Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nokia and Microsoft, charging elephant or beached whale?

The announced collaboration between Microsoft and Nokia could become a troubled relationship. Both Nokia chief Stephen Elop and Microsoft's president of mobile Andy Lees have been telling the world that the new collaboration is good for all concerned but the market has reacted sceptically, with Nokia's stocks diving consistently for the past few days. What makes the marriage a rocky one is the fact that both Nokia and Microsoft are coming up from behind. Sure, Nokia has the largest market share worldwide if all mobile phones are counted. However when it comes to smartphones the numbers are quite different. And pretty soon, nearly all phones will be smartphones.

Miniaturisation and faster, cheaper processors are cropping up making smartphone functionality no longer a top of the range feature only. Android will be the choice for most manufacturers because it is easier to adapt to watered down versions for the lower end smartphones. It is cheap and well established by now. Windows phone 7 is still a long way behind when it comes to stability, features and developer proficiency in writing software for it.

At least the link with Nokia will give developers a reasonable expectation of volume when it comes to the Windows Phone 7 platform but if the platform fails to perform its duties in the field, both Nokia and Microsoft will look more like a beached whale than a charging elephant. And Microsoft's track record in making reliable mobile operating systems is not something to boast about.

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