Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop Gives Keynote at Qualcomm's UPLINQ Day 2
6/2/2011 by: Anshel Sag
Stephen Elop and Paul Jacobs started out their keynote admitting how rocky the relationship between the two companies had been in the past. Stephen Elop actually met with Qualcomm on his first day as acting CEO and they began to discuss their partnership. Although it was not directly said, not even once, Stephen Elop did allude to the fact that Nokia would be working with Qualcomm and using their chipsets. In one of the slides, it specifically states Qualcomm chipset support, yet he does not directly mention it once.
The simple fact is that Qualcomm’s snapdragon is the de-facto standard for Windows Phone 7 and is obviously going to be the same with Windows 8 as we saw yesterday. This leads anyone to believe that because Nokia is going to be focusing all of their effort on Windows mobile platforms, they are likely going to adopt a Qualcomm chipset strategy as well. Considering the patent disputes in the past, this seems like a very interesting situation.
Elop continued his keynote by focusing on the importance of having an ecosystem and supporting that ecosystem. This led him to mention Apple and their "closed box" nature to their ecosystem as well as Google's "open box" ecosystem. He also mentioned that it remained to be see how much longer Android would remain an "open box" ecosystem. The funny thing, though, was that Elop then discussed the dilemma he faced in deciding between Android and Windows Phone. The biggest factor appeared to be the differentiation factor, which makes total sense considering how many Android makers there are and how hard it would be for them to differentiate themselves in such a market. As such, they opted to go for Windows Phone and to make Windows Phone their primary focus unlike other Windows Phone manufacturers which give it a secondary focus.
The billion dollar question: Just how much Microsoft gave up during negotiations with Nokia... can Nokia really build completely custom phones, i.e. have an "open box" access to Windows Phone 7 and 8?
The one thing that Elop failed to mention during the discussion of all this openness was how open or rather how closed Windows Phone is. It is not any more open than Android and not any more closed than Apple, but rather somewhere in between. But it appears that Nokia had to sacrifice openness (something they had with MeeGo and Maemo) for device differentiation and an ecosystem.
Elop also talked about developers and their role in Nokia’s Windows Phone ecosystem. Nokia also has made developing for Windows Phone cheaper and easier by waiving the fee that Microsoft would charge in favor of helping create more content and improve the platforms usefulness. Stephen Elop painted a fairly realistic picture admitting that Android has upward traction and that it would be a challenge to change that but he remains confident that it is possible. Hopefully, though, with HTML 5 we will find less need for developers to make huge differentiations between the apps they make for different platforms.
Needless to say, Stephen Elop is a very eloquent speaker and did a great job of explaining why Nokia is going in the direction that it is and how they will make that vision happen.
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