11 March, 2013
Nokia again - The Microsoft risk
Came across this bit from the excellent newsletter of Rethink Wireless and it seems like the end is even closer for Nokia than what most of us thinks. After visiting Nokia at MWC in Barcelona, Nokia seemed confident, on the right track and that turn around is definitely around the corner. Rumors about some really cool phones where the acquisition of Scalado seems to be paying off well. Another 41MP camera phone, on Windows Phone this time? or maybe even better.
"In an SEC filing last week, Nokia acknowledged the risk arising from a possible Microsoft launch of its own smartphone. It also lists other risks, including that Microsoft could sideline or even dump Windows Phone and rely entirely on Windows 8"
Can it be as bad as Nokia has invested two years in a new smartphone platform, totally ditched the two other alternatives, and that Microsoft may just dump the very same platform as nothing happened? And seriously, it should really be a viable option for Microsoft - it seems quite difficult for Microsoft to succeed in the fiercely competitive and fast-moving mobile phone market. And instead of both losing phones and tablets/new devices, Microsoft may need to cut the losses and stop Windows Phone and spend all their efforts in making Windows 8 competitive in the tablet market. After all, 2013 is the year when a crucial infliction point occurs: More smartphones and tablets being used than PCs and laptops and if Microsoft is losing the lucrative business market to Android and iOS well then Microsoft is going down fast.
On the opponents side to cut Windows Phone is Nokia, led by Stephen Elop, an ex-Microsoft boss who headed up the Office division and his right hand, Chris Weber, is also an ex-Microsoft manager with ample experience of enterprise business in North America. Now, these corporate heavy weighers should not have a problem to convince their ex-bosses to keep Windows Phone, no? I'd actually be surprised if Microsoft listens to Nokia as they already got what they need the most - reliable map data and in smartphones/tablets, it matters. Just look at Apple's debacle launching their own Map applications without Google Maps.
If no Windows Phone? Really, I find impossible to believe that you could build a competitive smartphone based on Windows 8 RT for the next coming years. Tablets, yes, but competitive smartphones, no.
If so, then Nokia really is at its end point and it's hard to see a way forward. On the low end side, Nokia gets strongly attacked by low-end Android phones, street price already hitting $50 and it will be tough for Nokia to demand premium prices for its Asha phones without a brand backing from its top-line devices.
The SEC filing shows that the management and the board in Nokia actually fears the discontinuation of Windows Phone 8. Serious.