‘Third ecosystem’ more important than ever, says Stephen Elop
Responding to the recent Google-Motorola deal, Nokia CEO and former Microsoft employee Stephen Elop has said that the deal should be worrying for Android phone makers.
This week, Google’s announcement to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn has prompted concerns about whether Motorola will get preferential treatment over other Android phone makers such as Samsung and HTC.
Speaking at a Helsinki seminar, Elop attempted to fuel such speculation by saying: "If I happened to be someone who was an Android manufacturer or an operator, or anyone with a stake in that environment, I would be picking up my phone and calling certain executives at Google and say ‘I see signs of danger ahead.’"
Elop also suggested that the deal added more weight to the decision the company took in February to sign a software partnership deal with Microsoft, which the companies claimed would result in a new global mobile ecosystem.
"The very first reaction I had was very clearly the importance of the third ecosystem and the importance of the partnership that we announced on February 11, it is more clear than ever before," Elop said.
Elop joined the Finnish phone maker Nokia as CEO Nokia last year. Before that he served as president of Microsoft’s Business Division.
However, Elop has had to manage the company through turbulent times of dipping popularity, software transitions, job cuts and intense competition.
Markets and employees were both sceptical after Nokia announced the deal with Microsoft. Nokia was also criticised by Google for choosing Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform over Android.
In the Mobile World Congress, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt had said, "We would like them [Nokia] to adopt Android at some point in the future and that offer remains open. We think Android was a good choice for Nokia. We are sorry they made a different choice."
Elop had to defend the deal saying Microsoft is paying Nokia billions of dollars to switch to Windows Phone. Moreover, Nokia’s CEO said the deal will not allow the market to be a duopoly.
"By adopting Windows Phone as our primary smartphone platform we believe we can deliver a global ecosystem that goes beyond what exists today in terms of hardware, software, services and apps," Elop said.
"Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It’s now a three-horse race."
"We have three choices," Elop had said. "We could focus on the internal development of Meego and Symbian but we were worried about the potential speed of development of those platforms without a partner like Microsoft. We looked at Android but while there are attractive elements to it, the commoditisation risk was very high, with value being moved out of Google and that was worrying to us."
Elop had also said that he had sold all his Microsoft shares on 17 February and bought 150,000 shares in Nokia.
In May, there were rumours that Microsoft may buy Nokia, which were dismissed by Elop as "baseless".
After the Motorola deal, Google CEO Larry Page has suggested that Motorola may not get preferential access to the company’s Android OS.
Google is "committed to making that whole ecosystem successful," said Page.
Though Nokia saw its value surge in Helsinki trading, rising to the highest in one and half years after the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google, Samsung, HTC and LG all rose in Asian trading as well.