At some point or the other, many of us would have wondered why Nokia chose Windows Phone as the OS for its Lumia range of smartphones. Nokia, once the largest selling handset manufacturer in the good old days, has seen its market share consistently fall over the past years. Microsoft’s OS has tailed Android & iOS by a big margin both in terms of consumer adoption and market share. Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop recently explained the reasons behind the decision:
Samsung Would’ve Dominated Android
Speaking to The Guardian last month, Stephon Elop explained that since Nokia was late in joining the smartphone boom, the company had justifiable apprehensions of not catching up, and losing out to another manufacturer that would eventually dominate the Android market.
“What we were worried about a couple of years ago was the very high risk that one hardware manufacturer could come to dominate Android. We had a suspicion of who it might be, because of the resources available, the vertical integration, and we were respectful of the fact that we were quite late in making that decision.
Now fast forward to today – one company has essentially now become the dominant player.” – Stephen Elop.
It was important for Nokia to stand out from other manufacturers when negotiating with wireless carriers, which Elop says are the ‘gatekeepers’ to consumers. Bringing something different to the table was important to attract both carriers and consumers.
The company’s prophecy wasn’t inaccurate either. The one manufacturer that Nokia feared would dominate the Android ecosystem is now Samsung. With its huge marketing budget and large catalogue of devices, the South Korean giant is now the largest maker of smartphones in the world. Its rivals have visibly fallen short – HTC has lost share quarter after quarter, despite making critically claimed and better looking handsets.
While the move doesn’t seem to have paid off in a big way, Elop still defends his Windows Phone choice, saying he’s “very happy with the decision we made”. Microsoft has tried to aggressively promote Windows Phone, and in some cases has used marketing tactics that have criticism too. Yet, it still lags far behind the other 2 kings of OS-Mountain – Android & iOS. Windows Phone occupied 3.3% share of the smartphone market last quarter.
That figure would still be encouraging for both Nokia and Microsoft, as it has only risen when compared to previous time frames. But who knows, maybe Nokia would have done worse had their Lumia phones been running on Android right now?