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February 12, 2014

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E.Casais

There is an alternative interpretation to the whole meaning of Mview/Project X: it was a quick no-frills testbed to replace S40 on the Asha line after Meltmi had been scuttled.

S40 is now basically the culmination of a feature phone OS -- it offers touch screen, browsing, e-mail, games, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and even some form of Nokia maps -- but it has probably been stretched as far as technically possible. A successor is needed if one assumes that low-end, affordable devices, not necessarily based on a touchscreen, are commercially profitable in the long-run. Meltemi was supposed to be the successor, but the decision not to develop such an OS internally meant that some form of Android was the only viable alternative remaining.

Hence a fourth option: Microsoft will allow Normandy (or whatever it will called commercially) as a one-shot product. It will divest the entire S40/Asha/feature phone division rapidly and sell it to some other firm (possibly an Indian company). And Normandy will be included in the package as an enticing gift to the buyer (i.e. "look, you get the future-proof OS for Ashas as well at no additional cost!") with some strong contractual wording about what kind of apps can run on that OS, and what kind of hardware that OS can run on.

cornelius

If this rumor is true, then the only reason I can think of is that Microsoft chose Android because the Windows Phone operating system is a pig. WP requires good CPU and good battery. Microsoft sells cheap Windows phones but they are cheap to produce, they are cheap because Microsoft takes on losses for each phone sold. So if Microsoft wants to compete with the cheapest Androids and be profitable it needs to either cut down the specs (which will make the user experience bad because Windows is and resource hungry) or use an operating system that uses the resources more efficiently.
The irony is that a certain former CEO, yes, that brute, you know him, said that Linux is cancer. So now Microsoft will sell phones with cancer on them.
Also, there is another rumor that WP will be able to run Android apps. Man, we live in a crazy world. Imagine Microsoft encourages people to use Java for application development. Whatever happened to the beautiful Silverlight?

cornelius

I can't edit my previous post. I meant the WP are *NOT* cheap to produce.

zlutor

@Tomi: what about this one: "Microsoft could bring Android apps to Windows" - http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/12/5404098/microsoft-considering-android-apps-on-windows

That would be also interesting if becomes true. But that would mean anything but good for WP. Or not, Id o not know...

Kobbe60

I think its logical that Nokia has a Android phone brewing. Microsoft is in flux and facing problems on many fronts, new CEO, falling sales of PCs, the fail of Windows 8 and WP8. If Microsoft would decide to back out from the Nokia deal and pull the plug on WP8, Nokia would be left in the mobile desert with now easy way to rescue. A Android phone could be the flask of water that saves Nokia.

I do not think that Microsoft will back out of the deal. I believe that the Nokia android is Nokias way to play it as safe as possible.

UVStaska

Yes, there is a clause in the contract that MSFT will have to pay Nokia (about $1B, if I remember correctly), if they cancel the deal. Nokia also has that cheap EUR 1.5B loan they got from MSFT.

However - Nokia X has been under development since at least last summer, probably for more than a year, with a knowledge and (most likely) approval from Elop. My theory is that it started around the time Meltemi was killed, and probably was the reason why Meltemi was killed. Nokia decided that they won't be able to match Android, saw success of Amazon Kindle and various AOSP phones in China and went Android for Asha.

With Elop in charge of Nokia the whole time, it's also highly doubtful that this is some kind of deliberate effort to damage Microsoft. Especially since Elop has been contender for CEO spot there until recently. And that both, Nokia board and most of Nokia shareholders are strongly in favor of the deal.

Since WSJ leak sounds like a controlled one, that probably came from Nokia, it actually might be a pressure tactics on MSFT, if some people in new MSFT CEO camp are getting cold feet for the whole Nokia phone unit acquisition. I think we saw similar planted leak in WSJ to pressure MSFT when the news that Nokia walked away from negotiations this summer came out.

Further complicating matters are antitrust laws, which say that MSFT can have no influence whatsoever on Nokia product planing and pipeline since the day the deal was announced in September:

http://hal2020.com/2013/10/16/how-much-influence-is-microsoft-having-on-nokia-right-now/

There were also rumors that the whole Asha on Android project was being developed by R&D department, under Nokia CTO office, which is staying with Nokia. So until the deal is done Elop may not have much say in the matter. (Asha is going to MSFT, and Nokia can not make phones until 2016 - so there's no chance Android phone effort will remain at Nokia after the deal)

So, yes, the whole Nokia X thing sounds like a huge mess right now, and nobody except people at Nokia have any idea what's it about.

