When the Lumia 900 was released in April of 2012 no one really knew if it was going to be a hit or a miss. Nokia used to be a top player in the phones business, there is no doubt about that, but it kind of dropped off the radar after a while. But the Lumia’s success might be a signal for the beginning of more great products from Nokia.
So Nokia’s and Microsoft’s grand experiment is a year and a half old, and Nokia Lumia 900 reviews are generally positive, from intrepid tech columnist David Pogue to contributors on Viewpoints:
“Very sleek and cool phone with lots of features and great screen.” –ladym33, Reviewer since 2007
The New York Times also recently reported that Microsoft is paying developers to write Windows 7 Phone apps. This makes sense, and also shows how desperate Microsoft is to make this phone functional out of the box.
Nokia is the key. Nokia used to be a star. I owned a couple of Nokia phones, and I loved them. Then Nokia got soft and thought it didn’t need to innovate. Then the company fired its CEO and replaced him with Stephen Elop, who surprise, surprise, used to be head of Microsoft EMEA (Europe). And then, suddenly, Nokia dumps its own, home grown OS (Symbian) in favor of the Windows Phone. (hmmm, I wonder if Microsoft chief Steve Balmer paid Nokia to hire this guy?).
Nokia knows how
My only point in raising this is that with Symbian, Nokia would have had differentiation, its own IP (intellectual property) and a competitive advantage. On the other hand, Nokia had been working on the next gen of Symbian since 2003 before it was killed off in 2010 in favor of Windows Phone. It’s no secret that Nokia knows how to make great phones, and its industrial design has always been very good. It can make a better phone than Samsung, HTC or Motorola if it can get its swag back.
But the Achilles heel is going to be Windows 7 and the upcoming Windows 8. Why? Because Microsoft doesn’t give a rat’s behind about Nokia now that it’s released its first phone to great reviews. And if Microsoft follows its typical pattern, it will start heavily lobbying other manufacturers to build Windows Phone versions, too. This will inevitably result in a mucked-up OS like Windows desktop because everyone will want to modify the OS for their own phones (which is exactly what’s starting to happen with Android). That means, the beautiful Lumia 900 will probably need countless service pack updates from Microsoft and have endless security breeches (you’ll hear more and more about these as the shift to mobile continues).
The bottom line is good
So, the net-net, I think, is that Microsoft and Nokia have a winner with THIS product. But the question is, what will they do for an encore and that’s where their paths will diverge.
But all this might be moot because Nokia is betting the house on the Lumia line and Windows mobile software. If nothing else, Microsoft can just buy Nokia and finally get into the vertical integration game ala Apple and maybe then discover the magic to real innovation.