Last Updated: July 17th, 2014

If you're a dedicated follower of tech news, you've probably heard the big story from late last night: Microsoft is buying Nokia. Holy cow, Redmond has an end-to-end distribution model! This could finally make Windows Phone a competitor! The phone and tablet market is getting its first major shakeup since the rise of Android!

nokia logo

Well, yes, and then again no. While it's true that the upcoming acquisition is a huge deal for Microsoft, and an even bigger deal for Nokia and anyone who's invested in the company (either in a monetary sense or as a customer), I can't see it having a huge impact on Android. In fact, I don't think it will have an impact on the phone market at all.

How Stephen Got To The Party

Let's back things up a bit. Dateline: February 2011. Stephen Elop, the new American CEO of Nokia and Microsoft's former head of the business division, announces that Nokia is forming a strategic partnership with Microsoft to build smartphones. While Nokia had some of the best and most powerful hardware in the pre-iPhone days, and it was technically the largest phone manufacturer in the world in 2011, its Symbian operating system had not aged well in the new era of smartphones. The company was in danger of becoming the biggest supplier to a dying, low-margin market - "dumb" phones.


Under Elop, Symbian would be"franchised" (read: licensed to various partners for low-powered smartphones) and Nokia would focus almost exclusively on creating devices running Windows Phone 7 (later Windows Phone 8). While the initial partnership announcement makes an almost pitying mention of Nokia's next-generation OS MeeGo, only one MeeGo device is ever created, and development on what was once seen as Nokia's answer to Android and iOS sputters and dies.

In Nokia's home country of Finland, the reaction to Elop's partnership with Microsoft is almost universally negative. The Finns have always had a huge amount of pride in Nokia, and the move is seen as a way in which the company is becoming dependent upon an outside company for the first time... an American one at that. The smartphone market is shifting towards iOS and Android, both from American companies. More than 1,000 workers at Nokia's Tampere headquarters walk out of the office in a peaceful but frustrated protest of the decision.

At the time, Elop's move is seen as something of a gamble. He had been a major executive at Microsoft less than six months before (where he oversaw the Office line, one of Microsoft's most crucial profit centers on the software side). Before the announcement of the deal with Microsoft, Elop put his decision in context with the now-famous Burning Platform memo, a message to Nokia's employees summarizing the company's position and likening the dominance of Android and iOS as a burning oil rig.

...I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform. And, we have more than one explosion – we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us.

While the move to Windows Phone is certainly colored by Elop's relationship with Microsoft, Android hasn't yet become the 800-pound gorilla of the smartphone world, and though Apple is already making stratospheric amounts of money, it doesn't seem like the unbeatable behemoth it will become later. Nokia is still the biggest phone company in the world. At this point they still sell more smartphones (running Symbian) than anyone else. Plenty of Nokia commenters both in Finland and elsewhere think that the company might have been better off with Android, but surely their manufacturing and market position can drive Windows Phone to compete with the big boys. Right?

No Way Back

It took Nokia the better part of a year to completely switch over to Windows Phone. By the second quarter of 2012, Nokia had shipped less than 10 million Windows Phone devices worldwide, and less than a million in North America. Compare that to 30 million Symbian smartphones sold in the fourth quarter of 2010, and then compare it to about 25 million and 100 million iPhones and Android phones sold in Q2 2012, and it had become clear than Nokia's burning platform had started to tumble.

Despite well-received hardware and design, monetary support from Microsoft, and some camera technology that's still truly unmatched, Nokia's Lumia line has failed to catch on. European carriers told reporters as early as April 2012 that Nokia Windows phones just weren't good enough to compete with Android and iOS.


As Windows Phone's market share stalled (or plummeted, if you compared it to Windows Mobile's formerly competitive position), Nokia's stock price continued to take a dive. From a market cap of more than 200 billion dollars in the beginning of the 2000s, to 150 billion in 2007, Nokia's market cap is just shy of $15 billion today, with shares trading at under $4. It's impossible to see the last decade as anything but a monumental failure on Nokia's part, at least in purely economic terms. And the partnership with Microsoft would seem to be the final nail in the coffin.

Nokia's fall is inexorably linked to the rise of Apple, Android, and Samsung. The company could have gone Android at any point - in fact, fans of both Nokia and Android have been clamoring for exactly that for years. Nokia's hardware designs are some of the most highly-regarded in the world, and they've only gotten better with the Lumia line. Both of Microsoft's other licensees for Windows Phone, Samsung and HTC, were also making Android phones. What gives?

It would appear that the decision to ignore Android as a potential OS was purely in the hands of Stephen Elop. As late as July 2013, Elop was quoted saying that he was "very happy with the decision we made," citing Samsung's dominance of Android as justification. Elop more or less stated that he saw this coming, and wasn't interested in playing second fiddle to the South Korean company (see: HTC, Motorola, and pretty much every company that isn't Apple). It's worked, sort of: Nokia is pretty much the only company that's creating Windows Phones that anyone cares about. But that just means that Nokia is adrift in a lifeboat with no company.

