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Nokia ditches Symbian for Windows Phone 7

Nokia ditches Symbian for Windows Phone 7

Nokia chief executive Stehpen Elop (left) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (right) announce the close integration of Nokia and Windows Phone 7.

Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop has officially announced that Nokia will adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system as its ‘principal’ smartphone OS.

The move comes after Elop’s infamous ’burning platform’ memo found its way into the Wall Street Journal, highlighting the fact that Elop ‘bemoans missed opportunities and identifies multiple strategic challenges to the mobile phone company.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Elop joined Nokia from Microsoft five months ago, so the move is perhaps even less of a shock. The Guardian live-blogged the Nokia-Microsoft announcement this morning, so you can follow all the announcements there.

The move is significant as, despite the buzz around Google’s Android OS and Apple’s iPhone, Nokia was the dominant player in the mobile phone market until very recently. However, Elop pointed out in his memo that ‘The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over two years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.

The deal isn’t just for Nokia to license Windows Phone 7, however. CNet reports that the two companies are calling the agreement ‘an attempt to build a "third ecosystem," acknowledging that competing with Apple's iOS and Google's Android involves a partnership that must encompass phones, developers, mobile services, partnerships with carriers, and app stores to distribute software.

Nokia ditches Symbian for Windows Phone 7 *Nokia ditches Symbian for Windows Phone 7
The 'Third Ecosystem' sees Nokia and Microsoft closely collaborating
on all areas of Windows Phone 7 development and deployment

The Third Ecosystem involves Nokia and Microsoft developing Windows Phone 7 together, and also collaborating on marketing, software and service development, device design and practically everything else.

As the official Nokia blog, Nokia Conversations, says: ‘Nokia [won’t] just be another Windows Phone OEM. Nokia plans to help drive and define the future of the platform. That could include contributing expertise on hardware optimization, language support, customization of the software and helping bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.

Nokia will therefore ‘use many Microsoft online services, many of which trail Google rivals, such as Bing for search and maps and AdCenter for advertisements.’ According to CNet, though, ‘it's not immediately clear what needs to be done to make the deal final; "specific details of the deal are being worked out," the companies said.’ This matches up with the announcements from Nokia.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, ‘The company delayed the introduction of some phones. Its flagship high-end N8 smartphone, which started shipping last year, has been plagued with power problems. And the company discontinued its free music-download service, intended as a competitor to Apple's iTunes, in several markets. Google in the fourth quarter dethroned Nokia as the world's largest maker of smartphone software, according to market researcher Canalys.

The move has large ramifications on two fronts: first, such a close collaboration with Nokia could leave other handset manufacturers using Windows Phone 7 feeling like second-class partners, which could lead to defections to Android. Secondly, Nokia’s expertise could add the finishing touches to Windows Phone 7 that many felt were lacking at launch. Of course, this also brings up the question of what the future holds for Symbian.

Do you own a Windows 7 phone? Is this the right move for Nokia? Let us know your thoughts on the deal in the forums.

29 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
PegasusM 11th February 2011, 15:43 Quote
about time lol
ssj12 11th February 2011, 15:44 Quote
failing together is more meaningful then failing by one self?
SchizoFrog 11th February 2011, 15:52 Quote
If, and I do say if, we get a mobile device with Nokia's battery life, the legendary Carl Zeiss lenses, a processor equal to that of it's competitor's while running MS WP7 I would be most happy to look at Nokia in future. Is there any news on when WP7 will filter through and start to appear on devices? I heard the N9 was held back... Is that device likely to go WP7 now?
Repo 11th February 2011, 16:05 Quote
So he basically has no confidence at all in their OS developers, lol.

Not really surprised; Nokia made some fantastic phones in the past (8310i, 6310i) but some products were just pants. e.g. the N770 Internet Tablet which was badly specced, had almost no app support, only took rs-mmc cards (wtf!) and had no SIM slot (wtf! x 1,000).
r3loaded 11th February 2011, 16:16 Quote
Judging from the comments section on many blogs, you'd think Nokia was being killed off. I'll beg to differ and believe that this is what Nokia needs. Sure, it's a risk (and a very big one at that), but the alternative is to watch the company slide into irrelevance.

I'm actually more worried about the future of WP7 - other manufacturers, notably HTC (who wanted to bring Sense over), are going to be peeved that Nokia gets to customise it more than others.
sear 11th February 2011, 16:33 Quote
Windows Phone 7 is a slick piece of software, and it's nice to see it getting more support... I think it's a good move for Nokia, but ultimately their success will depend on users' adoption of Windows Phone 7. Considering we already live in a world where "iPhone" is synonymous with "smartphone" and many users aren't even really aware of alternatives, they've got quite a task in convincing people to sign up.
roundyz 11th February 2011, 16:42 Quote
This article uses the term phone and smart phone incorrectly.

"Nokia was the dominant player in the mobile phone market until very recently." <- should this read smart phone?

