The fact that Nokia’s handsets have run Windows Phone instead of Android has puzzled many of us. The company figuratively died trying to champion Microsoft’s platform, which always remained far behind Android & iOS in terms of consumer adoption. Despite its apparently pleasing interface, it has offered much less in terms of customization and functionality. Why then, did Nokia ever choose Windows Phone?
Windows Phone As A Third Alternative
In an interview to The Guardian in 2013, Nokia’s ex-CEO Stephon Elop shed some light on, and defended the company’s intriguing decision to choose Windows Phone for its handsets, despite having held talks with Google for Android. According to Elop, since Nokia was late to the party, the company was worried by the fact that one manufacturer may soon dominate Android someday (that manufacturer now happens to be Samsung).
“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.” – Stephen Elop.
Offering a ‘third alternative’ would set Nokia apart from the others
This, he says, is an important factor when negotiating with carriers in markets like the US. Offering a ‘third alternative’ set Nokia apart from the others, like ‘Samsung/Android’ as Elop puts it.
Elop is not wrong too. Samsung has indeed come to dominate the Android ecosystem, and other manufacturers have found it increasingly tough to compete. HTC’s profits have continued to fall with every quarter, and the others barely make up any share of the market. Samsung is now the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer.
Elop defends his decision to partner with Microsoft, and says he’s “very happy with the decision we made.” Although it wouldn’t be entirely right to support this decision of his – despite years of existence, Windows Phone still occupies just 3.3% of smartphone market share.
There is growth, no doubt. Under Microsoft’s guidance, Windows Phone has seen much faster growth rates, but its overall market share still remains dismal. Stephen Elop wouldn’t have envisioned such a long-term strategy with this decision.
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