Instead of playing second fiddle to Samsung, Elop played a solo while Nokia burned.

The "C" Word

Considering Elop's history with Microsoft, Nokia's plummeting fortunes, and Microsoft's desperate need for a mobile platform, it's hard not to read between the lines of this acquisition. Rumors of Microsoft buying Nokia were floating as early as January 2012, and reports that Redmond had passed on the deal were circulating that summer. Why not wait to buy the failing hardware business and pick up a former giant for a 7.2 billion-dollar song?

In the coming months, there will be hundreds of thousands of words written speculating as to the mindset of Stephen Elop. Why did he leave Microsoft? Why did he join Nokia? Why did he dedicate the company to an unproven OS? Why did he sell? And why did he sell right after Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer stepped down?

I'm not going to suggest collusion here, because frankly, Nokia's shareholders and fans are going to do that for me. Some of them are probably going to do it in court.


Photo credit: Bloomberg

Less than 24 hours after Microsoft made its intentions clear, Ballmer told the Seattle Times that Stephen Elop would be leaving the CEO position at Nokia to become an Executive Vice President at Microsoft. He'll be heading a new hardware division overseeing not just Nokia, but the Windows Phone platform, Xbox, and the Surface tablet line. For a CEO who stood on a burning platform and couldn't put the fire out, it's an amazing shift in fortune. He's already being cited as a front runner for the now-vacant Microsoft CEO spot.

By the way, you should definitely check out Android Police alumnus Eric Ravenscraft's entirely fictional account of this little corporate drama. It's fantastic.

What Does This Mean For Android?

So, what does all this mean for you, the dedicated Android user? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Nokia, and by extension Windows Phone, was failing to make headway in the smartphone business before Microsoft decided to buy it. The company was already the largest supplier of Windows Mobile devices. What exactly can Microsoft do to help? They'll certainly be infusing the business with cash and using their considerable muscle to push more devices and more marketing. They'll probably expand Windows Phone 8 to more territories and more carriers. You can bet your sweet bippy that the Xbox One will integrate with Nokia hardware within the next year.


IDC smartphone market share report, August 2013

So what? Despite nearly doubling the number of shipped phones from last year, Windows Phone has gained less than 1% in market share. Meanwhile Android shipped 187 million devices in the second quarter of this year alone, capturing just shy of 80%. As it stands now, there's just nothing that Nokia or Microsoft can do to crack the duality of the current market.

I've used Windows Phone devices. They're nice. The software is improving, and so is the app selection. But there's just no way that a closed ecosystem on a limited number of devices can hope to compete. Microsoft should know that - after all, it's more or less how they beat Apple in the desktop market decades ago. Now they're on the other side of the fence and trying the tactics that they've already proven don't work.

I'm no Nostradamus. Ten years ago no one thought that Blackberry or Palm would be ground beneath the heels of a niche desktop maker and a search engine company. But Microsoft and Nokia as they are now pose no threat to Android, and no real reason for an Android user to switch. Now there are three end-to-end mobile companies (including Apple and Google-Motorola) and Microsoft is undeniably the weakest. I can't help but be reminded of the last time a struggling phone company got snatched up by a PC giant: HP's disastrous acquisition of Palm.

It does mean that we can finally stop pining for Nokia hardware running Android. Hooray.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Proud Canuck

    Actually, Stephen Elop is Canadian.

  • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

    I still love Nokia as a company. They are iconic and innovative, something that is hard to come across these days.

    Say what you want about WP8, etc, etc, but Nokia makes some damn amazing hardware, its only rival in my eyes is HTC

    • btod

      "Nokia makes some damn amazing hardware". I agree, unfortunately their potential is wasted on a closed, unappealing platform with no apps.

      • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

        Agreed. If they make an Android phone... sign me up please

        • Elliot Kotis

          MAYBE! Google buy MS :P Seeings they are the biggest tech (dont have as much in the bank as apple, they will soon) , they are worth the most, Google is Skynet.

    • Vibrunazo

      > but Nokia makes some damn amazing hardware

      People only repeat this rhetoric because the OSes are very different. So you can't do a direct hardware comparison, it's apple vs oranges. But if the Lumia flagships were truly running Android, people would then be comparing it side-by-side with other Android hardware... and then... things would not be as bright as it seems. If you closely the Lumia devices are always underspeced compared to Android phones. Today, it doesn't matter, it runs Windows Phone, which have no multi-tasking, no support for full HD, can run smoothly with low end hardware and there's little high end competition for Nokia. But if it were running Android, the Lumia would be easily outshadowed by the Android flagships. Look at the flack the Moto X got for running dual core in 2013. The Lumias are even lower specced than that. When you put Nokia specs side-by-side with the HTC One, S4, and xperias. Nokia is always about 1 year behind. They would be overshadowed easily.