And as for this...
"As the Wall Street Journal reports, Elop joined Nokia from Microsoft five months ago, so the move is perhaps even less of a shock."

A setup I'm sure..
faugusztin 11th February 2011, 16:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
If, and I do say if, we get a mobile device with Nokia's battery life, the legendary Carl Zeiss lenses, a processor equal to that of it's competitor's while running MS WP7 I would be most happy to look at Nokia in future. Is there any news on when WP7 will filter through and start to appear on devices? I heard the N9 was held back... Is that device likely to go WP7 now?

Not going to happen. Nokia has good battery life because of lowend hardware. With WP7 and requirement for a gigahertz CPU, you can say bye bye to good battery life.
Toploaded 11th February 2011, 16:47 Quote
I have never been more let down by a product or company before (and I had a Windows ME pc back in the day ;) ). The way us gullible adopters of the N97 were hung out to dry was terrible. I'd forgive them for messing up the product, but they could have done so much more to ease the pain and at least make their former users feel supported.

I don't care what comes of this, I'll never trust Nokia again as a company.
yakyb 11th February 2011, 16:53 Quote
this is great news!!!
Bauul 11th February 2011, 17:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundyz
This article uses the term phone and smart phone incorrectly.

"Nokia was the dominant player in the mobile phone market until very recently." <- should this read smart phone?

N'ah, Nokia haven't been leaders in the smartphone market for ages, at least not in the UK. Here, Samsung sell more products than Nokia do these days.
brave758 11th February 2011, 18:23 Quote
I also think this is great new i loved nokia phones and still do tuff as old boots and great for work. It's gona be great to see a 3rd player on the field
red4our 11th February 2011, 18:23 Quote
I agree with Toploaded. Nokia's product performance and customer support over the last 18 months has been woeful and disappointing. At least they seem to recognize they're flogging a dead horse with Symbian but I don't think they'll make Win 7 their sole OS platform in the long run.
PCBuilderSven 11th February 2011, 19:15 Quote
I have always used Nokia and have been very happy with their products. I loved symbian. It may be because I dont care about apps or eye candy in the slightest, but it does have the most functionality. It is one of the only mobile operating systems to have a file browser, and the first to have flash support. It was also the first to have multitasking. I am extremely happy with my n900 now, although it runs maemo not symbian. The 5800 was brilliant, loads more features and loads less locked in than other phone. The n97 wasn't good at launch, but that was later fixed with software update. I really can't understand why people don't like symbian, its my favourite mobile os after Maemo.

The reason why Nokia have lower end hardware is because the OS is more efficient, so doesn't need the extra power. My n900 only has a 650Mhz cpu but I can still decompress an 7zip, render a 720p video, listen to music and browse a desktop website at the same time without it being laggy. The specs don't matter much, it's how you implement them.

Unless Win Phone 7 get alot better I just hope they'll change to MeeGo in the future. Microsoft and Apple both suck. The only thing Windows is good for is games, and Mac sucks for everything. Linux Maemo was brilliant, why not revive Maemo or use it's replacement: MeeGo?
oasked 11th February 2011, 19:48 Quote
Great news!

The combination of Nokia hardware (they make the best phone hardware out there, as far as I'm concerned), plus some solid software to run on it should be a winner! If only the Nokia N8 wasn't running Symbian!

Here's hoping this partnership works well. :)
Toploaded 11th February 2011, 20:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCBuilderSven
Snip

I can't comment on the n900, but I can assure you the N97 was far from fixed. It did get slightly better, and they did include some things that really should have been there at launch for a touch phone (kinetic scrolling ect), but it's still a slow unstable phone that crashes pretty often (to the point you have to take out the battery to reboot it) and the hardware is blatantly not up to multitasking. The file transfer speed using USB is laughable too, which is a shame for a phone with 30gig of mass memory. Don't get me started on the poor implementation of the music player.

(I have, btw, dealt with two entirely different N97's due to one getting stolen and me getting a replacement, both acted the same)
leexgx 11th February 2011, 23:13 Quote
if not all the so called high end phones (any N phones) seem to suck they crash and other things, but the issue is more with trying to make an OS that's not made for smartphone use (S60) (have you ever tried the wireless on the phone)
Ripitup121 11th February 2011, 23:15 Quote
Symbian is utter rubbish anyways.. bout time they got this ball rolling.. Looking forward to the results.
chrisb2e9 11th February 2011, 23:25 Quote
My girlfriend being from England always loved nokia but I always just scratched my head at it.
Interested to see what this will bring.
Toploaded 11th February 2011, 23:36 Quote
Symbian was great in it's day, just didn't keep up. It was perfect software for non touch screen phones back when the N95 came out (a phone that I loved, hence why I thought the move to the N97 was a no brainier... last time I commit myself to expensive hardware without doing thorough research first!).

