Nokia, known for its Symbian smartphones, announced the MeeGo project back in June 2010 and released code to developers in July 2010. However, instead of continuing development on the first MeeGo smartphone, Nokia ditched it in favor of utilizing Windows Phone 7, the newest iteration of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS platform.
Nokia’s contract with Microsoft is a mistake, made obvious by the lack of investor confidence in the deal. When Nokia announced the deal on Feb. 11, the company saw a 14 percent drop in stock prices and, over that weekend, saw another five percent drop. Even Nokia employees were disappointed with the merging and made their feelings clear by staging a mid-day walkout.
The Original Nokia Mistake: Leaving the US Market
While Nokia has consistently been among the leaders in markets such as Europe and Asia, it was also US leader, but that lead eroded because of Nokia’s decision to pull out of the US market around 2002. Then came the falling market share, and loss of consumer trust. According to a 2009 statement by Ari Hakkarainen, former business development executive for the company, “Nokia, at the height of its success, decided not to adapt its phones for the U.S. market. That was a mistake. They are still trying to recover from this.”
Nokia Chairman Jorma Ollila, who is well aware of the company’s troubled past in the US market, said that Nokia made the move hoping to gain some much-needed success. This was when Nokia admitted to its mistake in leaving the US market, and that the company has a lot of catching up to do.
The Windows Phone 7 Disaster
Windows Phone 7 is a problematic operating system and has been from day one. InfoWorld’s Galen Gruman says that it is a “tepid knock-off of 2007-era iPhone,” and later, in a guest post on PC World, calls it a “complete disaster.” Another author on PC World agrees with his assertions, going so far as to detail each of the problems and missing features, as this writer did in a previous article. The key features that are sorely missed, no matter what some Windows 7 fans say, include lack of on-device encryption, VPN, Flash support, HTML5 support, copy and paste, and true multitasking.
The first two listed missing features are required if Nokia expects any business user to want to purchase a Nokia device with Windows Phone 7, as encryption is a must for most people to connect to an Exchange server. The other four are basic features available on almost any other device, except for Apple’s iPhone-but at least Apple offers HTML 5.
Others have identified even more problems with Windows Phone 7. For example, on two devices, the HTC HD7 and the Dell Venue Pro, the Wi-Fi is problematic and does not allow users to connect to some Wi-Fi networks. Other various reported problems include “couch potato” or sloth-like processing speed, slow accelerometer response time, various SD card issues, and others.
By far, the biggest problem is the automatic rebooting of Windows Phone 7 devices-without any prompting by the user. The XDA-Developers Blog put together a complete list of all reported problems and bugs concerning Windows Phone 7.
Why Make the Windows Phone 7 Mistake?
Considering Nokia had a perfectly good MeeGo phone in development, and considering all the confirmed problems with Windows Phone 7, why did the company all of a sudden ditch it in favor of an already failing mobile operating system?
In September of 2010, Nokia replaced its chief executive officer, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo with Stephen Elop; Pekka Kallasvuo had been with Nokia for 30 years. Could the fact that Elop served for two years as President of Microsoft’s Business Division president be why Nokia is all of a sudden turning to Windows 7 when better choices exist? What would have happened had Nokia acquired a former Google executive?
Nevertheless, Nokia was just looking for an “easy in,” regarding its previous abandonment of the US market. As Elop stated, the deal with Windows Phone 7, “… gives us a faster path to the United States Market place…” Nokia thought that siding with Microsoft would help regain consumer base in the US, but instead, it helped crush that base-and investors’ trust in the company, which could signal the end of Nokia altogether-not just in the US market.
Sal Cangeloso, “Nokia workers walk out in protest after Microsoft News,” Geek
“Dell Venue Pro Plagued by Wi-Fi Bug [UPDATED],” BGR
Darryl K. Taft, “MeeGo handset Code Released to Developers,” E-Week
Galen Gruman, “Windows Phone 7: Microsoft’s Disaster, “PC World
Jared Newman, “Windows Phone 7: Problems out of the Gate, “PC World
“Windows Phone 7 List of Bugs & Problems,” XDA-Developers Blog
Eric Lai, “Who is Microsoft’s New Business Division Leader, Stephen Elop?” Computer World
“Nokia appoints Stephen Elop to President and CEO as of September 2010 ,” Nokia Press Room
“Nokia Reports Q3 2010 net sales of EUR 10.3 billion with non-IFRS EPS of EUR 0.14,” Nokia Press Room
“Nokia Outlines New Strategy, Introduces new Leadership, Operational Structure,” Nokia Press Room
Nokia and Microsoft Announce Plans for a Broad Strategic Partnership to Build a New Global Ecosystem,” Microsoft Press Room