      When you say "hardware" you probably means "I like how it looks". Which is fair, that's subjective. But overall Nokia's 1 year behind hardware would have no chance competing in the Android world.

      • Matthew Fry

        When they say "damn amazing hardware" they are talking about design/build quality. I'm sure you've heard of the videos of people hammering in nails with the Lumias.

      • enoch861

        What? Your argument makes no sense.
        If Lumia's were running Android, they'd have the exact same specs as the highend Android phones out there currently.
        Currently, Lumia's have don't have super high-end specs like Android devices do because, quite frankly, Windows Phone doesn't need them and Windows Phone doesn't even support those processors.
        I feel like Android has brainwashed us all into thinking that specs are where its at. If a phone doesn't have a Quad Core processor these days, its scoffed at. And thats the misconception that we've all bought into, and I'm guilty of it also.
        I mean, look at iPhones, the fastest processor they have is a dual core clocked at 1.2Ghz (or whatever they're clocked at) but the phone runs smoother and more consistent than any Android phone out there with a 1.8Ghz or higher Quad Core processor. And thats pretty much the same story with a Windows Phone/Lumia device. Those devices are consistently smoother (fast is subjective) and provide a more consistent experience than any Android device. And this is coming from a guy who loves his Galaxy Note 2 dearly haha.
        So, if Nokia phones were running Android their hardware would not be 1 year behind. It would be current.

        • Elliot Kotis

          iPhone 5's don't run smoothly! My father had two! Both he reported lag, and sometimes I would take 5 minutes for the screen to wake. He constantly complained about it, and he got an HTC ONE and has not complained about lag what so ever (he is much more tech saavy than I, apart from phones).
          But apart from that, I would have to agree, the most lag free device would be the Moto X (from many reviews), and that has a dual core. And yes, most android phones (samsung, as many assosiate android with samsung), do lag like crazy, that is the OEM's fault for ruining android with their "improvements". And Windows Phone 8 (first hand experience), has no lag!

          • enoch861

            Your father must have gotten 2 duds. I've owned 2 iPhone 5's and they were smooth; even after downloading my 100+ apps and getting all my emails (8) setup. My Note 2? The first 20 apps and the thing was lagging.
            I haven't used a Moto X yet, so I can't say. And I don't believe reviews too much because of the "controlled" way they're done.
            Oh yeah, WP8 has no lag. It's really a fantastic platform that I hope takes off.

          • Elliot Kotis

            Really? because every person I know who has the iPH5 has lag.

          • enoch861

            Interesting. I remember the first time it came out there were some keyboard lag issues and what not, but 2 updates later, the phone was back to being smooth.
            But each to his own.

      • meliorist

        If Nokia had launched some Android phones, people would certainly have bought them. In Europe at least, the Nokia brand was well respected - much more so than Samsung. It's only because Nokia was not there to provide the competition that Samsung has been able to become as dominant as it now is.

    • mucinch

      Nokia hardware is the best, it has the right amount of class and wackiness. But under Elop, there hasn't been any changes in design. All Lumia phones are based on the original N9 design, which was developed under the previous CEO. All subsequent phones are just refining the original polycarbonate uni-body design. Even PureView was developed for Symbian phones. The real innovation happened in Mapping and Camera software.

  • TY

    *Conspiracy alert*

    Elop, from Microsoft kicked out Meego, forced Nokia to ONLY use an immature (comparatively...I mean, WP doesn't even have rotation lock/notification centre), which leads to its decline. Then MS is able to buy Nokia for a low, low price (just compare to Moto). Now Elop has completed his mission and is going back to MS, and may even become the new CEO of MS. What a plan...

    • Justin W

      So, how does an OS decline if it's got an increase in shares? WP8 has increased in percent of total market share over the past year (as exhibited by the chart above). While it's possible this happened, it's unlikely. My bet is Elop believed in Microsoft still, and when Microsoft pitched the idea of WP8 to him, he went along with it blindly, thinking it would be the end-all-be-all for Nokia, when they should have diversified their platforms and utilized both Android and WP8, which would have given them a significant competitive advantage since they likely would have been able to sell the crap out of the Android devices while still marketing their WP8 devices.

      • Andy_in_Indy

        He meant Nokia's market share (not just the Windows Phone Line) has declined.

        • Justin W

          Got it, my bad :(

      • didibus

        I think the "its" in "which leads to its decline" is referring to Nokia, not WP

        • TY

          Clarified ;D

      • didibus

        It's still pretty intense of a turn of event. Former american and Microsoft manager leaves Microsoft and America to become CEO of Finland company Nokia. Has Nokia go into an exclusive deal with his previous employer Microsoft, which turned out to do nothing to prevent, stop or even slow down's Nokia's decline. And when Nokia is at it's lowest ever, Now CEO of Nokia sells Nokia to and American company, his former employer, and returns to work for them. Might even become CEO of it.

