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.
Earlier Android chief Andy Rubin suggested in a recent conference appearance that it the wake of management changes at Nokia the company might be open to building phones that run Android. Despite prior Nokia hostility toward Android, Rubin hinted Google and Nokia might already be talking about the hardware OEM using the Google OS:
Asked pointedly whether Google has discussed Android with Nokia, Rubin answered: “I think the company has new leadership and … they are evaluating what their options are … I’m a big proponent of Android and I hope they adopt it.”
About whether a meeting took place, Rubin only said: “I’m not going to talk in detail.”
It’s possible that new Nokia CEO (former Microsoft Exec.) Stephen Elop is talking to both Google and Microsoft and will test non-Nokia operating systems on selected phones. Symbian has been unable to compete in North America and Europe against the iPhone and increasingly Android smartphones. Nokia continues to dominate in a range of markets around the world with inexpensive handsets.
Without publicly saying so, Nokia has shifted from Symbian to MeeGo as the high-end OS that it hopes will create a more competitive smartphone experience (as well as on other devices). However, the first MeeGo devices will not be seen until at least the middle of next year.
Each quarter Nokia fails to deliver a more compelling smartphone product is one that Apple or Google will steal more share. Of the two, Android is the one that Nokia needs to worry about more because it can compete with the company at the lower end of the price spectrum, whereas the iPhone cannot as readily.
Elop’s Microsoft background and affinity may predispose him to working with Redmond. Then there’s the old logic of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”