But as I said before, it's not so much the mistakes Nokia made that upset me, it was how unwilling they were to really address them. There are multiple threads in the Nokia forums making very sensible, not overly hard to implement suggestions on how the N97 experience could have been improved and non ever came about (with no futher firmware updates planned since the one over a year ago). With some tweaking I have gotten it to preform much better, and I also now know what to avoid doing that will crash it so much ect ect, but it's not really acceptable from such an expensive phone that was their flag ship at the time.

Anyway, I still regard the above as good news as it will keep pushing the bar up for the other companies and platforms that I'll be moving onto after my contract is up at the end of this year :)
storm_temple 12th February 2011, 00:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssj12
failing together is more meaningful then failing by one self?

Where is the like button?
Snips 12th February 2011, 10:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by storm_temple
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssj12
failing together is more meaningful then failing by one self?

Where is the like button?

Where's the "You're talking through your backside" Button?
mad_iguana 12th February 2011, 10:56 Quote
A few factual errors in the article that are almost entirely down to incorrect reporting from CNet.
Firstly, Nokia is stll the market leader in mobile phones worldwide (in terms of number of phones sold, if not in mindshare / innovation etc.).
It is even still selling more smartphones than any other manufacturer.
As for the Canalys analysis, that has been debunked and although it is still widely quoted, it has been accepted by most mobile phone industry analysts that their analysis was incorrect (see here http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2011/02/paging-stats-police-canalys-jumped-gun-rather-badly-android-is-not-yet-ahead-of-symbian-but-will-be-.html).
And finally, Bing maps will NOT be put onto Nokia devices - it was quite apparent in the presentations yesterday that the maps on mobile devices will be driven by the OVI maps engine / software. They are both supplied by Navteq, which is owned by Nokia, so fundamentally the difference is minor, but it's nice to get these things right.
Instagib 12th February 2011, 14:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCBuilderSven


The reason why Nokia have lower end hardware is because the OS is more efficient, so doesn't need the extra power. My n900 only has a 650Mhz cpu but I can still decompress an 7zip, render a 720p video, listen to music and browse a desktop website at the same time without it being laggy. The specs don't matter much, it's how you implement them.

Unless Win Phone 7 get alot better I just hope they'll change to MeeGo in the future. Microsoft and Apple both suck. The only thing Windows is good for is games, and Mac sucks for everything. Linux Maemo was brilliant, why not revive Maemo or use it's replacement: MeeGo?

Not bothered to overclock it? I've got mine at 800Mhz and it just seems so much more fluid in it's use. The battery doesn't seem to suffer too much; I charge it every night anyway.

I have to admit, Maemo is probably not the most intuitive OS i've ever used, but it does have the most scope for customisation. Once you get your head around it, it is amazing.

I am hopeful for this combination as i'm acutely aware that the N900 is a one off in Nokia's recent catalogue.
faugusztin 12th February 2011, 15:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCBuilderSven
The reason why Nokia have lower end hardware is because the OS is more efficient, so doesn't need the extra power. My n900 only has a 650Mhz cpu but I can still decompress an 7zip, render a 720p video, listen to music and browse a desktop website at the same time without it being laggy. The specs don't matter much, it's how you implement them.

This is all cool - but what does it have to do with Windows Phone 7 ? I exactly said that because of Windows Phone 7, Nokia will have to use higher end hardware, thus cutting the battery life to the same values you see now at other devices using same hardware. That means 1-3 days max.
unknowngamer 12th February 2011, 17:26 Quote
The Way I see it, nokia and microsoft could gain big sales with one move. xbox sub games. Win mo 7 is integrated with xbox gamer tags. Microsoft gives the devs a discount if any new xbox games have a winmo sub game. For example fable, the sub game could be running one of the shops you own. Linked to xbox live and mates could be really interesting. Selling stuff in the bus ride to work, ordering new stock (and new spells) Given the 360 user base, and target market (disposable income) win 7 mo and nokia could recover market share in no time. Any 360 gamer would look into these new phones as an extension of ther game.
I expect ms and nokia to have thought if this. If not it's rank incompetence.

Sorry for the wall of text, sent from my phone....
<A88> 12th February 2011, 23:10 Quote
This is great news as far as Windows Phone is concerned. The devices it's out on at the moment are great and all but they're all pretty much the same, and their respective manufacturers are (understandably) still more committed to Android as a platform. Nokia would have been foolish to try and compete in the latter's marketplace as it's already competitive and crowded enough as it is, but adopting a growing and promising OS should be good for both them and Microsoft.

There is a slight risk in MS getting too cosy with Nokia though and essentially alienating HTC and Samsung from wanting to put any more effort into Windows Phone, but their biggest concern right now should be pushing out regular updates instead of leaving it as long as they have and letting the competition pull ahead in features.

All that said, I can't wait to see devices like this come out and could well be buying a Nokia again for the first time since the 5110.
http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2011/02/11x0211nokiaconcept.jpg
dactone 14th February 2011, 18:47 Quote
i have a symbian phone samsung i8910 amd its bloody rubbish.
The_Beast 14th February 2011, 20:40 Quote
So that leaves iOS and Windows phone 7 right?
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