David M Smith

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David Mitchell Smith
VP & Gartner Fellow
16 years at Gartner
30 years IT industry

David Mitchell Smith is a vice president and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research, where he specializes in the impact of catalytic technologies such as the Internet, Web 2.0, cloud computing and consumer technologies. Read Full Bio

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Elop to Nokia. Will Nokia embrace Windows Phone 7?

by David M. Smith  |  September 10, 2010  |  3 Comments

News broke overnight about Microsoft Office executive Stephen Elop moving to Nokia as CEO. This by itself is shocking news, but what other shocking aftershocks might follow?

I’m no Nokia expert. All I know is that my first mobile phone was from Nokia back in the 90s but that nothing they’ve made recently has been compelling enough for me to seriously consider it.  Many have given up on Nokia, especially in the US where most of the smartphone action has been.

Microsoft, I’m much more familiar with.  Had one of the very first Windows Mobile phones before they even called them by that name. For a while, they were competitive, but as time went on, others, notably Apple and Google left them in the dust.  Many have given up on Microsoft in mobile. But Windows Phone 7 is about to launch. And I’m not ready to write it off.

The market has spoken and said it likes the idea of alternative, more open offerings than those from Apple.  It also still likes Apple, but a lot of the Android success is due to offering more choices than Apple does (carriers, form factors, etc.).  But with that openness comes tradeoffs.  Ironically closedness due to increased carrier power.  A bit of fragmentation.  Things that Microsoft has learned the hard way through a decade of Windows Mobile mistakes.  Google is learning them now.  So, timing for Microsoft with a hopefully ‘just right’ balance between control and open, could be very good.

Elop, in his short time at Microsoft, was involved in deals that put Office and Silverlight on Nokia phones.  There’s been a lot of ‘advice’ given to Nokia that has suggested they drop everything and go Android.  Here’s my radical thought: Nokia will go Windows Phone 7.

Many have written each off.  However, together they have a much better chance.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Andras   September 11, 2010 at 11:24 am

    The idea is not new, it has been put forward back in June already: http://a-vajda.eu/blog/?p=501

  • 2 Ankit   September 12, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    “Many have written each off. However, together they have a much better chance.” .. interesting observation, but why?

    is it bcoz Nokia has a good device but lack software& service capabilities and MS’s expertise in soft & service area can really add the punch to Nokia devices.

    Also, Office & Silverlight on Nokia.. do u think these are part of a long term strategic initiative b/w Nokia & MS?

  • 3 david smith   September 13, 2010 at 9:01 am

    It is true that Nokia does a better job on hardware than software overall and that any help there could be a good thing.

    As for what is long term strategic, that was the point of the post. That the movement of Elop from Microsoft to Nokia was a signal that the Microsoft offerings (including Win Phone 7) would likely become more strategic than before.