The official hub of The Enterprise Mobility Foundation
Want more than just blog posts? Login or Sign up for a free acount and get research, videos, slide decks and more! Join the online social network for Enterprise Mobility.

Holy Partnership Batman! Nokia and Microsoft Team Up: The Enterprise Mobility Perspective

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.

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.

12 Comments

  1. Posted February 11, 2011 at 21:05 | Permalink

    The inevitable OS consolidation cycle. If you think the PC OS cycle is a precedent, that doesn’t bode well for many.

    #1 and #2 – probably Android and Apple, in that order.

    #4 or lower? There’s no room for more than 3.

    #3? Third place isn’t a pleasant place to be. Worse yet, it’ll be bruising battle to win it. Nokia/Microsoft, RIM, WebOS. My money is on Nokia/Microsoft.

    In the game of musical chairs for OS’s, that doesn’t leave any more seats for two other names. What’s scary is that those are some big names, indeed. For those who don’t think calamity can befall such big names, just look at what these market dynamics did – forcing the Nokia/Microsoft tie-up!!!

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Posted February 12, 2011 at 03:03 | Permalink

    As my old grandmother used to say, tying two bricks together doesn’t create a liferaft…

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Posted February 12, 2011 at 07:41 | Permalink

    At least your right the race is Apple/RIM/Android in mobility. Android really needs to step up their enterprise features though.

    Microsoft and Nokia have been losing marketshare for the past few years and I question who is even using these platforms in corporate anymore? With the mess Windows Mobile was everyone moved to Blackberry. Anyone still using Windows Mobile is due to applications created inhouse.

    The growth of BYOT due to budget constraints and employee pressure of choice has seen the growth for Apple / Android. No one is picking Microsoft or Nokia (which has never had much stateside presence). I have never had one user come ask why we don’t support Microsoft mobile, Nokia or Palm in a long time.

    Even more telling is most of the popular MDM solutions currently don’t support these floundering platforms. Good, MobileIron etc are all taking a wait and see approach if enterprise shows any interest. So considering the pitiful support Windows Phone 7 has for enterprise security right now and the lack of any improvements to Exchange ActiveSync since Exchange 2003 SP2 you wonder what Microsoft has been doing the past 5 years? Wonderful we have Xbox Live intergration. Can we disable that?

    Even worse – both have no tablet strategy it seems. Do they understand that most corporations will likely select a standard this year? The demand is intense. With iPad, Playbook, Android devices having solid options what is Microsoft / Nokia thinking??

    Nokia and Microsoft do remain popular in Europe so perhaps they are looking to firm up whatever market they still have.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Posted February 14, 2011 at 14:29 | Permalink

      Boy – is that right. Enterprises are making decisions. WP7 needs to undertake some big catch-up, but the immensity of the Nokia/MS tie-up now justifies some pause on the part of enterprises. I can see enterprise RFP’s being more emphatic around WP7 support (iOS – check, Android – check, RIM – continue using BES).

      Let’s hope – for the sake of this new partnership – that Msoft accelerates enterprise-grade support. That said – my open letter to Microsoft, “DON’T, DON’T re-do SCMDM or try to emulate the vertically-integrated BES model. You have enough things to tackle. Focus on attracting App developers. Vertically-integrated is dead. Add some basic mgmt/security MDM framework in the OS, and allow mobile security (incl. MDM) vendors innovate – for your benefit.”

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Posted February 14, 2011 at 10:58 | Permalink

    Wrong decision but not suprised. Remember them buying Intellisink to get into the MDM market? (…….crickets…….) Don’t want to get into all the nitty gritty but many, many mistakes made. And people wonder why we didn’t develop a Symbian client? Phone 7 will make traction but you put 2 new Nokia phones out today, 1 Android and 1 Phone 7? Which sells more?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Posted February 14, 2011 at 12:28 | Permalink

    It sounds rather obvious, but it comes down to whether people actually buy the devices doesn’t it?