        Now, we shall never know if this was all coincidence, all performed with the best intentions, or if this was indeed intentional, either planned or simply the outcome of Elop's selfish personal interests. But none the less, it would make for a great movie!

      • btod

        Nokia put all their eggs in the WP basket (even forgoing development on their own platform), and at a time where WP was less than 2 years old! Even if he truly believed WP would be a runaway success, it was either calculated or dumb to not at least have a plan b. I don't buy that he didn't want to enter android because he didn't want to play second fiddle to Samsung. Why? because the alternative was to dominate a platform with 3% market share.

  • sri_tech

    I like WP to gain some 10-15% market share in the next 3-4 years. Yes, I am Nokia fan.

    I don't mind if the future is
    android - 75%,
    iOS - 10-15%,
    WP - 10-15%.

    Competition drives innovation. I don't want it to be like PC business.

    • rooly

      The difference with android is that there is no single entity that can completely control android; sure, Google owns it, but should they become toxic to OEMs the way Microsoft did in the 90's and early 00's, then Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, etc can just fork android and go on their own (Samsung has been rumored to be trying this for a while now).

      Android is not the definitive OS that Windows is; Android can change, and significantly, for each and every device that it runs on. Windows cannot.

      • sri_tech

        You mean like Aliyon OS?

        • rooly

          Sort of, but imagine Sony or Samsung or Acer forking, instead of some company that no one outside of China has ever heard of.

          • sri_tech

            So you are saying Google won't stop them?

          • didibus

            I'm no lawyer, but nothing that I can think of would prevent them from doing it. Google could just say that they don't like it, but I don't think they could stop them. Just look at Amazon, they pretty much already did it.

          • xHabeasCorpusx

            They reserve the right to pull google play services, which would severely cripple the phone. I think forking would be good on ultra low end regular phones. These phones won't be considered smart phones by the carriers but they do retain a lot of features. The carriers can develop their own market app with their own market.

          • didibus

            Well, I don't think anyone would want to Fork Android unless they believe they can do better or that Google is not providing them with what they want. Which still proves that if Google starts to screw around with android too much, they will have the pressure of others who might want to take the reign over and make a fork. Kinda like amazon has already started doing. This is basically competition, Google needs to make the Play Services a "must-have" or they lose there only card.

          • David

            Exactly, except that they would still be considered smartphones. First of all, they could provide a simple ecosystem (think app store), considering most Android apps don't _depend_ on Google-specific features: even those who use can either replace it with alternatives without much trouble, or just deactivate the "extra" functionality provided by Google (think "graceful degradation").

        • Vibrunazo

          Aliyon OS broke compatibility with Android, it's not Android, but it used Android branding. Better examples would be the Kindle and Ouya. Both are directly competing against Google, but Google can't do shit about it.

          • Matthew Fry


      • The_Chlero

        They cannot fork Android in the sense many people think. Android is protected under Apache License, which means that people can fork it as long as the new forked software has the initial files. Sense, TouchWiz, etc are just "upper skins" to say something, but the core system files and the general files that make Android being Android are there.

        Custom ROM can be forked beyond because their purpose is not commercial or lucrative per se. I can fork Android, modify it beyond recognition and give it for free with no consequences, even I can charge a buck FOR TECH SUPPORT as long as I distribute my forked "Android" for free.

        Samsung cannot make and sell their own "Android OS" because of this. That why they are creating their own "linux-based" OS called Tizen.

    • didibus

      The PC bushiness sucks not because of lack of competition, but because of Microsoft. It should be Android - 100%. That would be way more competitive. Instead of loosing time competing at the platform level, companies would compete where innovation matters: Hardware and Software. They would be able to do so without having to fork money for the OS platform, because Android is free, and if their Hardware or Software needs special added techs, they can easily add it to Android no problem.

    • antifud

      uh, you know MS destroying nokia isn't competition right? It's the exact opposite.

    • Vibrunazo

      If OEMs were competing for different types of power plugs, different wireless data standards, different cell data standards, etc. Would that competition drive innovation? No it wouldn't. Competition doesn't necessarily *always* drives innovation, that's an overboard generalization.

      You don't want them to be competing on compatibility standards. So you don't want them to be competing on different application framework standards either. Which is all that Android is. All of them running Android would only mean they all have compatible applications with each other. There are still a lot of competition inside Android. Heck, there are even different OS-variant competition inside Android. But all keeping the application framework compatible with each other.

      • Matthew Fry

        Competing within the same ecosystem can make some really innovative things just to differentiate between handsets but in Android it's all been crazy experiments like: 3D, eye tracking, kick stands, hovertouch, etc. All of those were kind of meh. On the other hand, Apple v Microsoft has driven Apple to make a UI a lot of people like and driven Microsoft to emulate that in Windows 7/8. There are certainly toxic situations for the market but I think innovation comes from things being more different, not the same.

