Nokia Snub Android = FAIL

Fortune's Tech column states Nokia's recent statement that they won't go Android is a bad idea.  And by bad idea, I think they mean "New Coke" bad, or even "Western Union" bad.

In an interview last week, Niklas Savander, Executive VP of Nokia's Markets, argued that adopting Android would effectively outsource Nokia's "destiny." Nokia (NOKBF) would have no way to add value to the Google platform, therefore it won't even consider using the free and fast-growing OS. Instead, like a beaten-down horoscope reader, Nokia continues to believe that it must continue down the current path toward its destiny. That means relying on an open-source Linux-based OS called MeeGo that will power new smartphones, like the oft-rumored N9, when they begin emerging later this year.

The fundamental problem with Nokia's future is that they make great hardware, but nobody is oohing and aahing at any of their software.  Today, the name of the game is apps.  Their latest OS, MeeGo, is app-friendly but will be released at about the same time as Windows 7 Mobile.  Meanwhile, Apple, RIM, and Android have been leaping ahead with newer versions of their OSs as well as being way ahead in the apps column.

Compare Nokia with Motorola: they dropped both Windows Mobile and their own Linux-based OS in favor of Android, and they seem to have done well with that strategy.  Both Motorola and HTC have altered the UI to make them more distinct from off-the-shelf Android, something Nokia could do if they chose to.

So now Nokia's success depends on a new OS, which means acceptance by the public, by the carriers, and by the developers.  What is MeeGo going to offer that can't already be done in Apple's, RIM's or Android's existing systems?

Give the column a read, it makes the case well.

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