Looking At The Nokia Microsoft Deal From The Mobile Apps Perspective

Today’s deal between Microsoft and Nokia acts as a temporary lifeline for both companies. It gives Microsoft access to the largest handset provider, and it allows Nokia to defray some of its operating system development costs. I have just finished a report, “Mobile App Internet Recasts The Software And Services Landscape,” that will hit the Forrester site on Monday, February 28.

In the report, Forrester states, “The explosion of app innovation that started on the iPhone and then spread to Android devices and tablets will continue to drive tech industry innovation and have far-reaching pricing and go-to-market implications for the industry. Three different vectors of innovation that have been percolating under the surface will combine over the next 3-5 years. Mobile, cloud, and smart computing together will foster a new set of 'intelligence everywhere' apps.”

And based on that research, I believe that deal does not address the biggest issue for both companies – attracting apps and app developers. For Nokia, it now sends the message that Symbian and MeeGo platforms are no longer the long-term app focus. For Microsoft, it creates an eight-to-twelve month void/pause as developers wait to see what the new Nokia hardware looks like.

At the current rate that Apple and Android are recruiting third-party and enterprise app developers, this could mean a gap of 100,000-200,000 applications by the time the first Nokia Windows Phone device ships. This is likely a lead that even the combined resources of Microsoft and Nokia could not bridge.


App Gap Already?

While I agree there is a lack of developer enthusiasm and availability of applications on the Windows 7 platform, this situation existed prior to the Windows/Nokia arrangement. This is akin to complaining about a car maker's new model quality based on past models. It may hold true, but the truth will only become apparent over time.

What I think this perspective misses is the impact of adding 2,500 Nokia software engineers and an organization that has a tremendous global footprint.

I'm an iPhone and Blackberry user. I've used the Windows 7 device and think it's an interesting approach. I'm not sure it's enough for me to switch, but it is more compelling an experience than the Android OS's I've used (though not at iPhone level). Let those software engineers loose on developing applications and enhancing the experience, and Nokia has shown an ability to flood the market with devices.

I'm not convinced the strategy will succeed, but I think it's premature to criticize them at the onset of the effort.

Attracting developers

Well *something* had to change: Nokia wasn't attracting any new blood, and their attempts to offer Qt was a classic lipstick-on-a-pig. I, for one, am excited about this; I trust Microsoft a hellauva lot more to get developer experiences right than Nokia has/could; and I think you might be overlooking the one chestnut in all this news -- XBOX Live. From a games platform perspective, this is the boldest move yet into mobile. Not sure how that affects enterprise mobile software -- Nokiasoft as the new enterprise "gamifcation" platform???


Fieldforce dev:

Came to the same conclusion about XBOX that you did could be MS ace in the hole. But I like your gamification idea. Reliance on gaming skills came up a lot in discussions with mobile developers in research.

The article clearly misses

The article clearly misses the point that this deal is made to attract mid-Level market, to make an alternative to Android based phones and even to other propriarity smartphone operating systems, by decreasing the final price of a typical Windows phone.

Also, the point about developers waiting until the next Nokia hardware comes, doesn't make any sense at all. The programming model of Windows Phone is based on Silverlight and the API that you have is standard whatever phone is behind. Microsoft set a standart to OEM producers that they must support a group of hardware features at minimum, such as the existence of the windows button etc, to prevent the mistake Google did of giving OEMs the absolute freedom in hardware design - the nightmare of a developer. Nokia will comply with the same rules. So no one is going to wait until Nokia brings the next miracle.

Generally this article is very poor and I hope the research is worthwhile to read.

This has all been expected

This has all been expected since 2002.

I used to work in QA with mobile apps at the time and for a couple of summers each year between 2002-2004 I argued with a QA at Simens, Motorola that software would take precendence over hardware and that the software of handset makers were simply a poor offering - no flexibility and not very reliable. At the time we all hoped the market opening would come faster but handset makers were not really eager to share their golden eggs with the software business I guess.

I guess I hoped to influence some QA's to promote using operating systems from software infrastructure vendors but guiess I gave up - since I reliazied doing R&D work myself that market openings just take time. Apple opened the market and the game is up.

