Nokia chief Stephen Elop has already stated that Windows Phone is the only focus for the company. But ever since Nokia let go of Symbian and went with Windows Phone as the main OS, the question that has kept cropping up is why not Android. We now know the answer.
Speaking to a select group of journalists, Elop said he’s happy with the decision of going with Windows Phone. “What we were worried about a couple of years ago was the very high risk that one hardware manufacturer could come to dominate Android. We had a suspicion of who it might be, because of the resources available, the vertical integration, and we were respectful of the fact that we were quite late in making that decision. Now fast forward to today and examine the Android ecosystem, and there’s a lot of good devices from many different companies, but one company has essentially now become the dominant player,” he was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
While Elop didn’t name Samsung, it’s pretty clear which company he is referring to there. The Korean company has the same vertical integration and resources that Elop points out. Samsung overtook Nokia as the world’s leading mobile phone maker and is also the leading smartphone maker in the world with nearly 31 percent of the market cornered. Since February 2011, when Nokia announced its tie-up with Windows Phone, Android has become the most popular smartphone OS, while iOS has slipped to second place. Windows Phone is still trying to play catch up along with BlackBerry, who have made a new effort with BB 10. While undoubtedly Windows Phone 8’s market share has risen, there’s still a long way to go and to add to the task, Android is growing at breakneck speeds thanks to a slew of low-cost handsets and a plethora of options. So sometimes it does feel like Nokia made the wrong choice.
On another level, the move to Windows Phone was strategically important to Nokia in negotiations with mobile carriers, who more or less control what customers buy in many important markets including the US. He said Nokia is the third alternative to iOS and Android. “As an operator he (AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega) wants to negotiate with different people and keep pressure on everybody and have the best range of options, he wants that third alternative. So strategically we have an opening with AT&T and every other operator in the world – because we’ve taken that path as the third ecosystem.”
Elop added, “You look at a number of other Android providers right now and they’re in a tough spot.” The CEO stressed that gaining traction will be a slow process but Windows Phone is increasing its market share bit by bit every quarter. In that sense, it does seem like a good decision. But if one day Windows Phone makes major headway in the market, will Samsung not throw its weight behind the platform?