The Other Steve

Ok, second post for me. So I was just wondering, why is Stephen Elop catching so much flack for his decisions? The great Eldar has made his voice heard, and there are many others who believe that Elop is only looking to throw Nokia to the big bad wolf that is Microsoft. And this is probably a bad place to get an unbiased answer given that most of the readers here on this part of the forum would be Microsoft fans, but I think it's a good way for me to put my opinion out without getting lambasted.

I'm a scenario kind of guy. And I've run a couple through my head and this is what I've come to believe. First, say Elop did go with Android. At the time he announced that he would be going with Windows Phone 7, Ice Cream Sandwich obviously had not been released yet, and the platform was getting questioned for its laggy and somewhat undependable experience. At the time, Nokia was practically entrenched in Symbian and Meego, Symbian being a low-hardware requirement device, and Meego being a prototype. In other words, Nokia didn't seem to have any experience coding or building quality devices that required the hardware that Android did, much less the hardware needed to stay competitive and unique in a market full of Androids (i.e. Dual-core processor, high-res screens, ginormous batteries, etc.) Also, for Nokia to maintain a unique image, Nokia would have had to add its own skin atop Android, to "differentiate". All this would have undoubtedly taken an enormous amount of time (a reason why it takes so long for Android updates to get out?), time which Nokia obviously didn't have (See "Burning Platform" manifesto). So if not just for the ease of Elop's previous connections with MS, the reliable, fluid experience of WP7, then the simple fact that Nokia was a bleeding pinata should be enough to end the question as to why it didn't choose Android. And I think we have to give props to Nokia for at least trying, seeing that there were apparently some leaked N9 prototypes running Android. A Nokia Nexus some people might say? A Nokia device running stock Android? Sure, that solves the "differentiation" question, somewhat, (in the sense that they wouldn't have to code a skin), and some of the time-to-market issue, but that definitely doesn't solve the fact that Nokia would have to rush to engineer a phone with a dual-core processor, and all the specs required to run Android with a fluid experience and keep it competitive in the market.

Second scenario, sticking with its guns. Meego. The big "what if". And I don't blame others for wondering that. It would have been nice to see Nokia compete with a unique, one-of-a-kind OS of its own. But here are my thoughts on it. Maemo, Meego's "predecessor", was buggy. I owned an N900 and missed a bunch of calls thanks to the laggy-ness of that OS. If people thought Android was bad, then I'll do them one up with Maemo. Not to say it was all bad, it definitely had a lot of perks and things going for it, but after a while I wanted my phone to be just that; a phone. Simple point here, Meego would have a pretty tough time appealing to the masses, if the people who bought a Meego device get frustrated, and the company was having to lay off employees to make up for fiscal losses, who would be left to work on the OS and improve on it? A downward spiral in my opinion.

So here we are with WP7. Nokia just released some beautiful hardware with the Lumia series. The specs aren't anything to call home about, but WP7 doesn't need a dual-core processor to run buttery smooth. And moreover, Nokia didn't have to do much differently from its "old" hardware path. Also, there is a lot less competition on the WP7 front, meaning Nokia has the opportunity to make a name for itself with something it does well, hardware.

So, any other scenarios?