And finally - your exact timing about the closing of the deal is off. All Nokia and MSFT said is they plan to close it in Q1, as soon as they get all regulatory approvals. They got most they need except China. Which is stalling to get guaranties Nokia will not abuse its patent portfolio. The contract they signed in September says that they have to close the deal sometime this summer, or its off (if I remember the timing correctly). So it may close next week, on March 15, on March 31st or even in June or August, if they get stubborn with China.

Giacomo Di Giacomo

Future Lumia phones will not bear the Nokia name any more, but Asha (and hence Nokia X) will. So, in the long run, it is just another Android phone manufacturer, with no connections to the Lumia line (except its owner), and won't do any more damage to Lumia than, say, Huawei selling Android phones.

Earendil Star

My analysis:

1) MS is in total control of Nokia, not only the part it bought, but the remaining company also. It's now full of ex softie managers

2) Whatever is being planned, it has total, unconditional approval by MS. Because it was decided by MS. Nokia had no freedom of choice since late 2010.

3) If there will be a Nokia Android phone, it will be because of some hideous plan to exploit the Android ecosystem, while trying to entice users to transition to the WP platform.

Stevan Gvozdenović

"could it be that somehow Nokia hopes Microsoft would be so enraged they would maybe pull out of the deal (there are probably different clauses of who has to pay what to whom if its Nokia who cancels the deal or of its Microsoft who cancels the deal)."

could be they are bluffing or elop is bringing yet another moronic business decision

Mr Eric Wu

Tomi, you have missed one scenario - this is planned by Elop to maximise the return on investment for Microsoft.

A few facts: Microsoft is only in it for WP, Microsoft has no need for S40/Asha, No one has any need for S40!, Microsoft gets patent royalties from Android phones, featurephone sales are declining, it will be almost impossible to convert S40 sales into WP sales, Normandy is based on Android, Normandy is not a smartphone (runs Android kernel but is not a smartphone).

So, this is how it works.
1) Elop trashes Nokia to lower the value and sale price.
2) Elop agrees sale to Microsoft, at a very low price.
3) Elop starts up a Android version of S40/Asha with the strict rule that it must be closed and not a full Android device. It is a featurephone running Android. It would be trivial to enable full Android on it, but for now it is nobbled.
4) Microsoft completes purchase of Nokia. They don't want S40 (it will be a burden of redundancies, a loss making division and a big confusing distraction). They want to sell it fast. No one is going to want to buy a featurephone maker. But wait, hang on this is an Android phone right? One that I can magically change a config file, pay a Google license and be a full smartphone manufacturer?
5) Microsoft sell the Android division to someone else, for a fairly high price given it comes with it's own factories (WP never needed them) and a design team/dev teams etc. with Android knowledge.
6) Microsoft's cost of buying Nokia is reduced, they don't have S40 anymore and they get a few dollars on every sale of the Android manufacturer formally known as S40/Asha.

I think this is very clever. But I also think Microsoft may well screw up and not handle the PR right.

Mr Eric Wu.

Mark Levine

Personally, I think that even if Android only appears on the S40/Asha, is terminated by Microsoft on April 1st and is a completely hobbled feature phone Android, that would still kill Windows Phone 8 (or what's left of it) and probably Windows RT too.

Mao Nixon

or..... Microsoft will Trojan Horsing the Google Android project....

Since android is open source, microsoft could take android, and put Microsof-Android-Store. and since microsoft is a software company (unlike Amazon), Microsoft could start poisoning android by creating Microsoft-Android-API that AT FIRST compatible with Google-Android-API (the non-open-source), but after a couple of version, it will behave differently.

Microsoft safe development money, ruin Google Play Store, and may be able to steal some Android manufacture/user.

Satya Nutela

Microsoft could sell the device in several country only that the user won't buy it, just the way Elop did to N9.

TDC_123

I think even if the Nokia phone are Android it shouldn't matter.

I think the mistake we make is calling them smartphones and grouping them with the the likes of Galaxy S4 and iPhone while really they are not.

These Android Phones are essentially Asha Phones but they run Android. They will be used by people who quite frankly can't really afford huge DATA plans. So it doesn't matter if they have all the apps but perhaps the basics like Facebook and Whatsapp and all. Such apps also come as separate Data plans as well which make it more affordable.

The Good thing about having Android is that PERHAPS developers will find it easier to port apps to these phone, wouldn't require much effort.

Furthermore, this could be a step for Microsoft as well to gain some knowledge or learn about Android and how to port some of their services on Android and make the low end of the market locked on to their Internet Services so that when these users do UPGRADE they do so to Windows Phone which will essentially have all of Microsoft Services

eduardom

Somewhat off topic: according to this article Microsoft is thinking about giving RT and Windows Phone licenses to OEM's for free:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/11/5199446/microsoft-considers-free-versions-windows-phone-windows-rt

tz

Revenge. A parting shot to the murdered Meego N9/950.

