Why Nokia Chose Microsoft: The Real Deal
Symbian was a dying OS. The UI was quite comparable to Windows Mobile in terms of intuitiveness/lack-thereof and just about evenly matched or slightly behind in functionality. Nokia was able to realize that if they didn't bring something new and something better to the table their market would be eaten up my even the most low-end Android "smartphone" devices. So by now we've all heard the story of our dear Stephen Elop eloping with Windows Phone over Android and it's time to be over that.
Why did Nokia Pick Windows Phone
Yes Maemo/Meego was a pet product in the incubation chambers and yes it showed great potential, but! It was incredibly more undeveloped and immature than Windows Phone and Nokia isn't half the software company Microsoft is on its own. Sure Meego could theoretically run Android/Android apps as well but so does the BlackBerry PlayBook and that doesn't seem to be doing much to help them.
So on to reasons why Windows Phone over Android. I steadily see the argument, that if Nokia went with Android readers would buy their devices in a heartbeat. Sure that might work for a time it wouldn't protect Nokia from the reason I list later or nor would it guarantee special favors in the Microsoft vision of the future which I describe later as well. Also I have the feeling that Nokia is like Apple in some respects. They don't like to
whore out (for lack of a better term) themselves to any OS. They seem to prefer something that would work as nicely as if it were their own unique product.
A Partnership with Microsoft
Nothing could be better for a company like Nokia or any OEM than to be in a deep partnership with the leading software company in the world. This is the company that produces software that billions of people use on a daily basis. Not to mention they have the big bucks to splurge on development with arguably the best R&D Dept on the planet.
Microsoft R&D in action
Microsoft and WP7 are virtually untouchable
when it comes to patent disputes and Microsoft actually protects its OEMS. Nokia doesn't have the largest financial coffers in the world (not even close) and having to add the cost of defending it's products to R&D and other costs would not be a good thing. Microsoft provides protection and Nokia can focus on what it really needs to.
Long term/The Future/A.D 2012 and Onwards
Most people who look at the Microsoft-Nokia partnership under seriously critical eyes, are those that are short-sighted or plain and simple, just hate that they chose Nokia (Can't help those). Nokia has said it over and over again. You'll see the real fruits of this Microsoft -Nokia partnership post Windows Phone 7. That means Windows Phone 8 and onwards! People who say that there is no way for Nokia to differentiate in their offerings will truly see this with WP8 (Even though they've already been showing off some of it with their unique hardware design and unique apps).
This opportunity for Microsoft and Nokia to work together this closely is a superb opportunity! The world's leading software maker and arguably one of the best smartphone hardware makers combining to take on the world. This is something right out of a movie.
Windows Phone 7 was just a base/foundation a starting point...
Windows Phone 7 was just a base/foundation, a starting point which had to happen if both Microsoft and Nokia didn't want to lose even more marketshare and mindshare from just sitting out of action. Because of where they are with the Windows Phone software, Microsoft and Nokia had to find some type of theme on which to sell the phones. They knew fully well that WP7 is not as functional as the top competitors but the "core" stuff is there and works incredibly well (even better than the competitors IMO) The fact that WP7 still attracts quite a number of people shows that the tradeoff of advanced features vs excellent core functionality and pleasant UX is an acceptable one.
Windows Phone 8 is where Microsoft will add to this core feature set with more advanced features and I'd be willing to bet, even more advanced and exciting features than you'd expect. Also following suit with how Windows Phone does things right now, it will do what Android/iOS does in ways others wouldn't expect it to be done (e.g waking the phone directly to camera etc).
Also partnering with Microsoft provides Nokia the opportunity of working closely with Windows 8 tablets as well. By now we've all seen that Android tablets have been failures for the most part. To be realistic as some people like to be about Windows Phone vs Android /iOS, no Android tab is near as good as the iPad. Windows 8 is set to be the first real competitor to the iPad and just like WP7, it will feature a whole new way of doing things. It will multitask better than the iPad, it will handle sharing files between apps better, and the integration functionality will shine as well add that to lag-free, beautiful Metro UI and unique hybrid tablet hardware and we have ourselves some serious competition.
A lot of times I post about Microsoft and Nokia in comments sections, I like to refer to the Microsoft vision of the future video. I think this is particularly important because I can already see the connection between current Metro UI and the transparent UI that is found in that video (Metro 3.0?). But what's also important is the hardware that's shown in the video. Many have very unique form factors and methods of interfacing and interacting with them. If you don't know by now, Nokia is a darn serious player when it comes to creating these form factors. If you've noticed their prototypes you'll see what i'm referring to. In my opinion it was as if Microsoft saw this union coming for some time, because in that video and even past videos, the hardware shown looks like something that has Nokia written all over it. It's all about NUI's and Microsoft and Nokia will be very much into it.
Microsoft Vision of the future
Nokia Humaoform Video
Nokia Kinetic phone concept
Nokia and Microsoft were meant to be.
Pre-2012 Nokia concepts just begging for Metro "2.0" Where Microsoft strips away the colorful interface that some find childish and apparently laughable.