Holy crap! Nokia is in talks with Microsoft about Windows Phone devices?!

Holy crap!

I don’t believe I’m writing this, especially after publicly ridiculing even idea of such a thing  for a year now. But given the source of the info…

Here it goes–  in his weekly op-ed Mobile-Review’s Eldar Murtazin just posted that during the past month, Nokia has started talks with Microsoft to expand their cooperation. The talks were initiated by the new Nokia management.  And they are talking not about the technology exchange, or more Microsoft apps on Nokia phones. They are talking about the creation of new line of Windows Phone devices, which could be sold under Nokia brand, via Nokia distribution channels and have some typical  Nokia features.

Damn, I can’t believe this may be happening, but given Eldar’s pedigree and former hits, Nokia Windows Phone doesn’t sound as ridiculous to me as it did just a few hours ago.

If this is true, all the brave talk of Nokia’s being back with new Symbian and new Meego, all the proclamations about the confidence in their software strategy, all of that was just an empty boasting. Nokia is throwing in the towel and giving Microsoft the keys to it’s software kingdom. I still can’t wrap my head around this.

I just hope that this is temporary measure, until Nokia gets it’s own software house in order, and is finally able to produce the versions of Symbian and Meego OS that can compete in the marketplace, and when all the goodness of QT, promised for so many years, finally materializes.

Update: Now that I had time to sleep on and think about it, I’m starting to see a lot of positive possibilities in potential Microsoft Nokia Windows Phone 7 deal. Of course, if Nokia and Microsoft doesn’t bungle this up.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • http://twitter.com/Fourthletter58 David Simpson

    Don’t they need to sell first ? Sales figures have been very poor and WP7 handsets have been getting handed out for free from UK networks.

  • http://twitter.com/TSSaloic WV

    It’s been one month, for an entirely new platform, that requires high end hardware. I think it might be a bit early to write Microsoft off. They’ll sell more units in time, it took Android about a year to become a killer.

  • bluejacker

    “Who would write apps for this when you have iOS, Android, and Blackberry?”

    The answer is Qt. Gives any dev cross platform access to Symbian and MeeGo with minimal effort. Symbian still is the largest smartphone OS, and still will be for at least the next 2-3 years.

  • Anonymous

    $700?

    No wonder you’re bitter.

    But fair play, if it’s not for you then fine.

  • Anonymous

    Samsung is the second largest phone manufacturer in the world with massive carrier partnerships. That’s one hell of a lot of momentum.

  • Lewis Julian

    Well despite my opinions on Microsoft software there may be some logic in the move. What Nokia has always provided is an OPEN platform, what worries me is when the money grabbers and freedom haters move in and prevent you from installing what you want on your own hardware and start charging money for using Skype accessing Facebook etc. See slashdot.org recent article. If the “control” aspect is left out, there could be some sexy phones in the future. I must admit I love my N8 more and more although Nokia fucked up in many places in the software, the hardware is brilliant. I still have a better device than my old HTC Desire and it would not in my opinion be improved by installing Android on it. So Symbian 3 only has to go just a little bit further and maybe Microsoft could help out. No way they are going to scrap QT, and to be frank I don’t give a shit whats under QT as long as its fast and battery efficient.

  • Lewis Julian

    Well despite my opinions on Microsoft software there may be some logic in the move. What Nokia has always provided is an OPEN platform, what worries me is when the money grabbers and freedom haters move in and prevent you from installing what you want on your own hardware and start charging money for using Skype accessing Facebook etc. See slashdot.org recent article. If the “control” aspect is left out, there could be some sexy phones in the future. I must admit I love my N8 more and more although Nokia fucked up in many places in the software, the hardware is brilliant. I still have a better device than my old HTC Desire and it would not in my opinion be improved by installing Android on it. So Symbian 3 only has to go just a little bit further and maybe Microsoft could help out. No way they are going to scrap QT, and to be frank I don’t give a shit whats under QT as long as its fast and battery efficient.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ubetido Hartmut Meier

    Yes unfortunately we get shafted on these things in au . I thought I was playing fair,I don’t know about you but when someone sells me something claiming it does this and that I actually expect that it does, not spend a whole two weeks on the phone and countless emails only to find that the important (to me) features of the phone don’t work and have subsequently been omitted and cancelled.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ubetido Hartmut Meier

    So if they claim a 12MP camera and only give you a 5MP camera thats ok with you ?

  • http://twitter.com/grzegorz_maj Grzegorz Maj

    Tool means nothing if momentum/users aren’t behind platform. Those users who choose Symbian simply aren’t interested in apps, smartphones, and all that. WP7 is great for developers, great language, library, and tools, but now most of devs just playing wait and see.

  • http://twitter.com/grzegorz_maj Grzegorz Maj

    That is why Nokia need something different than Android to compete with Samsung. And Bada is just like “feature phone”, its key purpose is to differentiate Samsung phones. Bada will be cheaper, Android more expensive.

  • http://twitter.com/grzegorz_maj Grzegorz Maj

    That is why Nokia need something different than Android to compete with Samsung. And Bada is just like “feature phone”, its key purpose is to differentiate Samsung phones. Bada will be cheaper, Android more expensive.

  • Siemensgiga

    This is just theoretical nonsense. Kids and geeks like apps, the rest don’t care, they only want a nice phone that with a small handfull of functionality. WM7 phones don’t sell because they offer no advantage over Android/Symbian, are more expensive and the hardware so far is flimsy and weak (processor power don’t sell).

    The functionality is typically (in addition to standard phone functions): camera+browser+facebook-app, or hardware keyboard+camera, or gps+large screen, or music store+good sound quality+largish touch screen.