    If WP7 devices are popular enough, they will make their way into the enterprise – the same way iPhone and Android made inroads. MSFT will build the ‘enterprise hooks’ in later but for now, their challenge is in selling devices. How they plan to do that remains to be seen.

    And by the way, our friends in Waterloo are facing similar challenges with the launch of the PlayBook. RIM has clearly chosen to appeal to the consumer side first and add the enterprise stuff in later – we’ll see how well their strategy pans out and what Microsoft and Nokia can learn from them.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Posted February 14, 2011 at 16:21 | Permalink

      Unless MSFT builds to Hooks (API) for enterprise users can keep those devices at home. It’s the chicken and egg syndrome. Microsoft should know in 2011 what enterprise mobile support looks like. If they don’t want to take the time to build it into Exchange then provide the API for companies that have MDM solutions for enterprise.

      Playbook already leverages BES for corporate data and once they feature an embedded carrier radio can be put directly on the BES. Having toyed with iPAd in enterprise we cannot wait for Playbook as iPad has some major holes from an enterprise perspective right now.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Posted February 14, 2011 at 14:21 | Permalink

    LOL – “two bricks doesn’t create a life raft”.

    I’m not sure if this tie-up is brilliant or sheer genius. The fact that this tie-up happened at all? Stunning. The driver/rationale for doing so? That’s critical to understand, as the severity is going to drive yet more “stunning” changes in our industry.

    First amongst those? RIM. What the heck are they going to do to confound/overcome the industry trends that could threaten their success (if not existence)?

    If you go with the #1/2/3 dynamic – scary decisions ahead for RIM. HP’s Grammy commercials notwithstanding, how are they going to credibly vie for the #3 spot?

    Nokia/Microsoft – there are pro’s. Msoft opens the US market for Nokia. Msoft gets access to Nokia’s base in developing markets (even if under assault from cheaper alternatives). BUT – what’s the real (or feasible) pro?

    Nokia/Microsoft offers enough of a gravity well to attract developers. As we learned in the PC realm (and as we’ve already witnessed with smartphones), if you attract App develops = you win. If you fail = you lose. This partnership is radical/scary, but it might well achieve this one thing – and that might be enough to give Nokia/Msoft a hope in hell.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Posted February 14, 2011 at 16:25 | Permalink

      If the rumors QNX / Android is a reality it will settle the Where is RIM’s Apps / EcoSystem question. Frankly RIM is a hardware refresh away from being right in the game. I guess we’ll see Q$ this year after some of their new devices come out and if Apple disrupts Android with iPhone 5 / Verizon.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Posted February 15, 2011 at 08:57 | Permalink

        Ya – I’m still trying to wrap my head around the potential of QNX devices running Android apps. (Potentially) Great for hardware sales, but why would anyone develop a BlackBerry application again? Part of me thinks that this would be cutting your nose to spite your face.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Posted February 17, 2011 at 04:36 | Permalink

    The interesting part about that is that even Microsoft is now recommending the use of 3rd party vendors to manage several OS (Read: Symbian & Windows Phone). Gartner agrees to that as well.
    See the article: http://www.pcworld.com/article/219463/analysts_companies_need_to_prep_for_nokias_windows_move.html

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Posted February 17, 2011 at 07:49 | Permalink

      Sure they are. Do you remember the fiasco known as System Center Mobile Device Manager (a.k.a. SCMDM)? It never worked. There are few organizations left that are focused exclusively on ONE mobile platform…and as such all organizations need a mobility management platform. The EMF has always encouraged this as well.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Philippe Winthrop, Mobixy. Mobixy said: Holy Partnership Batman! Nokia and Microsoft Team Up: The Enterprise Mobility Perspective: Normally… http://bit.ly/fi4JLr (theemf.org) [...]

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kevin R Benedict, The EMF.org. The EMF.org said: MobileAdmin commented on the blog post Holy Partnership Batman! Nokia and Microsoft… http://goo.gl/fb/GEBhl #TheEMF [...]

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.