It’s the beginning of a new era for Nokia: the company announced a “strategic partnership with Microsoft to build a global mobile ecosystem based on highly complementary assets.” That means that yes, Nokia will be adopting Windows Phone for future smartphones. But it’s more than that: the partnership means that Nokia will also integrate its current apps with Microsoft products, while Microsoft will bring its developer tools to the table.
Is it the right move? And what about Symbian and MeeGo? Details inside.
The move wasn’t completely unexpected. Nokia could have taken three possible routes for its smartphone line: MeeGo, Android, or Windows Phone. Actually, going full steam ahead with MeeGo probably would have sounded a death knell for the company, considering how ridiculously late to the game it would have been released. So the shift would be either to an Android or Windows Phone platform, and I think most people assumed that it would be the former, despite Stephen Elop’s previous high-level position at Microsoft. (for the record, I certainly did)
But if Nokia’s stock price today was anything to go by, investors were definitely expecting some other news. Shares of Nokia fell 14% on the news.
Meanwhile, the jump from one OS to another leads to some big questions, namely about Symbian and MeeGo.
Symbian’s future is pretty obvious: Nokia’s press release says that the company will turn it into a “franchise platform, leveraging previous investments to harvest additional value.” My translation: they’re going to suck it dry. It makes sense, considering that Symbian is clearly on its last legs (or already on the ground, depending on how you look at it).
As for MeeGo, its role isn’t quite as well defined:
Under the new strategy, MeeGo becomes an open-source, mobile operating system project. MeeGo will place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences. Nokia still plans to ship a MeeGo-related product later this year.
Sound decision or not, the real winner here is Microsoft. With millions of Nokia Windows Phone devices slated to release sometime in the future, worldwide, it now has a fighting chance to level the playing field against the likes of Android and iOS.