up their relationship. At AllThingsD's Asia conference in Hong Kong, Andy Lees, president of Microsoft's Windows Phone division, said that Nokia World will showcase Windows Phone 7 devices. In the meantime, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has taken to bashing Android devices. There's a good reason for that though: Android 4.0 could steal Windows Phone's thunder.

CNET Asia's Aloysius Low details how the back-and-forth over Android's approach, which allows for handset customization, and Microsoft's more strict guidelines for Windows Phone 7. Nokia will reportedly be allowed to have some unique characteristics with its Windows Phone devices.

Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO, is also looking forward to the Windows Phone launches. Nokia reported weak financials again, but the third quarter indicated that the company was getting off the mat somewhat. In a nutshell, Nokia cleared out an inventory gut, continued its structural changes and got closer to launching Windows Phone devices.

Elop said:

I am encouraged by our progress around the first Nokia experience with Windows Phone, and we look forward to bringing the experience to consumers in select countries later this quarter. We then intend to systematically increase the number of countries and launch partners during the course of 2012.

The company reported a third quarter net loss of 68 million euro ($94 million), which was better than expected, on sales of 8.98 billion euro, down 13 percent from a year ago. Nokia sold more mobile devices---106.6 million---than expected. Smartphone units were 16.8 million, down 38 percent from a year ago.

Nokia sold more low-end phones than expected, but also took a margin hit. Average selling prices for mobile phones fell 20 percent from a year ago and operating margins were 2.4 percent in the third quarter, down from 11.3 percent a year ago.

Nevertheless, Nokia has managed to restructure, clear out inventory and set itself up for a long-awaited Windows Phone launch. In other words, Nokia got to the starting line in the smartphone race. Now the fun really begins.


CEO Ballmer's (non)answer on whether Microsoft will build its own Windows Phone

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software, Telcos

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  • Notice no positive message?

    Ballmer & Lees was all "Android sucks, iPhone Sucks, nobody will want to talk to their phone, blah blah blah".

    Did you notice the cheap claim? He trying to say that Android phones sell because their cheap, but that suggests to me that Mango phones can't match the price. If he could undercut them on price, he'd be calling Android phones *overpriced* ready for Mango launch to undercut them. By suggesting they're too cheap, it indicates a higher price point for Mango.

    Then there was Andy Lees dissing Siri, Google's response to Siri was to beef up their voice translation/transcription software, i.e. a positive approach. MS approach is to dis it, a negative response. But that suggests to me they have nothing in the bag for voice control or anything at all like Siri.

    Also no positive message from either of them, they don't seem to have a unique selling point. He didn't even make the claim that Mango was the easiest to use, instead he makes the claim that Android is hard to use. The interface on Samsung Android phones is the same as on their other phones, HTC sense is HTC sense, the same interface on their other phones, so is he seriously suggesting that Sony Ericcson, HTC, Samsung don't know how to make smartphones, yet MS, a company with no success in the market does??

    That's gonna be a tough sell. They need to get something unique about their phone, a clear *want*, and a clear positive selling message. Buy this phone because ....
    • Recipe for disaster

      @guihombre ,
      Any place Ballmer turns up jinxes the whole thing. Usually the exact opposite of what he says happens. You should always turn his predictions 180 degrees. I am guessing that both Apple and Android will continue beating MS to a pulp here.
    • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

      @guihombre <i>"that suggests to me they have nothing in the bag for voice control or anything at all like Siri"</i>

      You DO know that Microsoft owns TellMe, right? And that Windows Phone 7.5 includes some pretty cool voice-recognition capabilties of its own. Granted, Siri makes for good demoware, but time will tell if it is any way useful or effective in real-world use - usually VR's achilles heel.

      I think 2012 will be all about broadening the base for WinPhone. They're moving into China and other asian markets. Nokia will begin rolling out the big guns. Samsung & others will, similarly start introducing phones with increased hardware capabilities (e.g. NFC).

      By this time next year, WinPhone will have a MUCH more attractive hardware portfolio and an even bigger app marketplace. It'll have more partners bought in deeply and some great hardware on offer. Importantly, we're also likely to hear the WinPhone8 story and how it meshes with Win8 (i.e. WILL WinPhone8 run on the Win8 kernel? Will WinRT be ported to WinPhone8?).
  • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

    It's been an excruciating wait for Nokia Windows Phones. I wonder if there is any demand for them in markets that matter. If at all they succeed, it will take them at least 2 or 3 years to do so and gain decent market share.
    The marketing around these devices and Windows Phone in general has been pretty bland I don't really know how well Nokia will do here.
    • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

      @regsrini - Remember the Android phones available during their first year in market. They were pretty crude at best.

      I love my Samsung Focus - slim, light, more than fast enought for what I do with it. Could do with more storage, but I've adjusted how much music I sync to my phone and it's not the issue I thought it would be.

      I look forward to see what Nokia and Samsung release next year. I'd like NFC and a front-facing camera so I can video-conference with clients & family when I am away.

