Nokia takes a lot of heat for things they do and things they don’t do. By that, I mean their nefarious practice of using a “pity” ecosystem over a “grandiose” or so they say. Let’s dissect what really happened before and after their decision.
Android and Windows Phone:
Windows Phone launches to rave reviews, bold design, innovative approach to smartphone UI that the world has never seen before. It was different. It was fast. It was unique. Windows Phone comes at a time in smartphone history where it was fighting against a two well-established and deep-pocketed players- Android and iOS. iOS was premium, Android- not so much. Windows Phone hoped to capture the middle market. But, the gap was very small. Android was taking a huge chunk with every day that passed. It became huge making every bit that difficult for Windows to grow and thrive. Launching on a low-profile, low-hope to succeed mindset- Samsung, HTC, LG decided to make pity hardware for the platform. With Samsung becoming huge on Android, they were done innovating on Windows side. Leftover technology from Android-world trickled down to Windows Phone, despite Samsung being a Microsoft partner. HTC was that stripper of manufacturing world that would try to be a good-wife to one, but then sees a customer and ends-up stripping thereby ruining the marriage. If you think Windows Phone should have succeeded then, You are naive and short-sighted. There was less chance of it succeeding than Dane Cook becoming straight. No one was making good hardware which is essential for a “flagship” phone. HTC was fooling around. LG had down-syndrome. You get the idea. Android was the happening place and to some extent the trend still continues.
To summarize the past, Samsung did Android. They did Android good. It was the Galaxy brand. Premium brand for Android with ecosystem push and support that propelled it. Samsung cared about the ecosystem and invested in it. HTC was the stripper as mentioned above. Windows Phone was the bad-neighborhood that people rarely drive to to check on to see if all is well. Windows Phone was nothing. Android was everything.
Nokia decides to ditch Symbian. They had two options Windows Phone or Android. There was an Android ecosystem, dominated by Samsung already which as years go by becomes the juggernaut, and then the low-key, low-activity Windows phone ecosystem that was in no-way thriving but there is no, one player fighting to become the “premium” Windows Phone handset maker. Samsung was well-established and rooted in Android. Nokia would have had a tough time if they jumped on Android bandwagon if they wanted to make a name for themselves. HTC, Motorola, Sony, LG—they were all struggling- living and breathing, but almost dead example of success on Android. Why would Nokia have succeeded? What can it bring to table that other makers other than android don’t already bring? The problem was ecosystem was managed, controlled by the Samsung machine with no room for the other players to grow. Samsung kicks them out before they could grow. You have to plant a seed and nurture it before it turns into a fruit-bearing plant. Samsung was the lawn-mower. Nokia could have done Android only, but again Samsung would have killed it. They could have done half-hearted things like HTC or LG but look at where they are now. The only option and the one that sounded like a “tough-sell” at the time was to do Windows Phone. Make it the best premium ecosystem they can make by making the “best” premium hardware they can make coupled with the best service they can bring to the table. Nokia gave a push to Windows Phone brand in ways that was noticed all around the world. Something that Microsoft never got pre-Nokia boarding period. So much so that Nokia and Windows Phone was synonymous and still is and growing stronger by day. Lumia line became the galaxy. Lumia line is bigger than Windows Phone line in terms of branding. People know Lumia even if they don’t know that it has Windows Phone in its gut. Nokia became the king of the Windows Phone ecosystem just like Samsung became for Android ecosystem. Nokia became the Samsung of Windows Phone. Windows Phone is Nokia. Nokia has a long way to go before it can make money like Samsung does. But as it stands today, There is Android ; There is Windows Phone. Then, There is Samsung; There is Nokia and then Everyone else and their ecosystem with an exception of Apple.
So, if Nokia were to chose Android. There wouldn’t be a Nokia as Nokia is today. A competitor promoting an ecosystem and the best one at it just like Samsung. Nokia, chose the underdog in hopes to revitalize it and I would argue it is far better off now than it would have been have they decided not to. To an extent where Windows Phone wouldn’t exists if it wasn’t for Nokia and Lumias. Nokia is to Windows Phone as Samsung is to Android.