Nokias Risky Move
Some tech analysts are skeptical about the move. Independent analyst Jack Gold told eWEEK he sees the partnership as a pact between two needy companies, rather than an alliance of strong players in the industry.Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart told eWEEK it's hard to understate the risk. "Nokia is betting its future here, and will need to transform into a very different-and in some ways less ambitious-company." That is, a company beholden to WP7. This is a platform that, while technically sound and eye-pleasing, is unproven and untested in a market where Apple iOS and Android have been shipping iPhones and Droids and Galaxy S devices, respectively, like hotcakes. Not everyone is so bearish on the pact. IDC analyst Kevin Restivo told eWEEK Nokia is still the No. 1 smartphone maker, despite its struggles with execution and building a modern smartphone platform to compete with Android and iOS. With Elop as a longtime Microsoft employee, Nokia can forge a tighter bond than it could with the open-source Android platform, where relationships lend themselves to freestyling. Microsoft and Nokia will put joint marketing and research and development into the mix so that each company has "real skin in the game" to make and sell quality handsets, Restivo said. Consumers just need to buy them. With Android showing no sign of slowing and Apple's iPhone now on Verizon, this will certainly be a challenge. Of course, the best move Nokia and Elop may have made is to ensure the deal is non-exclusive. If Windows Phone 7 doesn't work out, there's always Android.
"Both of them need each other for credibility," Gold said, adding that Microsoft needs Nokia to build devices in volume; Nokia needs a serious OS. "But it's not clear either partner will get what it wants out of this," he said. "And I'm not sure customers of current Nokia will be very happy, leaving an opening for loyal Nokia users to move to other platforms (such as Android, iPhone or even Blackberry)."