In the time I’ve painstakingly kept current with mobile tech news, there are a few rules I believe any journalist and reader needs to understand. The first is that what a person says does matter and the overall perception of an individual’s point of view can blind objective news. The two aspects aren’t something that are individual to mobile news, but any sort of journalism and in any form of critical analysis of any form of current events. In many cases, the people we scorn, call irrevelent, and hating are usually the ones that have established themselves and reported the news first, even if the news has some form of bias. I won’t speak in generalities, but specifically, I am referring to Eldar Murtazin of mobile review and the perception he has with many loyalists of Windows Phone. The general perception of Eldar is that he hates the Windows Phone platform and that he has no idea of what he is talking about. On top of that perception, Eldar is seen by many as an old fart who can’t get his damn facts straight when it comes to Windows Phone. It was a perception that even I enthusiastically supported for a long time. That is, until it hit me very recently. In short, Eldar could be right.
Yes, I understand the words I am saying on a very popular and growing Windows Phone site that typically is meticulous about how we report news versus many other Windows Phone related news sources. But Eldar is the type of person that has given us a lot of Windows Phone news in the winter of every single year for about three years now. The first news that Eldar posted on a very young twitter was the initial change in Windows Phone. In the tweet, he referred to Microsoft’s new mobile OS as taking more swipes to change certain settings with a very large tile driven system. That was BEFORE March 2010 when Microsoft officially announced Windows Phone 7 for the first time to the public. Last year, Eldar hit lightning in a bottle twice when he reported about Nokia and Microsoft’s initial joint venture prior to the official announcement last year. Previously, Eldar had in hand one of the biggest phones HTC manufactured in the HTC HD2, and also reported it in a similar manner. Like Eldar or not, he has posted news about Windows Phone that has been more accurate than has been negative in terms of the major changes of Microsoft’s mobile division.
It is realizing several points where Eldar has been right that makes me cautious about Eldar’s winter tweets. For those that don’t know, the tweets are astounding:
Steve Balmer, Andy Lees and Stephen Elop, Kai Ostamo will meet in Las Vegas to finalize agreement about Nokia smartphone unit. Bye Nokia
NOKIA smartphone unit could be transfered with one or two plants. Second half of 2012. Anouncement date isnt defined
Nokia brand wouldnt be used for smartphones in this new MS unit. Thats a kind of deal between Elop and Balmer
Nokia brand will be used for dumb phones and updated category of devices which they count as smartphone competitors. I dont believe in that
Most interesting thing about Nokia/MS deal that everything depends only from MS now. If MS decide then deal will be closed in 2012
MS isn’t sure that company need own plants/R&D for hardware etc. But MS definitely want to receive all patents connected with smartphones
Nokia chairman – Risto Siilasmaa. The main goal to finalize deal of mr. Elop with MS and replace him with another person (2012)
Stephen Elop will be resign as Nokia CEO in 2012 (I told that several times but repeat again).
MS partners aren’t keen about WP7 and saying that publicly. MS aren’t glad about that. MS want to create own successful products (like XBox)
Microsoft have a good examples from mobile market (Google Nexus, Motorola Mobility + Google;
Apple with in-house R&D). They need to be equal
The tweets are a lot to take in no matter how many different ways you read them. Despite the nature of the translation, several items stand out. The first is OEM perception of Windows Phone. Granted, some OEMs are creating more Windows Phones (which is always good), but this isn’t the first time that someone has gone on the record to indicate dissatisfaction with the Nokia – Windows Phone lineup. However, Kindel had indicated a part of the puzzle in terms of the overall treatment Microsoft has given to its OEMs since Windows rebranded its mobile division:
With Windows Phone Microsoft has taken a different approach. WP raises its middle finger at both the device manufacturers and mobile carriers. WP says “here’s the hardware spec you shalt use” (to the device manufacturers). And it says “Here’s how it will be updated” (to the carriers).
Thus both of those sides of the market are reluctant.