      But I would LOVE to see MS port WinRT to Windows Phone 8 so we can have a very consistent dev platform upon which to write apps that require little modification to run on Phone, tablet, laptop and desktop.
  • Stupid Ballmer

    I own a Windows phone 7 and I like the device but I absolutely despise CEO's dissing of their competition. Especially coming from Ballmer who has no credibility in the mobile market. The fact is, iPhone 4S sold more units over the weekend than Windows Phone 7 has since their launch a year ago.
    • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line


      Steve jobs did the same thing though windows 7 sold more copies in the first 4 weeks than all the iterations of osx ever made. So how does that make balmer stupid ??
      • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

        @ricecube Two evils don't make a good...
  • pffffff

    Am I correct in reading this new 800 *is* the Nokia N9 (which had meego) with WP7 installed ????

    If so what was the delay for ?? Are Nokia so cash strapped, and resource starved this is the best they could come up with ??

    To me it looks bland and uninspired, and the recent spate of Mango bugs such as disappearing keyboards, crashes etc wouldn't inspire confidence on the OS front either.

    The New Nexus has Amoled HD, Dual Core, larger screen, etc this phone is outdated before it is even launched, and to even have a chance Nokia needed something better then the competition.

    This and with a price tag rumoured at 499 euro makes it badly overpriced too.

    Cant see this making an impact at all. I always thought Nokia should have went android years ago or advance meego (which I thought was cool) ............

    Anyways with 1.7% Market Share what does Ballmer know about smartphones anyhow ?
    • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

      @garyc2011 And whats the full price of an iPhone 4s and SGS2 in Europe? The same or even more expensive!
    • The price point is one of the key moments...


      I recently bought SGS2 for $500 on Sprint (gave up my Evo to the daughter, who lost her Evo).

      Quite an impressive phone.

      Now you are saying that WiMob will cost more? Unbelievable! :-O
      Solid Water
  • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

    Nokia SUCKS!

    Nokia used to have the best hardware (maybe still do, will have to wait and see on that). But their support for their products, especiall for North America sucks. I have the N8 (awesome hardware by the way) and have been waiting for almost 9 months for an update to the OS. When I bought the phone they said an update was expected in February. Delays, delays, delays and they finally released the update in August, but not to everyone. Australlia, Canada, and the US were left out! Then the excuses started. First it was a power outage on a server, then it was waiting for carrier approval (no carriers in the US sold the phone and it was bought unlocked so there shouldn't be a need for carrier approval and if they are in fact waiting for carrier approval, then that's BULL). So, 2 months after the update was released for the rest of the world, we in the US still don't have the update. Speculation is that Nokia is holding it back to appease Microsoft and AT&T, which I personally believe is true, and I think that it speaks volumes about how Nokia treats it's customers. They don't give a rats a** about their customers, but only about their partners and making $$$. If Nokia's update for symbian^3 is ever released to US customers, I suspect it will be AFTER nokia's WP7 phone is released here, and that it will have all kinds of changes in it to appease AT&T.

    So, NOKIA now SUCKS! Thanks Steve Elop!
  • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

    The best thing for the competition is Ballmer.
  • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

    Can't wait to see the offerings by these two. People already praise Nokia for its excellent hardware and Microsoft for its excellent OS, now combine them and you will have an excellent phone. I do hope they bring their wares to North America where it will really sell. The drawback is Verizon probably won't pick up on these phones. I don't see Android 4.0 stealing anyone's thunder, most of its reviews have been "so/so".
  • Microsoft and Google

    It's really strange, that Microsoft has a such stupid CEO. Maybe this is one of the reasons for their faults. What a nice red pig
  • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

    Ballmer is still clearly nuts. He taken windows mobile from a dominant position to having a tiny market share. At least he now accepts Apple a "good competitor" even though he laughed at it when it was launched. Now he tells us you have to be a computer scientist to use an Android phone. That's a product which now takes 40% of the market.

    Perhaps when MS finally fire him he could get a job as propaganda minister for one of those countries where facts are what ever the leader says they are.
    • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

      umm i thought balmer was saying that business users will never buy a phone with out key board ...last time i checked iphone wasn't making any waves in the enterprise , so I guess he was not totally wrong. with out att subsidizing the iphone would not have sold as many at 600 $ a piece.

      Eric schimdt blurts so much of crap but still gets away ??
      • My guess you were looking at wrong enterprises then... ;-)


        All my bosses have iPhones.

        All bosses and quite a bit of engineers in the company where my company subcontracting have iPhones (rest of smartphones are Androids).

        Yep, my company is not that big (~5000), but the company where my company subcontract is bigger (>100000). And take a sit since this bigger company is also using iPads (or horror). ;-)
        Solid Water
  • Impressive. The Haters made sure they got here early

    I guess when you can't say anything good about your iOS or Android phones, just start the anti-Ms posts early.

    William Farrell
    • RE: Microsoft, Nokia finally get to the smartphone starting line

      @William Farrell I believe Steve started the trash talk in the video, everyone else is just following his lead. Too bad trash talk is all he is good at leading.