As confirmed earlier today, Nokia is making Windows Phone 7 its primary smartphone platform. First and foremost, this ensures that Nokia and Microsoft remain in the enterprise game. Nokia is much stronger in the enterprise in Europe than in North America, but Apple, RIM and the various Android vendors have been encroaching on that territory (see our post on Good’s metrics). Meanwhile, RIM has long bested Microsoft in the enterprise mobility market. By joining forces, Nokia and Microsoft may be able to stave off some of Nokia’s European losses and establish a foothold in the US.
“Windows Phone 7 was a second thought for Samsung and HTC; now it’s the number-one platform for the number-one phone maker,” writes Sascha Segan for PC Magazine. What this means for enterprise developers and decision makers is that the Windows Phone platform isn’t going away anytime soon. This should take some uncertainty out of enterprise mobile development. Windows Phone 7 is viable, Symbian is on its way out and Meego probably won’t get off the ground.
“I and my colleagues have predicted and urged you, our enterprise customers, to focus on three mobile platforms: Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and RIM’s QNX,” writes writes Forrester’s Ted Schadler. “Well, it’s time to take a flier on Microsoft as well.” But the advice to take a look at Microsoft is not without caveats:
If they nail the product experience. If they sign up the carriers. If they quickly roll out a good, competitively-priced tablet running the same Windows Phone OS. If they port Word and PowerPoint and OneNote and Excel and SharePoint Workspace to that tablet and phones. If they attract ISVs. If they attract independent developers. If they build a decent app store. If they sign up the mobile device management vendors. If they execute brilliantly. Then they could be relevant.
That’s a lot of “ifs,” but Schadler sounds optimistic compared to many others:
Vinnie Mirchandani agrees with Wang about Nokia’s dependence on Microsoft, writing: “Let’s be honest – Apple would never have delivered the spate of products last decade if it had been shackled by dependence on a third party for the guts of its products.”
Asymco provides a more historical perspective on why one shouldn’t be too optimistic about this deal: Microsoft had similar deals with manufacturers like LG, Motorola and Palm – and none of those vendors is still running a Microsoft OS.
What do you think? Has this partnership changed your view of either vendor, or Windows Phone 7 as a platform?