I always said Microsoft would roll on as the biggest software vendor - Google also managed to position itself very well as a software instructure maker now going beyond search.

Apple does well in popular devices but in some ways has the same problems as other handset makers - needs to rely more on reference solutions. For IOS they don't and may be the software infrastructure or operating system and tools R&D will become a problem at some point. They did it right with MacOS skipping their own R&D turning the MAC into a PC (x86 arc) going with Intel and Unix for PC's - that is Linux ... and then "shell out" with their own branding. They could do the same with the handsets. They are just really good at selling the services and skipping out the technical stuff. Makes it easy too switch technology. They simply keep low on the technical references and contain it as brand - just like in syndicated news from Reuters. Jobs knows publishing industry.

Any everything progressed as expected allthough it took a lot of years for this market to opened compared to 2003-2004. Nows it up ... everything moved too slow.

Hopefully we can soon go back to the agile work of the early 2000's about standardization with HTML5. Too bad about all the propertary stuff. This was never the intention then. In that respect we went back to the 90'ties and native app. Still Web Services are and may allow integration - i.e. HTML5 for consuming UI's.

Let's see. At least it got going. For infrastructure we may be have to switch the expectations a bit and roll out IBM as expected buy Gartner to be 1 of 2 major software infrastrucsture vendors world wide sharing about 70% of the market. The other is of course the premiere software supplier for all in the business, Microsoft.

So Apple will have to worry about whether to invest to their application framework and programming tools or go with i.e. Android at some point. They may choose Microsoft because of MS knows how to stick in the bagground not going in direct competition with partners - they stick with the supplier role.

Let's see - I am talking in 2020 now.

>> Let's see. At least it got

>> Let's see. At least it got going. For infrastructure we may be have to switch the expectations a bit and roll out IBM as expected buy Gartner to be 1 of 2 major software infrastrucsture vendors world wide sharing about 70% of the market. The other is of course the premiere software supplier for all in the business, Microsoft.

IBM is switched out by Google considering infrastructure for mobile and the cloud too ... is it bye bye IBM? Or a scaled down version. What will happen to Oracle - just the DB? Let's see where Java goes and the app platforms. One is in all markets ... Microsoft. Java will soon be supported on Azure.

A deadly delay

This is not a a lifeline for Nokia -- this is driving over a cliff, with Steve Ballmer at the wheel. When the smoke clears, Nokia will be two years behind in the Droid race. Just ask Motorola who bet on Windows Mobile in 2005 and ended up on the scrap heap of history.

Motorolas problems originated

Motorolas problems originated from a time when handset competition became about industrial design or the looks of handsets as well as about 3G. So a different R&D problem. Ericsson managed that problem by its alliance with Sony. Not up for the battle eventhough trying to buy up available R&D units Motorola then tried to reposition their R&D to supply reference boards as an oem provider. However I think MediaTek won that battle provinding cheap reference solutions for handsets to be manufactured in China. As noted by Nokia themselves Nokia has now also become subject to that threat - not only the software. Today Motorola is merely assembling or producing handsets I would say giving reason to why R&D spending has been cut well down in that area.

R&D is now in the hands of MediaTek for electronics. I don't now if anything is happening for the casing alike ready odm (industrials designs) from asia for PC cabinets. BUt maybe liklely to happen at some points. Then everybody can brand handsets like Apple, HTC and others.

R&D mobile software is now becoming the business of the software industry - "naturally so". The mobile electronics industry had a chance to organize the business and prepare with influence instead of being pushed by industrialization and agile works (standardization). I.e. most electronics are subject to reference solutions today ... you really need to do something compeltely new like non-Internet for it to make sense to go into R&D or experimentation yourself). So if one want to do electronics themselves do it better than MediaTek with a low pricetag and high volume.

If one wants to do software do it better than Google or Microsoft it's a similar thing - better quality that's reliability including security, flexibility and ready-to-go features - and low price. Eventually Apple will reason with that as well. They did it with MacOS (Linux ... Unix for PC's and Intel arc ... wel done, while brand remains ... also like newspapers or simply the businss model syndication). And then you need to sell a lot of devices. I especially like then one almost giving music away for free at a global store (iTunes) generating iPod sales. Wallmart understood that as well ... music became just the fries in some main menu at that point.