Normally, I’m not a big fan of the “See, I told you so” approach to commentary. But this time, I will point to one entry in September and another in December of last year, where I suggested Nokia team up with Microsoft to jointly develop Windows Phone devices. That day has officially arrived. There will undoubtedly be a lot of commentary over the next few days and weeks from people touting the pros and cons of this deal. Let me offer some thoughts on the impact this deal will have on the mobile enterprise.
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So, while Nokia has said that it will continue to ship Symbian devices for a little while longer, the platform is dead as of now. Who in their right mind will develop on a platform that they know will no longer ship in 12-18 months? The same goes for MeeGo. The “experiment” title it has now been given means that it officially still born. In one day, we have lost TWO mobile platforms. It’s about time. Yesterday, we had SEVEN different mobile platforms to consider. Seven platforms to manage, secure, support and develop applications for. Now, we are down to five. This is wonderful news for all IT departments in terms of the level of complexity that has just gone away – especially for global organizations where Symbian devices still have a strong foothold.
Mr. Elop today said that it was a “three horse race” between Apple, Google and Microsoft. My sense is that people in Waterloo and Sunnyvale might have a different opinion on that statement. I’ll agree that today, it is a three horse race…between Apple, Google and Research in Motion. Today’s news makes it a four horse race with the dark horse being webOS for a potential five-way battle.
Many questions remain unanswered about the Windows Phone platform. I provided some thoughts on the matter to Mr. Ballmer, et al., yet unsurprisingly, have not heard back. Will our friends in Espoo finally convince the Redmondians that Windows MOBILE should be on tablets? That would be a great piece of hardware in my opinion. Also, how can Nokia impact this ecosystem with its NAVTEQ IP? I can envision some innovative LBS solutions there. But then again, only time will tell if these two faltering behemoths can execute TOGETHER.
This is why it remains unknown how this will all play out. The Windows Phone platform got a much needed shot in the arm today, because for all its recent failings, Nokia’s global presence is still formidable. While there is the good news that mobility management has been simplified by the removal of two platforms, it has also gotten increasingly complex with today’s re-invigoration of the Windows Phone platform.