Come out with the ultimate Android phone, just one step below the best phone ever, get people lining up ready to buy it and let M$ kill it so that the remaining phones (give each remaning Nokia employee one free) go for $10000 on eBay.

jj

I don't believe in any revenge theory. That kind of childish revenge would only hurt those 5000 ex-Nokians that moved to Microsoft.

willebra

Microsoft can't yet control Nokia mobiles, that's due to lacking finalization of the deal and competition laws.

Nokia pushed Microsoft to the deal with a threat of moving to Android. Nokia needs to keep that threat credible, until Microsoft has no option to retreat from the deal. Penalties of 1,5B could be peanuts in a deal that looks is getting cosltier for Microsoft every day (low sales volumes, losses). So Nokia keeps up the Android threat. Nokia is not sure whether Microsoft would pull out of the deal, so they need to play it safe: i.e. have an Android phone in case the deal wouldn't finalise.

I guess the start date of sales of Android devices will be early April (unless cancelled).

Scott

Tommi is so right that the carriers are not selling windows phones. In local Telecom store today. A guy asked about Nokia windows phone, salesman who is the store manager talked him out of it. Recommended Samsung Galaxy range and the iPhone. Guy bought the iPhone.
Two years ago I had the same experience. Wanted a new Smartphone, salesman showed me Samsung Galaxy and HTC phones. I asked about the Nokia windows phones. He didn't recommend them and talked me out of it. So I bought the Galaxy.
So he didn't show me a windows phone. Even when I asked for it the salesman didn't show me a windows phone. Sales people refuse to sell windows phones. There is no way windows phones can succeed when the carriers refuse to sell them.

Tomi T Ahonen

HI everybody

Thanks for great comments! I'm at a conference in Kenya now on limited internet connection but quick comment - very good points by many, that a fourth scenario would be that Microsoft wants to rapidly sell off the dumbphone business and an Android project could be part of that (although it would still mess up the Windows Phone propaganda rather badly). The question in that case would become - why on earth didn't Nokia either keep Asha or sell that part itself (Nokia) while keeping the smartphone business, if there is an obvious buyer to the dumbphone business.... This is still quite a mess and we'll need to see how it plays out.

Pls keep the discussion going..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Friv 3

you always gives everyone the most wonderful things to share hope your next will be more interesting and more rewarding, thanks

RottenApple

@Mao Nixon:


"... Microsoft could start poisoning android by creating Microsoft-Android-API that AT FIRST compatible with Google-Android-API (the non-open-source), but after a couple of version, it will behave differently."

Yes, they could do it but the effect would be zero. Microsoft has no leverage in mobile so any such effort would end in failure.

"Microsoft safe development money, ruin Google Play Store, and may be able to steal some Android manufacture/user."

Yeah, sure. Google would just get out a fly swatter and destroy the irritant. You can try such business tactics if you got some leverage but since Microsoft doesn't have any it's quite obvious how such an attempt will end. Just imagine Google doing an aggressive move against Windows Desktop. Unlike Microsoft in Mobile, Google does have some leverage here and they are in a far better position to throw in a poison pill. Of all the companies in the world, Google is the only one who could - if they wanted - break Microsoft's monopoly of the desktop.


ThisIsBad

I like the holliwood scenario.
What about this ?

- The Android Nokia phone is created by Elop as a tactic to force Microsoft to pay more for Nokia Handset business.
Let's remind is pay-check is directly related to the "bump" in share price, so it is in its own best interest, to destroy Nokia share price as low as possible and then make it climb as high as possible.
- Then Elop is candidate to become CEO of Microsoft.
- The Nokia Android phone is kept moving forward, as a kind of "relaliation weapon", just in case.
- The results are in : Elop lost, Satya Nadella is named new Microsoft CEO.
- Childish Elop is frustrated, and activates its retaliation weapon. Now the Nokia Android phone is resurrected, just as a vengeance.

Yeah, it looks silly,
but so were saying the nay-sayers when Elop started to destroy Nokia willingly in front of everyone.

The only element which makes me think about this silly scenario is timing : why on Earth this Nokia-Android phone appeared right *after* the nomination of Satya Nadella ? Quite a coincidence !
Who still believe in coincidences ?

jj

I like the way Google Now assistant notifies when Tomi has posted a new blog. No need to check it manually every few days..

Kevin P

@cornelius I don't think that Android is particularly more suited to running on low-spec smartphones than Windows Phone, for any recent version of Android. It might have been true a couple of years ago, but if you look at the specs on today's bottom-end Android phones (Asha price or cheaper), the hardware they're running on is similar to that of the Nokia 520, which runs perfectly fine with Windows Phone - the savings are from lower build quality and lack of WinPhone license fees rather than lower specs.

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