While Kindel doesn’t address the current line of Eldar’s tweets, he does mention a very key piece to the puzzle. That Windows did give the biggest middle finger to each and every single OEM that helped Microsoft Windows Mobile create the capital it has done in its hey day. Rumors abound have circulated around Microsoft’s treatment of OEMs in many ways. The Nokia merger with Microsoft left a negative taste in many OEMs mouths because of the commentary of Nokia being the first true windows phone. In almost a divided way, Microsoft has essentially given the middle finger, yet it seems that the preposterous middle finger doesn’t end with that. Microsoft’s rumored purchase is just that, but the ramifications are too severe if Microsoft were to consider it.
For one thing, it would make several people in Finland extremely upset. During the previous news of the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia mobility, the initial response was negative and understandably so. Elop was definitely called the harbinger of Nokia’s final days in the mobile industry by users and executives alike. It makes one wonder if Microsoft wanted Nokia to be successful.
The success question brings us back into the numbers game. So far, objective numbers of market share have been luke warm by many pundits despite the marketing that Microsoft has perfomed. I should clarify for a moment. When I mean numbers, I don’t necessarily mean statistics derived from the top selling mobile websites because those statistics can easily be faked. I mean hard numbers that can indicate market success and market failure. And even with the marketing in Europe, the numbers are still relatively low. As much as I want Microsoft Windows Phone to be a successful product, so far it hasn’t been. Part of that lies in perception of Windows Phone and another part lies in the safety of ecosystems granted. Those are points expounded on ad nauseum. Despite this, Microsoft has stated constantly that they want the platform to be successful.
For a moment, let’s consider the possibility of market success from the Microsoft’s point of view. Of course, this is something Microsoft has stated: to take an Apple approach in terms of creating specific code for a specific set of hardware to create a fantastic experience. That’s been done. But is that the only aspect of Apple Micosoft wishes to copy in a time where Android has Motorola and Apple has their own in house manufacturing of their devices? In many respects, Eldar’s commentary does make a lot of sense if Microsoft airs with the side of staying competitive and creating a uniform model. So far it is had with Apple standardization of hardware, why not finish the entire ordeal?
Because of how it looks to your OEM partners. Of course digitimes reported that neither Samsung or HTC were too enthusiastic about the Google – Motorola merger, and for good reasons. The biggest one is a cut in their profit from Android. Microsoft performs the same step with Nokia, the same results will occur. It will be the largest middle finger to the OEMs Microsoft can ever give. Of course, Microsoft will receive all of Nokia patents, but at the other end is a destruction of a damn good hardware company with an extremely loyal following. Sadly, it isn’t the first time that Microsoft acquired a mobile company and we haven’t heard from them again. Hi Danger, how are you doing over there? If Microsoft wants the platform to be successful, why would they begin to totally purchase the Nokia brand?
It’s not just the rumor of the Nokia – Microsoft deal, it is also the Skype acquisition that gave another middle finger to the carriers by integrating a feature that performs the same function as a mobile carrier. Taken separately, the rumored and the official news from Microsoft doesn’t really become a snowball of cacophony because on the surface it looks pretty darn good. Skype is a popular program and Nokia is still a popular hand set maker. But then, when you combine the carriers and OEMs in terms of the acquisition, anyone starts to question the success of the Windows Phone platform. Does Microsoft ultimately want to burn the mobile middle man and destroy several mainstays that have been established? I won’t enter into a conspiracy theorist mindset, but it is difficult not to enter that mode of thinking considering everything that has occurred.
This brings us back to the initial questions: Is Eldar right and what is the impact of him possibly being right. I won’t mince words. Eldar hasn’t been the only one that stated that Microsoft would purchase Nokia. The first rumor came in July as reported by All Things D. However, the rumor gains some traction given Eldar’s timing of tweets, to which has been correct with Windows Phone. Assuming the rumors are correct, it would make me seriously question whether Microsoft wants to be successful with Windows Phone.
If the rumors are true, Tomi Ahonen would have been right all along. And so far, I think he and Kindel agree more often than they disagree. And slowly, even I am starting to agree that adoption is based on several different facets. Microsoft, place people first and don’t do this. I can guarantee if Windows Phone does this, then the platform will be doomed.