Nokia to Phase Out Symbian, WP7 Likely to Become World's #2 Phone OS
February 11, 2011 11:03 AM
Nokia plans on phasing out Symbian in favor of Windows Phone 7, which will likely propel Microsoft into the number 2 spot in global smart phone sales by OS.
(Source: Nokia via Engadget)
With Microsoft focusing on providing a slick OS for its phones, Nokia can focus on its hardware fully, for the first time in some time.
(Source: Genius Reviews)
Nokia's new CEO also fires back against criticism by Google
While Symbian isn't exactly a household name in America, for years it sat on top of global smart phone sales, thanks to market leader Nokia's support. With today's announcement of a
strategic partnership with Microsoft
, Symbian's owner Nokia let slip a market-moving detail: it is phasing out Symbian for Windows Phone 7.
And just like that Windows Phone 7 has been slated to, in all likelihood, claim the #2 spot in smart phone global sales by operating system.
I. Becoming a Giant Overnight
The decision to phase out Symbian was revealed in a
Nokia's new CEO Stephen Elop
and Nokia CFO, Timo Ihamuotila, at Nokia's Capital Markets Day.
Nokia will continue to support Meego, its joint Linux smart phone OS which it
is developing with Intel
. But Meego will only be on a small selection of handsets, where as Windows Phone 7 will be loaded on the majority of Nokia smart phones, according to illustrations in the deck.
It can not be discounted the role Mr. Elop's former executive position at Microsoft played in the two companies coming together. However, beyond any personal connections, the move makes sense on a number of levels for both firms.
For Microsoft it's a complete game changer. Rather than have to chip away and slowly rise in market share like Android, it's punched an instant ticket to the big time. And with
updates soon airing
to smooth out its OS's rough edges, Microsoft looks to be in a very, very good position. It may still lack a handful of features found in iOS and Android, but it arguably offers the
most innovative and intuitive interface
on the market today. And its app market is rapidly expanding, further remedying one of its few remaining weaknesses.
For Nokia the move is also a huge opportunity. As the
recent slip to number 2
showed, people aren't exactly very enthusiastic about Symbian anymore. With its OS budget dramatically slashed over the next few years, Nokia indicates that it will focus more on hardware. This could be just what the doctor ordered, for the world's struggling largest phone maker. And the partnership with Microsoft should allow it to expand its smart phone offerings and visibility in the large U.S. market -- a place where it has struggled in recent years.
Probably the biggest risk is for Microsoft to alienate its
partners, like HTC, LG, and Samsung. All the Nokia hoopla may turn them off and make them devote more effort to Android -- or it could have little effect. Which is the case remains to be seen.
II. Nokia Fires Back at Google Over "Turkey" Remark
In related news, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop lit up Twitter with a sharp-witted response to Google's earlier insult. This morning Google engineer Vic Gundrota
, "two turkeys don't make an eagle, but at least the consumer will have more choice for the menu, as #nokia goes windows"
Showcasing his sound knowledge of American history, Mr. Elop fired back [
], "Or this: Two bicycle makers, from Dayton Ohio, one day decide to fly."
It seems a bit unfair to label Windows Phone 7 a turkey given its radical reinvention of the Windows smart phone platform and relatively short evaluation period on the market. Whether it's a turkey or an eagle should be seen in a couple of years -- after all, Android looked as much or more like a "turkey" in its first year or so on the market as Windows Phone 7 might today.
More than likely the typically reserved Google is lashing out, based on a bit of discomfort. Before it seemed to have no real competition for the world #1 spot in the smart phone race. Apple was unlikely to challenge it, as it was forever constrained to a single proprietary handset model. And a sinking Nokia seemed equally unlikely to challenge.
Now a resurgent Nokia is back and will soon be offering handsets with a hot new OS -- Windows Phone 7. The picture has changed dramatically, overnight.
Thus, much like Apple
noisily berated Google
as Android emerged as a true challenger to iOS in 2010, Google's mud-flinging appears to be found in a bit of frustration and concern. Amusing commentary aside, it's a sign that Google is taking this merger seriously -- and is likely more than a little worried.
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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