What’s Nokia getting out of its ‘special relationship’ with Microsoft?
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop insists that his company’s ‘special relationship’ with Microsoft is still intact — what we don’t get is what’s so special about it?
Nokia was the first manufacturer to commit lock, stock and barrel to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, enacting its ‘special relationship’ with Microsoft. And that relationship still stands to this day, according to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.
So what exactly is Nokia getting out of its dealings with Microsoft besides an operating system? No one really knows to be honest because the deal itself took place behind closed doors, although there was talk at the time of certain exclusivity rights for Nokia.
According to Reuters, Elop told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecoms conference on Wednesday that Microsoft and Nokia maintain a ‘special’ relationship with one another even though Microsoft has been building Windows Phone 8 partnerships with rival manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung.
Elop has in the past talked about unspecified contractual rights that have been granted to Nokia for being the first to commit to Windows Phone. The CEO has never divulged what any of these alleged rights actually are though or when Nokia plans on using them.
I’ve argued that Stephen Elop is a Trojan horse in the past – a man tasked with facilitating a Microsoft buy-out of Nokia and its patents.
It’s basically a conspiracy theory, but given Microsoft’s recent incursions into the hardware space, as well as the fact Elop came directly from Microsoft to take the job as CEO at Nokia, it doesn’t seem all that far fetched when viewed in the right context.
HTC and Samsung are both Windows Phone partners too, but neither was forced to commit exclusively to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, with both manufacturers producing Android-powered hardware also.
And let's not forget Windows Phone, according to IDC's latest figures, accounts for 2 per cent of the market while Google's Android OS owns around 75 per cent.
Perhaps Nokia will reveal something big in the coming months, something that it’s been saving for a rainy day – its Microsoft-sanctioned ace in the hole.
Personally we can’t see this happening. Windows Phone is a fairly uniform ecosystem, with the only differences between handsets being derived from design and hardware.
In this sense Nokia has a few USPs up its sleeve with its PureView camera and built-in services, which really do set it apart from the likes of Samsung and HTC. But these are all technologies Nokia has developed in-house – none have been sourced from Microsoft.
Nokia wasn’t even the first to market with a Windows Phone 8 device either, which makes us wonder what the hell is so special about Nokia’s relationship with Microsoft?