        • Vibrunazo

          We're not talking about things being different. We're talking about things being compatible. HTML, Flash and Silverlight are very different. But the whole ecosystem is far better with only one of those. You can customize your Android phone to make it much more different from other Android phones, than the difference between iOS and WP.

          Walk up to any app dev shop and they'll tell you about the awesome OS-specific features that we don't build into our apps because it's not cost effective to maintain them on all different platforms. Forcing developers to develop for multiple incompatible platforms is terrible for devs, users and innovation.

          • ari_free

            I suppose that may explain why some Apple fans are so anti-android. Many of these fanboys are developers and they don't want to split their time on 2 OS's and many devices.

  • Nabeel Farooqui

    Im just writing this to waste your time, and mine aswell.

  • obarthelemy

    I'd think it means a few years of duking it out in the low end. MS will try to make their move look successful by driving up numbers, and that's done at the low end.

    It also means OEMs now have no choice but Android, which might breed complacency.

    If I were Google, I'd aggressively drive Android into consoles, laptops and desktops, just to give MS another headache.

  • JonJJon

    Thing is I don't care if there is Window Phone or not, it's not my scene. And the argument of "more competitors drives innovation" seems to be getting a little over used when considering these things. However if you want to use that then you can without even Windows Phone existing, because of the inter-competition of the Android handset makers and their own additional software improvements which drive a lot of innovation for hardware anyway. Still back on track to the article; it was a good read, thanks.

    • didibus

      Agreed, Android's awesomeness is that it is an open source linux based OS. It makes it into more of a common base standard platform for manufacturers to build devices and devs to build software in a way that can make them more easily integrated while saving costs and dev time. The OS is the foundation of all computing, it drives the applications and controls the hardware. To me, this layer is too important to be closed and proprietary.

  • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

    I feel bad for Nokia...I loved the Nokia Symbian phones back in the days, they were so awesome...oh well, world changes everyday I guess

    ...nice article man...pretty damn nice

  • rooly

    "It does mean that we can finally stop pining for Nokia hardware running Android. Hooray."

    Ouch, that hurts

    • TY

      Nokia N9 for-ever!
      The only Nokia Meego phone, which can also run Android.

    • http://visionaforethought.wordpress.com/ Oflife

      Yeh, I don't know why he said that. I actually looked forward to Nokia embracing Android. I know first hand that it was their plan to adopt it if WP didn't work out, and that folks is why MS bought them. To stop Nokia going Android. Period. And that is also why Google bought Motorola, to use as a focused backup plan. And it worked. The X is innovative, even if not top specced, and it's only their first apres Google buyout phone.

    • Matthew Gardner

      This. A high end Lumia device with some of that Nokia camera goodness running stock Android, yes please

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    Microsoft is so full of failed products right now. As if I needed another reason to not buy the Xbox One, potential Nokia WP8 integration comes along and gives me another.

  • DrM

    My Nokia N9 runs Android quite well.
    Sure, I can't make phone calls with it, but still...

    • Omar


  • manchester

    "Microsoft Buys Nokia: What It Means For Android"

    It means Nokia will NEVER using Android. Ever. Elop.

    • PolarBear

      Never means someday...

  • Phill_S

    Glad no one ran a pool on HTC, BB and Nokia - all my money would have all been on Blackberry being bought out first.

    This is great for MS of course, they needed a defensive buyout to hedge against OEMs killing all Windows 8 and WP8 devices and they also get to have a coming out party with the Lumia Tab which like the Surface will review high but not sell.

    Nokia on the other hand - damn. They were a clearly dead when the CEO made the most boneheaded statement ever saying on Android they would be second fiddle to Samsung - hey genius you are already something like 15th fiddle to Samsung, Apple, HTC, Blackberry (!), LG etc etc all the way down. Windows Phone isnt a market, it is a segment of a market.

    Like the iPhone I dont ever expect to own a Windows Phone (and I dont plan on buying another windows device ever either) but I really hope they turn this around to drive the industry forward. What it definitely means for Android is that they couldnt reverse course and diversify to Android which would have been great for Android, for Nokia and probably everyone except Microsoft.

  • My name is….

    Microsoft, i see what you did there.

    You planted Elop as Nokia's CEO, in order to destroy the company, so you can buy for pennies.

    Everybody knows that Elop was forced into Nokia 3 years ago by American investors, and since then all he did was abandon projects (Meego/Symbian) and make deals with Microsoft.

    Never again Microsoft/NOKIA for me.

    • antifud

      yep, that's exactly what this is. That's why there was a large exodus of people when Elop became Nokia's CEO.

    • Matthew Fry

      Until I see some hard evidence, I'm going to assume that he went to Nokia and saw a potential out for Nokia going full collapse via Microsoft and took it. I'm going to assume that he didn't choose Android for the reasons he stated until otherwise disproven.

      • David

        TL;DR: While moving to Windows (other platform) may had been necessary, burning the company as quickly as possible served only Microsoft interests.

