2/16/2011 11:50:00 AM
Microsoft and Nokia: the big questions answered
What’s the future for the Nokia Series 40 and the Ovi portal?
Stephen Elop, Nokia’s president and CEO, emphasised that the primary platform for Nokia smartphones would be Windows Phone, but that Nokia was not giving up on the low-end. He said the manufacturer would evolve its low-end portfolio and provide more investment while continuing to compete aggressively in the low-end market.
He added that the Ovi portal would be incorporated into the Windows Phone ecosystem, where Nokia’s mapping system would become a core part of Microsoft’s services in a shared environment.
When will the first Nokia Windows Phone be available?
Elop could not confirm when the first device would be released, but claimed that ‘we can now move faster across the price range than ever before’.
What will happen to Microsoft’s relationship with other mobile phone manufacturers?
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said: ‘The relationship with Nokia is not exclusive.’ He said that Microsoft would do some unique things with Nokia, which also wants to do things on top of Windows Phone. But achieving critical mass for Windows Phone was important, so Microsoft will continue to work with other manufacturers and the chipset community.
Why did Nokia choose to go with Microsoft and not Android?
Elop said Nokia considered three options: the first was developing Symbian and MeeGo – but the company did not think it could develop the overall ecosystems fast enough to cover all the price ranges it wanted to reach.
He confirmed that Nokia had also talked to Google, but the manufacturer was concerned that if would be difficult to differentiate itself within the Google Android ecosystem. He also indicated that it was likely most of the profit and value would go to Google ‘and that concerned us’.
Microsoft was the third option and was seen to be much more of a complimentary fit.
What is the future of Symbian and MeeGo?
Elop emphasised that Nokia’s primary OS is now Windows Phone, but said: ‘There are 200 million Symbian users out there.
As we transition through to making Windows our primary platform we would expect to ship 150 million more Symbian phones during that period.’
He announced that the first MeeGo phone would be released this year, but is now being seen as ‘an opportunity to learn from the device’. Elop said that the team behind it is switching its role to looking into the future and trying to anticipate the next disruption in the mobile marketplace.
Will Nokia be restructuring?
‘Nokia is first and foremost a Finnish company – it is our home and will remain so,’ said Elop.
‘But the best thing Nokia can do for Finland is to ensure the company remains successful.’
Elop admitted the company would need to make ‘a substantive reduction’ in employment around the world, and that included in Finland. But he said Nokia had not decided how many or where and when the cuts would happen. A consultation would occur first.
What is the reaction from mobile operators?
Responding to a question that said mobile operators had been hoping for an announcement about a broad ecosystem for MeeGo, Elop said: ‘We have spoken to most of the European operators and others around the world. The main reaction has been: “we understand; we like it; we will support it.” They told us they wanted a credible alternative to Apple and Google. It is now a three-horse race. One operator told me: “Thank you – we are all smiles.”’