Plenty of people much smarter than me are theorising about what Nokia’s new CEO, Stephen Elop, will announce this Friday at their analyst briefing. The leaked memo he sent out, published by the WSJ, has a perhaps mildly inappropriate description of a burning platform in this post-Deepwater Horizon world but the text does act as a great rallying call for a company that has little outwardly visible sense of direction for some months (Elop was appointed in September 2010).
As to what he’ll announce, opinions are split between a rush to Android or to Windows 7. Either strategy will, perhaps, mark the next stage in Nokia’s route to demise.
They are both “me too” platforms where Nokia will be able to differentiate only with beautiful hardware – and, as the picture above reminds us, Nokia doesn’t always get that right or even vaguely usable. Picking Android will perhaps allow the most customisation and innovation, but at the risk of fragmenting the platform even further and losing developers along the way. Picking Windows 7 would, on the face of it, appear to be Elop’s most likely choice given his CV.
Personally, I would like to see Nokia work hard to create its own ecosystem rather than try and muscle into already over-crowded existing ones. Adopting Android will see them disappear in a sea of near equivalents, adopting Windows 7 would perhaps make them Microsoft’s prime partner and perhaps even allow them some influence over the future direction of the operating system, but not nearly as much as they’d have if they had control of their own hardware and software integration.
I will be watching with interest. I doubt that Nokia will win me back but I’d like to see them remain viable.