In today’s Finnish Iltalehti, the former CEO of Nokia Kalle Isokallio criticizes both Finnish politicians as well as other critics that do not see the opportunity of this new partnership that Microsoft and Nokia has created. Isokallo wonders how all these skilled Symbian developers would be worse off when given modern and more productive software product development tools when compared to that of Symbian’s. He uses a metaphor in the comparison between Symbian and Microsoft development. Assume that you are building house. Which tool is better: a Leatherman knife or axe and chainsaw. With the first one you will end up with a house eventually, but with the latter, you get results much quicker as your productivity is better.
Isokallio also wonders whether he is the only one in Finland that sees this as an opportunity and wonders why politicians and labor unions refuse to see the bright side of this. Nokia did not have a future the way they were going, and this new path gives all Symbian developers, the ones that want it, a new future.
I think Isokallio brings a valid perspective to the wild discussion in the Internet about the pros and cons of this new partnership. Isokallio concludes that the future is less about hardware, but the ability to provide one consistent view to the application that is consumed from the web. Consumers are no longer willing to have different user experience between different devices if they use the same application and I have to agree on this. If a billion consumers use Windows as the operating system, doesn’t it make sense to have a consistent user experience with a mobile device that looks and feels that same. I think it does.
Also, what I did not think about before was that maybe Nokia will be the one providing the tablet experience and hardware, not Microsoft. I think we can expect to see a Windows tablet from Nokia, the only question remains whether it is the upcoming Windows 8 or Windows Phone 7-based tablet. My guess is the first one.
Isokallio also concludes that the relationship between Nokia and Microsoft has something that Apple does not have and that is the cloud as I also concluded in my prior blog entry . Nokia now has access to one of the largest cloud vendors (Windows Azure) in the world and all of the developers that build solutions to Windows Phone 7. That did not exist with the Symbian development environment. Visual Studio provides tight integration to Windows Azure and Windows Phone 7 (out –of-the-box) so developers can focus on building the solution, not supporting infrastructure.
Microsoft has something that Google does not have and that is an operating system that everybody uses. Yes, Google is working on its own Android operating system, but if a billion consumers use Windows today, that is where the market is for time being. Google has the cloud but users will still want to use their productivity tools and provide seamless integration between different devices. Apple has its operating system and iPhone and tablet (iPad), but the market share of iOS is still very low in enterprises.
Finally, Isokallio concludes that the ridiculous amount that Nokia paid for Navteq (5,7 billion Euros) might not seem so ridiculous anymore when the technology is combined with Bing technology. Bing market share has increased considerably and Microsoft is eating into Google’s market share and profits. Recently, there have been reports that Bing search results are even more accurate when compared with that of Google’s. I think that is irrelevant as of now. What is relevant is who provides a consistent user experience in business and personal lives and Microsoft has a new chance doing this with its Windows Phone 7, Zune, xBox 360, Windows Live, Office Live and other similar services that will be integrated.
I really enjoyed Isokallio’s article (in Finnish) as he brings valid points to the discussion and his background as Nokia’s CEO gives him some perspective and validity to his opinions.
Do you agree what Isokallio is saying?