Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

Summary: Last week, I was bearish on claims, prayers and predictions that Nokia would end up offering some kind of Windows Phone device as part of the company's line-up. But now, I'm thinking it's not just possible, but probable.

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Last week, I was bearish on claims, prayers and predictions that Nokia would end up offering some kind of Windows Phone device as part of the company's line-up. But now, I'm thinking it's not just possible, but probable.

I was a skeptic for a number of reasons, and not because I am a Windows Phone hater. (In fact, I would be a Windows Phone 7 owner if Verizon would make one available. So far, all we still know is Verizon plans to add at least one WP7 model to its line-up some time this year... maybe after customers stop burning up the lines to buy iPhones.)

Windows Phone 7 is still a version 1 product. Microsoft and the carriers who do offer WP7 devices still have yet to roll out the first update to the platform. WP7s don't offer much for business users so far. Microsoft has delivered 2 million copies of the OS to carriers since October 2010, which means fewer than 2 million devices have been sold to date. To restate the obvious, Microsoft's smartphone platform has a long way to go to catch up to Android and iOS.

Microsoft's decision to "lock down" WP7 handset makers, requiring them to choose among three different chassis specs, also made me leery that Nokia -- the No. 1 smartphone provider, with its own OS and developer tools/ecosystem -- would agree to abide by Microsoft's new rules. So even though Microsoft and Nokia had forged a partnership, bringing Silverlight, Office Mobile and Office Communicator to some Symbian phones, I was definitely thinking that Nokia would go with Android over WP7.

What changed my mind? It wasn't Nokia CEO Stephen Elop's "Burning Platform" memo -- which sounded to me like the kind of memo more than a few Softies have penned in an attempt to motivate the troops and/or signal a sea-change. The rumors were already swirling before the Burning Platform memo leaked that Nokia was ready to add a non-Symbian/non-MeeGo phone platform to its stable of offerings.

Instead, what's got me thinking I was wrong is a tweet from Google's Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundrota. Gundrota's tweet:

February 11 is the date when Elop is expected to unveil publicly Nokia's new platform directions. I'm thinking the "turkeys" here don't include the golden goose Google, but more likely refer to Microsoft and Nokia. If your company had just cemented a deal with the established (even though slipping) smartphone leader, would you be talking turkey?

If Nokia still does end up choosing Android, I'd think Gundrota might have some explaining (and apologizing) to do. If Nokia, instead, has decided to go with WP7, I'd be really interested to hear more on any concessions the Softies made to get the deal done. And yes, if it's WP7 that Nokia chooses over Android, I will be eating crow turkey....

Update: A couple of folks have noted that there's another possible interpretation of the Gundrota quote. Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia's former Executive Vice President for Markets, said the exact same thing in 2005 about BenQ buying Siemens' mobile handset business handset business. Hmmm. Will Google have the last laugh?

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

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

    I never doubted your ability to get this one wrong Mary Jo.
    Super2online
    • Thanks

      for your support! Guess we'll see on Friday what actually gets announced. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
    • Remember, MS has VERY deep pockets, and could pay Nokia a very large chunk

      of change to do one WP7 phone. Nokia might have nothing to lose, and MS is desperate for some really sexy hardware, and access to the European market. Nokia could deliver on both.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

        @DonnieBoy Speaking as someone in the UK, all the major carriers (O2, Orange/T-Mobile, 3, Vodafone) in the UK have WP7 as far as I can tell. Given that few of these companies are actually British then I'd be surprised if WP7 wasn't offered as broadly in other European countries.
        spc1972
      • Yes, WP7 is in Europe, but, Nokia is a brand that Europeans love and trust.

        A WP7 phone on Nokia would give MS as big a boost as possible in Europe. Remember, outside of the UK, MS is not so popular in Europe.
        DonnieBoy
      • And so does Google. They could pay Nokia a very large chunk of change

        to use Android as their OS. Nokia might have nothing to lose, and Google is worried that there is another phone OS out there that isn't Google branded so they have nothing to lose, either
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

        @DonnieBoy

        Deutsche Telekom, Germany's largest carrier, had the following things to say about WP7: "the units are selling excellently" and "Microsoft is very pleased".
        Mythos7
      • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

        @DonnieBoy
        So you know there is world outside of US obviously. You are wrong totally. Ask DT, they are saying their WP7 offerings are selling like hotcakes in Germany. So outside of UK, Microsoft is known. You are totally clueless.
        Ram U
      • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

        @DonnieBoy Actually in France (of all places) WP7 and WM is extremely popular.
        jessiethe3rd
      • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

        @DonnieBoy
        You are right that MS isn't that popular in Europe... but that's true only among governments and regulators who want to make a political statement to their voters by harassing an American company and making a big pile of money in the bargain through imaginary "anti-monopoly" fines.
        All the flag waving in the world by the bureaucrats in Brussels doesn't change the fact that on the desktop, Windows has a 95% market share - with or without bundled Internet Explorer.
        jaykayess
    • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

      @Super2online
      I think you should change your screen name to SuperToolonline. Seriously, don't be such a dbag, totally uncalled for.
      mefree
      • Well, Mary Jo can handle it, he is only making a fool of himself.

        NT
        DonnieBoy
    • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

      @Super2online
      I also don't read it the same as MJ.
      My 2 cents are that Nokia will go 3 way not 2 way: Symbian, Android and windoze.
      In the end Android will prevail.
      Linux Geek
      • I think that Dalvik on MeeGo is also a big possibility.

        NT.
        DonnieBoy
      • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

        @Linux Geek

        Agreed, Nokia is a sinking ship and the way to save the ship is not to tether it to another sinking ship...WP7. Nokia needs to think like Moto and support a winning OS and concentrate on phones that are better and more innovative then the competition.WP7 will make some head way but is appears destin to remain a second tier player. There is just no compelling reason to move to it.
        Kabcock
    • MJ predicted Windows Embedded OS will be launched in Jan CEC, but it wasn't

      @Super2online MJ predicts wrongly most of the time, I feel.

      It was pre-planned when Elop left MS to Nokia that they both already partnered and that's the precise reason Elop left MS in a graceful manner to Nokia.

      MicrOkia is going to be big challenger for both iOS and WebOS (already Android is dead due to HPs today's announcement). Android will die like WinMo 6.5 in near future due to GOOG's "All things mine" attitude.
      jinishans
      • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

        @jinishans

        That's an interesting prediction that Android is going to die off because of the HP-PalmOS....Perhaps it is time to set the crack pipe down and move away from the keyboard.
        Kabcock
    • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

      @Super2online

      Nokia makes essentially dumb and semi-smart phones for the world. What they lack is an easy to use, sophisticated OS that will allow them to sell smartphones to most of their current market.

      That OS is not the duct tape and string approach of Android or the hunt and peck icon UI for the fashion conscious. WP7 offer Nokia the chance to be the world's largest seller of smartphones to the general populace.

      It's also the best phone OS out there at the moment ;-)
      tonymcs@...
      • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

        @tonymcs@ If its such a wonderful OS, why is the UI so boring? It literally looks like paint chips (in a monochromatic sort of way). Instead of hanving icons that look like applications, you get icons that look like paint squares from Sherwinn Willanms.
        Rick_K
      • RE: Maybe Nokia will do a Windows Phone 7 deal, after all

        @Rick_k...
        Use it for a week and say that. It's absolutely georgeous.
        jessiethe3rd