  • Siemensgiga

    IMO the N8 is the best phone out there right now. Got one for my wife, but I just have to have hardware keyboard myself so I still got my trusty old N900. Symbian is king in functionality, but need some tidying up here and there, still it is the best OS. WM7 is also technically excellent, just like Symbian, so for Nokia to go for WM7 and ditch MeeGo could very well be a good move, but not on the terms Microsoft is currently imposing.

    Nokia is using MeeGo as an upstream platform for Qt (more or less), that is the plan. The thing is that WM will make a better upstream platform than Linux can ever be for phones and mobile devices. WM is a better choice. This could in theory be a smart moove, with both MS and Nokia gaining, but politics and practicalities may render it a pipe dream.

    I seriously doubt any such moove by Nokia/MS, but it wouldn’t be a bad one. Symbian and WM have more in common than Symbian and Linux, and they are both better OS’es for mobile phones than Linux.

  • Jérôme Grannier

    And yet the profits they make are ridiculously low and shrinking. That’s not really what I would call one hell of a momentum.

  • Anonymous

    Err… profits and share are up. I would actually call that momentum.

  • http://twitter.com/grzegorz_maj Grzegorz Maj

    People that do not care(majority) are target of WP7, look ad WP7 ads. This OS has great integration of Facebook + contacts.. to people hub, this is great advantage, because one has all in one place, and one does not need apps for this. It is too early to predict future of WP7. One is certain: target of WP7 really is not aware of its existence.

  • Siemensgiga

    Exactly. WM7 devices are like overpriced, overengineered and fancy looking but poor quality Toyota-clones offered to people who are looking for Toyotas due to price, quality and no nonsense functionality.

  • Rurik Bradbury

    I was talking about Bada. There is no developer excitement there and there never will be.

    Re: Samsung, sure, they are doing very well indeed, but it’s on the back of Android, not Bada.

    This is a software ecosystem game now; you either need huge scale or to exit.

    MS is spending billions to gain scale. And despite having $24 billion in annual operating income, it’s still not clear that they’ll be able to buy their way in.

    Nokia has only around EUR 1.2 billion in operating income over the last 12 months, which makes it much harder to throw cash at becoming a viable ecosystem.

  • Anonymous

    Actually Nokia spend about 1.2 to 1.4 billion Euros every quarter on R&D so I don’t see that as an issue.

  • Rurik Bradbury

    Clearly Nokia’s R&D is good — they have great hardware. But it takes marketing to establish a new ecosystem (and insane amounts of it). Tally up the spend by AT&T/Apple or Verizon on the Droid and it’s staggering sums (among the biggest campaigns in the US, including Proctor and Gamble etc).

    Microsoft has the money to shell out crazy amounts in a last-ditch attempt to get WP7 into orbit — but Nokia may not.

    Also, Nokia needs to be in the US: it’s where the most important smartphone and software innovation is coming from right now (Elop knows this). And building a smartphone brand in the US is an ungodly-expensive proposition.

  • mikecomputing

    If this is true well goodbye nokia you wil kill yourselfs!! Just wonder what the enginneers inside nokia things I hope They leave this sinking ship and starts a new company and continue development of QT and Meego.

    But Hay maybe the plan for Microsoft is too buy Nokia and kill QT at the end like Oracle did buy Sun and trying to kill OpenOffice and MySQL :-(

  • Lewis Julian

    Yes I had an N900, I am a Linux freak so that was a natural choice. Debian Linux has not really been designed with mobile phones in mind. But it is interesting to see just what a messAndroid is, its certainly not Lnux and its not open either, they made a real mess of Linux by throwing away years of work on generic hardware support, and kludging hardcoded IO. I hated the HTC desire with its pathetic system memory space and no root access… they are trying to do a Steve Jobs on the poor suckers who buy their crap hardware. Yeah so Im waiting for the firmware upgrade in January (as rumors have it). Symbian is not dead and has promise, lets hope it isn’t assassinated.

  • Lewis Julian

    Yes I had an N900, I am a Linux freak so that was a natural choice. Debian Linux has not really been designed with mobile phones in mind. But it is interesting to see just what a messAndroid is, its certainly not Lnux and its not open either, they made a real mess of Linux by throwing away years of work on generic hardware support, and kludging hardcoded IO. I hated the HTC desire with its pathetic system memory space and no root access… they are trying to do a Steve Jobs on the poor suckers who buy their crap hardware. Yeah so Im waiting for the firmware upgrade in January (as rumors have it). Symbian is not dead and has promise, lets hope it isn’t assassinated.

  • Lewis Julian

    Yes I had an N900, I am a Linux freak so that was a natural choice. Debian Linux has not really been designed with mobile phones in mind. But it is interesting to see just what a messAndroid is, its certainly not Lnux and its not open either, they made a real mess of Linux by throwing away years of work on generic hardware support, and kludging hardcoded IO. I hated the HTC desire with its pathetic system memory space and no root access… they are trying to do a Steve Jobs on the poor suckers who buy their crap hardware. Yeah so Im waiting for the firmware upgrade in January (as rumors have it). Symbian is not dead and has promise, lets hope it isn’t assassinated.

  • Siemensgiga

    Generic is more often than not a synonym for bloated and poor efficiency. When it comes to mobile phones, the key architecture of the OS is to separate the HW and application space, but keep the core OS tightly integrated with HW. In that sense Android is on the right track, not the wrong track. Symbian and WM have always been closely integrated with HW, but they had no, or very liimited, differentiation between the core OS and the more generic API.

    WM7 and Symbian3 with Qt is on the right track. What I am starting to question is what Nokia needs MeeGo for when it comes to phones. I can understand the move for mobile units of the more generic kind, such as netbooks and tablets, but for phones Symbian will always be better.

    The tight integration of HW and OS fosters lots of different OS’es. And that is a cool thing.