So Nokia have given up and sold their mobile handset and presumably the mobile infrastructure to Microsoft. Last year, Nokia, the World’s No. 1 mobile phone manufacturer but were struggling to meet the onslaught of Apple’s iphone and the rapidly alternative growing of Android decided to shit-can their two Linux projects and exclusively throw in their lot with one of the then weakest phone operating- and eco-systems, Microsoft! Coincidently they had just hired Steven Elop as CEO, whom they had poached from Microsoft.
Tomi Ahonen documents the route to the decision, the internal risk analysis, which became true and the decline in sales, of smart phones, to the point of irrelevance. The Register captured the problem and the ‘well known facts’, in this article, “Marry Microsoft, analyst tells Nokia; Adopt brace position, we reckon …” by Andrew Orlowski, not to be confused with Aleksandr Orlov. Orlowski, seems to be the leading writer in this story, the link using his name, details all the stories he has written for the Register.
One of the things argued by senior Sun Executives in the last years of its existence is that in order to compete, a company needs to be able to engineer both the hardware and software as an integrated appliance. This might be even truer for a device like a phone; it obviously didn’t help Sun, and the split in governance between Nokia and Microsoft might be one of the causes of Nokia’s failure to build market share in the smart phone market but now that Microsoft has bought Nokia we’ll see if they do any better. However, these companies are both suffering from leadership disruption, and this is hard to recover from. Certainly with Elop’s disgusting compensation payment for some old bollocks, I can’t imagine he’ll be motivated to work again, or succeed. (I wonder if anyone has studied the impact on the drive to sucess that needing the money brings; Silicon Valley, and finance are full of people that no longer have to work as they’ve made it, often through failure.)
Nokia tied themselves to Microsoft, who like a bank, survive their customers failures despite being the author of the failure.
Nokia are left as a Network Equipment Provider, with no consumer face. They’s selling into the data centre and the network only now. This takeover is another nail in the coffin of Europe’s leadership, Europe is left with the UK incorporated ARM and Canonical, the authors of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is looking to release a phone OS, let’s see if it gets there and if it can make room in a crowded market dominated by hardware i.e. handset vendors.