I stand by my earlier posting a couple of days ago. This really will go down in history as the week the battle lines were drawn in the new operating system wars.
The latest salvo came today (Friday) in the form of a newly announced major joint mobile strategy from Microsoft and Nokia. You can read the details in the open letter put out by Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, and Nokia's relatively new CEO, Stephen Elop, who was recruited from Microsoft making me suspicious this was a coup.
The Reader's Digest version goes like this: Nokia is hitching its smartphone wagon to Windows Phone 7 as its operating system of choice. Lord, they must have been desperate!
Additionally, Bing will be Nokia's preferred search engine. Nokia Maps will be Microsoft's preferred mapping service.
As for Symbian: you know, Nokia's operating system that made it the biggest cell phone maker in the world? It's not going away just yet. Nokia is basically splitting itself in two. Symbian will live on in cheap cell phones primarily marketed to third world countries and my 71 year old mother who "just wants a dang phone that works and doesn't have all that technology that I don't understand". Nokia's smartphone division will be WP7 all the way.
My favorite quote on all of this comes from Mark Sue, an analyst from RBC Capital Markets, who likens Microsoft and Nokia as...
'two unpopular kids in high school with rich parents suddenly becoming prom king and queen... It was clear that Nokia needed to do something different. But there is a lot of skepticism about whether this will work.' - As quoted in The New York Times
I think it's clear both were desperate. Imagine all the big mobile market players in a grand game of musical chairs. The music stops and Apple, Google, Research in Motion and, even now, Hewlett Packard with its newly announced line of WebOS smartphones and tablet all have a seat. Microsoft and Nokia? Left standing. What else could they do?
As long as I'm mixing metaphors. Let me throw in a couple of more. Look at the names of the players in this mobile platform war. This is truly the clash of Titans; Titans with deep pockets, solid platforms to compete, various killer strengths and none lacking some sort of Achilles heel.
This will be like an Asian ground war. It will be bloody and protracted.
The good news is that I won't run out of things to write about.
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