        So... a valid question, but that's not the point I think. Even if one concedes that Nokia didn't have the vision and effort to push a platform around its own system (which was technically adequate, at least as much as Android was, if not more), and that moving to Windows Phone was necessary, the argument is that Elop ruined his own company to save a few bucks for Microsoft. He was indeed a trojan horse. An "infiltrated agent".

        The two things are not mutually exclusive: just because your company is foreseeing difficult times ahead, you don't go and make that public, killing your company faster than needed. You just don't. That's administration 101.

        The malice is clear (to me, at least) when you think that if I know, you know and everyone knows what Ratner and Osborne effects are, it's _obvious_ that Elop certainly knew the effects of the "burning memo" before writing it. So, the view that the burning memo was an "overblown accident" is not acceptable.

        Osborning and Ratnering assured that Symbian would not sell (and it was, look at the numbers), and that anything Nokia could produce in-house (MeeGo) could only be "total cr@p" (sorry, I'm using original Ratnering). And it's not like Windows Phone was a (more) viable candidate: look no further than the stopgap Windows Phone 7.x was. Why not keep Symbian, even if just knowing that it had no future and moving to WP would be right, in order to keep the company finances and price sound during the process?

        So, even if the plan to migrate to Windows was decided/right at the time, the evidence of the malice lies in the fact that he used folklore business tactics to devaluate the company as fast as possible, BECAUSE—and here is the point as to why it was needed—the smartphone wars window was closing quickly to new competitors, including Microsoft.

        Microsoft had no choice: the smartphone wars window was closing quickly. They couldn't afford the risk of a third force appearing before Windows. Hence the scorched technique.

        There: means, motive and opportunity. And it's not like nobody saw that coming... I mean, the writing was on the wall. We could all watch, analyze and predict the outcome of those actions as they unfolded!

      • My name is….

        What he did at Nokia?

        Nokia was second at the time Elop was appointed as CEO.

        Where is Nokia now?
        Almost bottom.

        And after his 'succesfull' last 3 years at Nokia, now he will get a good position at Microsoft, probably CEO again.

        Seems to me like a reward for a job well done.

    • GeeKLoRD

      Elop is the biggest Trojan I've seen. He killed Symbian and all open source projects inside Nokia. Kept only Microsoft yes men in Nokia. Sold anything of no value for MICROSOFT, and brought Nokia down on its knees. Made it super cheap to buy and went for the kill.
      RIP Nokia

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        The craziest part to me after this is that Elop is now a prime contender for Microsoft CEO, apparently. He ruined one company, now he's the top man to run another?

        • WhyWai

          Yes, this event is totally dramatic... sucks for Nokia, invited their own fail.

        • Elias

          He ruined nokia on purpose, just to make it cheap for Microsoft to buy. He never really quit Microsoft, he just left home (Microsoft) to grab the dinner (Nokia) and bring it back home. In exchange, he gets to be CEO.

      • ari_free

        If he made Nokia+Windows Phone a success, that would be one thing. Not fun for android fans but great for technological progress.
        But all they have are scraps.

  • Christopher Robert

    I think this is a bigger deal for Apple than it is for Android.

    • PolarBear


    • Majeed Belle

      Explain that good sir.

      • Christopher Robert


    • Christopher Robert

      It has always been my opinion that users of iOS would be more inclined to switch to Windows Phone. They offer similar selling points, like ease of use, security, and enterprise functionality.

      Also they now have the similar business models with a super walled garden and control of the devices from software through hardware. Apple's money maker right now is that most of their phones are still being used for corporate (enterprise) use. If Microsoft starts pairing these phones with their current enterprise solutions (eg. MS office licenses, windows license, or software support) they could steal that business right out from under Apple, who offers terrible software support for corporations. It may not lead to a huge comeback in market share but it could swing 10%-15% away from Apple, especially in the USA.

      As someone who works in ITAM this was this first thing I thought of. It would be great to get all of the iPhone users switched over to Windows Phones and consolidate our licenses.

      • Ark

        I don't see why WP wouldn't continue to disappoint. It always makes me laugh when someone says it's the OS with the biggest % growth - yeah, if you have two people using it and another dude buys one by mistake, BAM, 50% growth.

  • banana

    give me a break android police LOL, first Stephen elop aint american, he is CANADIAN... and then you said :The phone and tablet market is getting its first major shakeup since the rise of Android, but i guess you meant : The phone and tablet market is getting its first major shakeup since the rise of iPhone... cos android can be the best now, but it sucked in its early days, and software that needs the best hardware to run aint good, remembre Windows vista? lol and if android is what it is today it can thank Samsung...

  • Brian Menius

    My first phone, the 5160, is the first thing that came to mind when reading this. The fall of an empire, to be sure...

  • mapsickle

    Microsoft is not buying Nokia. MS is buying the hanset division of Nokia.
    MS cant even use the Nokia branding on their devices.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      Google isn't buying Motorola. Google is buying Motorola's handset division. Google can't even use Motorola branding on their set top boxes.

