Is Nokia Committing Harakiri By Aligning With Microsoft ?

February 11, 2011
Nokia Cell Phones
The big news today - as far as cellular world should be concerned, is the strategic partnership between Nokia and Microsoft to produce smart phones running Windows 7. Nokia says it will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smart phone strategy. Meaning, Symbian OS is going to be relegated to history. And MeeGo project on Nokia smart phones would be in limbo.

Thinking back, my first cell phone was a Nokia. At that time, Nokia was a dominant player in the Indian cell phone market. However, in the years that followed, Samsung and many other players have succeeded in grabbing a share of the pie (obviously at Nokia's expense).

So much so that, in India at present, if you go to any mobile shop to buy a cell phone, chances are you will be deluged with Samsung devices and not Nokia's. Currently, even I use a Samsung cell phone (though not a smart one). Verily Samsung offers more variety to its customers than Nokia ever has.

In the future, it is a given that mobile devices are going to permeate our lives even more. And smart phones are going to replace their dumb counterparts. Be that as it may, one of the best ways for Nokia to reclaim its market share is through innovation - by rolling out smart phones powered by its own homegrown OS. MeeGo, which is being developed on a Linux kernel shows a lot of promise. For one, there won't be a dearth of applications on MeeGo as most applications that run on Linux will run on MeeGo as well.

Sleeping with Microsoft is not going to turn Nokia's fortunes for the better any more than if it were to embrace an open source OS to power its smart phones.

For instance,
  • Windows OS is closed source and proprietary.
  • It entails paying a royalty to Microsoft. And that additional cost will be transferred to the customer. 
  • Nokia will be subjugated to play a lesser role in the smart phone arena - the terms being dictated by Microsoft.
  • And Nokia risks alienating its customers who might move to embrace products from its competitors which are powered by an open source OS.

Not surprisingly, this official announcement by Nokia and Microsoft has invited widespread criticism as indicated by over 460 comments made there.

On a personal level, I was looking forward to buying a MeeGo powered Nokia cell phone when it was released. I guess my wait is going to be futile.