In the high-end smartphone market, Nokia’s clearly been lapped. Their Symbian mobile OS was getting long in the tooth even back in 2007 when my arsenal included a N95. In fact, that was probably Nokia’s smartphone apex. At least here in the US, where they’ve worked relatively few carrier subsidies — critical in our market. Since then, Nokia’s applied some liptstick to the Symbian pig, aborted a series of Maemo-powered Internet devices, and now appears to be doing to the same to its MeeGo successor, once considered the Symbian heir apparent. Needless, to say these fits and starts haven’t been pretty. Or successful.
So the Finnish brought in a North American Microsoft exec (Elop) to turn this ship around. And, given his DNA, he’s doing exactly what one would expect… laying off staff and integrating a MS operating system. It’s a heck of a bet, but so is doubling down on failed strategies and software platforms. Bring on the Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices I say. Nokia’s always produced exceptional hardware and, as long as Microsoft relaxes their licensing requirements so they can differentiate themselves, I expect some compelling customization out of a more HTC-like Nokia.