      • mapsickle

        then why cant microsoft use Nokia Lumia in future?? its in the agreement. read it. it can only use lumia devices.

        and Google bought Motorola mobility and is allowed to use motorola name but MS cannot use Nokia. thats my point

  • antifud

    100% wrong focus to think this is about android.

    This is about Microsoft killing off Nokia. This is embrace extend extinguish as its finest, in traditional MS fashion.

  • walt

    It absolutely means something for Android IMO (in a not so round about way) Elop was a mole withing Nokia. I believe one could draw the same parallels for Hugo Barra. no?

  • brkshr

    The absolute only way I see Windows Mobile (or what ever its called now) surviving, is if MS does a Nexus-like program. They would need to sell Nokia devices basically "at cost" (like a Nexus) to try to get people to adopt the Windows Mobile platform. Maybe they can get a big enough following through that, that other manufacturers & developers might have some incentive. That's a big MAYBE though...

  • Ahmad Nadeem

    If only Nokia didn't abandon Meego......It had the potential to match up to Android and iOS more than Windows Phone
    But I think Nokia will definitely benefit after the acquisition

  • The_Chlero

    Nice article. But just a little off-topic here:

    I dont get the breed Google-Motorla: Motorola recently lauched Moto X, it included features that could have been integrated into the 4.3 AOSP just few weeks ago. The Moto X has no a full 100% AOSP, nearly close but its not. So why they treat Motorola as some different company when they could ship their Motorola phones like Nexus.

    They could integrate some of the features that Moto X brings like that smart screen but they dont. I really dont get it. Really.

    • Robert Macri

      The Moto X is stock android. It'll get 4.3 once it's ready for the masses. 4.3 has a lot of bugs with data connectivity etc.

      The Nexus is a developer phone and you expect to get bugs with new releases. Moto X is designed for end users who don't expect bugs.

      • The_Chlero

        Moto X IS NOT stock android. Do you see the repositories here https://developers.google.com/android/nexus/images ? Of course not. Nexus IS MEANT for end users. The fact the the AOSP team RECOMMENDS Galaxy Nexus i.e. as the main tool to develop and build Android is another thing.

        Moto X has a slightest modified stock android version, just like Rzor D3 and Rzor D5.

    • Jose Torres

      Keep in mind also that Google does not likely want to alienate the other manufacturers who use Android as their OS on their devices, however successful Android is. I think we may be seeing Motorola as a "separate entity" from Android core development for some time.

      • The_Chlero

        i guess you are right. That's sad because I envisioned Google closing the licence to phone manufacturers and deploying a Apple-iPhone scheme with Google-"MotoNexus" but with a more wide open structure, thus ensuring software quality and build quality and a more homogeneous platform.

  • btod

    I have nothing to add to the discussion but to say, this was a very well written article, captured my attention.

  • Jose Torres

    If Nokia Employees walked out back in 2011 then what are they going to do now?

  • samizad

    I used to have the old O2 XDA phones, starting with XDA II running Windows Mobile. I always knew that Palm, Symbian and, yes, even Blackberry would be crushed but I thought it would be beneath a future version of Windows Mobile. But then came Froyo and Gingerbread, which I put on my HTC HD2. When Windows Phone 7 came out, I also tried it on my HTC HD2 and was blown away. However, as soon as I realized the closed ecosystem adopted by Microsoft, I realized the future was Android.

    Microsoft still have a fighting chance but they have to a) drop the closed ecosystem and b) hurry and converge Window with Windows Phone. If they can produce a device similar to what the Ubuntu Edge is supposed to be, a full desktop machine that can also be a smartphone, then I'll take another look.

    • ari_free

      Yeah I missed Microsoft's "Pocket PC" concept. Well, that's what Android is now.

  • mark

    Windows phone is a disaster, no amount of takeover or CEO changes will change that

  • N4Guest

    I was looking forward to see an Android-based Nokia, and I would've loved to see them climbing up and topple Samsung. I'd rather see Nokia at the top than Sammy.

    • grain

      true, nokia's hardware is so good, but that OS is such a turnoff

  • cesar suarez

    RIP Nokia :(

  • vasras

    Please learn the basics of who publicly traded companies are run.

    CEO doesn't sell the company. Board proposes it and shareholders do the selling. It's a board initiated, voted and accepted process, certainly not one that the CEO starts and decides on.

    As for your history reading: "Nokia's fall is inexorably linked to the rise of Apple, Android, and Samsung"

    No. Please study the actualy quarterly statements and shipped figures.

    The truth was totally different.

    Nokia went from being a $100 bil company with 40+% market share to less than 4% market share and less than €7 bn cap. Totally by their own mismanagement.

    That allowed Apple/iOS and Google/Android to take over. Those were slow and really bad OS to begin with, but Nokia did nothing, they ignored the competition.

    Samsung only got big after they started shipping Android and Galaxy S devices.

