February 28, 2011

Nokia–Microsoft Partnership: Is It Good For Us?


Nokia Microsoft

As Akshat mentioned a few days back, Nokia and Microsoft have entered into a strategic partnership wherein Nokia will build phones that work with Windows Phone 7, and will ditch its own efforts towards a mobile friendly operating system (Meego). Even though Intel mentioned that it will continue working on Meego, but Nokia pulling the plug essentially means there won’t be many takers of Meego, at least in mobile universe.

Now, coming back to Nokia – Microsoft partnership. In general, most of the people took this news in a positive manner. In general I am also one of those who believe that it is a great news. Till now iPhone and Android had been fighting it alone in the consumer mobile space. Blackberry is also there, but it still has the corporate feel to it, and it is not a popular choice among consumers. This is also because of the fact that Android phones are available at virtually every price point.

This limited competition meant that people were not able to get the same experience on their mobile phones as the experience they were having on their desktop / laptop computers.

Windows was trying hard to make a dent in Mobile world, and Windows Phone 7 could be considered as the first successful attempt from Microsoft in that direction. However, it could be successful only if lot of devices come out carrying Windows Phone 7, which in turn leads to lot of people using Windows Phone 7, which in turn leads to more and more developers creating apps for this OS. Because, at the end of the day, it is all about apps.

Now, let’s talk about Nokia. Nokia has been the largest producer of mobile phones in the world, but iPhone and Android made it really lag behind in terms of smart phones. Nokia had been trying to fight on its own by keeping pumping money into its Symbian OS, and then collaborating with Intel on Meego. Meego was actually quite good, I did get a chance to try Meego on Netbook earlier, and just loved it. However, Meego is still not completely ready for Mobile phones. It is still not there today, where iPhone was a few years back, and iPhone has come ahead a long way since then.

If Nokia had to stay alive in this mobile phone universe, then it had to do something radical. Partnering with Apple was of course not an option. So, only option left was to choose between Android and Windows Phone 7. Many people would have thought that Android would have been a better choice, but I agree with Nokia’s choice of going with Microsoft. This is the only thing that will let them present an offering that is different from their competitors.

From our perspective, this is quite an awesome news. This means that there is now strongest competition in the smartphone arena. iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone 7 will fight out each other. And the end result of such competition is always beneficial for customers. We will get even better phones, that are even cheaper than the phones out there. And growth will continue like that. Windows and Nokia partnership will also ensure that smartphones come at even less than $100 price point, so that more and more people can use it. Nokia is the best mobile phone manufacturer to create cheap phones that have a great quality. And Windows Phone 7 will be a nice companion to those phones.

However, only people who were really infuriated with this news were people who develop apps for Meego and Symbian. They feel Nokia has betrayed them, as they have been supporting Nokia since so many years. I would feel the same if I was one of them.

But right now, I am just glad that this partnership happened, and eagerly looking forward to first Nokia Phone 7 (nice name – isn’t it ;) ).

[This is a guest post from Ishan author of ILoveFreeSoftware.com]

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