Nokia and Microsoft join forces, open new possibilities

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So, it happened. Nokia and Microsoft are joining forces, so I get to write an update to the Burning Platform post. Overall, I like the idea, though I think Nokia should go even further.

Positive aspects of the deal:
– Hardware guys finally will be free to do interesting things, no longer shackled by Symbian or MeeGo developers. They can be fast and efficient and won’t have to count every euro-cent because, well, Microsoft has a huge barrel of money and can afford a kick-ass phone hardware
– MeeGo (and even Symbian) will get real internal competition. Management won’t be able to keep broadcasting that “it will be the best thing ever!” all while producing handsets with dated interface or something that users don’t like, because sales comparisons will be quick and easy. And yes, it could mean that should WP7 experiment fail MeeGo could become a priority again (if it survives this long)
– Microsoft development tools are superb. No doubt about it. If Nokia’s hardware brand pulls in some attention from users, it can get ball rolling with more developers working on WP7 applications
– Microsoft knows how to get the game on, thanks to X-Box (including X-Box Live). Perhaps Nokia’s hardware will give a push to more advanced gaming on WP7. Good thing.

Not so good aspects:
– Microsoft will switch to OVI Maps — I presume it means Bing will be using more things from Nokia. Right now underlying data is from Navteq so this could be just a change in the name (Nokia bought Navteq). But if this means more changes, I’d be very cautious. Currently Bing maps are better than Google, and the main rule of software developers — if it works, don’t touch it
– Bing search is not quite the shining star that Nokia mobiles need. Well, no choice here, as it’s Windows Phone 7.
– Nokia promises to “innovate on top of the platform”. I hope that’s purely hardware innovation, otherwise the whole mess with missed release dates due to software problems will comes back and bites everyone in the soft behind.
– People that hate Microsoft will automatically hate Nokia.

I still think Nokia shouldn’t limit itself to building Windows Phone devices, and expand further into Android too. But who knows, we may get another “announcement” a bit later. Or it could be “Microsoft buys Nokia” :) From friendship to ownership…

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