    I know you are young. You are allowed to make mistakes, but please do learn from them, if you ever want to become anything in this analysis biz.

  • Hal Motley

    It means I will now TRULY never get the official Android Nokia smartphone, that I wanted. Such great build quality and camera power in there!

  • Asphyx

    Microsoft's only hope to regain the Mobile Market share they once had is if they can cut the prices on their tablets to well below the low end android pricepoint and people discover they can do much of what they do on their desktop with it. Then the Phone sales might have followed
    But the problem is most IT departments have passed on using WIndows 8 which would have made people more comfortable with the tile approach.
    MS's biggest mistake was in releasing the mobile version of their OS before they got the desktop adoption. If people had been comfortable with it from their desktops they might have bought into the mobile version more readily.

    Way too late now if you ask me.

  • SoWhy

    "Now they're on the other side of the fence and trying the tactics that they've already proven don't work."

    Not entirely correct, they did work for Apple, but that's because Apple was smarter than Microsoft. If you want to create a closed ecosystem, you have to manage to create a hype and cultivate an air of exclusivity. Microsoft was never smart enough to figure those tactics out and now it's too late to change. Too bad for Nokia though, I think their superior hardware with Android would have made for some pretty high-class phones

    • kamiller42

      It did not work for Apple. Apple's success was due to an early lead and a charismatic salesman and CEO. It was not because it was a closed system. For as soon as an open alternative appeared, it was the beginning of the end for Apple's dominate position.

      • SoWhy

        I didn't say it worked because it was a closed system, I said a closed system worked because of factors that Microsoft is unable to figure out, like early leads, hype, charismatic CEO etc. Microsoft never understood such tactics which is why their closed system failed.
        Apple might not be dominant anymore but they still make a ton of money and will probably continue to do so for some time because of those factors

  • Milind

    I disagree that it means nothing for Android users. It's a sad day. It means that there will now never be an Android Nokia phone. I was hoping that at some point Elop would be out and Nokia would start making Android phones. That now will never happen. I would so totally have bought an Android 1020.

  • The Phenom

    Maybe we get lucky and the shareholders sue to stop the deal and seeing as Elop is now gone they can rebuild and maybe even scrap the only Windows platform.

  • Leonardo Baez

    I feel bad for nokia. Before android phones I was N73, then N95 user. I loved their phones (still have an N95 as backup phone).
    I feel bad because they are killig a very good brand

  • hyperbolic
  • hyperbolic

    I remember the day Elop announced he was going for Windows phone, I couldn't understand why not going with Android.
    Now I know, it was all part of the plan.

  • topgun966

    I dunno I take this with a grain of salt. Personally, I think this is the saving grace for Nokia. They have been for quite some time just barely hanging on. With MSFT going end to end, they can really throw some capital at it and good get the MSFT phone some momentum. I don't know how many of you have played with the latest win 8 phones, but they are actually pretty good. Extremely functional on many levels. I wouldn't them out just yet.

    • Ark

      Yes, they're "barely hanging on" because they've handcuffed themselves to the failure that is windows phone.

  • Ark

    Looks like Microsoft found a way to keep Nokia making WP phones.

    I still had some hope Samsung would get decent competition. Sigh.

  • HolyFreakingCrap

    Microsoft just dont know when to quit. Probably that raging lunatic Ballmers idea.

  • Ark

    Step 1 - Use our mole to shackle Nokia to our horrible OS

    Step 2 - Nokia price takes a nosedive, because they make phones with an OS that nobody wants

    Step 3 - Score.

    • st0815

      And the score is what? Now the phone manufacturing division has no way out anymore - they are tied to WP, no matter how badly it keeps failing in the market.

      MS was forced to buy them, because there is no way they would have stuck with WP in 2014, and that would have ended MS' last chance at mobile. Problem is if that strategy keeps failing (and it looks like that is the case) then the mobile division will become a millstone round MS' neck.

      I guess Ballmer wanted to add one more grand failure to his list before he finally left.

      • Ark

        The score is not letting WP die. They're gaining market share (slowly, sloooowly), but if they let Nokia go make Android phones, WP would be dead that EXACT second.
        As it stands, they don't have an entire division to lay off.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/pratikthakkar Pratik Thakkar

    Android on Nokia was a dream which will never be fulfilled now!!! :(

  • nkm

    Stephen Elop killed the greatest phone manufacturer that ever existed.

  • James Anteola

    I'm from a parallel universe. Here, Google buys Nokia. Everyone here is happy.
    Also we don't have Android police here. Articles like this is what keeps us crossing over.
    Great read! Weekly editorials please!

  • gadgety

    A good read.

    BTW, Microsoft didn't acquire Nokia's patent portfolio but have a 10 year non-exclusive licensing agreement. This means Nokia is free to license their tech to other manufacturers. This COULD mean that Nokia's camera technology might be available for licensing by Android manufacturers.

  • Slawootsky

    Damn that 820 looks sexy!

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